Moving Mountains: Reflections on an Agenda for Central Asian Mountain Studies in a Context of Change and Integration
Speaker: Dr. Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt, Head of the Research Programme at the World Agroforestry Centre East and Central Asia office Professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Kunming, China
Date: 22 June 2015, 4.00 pm
Venue: University of Central Asia (UCA), 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic,2nd Floor Conference Room.
Central Asia, in spite of its name, has been in a peripheral position for a long time, politically as well as economically. This situation is changing fast since the beginning of the Millennium, also affecting its mountainous regions which are considered as marginal in various respects. An agenda for Central Asian mountain studies needs to take into account increasing accessibility and the increasing influence of government agencies, markets, and investors and other external actors on mountain communities in a multi-ethnic setting. It also needs to take into account persisting and emerging challenges of a mountainous environment such as geomorphic hazards and climate change. The presentation will explore a possible agenda for Central Asian mountain studies by drawing upon experience from mountain areas outside Central Asia, especially from Mountainous Mainland Southeast Asia which in many respects such as increasing trans boundary integration, multi-ethnic mountain societies, and the influence of dominant powers such as the People’s Republic of China, provides points of reference for a comparison with Central Asia.
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Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt, geographer and fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, is Head of the Research Programme at the World Agroforestry Centre East and Central Asia office, and professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Kunming, China, since 2009. He was previously affiliated with the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and with the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany. He obtained his doctoral and postdoctoral degrees at Heidelberg University, Germany, and has more than 30 years of research experience in mountainous areas mainly of the Himalayan and Mekong regions in South and Southeast Asia. His research interests include forest-farming interactions, multifunctional landscapes, integrated land use systems, and livelihoods in mountainous areas. Current projects are aimed at developing agroforestry alternatives to rubber monocultures in Southwest China as well as to shifting cultivation in Upland Myanmar. He has extensive experience in teaching and supervising Master and PhD students as well as in capacity building and curriculum development for academic institutions in Southeast Asia.
The presentation will be in English. Russian translation provided upon prior request.