In June 2016, the Institute of Asian Research launched the Greater Central Asia Initiative (GCAI). The Greater Central Asia region occupies a strategic location as a land bridge connecting the emerging Eurasia and China. It includes some of the world’s most influential and dynamic states, as well as some of its most intractable challenges. The region receives increasing attention from international and regional analysts, universities, and researchers, though it continues to be underrepresented in mainstream academic discourse. The goal of GCAI is to focus on these regional interactions.
The Greater Central Asia region includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Xinjang-China.
GCAI is a university-wide inter-faculty initiative with an overarching mission to foster ties between UBC and GCA, and functions as a branch of IAR. To this end, GCAI will present a variety of scholarly and policy-oriented activities both at UBC and in Greater Central Asia, as well as Eurasia, including research projects, lectures and public seminars, symposiums, workshops, film series, cultural exhibitions, and community partnerships.
In accordance with the mandate and core objectives of IAR, GCAI focuses on geostrategy, geopolitics, geoeconomics, culture, female empowerment, as well as and fostering community engagement, raising public awareness, and cultivating ties among students, professionals and experts.