Florian in Bishkek

Florian Coppenrath from the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris) visited his twinning partner Akylai Koichumanova from the Union of Youth Organizations of Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek) at the end of August. At EHESS, Florian works on the project “Wikistan”, a web-platform and network for Central Eurasian studies. The exchange with Akylai was a good occasion to further develop the connections between research about youth and youth organizations.

For the week in Bishkek, Akylai set up a rich program of meetings of local youth organizations and research institutions. During an excursion to the Chui region, Florian got acquainted with the work of youth centers such as the Zhashtar Ordosu in Tokmok, whose former director shared insights about the organization’s history and current challenges. The excursion was also a great occasion to visit the Burana tower, one of the oldest historical sites in northern Kyrgyzstan.


In addition to meeting with youth organizations, Florian also became acquainted with research institutions in Bishkek and introduced them to the work of Wikistan. After several days of meetings with researchers and institutions, such as the sociological center El Pikir, the twinned pair participated in an international conference on “Nomadism, Mobilities and Media” at the American University of Central Asia.

A highlight of the week in Bishkek was the organization of a one-day workshop on empirical research methods and research on youth for representatives of youth organizations at KGUSTA in Bishkek. Olga Simakova, a guest speaker from Almaty, introduced her recent research on youth in Kazakhstan and initiated a vivid discussion on the differences and similarities with Kyrgyzstani youth.

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