Board of Directors

The CESS Board governs the work and the mission of CESS, guided by the Society’s articles and bylaws. Board Directors 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 Directors support at least one of the CESS committees and may also serve as the chair one of those committees. On an informal basis, Board Directors 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 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 President Elect Dr Jennifer Murtazashvili is Associate Professor of International Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for Governance and Markets at the University of Pittsburgh. Drawing from diverse research methods including field experiments, public opinion surveys, and ethnographic fieldwork, Murtazashvili focuses her work on Central and South Asia, and the former Soviet Union.

CESS Past 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.

View a list of all past CESS presidents


Board Members

Christopher P. Atwood (2020-2023) // University of Pennsylvania, USA
Noor Borbieva (2020-2023) // Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA
Jeanne Féaux de la Croix  (2018-2021) // Universität Tübingen, Germany
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 (2016-2021)
Emma Sabzalieva, Administrative Coordinator (2016-)
Aimee Dobbs, Administrative and Communications Assistant (2019-)