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central asia

Central Asia’s Silk Road—far beyond historic notions of camel caravans lumbering across desert sands—is alive with possibility and opportunity as the crossroads of Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The five republics of Central Asia that emerged from the former Soviet Union are eager to host a new Silk Road of commerce and peaceful development. 

REI relaunched in the countries of Central Asia in late 2019, after a brief hiatus. Building on a legacy of REI investment in “building people to build nations” since 1992 in this region, REI’s regional leaders have found open doors for their current contribution as conflict resolution specialists and trainers in Kazakhstan. The doors are also wide open in Uzbekistan, for resident English educators, IT specialists and more to join them in this rapidly developing, emerging country as they’ve agreed to help launch a cutting-edge science and technology university and prep school.

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“How did the Kazakh nomads of Central Asia settle conflicts within their families and villages?” Dr. Ron Wiley, with his wife Jeanine, made repeated trips to the region in the years of his doctoral studies, to study this question and to share his findings. Presentations at universities in three of the five Central Asian countries in 2018 and 2019 opened doors for Ron and Jeanine to move back to Almaty, Kazakhstan last November, as Regional Directors for REI. Besides serving as adjunct professor in the law & international relations department of the Kazakh-American Free University, Ron travels the region lecturing at universities and presenting at conferences on elements of conflict resolution theory and practice, and Ron and Jeanine together offer training and mentoring in restorative conflict resolution practices, particularly for schools. They hope to support civil society and nongovernment organizations, as well as individual entrepreneurs with conflict resolution and communications skills training.

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Samarkand . . . even the name evokes images of the exotic and mysterious. The capital of ancient Persian, Arabic, Mongol and Turkic empires. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of Central Asia.


Once, Samarkand, Uzbekistan was the crossroads of the Silk Road from China and India to the Mediterranean, boasting its iconic images of the Registan (historic mosque/madrasa complex) as the center of Islamic learning and medieval science, Samarkand is now about to become the center for earth, energy, and environmental education this September with the opening of the new Samarkand International University of Technology (SIUT).

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