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Academic Life in Central Asia during Covid-19

Pierobon, Chiara. “Academic Life in Central Asia during Covid-19: Challenges and Opportunities for Collaborations”, ENC Analysis. European Neighbourhood Council: Brussels, 2022 [with Zarina Adambussinova, Aliia Maralbaeva and Aijan Sharshenova]

Along with the implementation of e-learning, new opportunities for online academic collaborations have emerged in post-Soviet Central Asia in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was facilitated by the introduction of new national regulatory frameworks for online academic life as in the case of the Kyrgyz government with the support of international organizations. Kazakhstani researchers have been engaged in new forms of intersectoral cooperation involving media and public voices as part of the initiatives GYLYM FACES and MedSupportKZ. At the regional level, new virtual networks were created such as the group ‘Central Asian Academic and Analytical Writing Support Community’ that enables scholars to informally discuss and work together on their current writing projects. At the same time, the Covid pandemic has boosted digitalisation of academic life in Central Asia (and beyond) and thus produced particularly favourable conditions for processes of knowledge decolonisation. Indeed, through the creation and strengthening of virtual networks and as well as a proliferation of online events organised by or with the participation of scholars and research institutions from the region, knowledge production and distribution has become more participative and balanced. Thanks to online communication tools enabling international exchange and engagement, virtual collaboration between scholars based in Central Asia and abroad has become essential for the latter to stay connected to the region of study, a region that they could not access for nearly two years now.

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