Board & Committees

The CESS Board governs the work and the mission of CESS, guided by the Society’s articles and bylaws. Board members serve as volunteers and are actively involved in developing and managing CESS’ strategy and activities. They engage in CESS business through active participation in board meetings held digitally each month and in-person at each Annual Conference. Board members support at least one of the CESS committees and may also serve as the chair one of those committees. On an informal basis, board members also communicate with others about CESS, encourage new membership, and liaise with other organizations and institutions.

The CESS Board consists of nine voting members elected by the CESS membership. These include: the President, President-Elect, Past-President (who constitute the Executive Committee), and six Board Members who are elected to three-year terms. The President-Elect is a three-year role which cycles through the positions of: President-Elect (year 1), President (year 2) and Past President (year 3). At any one time, each role is filled and these 3 persons make up the Society’s Executive Committee. Each year, a President-Elect and two new Board Members are elected, as the Past-President and two Board Members’ terms end. Board members take up their positions at the Annual Conference that is held after the elections.

Learn more about CESS elections or standing for election

Currently, two officers are non-voting members of the Board and are appointed by Board Members: the Treasurer and the Administrative Coordinator (a paid, part-time position).

Executive Committee

CESS President, Dr. Ali İğmen, is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Oral History Program at California State University – Long Beach. His research interests include: Central Asia, Eurasia, Russia, the Soviet Union, Turkey, the Middle East, China, world theater, and oral history.

President-Elect, Dr. Marlene Laruelle, is a Research Professor of International Affairs, Director of the Central Asia Program and Associate Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. She works on Russia and Central Asia and explores post-Soviet political, social and cultural changes through the prism of nationhood and nationalism.

Past President, Dr. Amanda Wooden, is the David and Patricia Ekedahl Professor of Environmental Studies at Bucknell University, where her most recent work has centered on public opinion, nationalism, extractive industries, and environmental protests in Kyrgyzstan.

view a list of all past CESS presidents

Board Members

Eva-Marie Dubuisson (2017-2020) // Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Jeanne Féaux de la Croix  (2018-2021) // Uni Tübingen, Germany
Aksana Ismailbekova (2016-2019) // Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
Diana Kudaibergenova (2017-2020) // Lund University, Sweden/University of Cambridge, UK
Martha Merrill (2018-2021) // Kent State, USA
Jennifer Murtazashvili (2016-2019) // University of Pittsburgh, USA

Ex-officio Board Members (non-voting)

David Pearce, Treasurer (2016-2019)
Emma Sabzalieva, Administrative Coordinator (2016-)
Aimee Dobbs, Administrative and Communications Assistant (2019-)

view a list of all past CESS Board Members and Officers

CESS Committees (A-Z)

If you are a CESS member interested in serving on a committee or forming a new one, send us an email.

Academic Freedom, Advocacy, and Scholars at Risk (AFASAR) Committee

The Academic Freedom, Advocacy, and Scholars at Risk (AFASAR) Committee was created in May 2018. AFASAR works to study issues of endangered academic freedom among our members, communicate these findings regularly to the membership, and provide support for local scholars at risk in Central Eurasia. It also develops support mechanisms for scholars at risk to attend CESS conferences and report to the membership about their experiences and situations. The committee coordinates with the organization Scholars at Risk to provide formal support to our members. This committee also works to establish institutional measures of ‘critical engagement’ on issues of academic freedom. In coordination with the executive committee, the AFASAR committee will develop a systematic approach for responding to scholars’ situations and other advocacy requests. The purpose of this committee is to define and develop an advocacy policy, not to issue any kind of political statement on behalf of the society.

Co-Chairs: Eva-Marie Dubuisson, Aksana Ismailbekova //Current members: TBC

Awards Committee

The Awards Committee recognizes important contributions and contributors to Central Eurasian studies globally by bestowing the awards listed below. It also awards the status of CESS Honorary Member.

Amanda Wooden, Chair

Best Graduate Student Paper Award (Annual Conference)
2019 sub-committee: Daniel Schafer (Chair), Michele Commercio, Eva-Marie Dubuisson
Book Award (History and Humanities)
2019 sub-committee: Jeff Sahadeo (Chair), Ali İğmen, Naomi Caffee
Book Award (Social Sciences)
2019 sub-committee: Till Mostowlansky (Chair), Mette High, Jennifer Murtazashvili
Edward Allworth Lifetime Service to the Profession Award
2019 sub-committee: Marlene Laruelle (Chair), members TBC
Public Outreach Award (awarded every other year)
2019 sub-committee: Martha Merrill (Chair), Laura Adams, Barbara Junisbai, and Mayagul Satlykgylyjova

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee manages the CESS Blog, social media, and other communications efforts.

Eva-Marie Dubuisson, Chair //Current members: Aksana Ismailbekova, Diana Kudaibergenova, David Levy, Amanda Wooden

Conference Committee

The Conference Committee plans and implements the Annual Conference and Regional Conference, including: overseeing the call for proposals, finding peer reviewers and selecting papers, communicating with delegates, planning the conference program, and liaising with the conference’s host institution. This committee is supported by the Administrative Coordinator and the conference’s host institution staff.

Diana Kudaibergenova, Chair // 2018-19 members: Marianne Kamp, Artemy Kalinovsky, Marlene Laruelle, Erica Marat.

Elections Committee

The Elections Committee is composed of the CESS Board’s Executive Committee. It oversees the policies and procedures for the annual Board Elections and aims to actively encourage a diverse range of qualified candidates to stand for election.

Ali İğmen, Chair // 2018-19 members: Marlene Laruelle, Amanda Wooden

Endowment and Fundraising Committee

The Endowment and Fundraising Committee was created in October 2018. It will explore the feasibility of creating a CESS Endowment Fund; and review the prospects for mobilizing funds for CESS project-specific activities and purposes consistent with the Society’s Articles and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

David Pearce, Chair // Members: Ali İğmen, Marlene Laruelle, Scott Levi, Cynthia Werner, Amanda Wooden

Institutional Linkages Committee

The Institutional Linkages Committee promotes new and sustained partnerships between CESS and relevant academic or professional organizations focusing on Central Eurasia or its constituent parts.

Jennifer Murtazashvili, Chair // Members: Stefan Kamola, Gulnara Mendikulova, Annika Schmeding

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee develops and pursues innovative ways to attract new members and meet the interests and needs of our current members, with the aim of supporting strong communities of scholarship in all the regions and disciplines CESS encompasses.

Chair to be confirmed // Members: Leila Almazova, Aida Alymbayeva, Diana Kudaibergenova and Cynthia Werner

Regional Outreach Committee

The Regional Outreach Committee is a nascent committee whose efforts will be delineated in due course.

Leila Almazova and Aksana Ismailbekova, Co-Chairs // Current members: Stefan Kamola.