Scholars coming to IU Bloomington for conference about the Caucasus region



Because of its geographic importance, at the border between Europe and Asia, the Caucasus has had great historical importance throughout the centuries. In recent decades, the region was controlled by the Soviet Union.

With recent events by the Russian Federation in nearby Ukraine and in Crimea, there is new focus on what the future portends for the Caucasian nations between the Black and Caspian seas. These nations include Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

“Caucasus Connections,” a conference this Friday and Saturday at Indiana University Bloomington, will explore the region. Scholars from around the world will make presentations about its history and its artistic, cultural and religious traditions.

“The organizing body for this conference is the American Research Institute for the South Caucasus, a non-profit incorporated in 2006 to support research in and about the three nations of the region,” explained Edward Lazzerini, an academic specialist in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies and an adjunct professor of history.

“Working to foster intellectual inquiry across boundaries within the South Caucasus as well as between the South Caucasus and its neighbors, the American Research Institute for the South Caucasus encourages the exchange of scholars and scholarly information by supporting conferences, fellowships, publications, teaching resources, and in-region representation.”

Edward Lazzerini

Edward Lazzerini

The conference also is being sponsored by the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, which is part of the IU School of Global and International Studies. Lazzerini directs the Sinor Research Institute and the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center.

“As a follow-up to the very successful visit to IU last November by the Azerbaijani ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Elin Suleymanov, the conference represents a significant opportunity for IU to advance its role as one of the very few American universities with a South Caucasus academic focus, and to build upon its long-standing support of instruction in both the Azerbaijani and Georgian languages as part of its intensive summer-language program,” Lazzerini said.

The conference is free and open to the public. All activities, except a reception, will take place in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Those unable to come to IU Bloomington will be able to view the conference live online on the American Research Institute for the South Caucasus’ web site.

It will open at 8 a.m. with remarks by David Zaret, IU vice president for international affairs, and continue until 6 p.m. Friday. A reception in the Tudor Room at 6:15 p.m. will follow the day’s. The conference will continue on Saturday at 9 a.m. and conclude at noon.

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