FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 18, 2007


The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace today announced the launch of the Central Asian Voices Portal (www.centralasianvoices.org) – a Web site featuring timely analysis of regional issues, and a forum enabling the exchange of ideas among policymakers, analysts, journalists, bloggers, and informed readers across the globe.

Written in English and Russian, Central Asian Voices consistently features top stories from the region, and currently showcases such topics as: the appointment of the new Kazakh government and the prospects for political change in Uzbekistan.  The Portal will also provide links to official primary source documents, and analysis of the regional and geopolitical implications of current events.

One of the Portal’s unique features is its compilation of blogs and media resources from Central Asia, enabling visitors to view press coverage from the region and read first-hand accounts of life in Central Asia from its burgeoning civil society.  This direct access to the opinions and perspectives of Central Asians marks a new development in a region often characterized by government-controlled media and a lack of openness.

In line with its mission, the Portal will also feature a new Carnegie Paper by Senior Associate Martha Brill Olcott.  Roots of Radical Islam in Central Asia explores the actions of regional Islamic communities, particularly in Uzbekistan, to protest against governments that are “both largely unresponsive and…[made up] almost entirely by those who reject the teachings of Islam” – actions that include the evolution of the jihadi movements and the rise of key Islamic clerics and leaders.   

Olcott contends that “the question of the relationship between Islamic believers and the state is a critical one; depending on how it is resolved, it either encourages, permits, or discourages the use of violence in the name of Islam.”

To read this Carnegie Paper, go to: http://www.centralasianvoices.org/research-analysis-archives.cfm

Direct Link to PDF: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/cp_77_olcott_roots_final.pdf

Notes:

1. The Central Asian Voices Portal will provide analysis of regional events by adding one to two new feature stories per week that include an interface for user comments. 

2. The site will also feature links to Internet-based resources in and about Central Asia, including government and media websites, on-line discussion groups, and blogs providing unique and fresh perspectives.

3. Martha Brill Olcott is a senior associate in the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment and directs the Central Asian Voices Portal. She specializes in Central Asia and the Caucasus and is the author of Central Asia’s Second Chance (Carnegie, 2005).

4. Press Contact: Trent Perrotto, 202/939-2372, tperrotto@CarnegieEndowment.org

5. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. www.CarnegieEndowment.org

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