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 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.


CESS President Elect Dr Morgan Y. Liu is a cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University. He held a postdoc at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, with a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Anthropology.

CESS Past President Dr Ali İğmen is 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.

view a list of all past CESS presidents

Board Members

Eva-Marie Dubuisson (2017-2020) // Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Jeanne Féaux de la Croix  (2018-2021) // Universität Tübingen, Germany
Diana Kudaibergenova (2017-2020) // University of Cambridge, UK
Martha Merrill (2018-2021) // Kent State, USA
Regine Spector (2019-2022) // University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Mohira Suyarkulova (2019-2022) // American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan

Ex-officio Board Members (non-voting)

David Pearce, Treasurer (2016-2020)
Emma Sabzalieva, Administrative Coordinator (2016-)
Aimee Dobbs, Administrative and Communications Assistant (2019-)

CESS Committees (A-Z)

If you are a CESS member interested in serving on a committee or forming a new one, please 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 & TBC // Members: Jeanne Féaux de la Croix, Philipp Lottholtz, Guldana Salimjan, Claire Rooisen, Dan Schafer, Aimee Dobbs

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.

Ali İğmen, Chair

Best Graduate Student Paper Award (Annual Conference)
2020 sub-committee: Daniel Schafer (Chair) // Members: Michele Commercio, Jeanne Féaux de la Croix.
Book Award (History and Humanities)
2020 sub-committee: Botakoz Kassymbekova (Chair) // Members: Naomi Caffee, Jeff Eden.
Book Award (Social Sciences)
2020 sub-committee: Till Mostowlansky (Chair) // Members: Mette High, Jennifer Murtazashvili.
Edward Allworth Lifetime Service to the Profession Award
2020 sub-committee: Marlene Laruelle (Chair) // Members: Alima Bissenova, Jeff Sahadeo.
Public Outreach Award (awarded every other year)
Will next be awarded in 2021.

Communications Committee

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

Eva-Marie Dubuisson and Mohira Suyarkulova, Co-Chairs // Members: TBC

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.

2020 Annual Conference: Diana Kudaibergenova, Chair // Members: Scott Levi, Morgan Liu, Martha Merrill, Regine Spector

2020 Regional Conference: Jennifer Murtazashvili, Chair // Members: Jennifer Murtazashvili, Diana Kudaibergenova, Morgan Liu, Mohira Suyarkulova, Rauf Salajodjaev, Gulnoza Ismailova, Paolo Sartori

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.

Marlene Laruelle, Chair // Members: Ali İğmen, Morgan Liu

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.

To be confirmed, Chair // Members: To be confirmed

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.

Regine Spector, Chair // Members: To be confirmed

Regional Outreach Committee

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

Jeanne Féaux de la Croix and Regine Spector, Co-Chairs // Current members: Aksana Ismailbekova, Zarina Adambussinova (Kazakhstan), Indira Alibayeva (Kazakhstan), Tolgonai Kozhoeva (Kyrgyzstan), Aliia Maralbaeva (Kyrgyzstan), Loiq Mirov (Tajikistan), Asel Myrzabekova (Kyrgyzstan), Shoirakhon Nurdinova (Uzbekistan), Aijan Sharshenova (Kyrgyzstan), Aigerim Zhakipbek (Kazakhstan).

University of Pittsburgh Press Papers Series Editorial Board

Jeanne Féaux de la Croix, Chair // Members: Luca Anceschi, Jeanine Dagyeli, Diana Kudaibergenova, Douglas Northrop, Jennifer Murtazashvili