The CESS Board has been closely monitoring health and travel considerations related to our planned conferences for 2020 as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
As you know, this has already led to the difficult but necessary decision to postpone our eagerly awaited Regional Conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to June 2021.
The Board has continued to review the situation regarding our planned 2020 Annual Conference at Ohio State University. At its meeting in May 2020, the Board agreed that it would be necessary to postpone this conference as well. Proposals that had been submitted this year will not be carried forward, in line with the same decision made about the Regional Conference.
Whereas the coronavirus situation is beginning to improve in some locations, there continue to be major concerns about a possible second wave of infections coupled with practical matters such as continued restrictions on travel and difficulties obtaining US visas with a very limited if not non-existent number of visa appointments available at some embassies.
Although it is disappointing not to be able to proceed with in-person conferences this year, we do also want to share three items of good news with you!
First, we are happy to report that Ohio State University has agreed that it can still host the next Annual Conference, which will now be held in October 2021 (exact dates TBC). A new call for proposals will be announced in early 2021. Indiana University, which was to be our host for 2021, will now be the location for the CESS 2022 Annual Conference (dates TBC).
Second, we wish to thank everyone who completed the recent members’ survey on conference/community building options. Based on your feedback and in light of the postponement of the Annual Conference, we are pleased to announce that CESS will host an Online Week of Central Eurasian Studies (CESS Week) from October 12-17, 2020. Details of the event will follow nearer the time but we anticipate that there will be one 2 hour event every day at a time that makes it possible for colleagues around the world to participate. The CESS Week will be free of charge and open to members and non-members.
Third, plans for the Regional Conference in June 2021 are proceeding and we are pleased to share with you that the European Society for Central Asian Studies – ESCAS will be co-organizing the conference with CESS and our hosts at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy. This builds on our successful joint conference at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek in 2017.