Summer School in Istanbul debates integration processes in South Caucasus

19 July 2018
Summer School in Istanbul debates integration processes in South Caucasus

About thirty undergraduate, post-graduate researchers and professionals from eight countries have participated in a five-day summer school dedicated to the European integration processes in the South Caucasus, held in Istanbul, Turkey.

A summer school on “Modern Integration Processes: European Integration and Rivalry between Regional Integration Systems in the South Caucasus” organized by the Network for Developing European Studies in the Caucasus (DESCnet) and hosted by Yeditepe University, took place in the period of 9-13 July, 2018.

DESCnet was established in 2015, as a Jean Monnet Network, designed with the aim to enhance the level of European Studies in the Caucasus region. The network is a Consortium of nine partner universities from Europe and the wider Caucasus region.

Lectures focused on the overlaps of the regional cooperations (i.e., EU, Eurasian Union, BSEC, GUAM) and their significance in the South Caucasus. The Summer School also encouraged further discussion about the foreign policy orientation of three South Caucasus countries and their influence on the regional dynamics. The Summer School served as an opportunity for advanced undergraduate and post-graduate researchers interested in the South Caucasus.

“Politics and Security in the South Caucasus”, “Russia in a Post-Liberal International Order: Geo-, Ethno- and Bio- political Strategies”, “European public opinion toward the Eastern European states and the Caucasus”, “Regional security landscape in the Caucasus” and “Europeanization and conflict resolution in the South Caucasus” were among topics presented by the lecturers.

The lectures were given by distinguished academics, experienced practitioners, and recognized local experts dealing with the politics of the South Caucasus, the wider Black Sea area, European studies.

The Academic Coordinator and Moderator of the summer school was Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mukhtar HAJIZADA, Fulbright Fellow, Davis Center at Harvard University Jean Monnet Chair. Other lecturers were Andrey Makarychev - Visiting Professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu; Alexandra Yatsyk - Visiting Researcher, Сentre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, University of Uppsala, Sweden; Elmar Mustafayev - lecturer and coordinator of International Relations and Political Science Department of Khazar University; Heidi Erbsen - Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at University of Tartu; Alexei Kibalnik - Russian researcher of criminal law, North Caucasus Federal University, Department of Criminal Law and Procedure; Cengiz Erişen -  Yeditepe University, Political Science and International Relations Department; David Darchiashvili - Ilia State University, Tbilisi ISU with expertise in International History and Politics, Foreign Policy, International Relations; Selin Türkeş Kılıç - assistant professor at the Political Science and International Relations Department of Yeditepe University.

Students, as well as representatives of the civil societies from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia attended five-day educational programme. The chairman of the Baku-based think-tank Regional Research Public Union, Orkhan Jalilov also attended the summer school.

On 9 July, a group of academicians and students of several universities, paid a study visit to the International Secretariat of Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) and the Permanent International Secretariat of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC PERMIS) within framework of the summer school.

During the visit to the PABSEC, the guests were presented a brief information on the establishment, structure and the current activities of the PABSEC. The guests also had the chance to meet the staff of the PABSEC International Secretariat and the sides exchanged their perspectives,  experiences regarding the activity in the organization.  

On the same day, the group attending the summer school was received by the Secretary General of the BSEC PERMIS, Ambassador Michael Christides and BSEC PERMIS Staff members. The latter delivered a number of presentations informing their guests on the history, the legal basis and functioning, the current and future activities of the BSEC Organization, as well as on BSEC’s relations with other regional and international organizations.