Call for Papers & Sessions: 9th Annual ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan’ Conference

We are pleased to invite the submission of proposals for individual research papers and panel sessions at the 9th Annual ‘Life in Kyrgyzstan’ Conference (LiK) to be held in the Park Hotel in Bishkek on October 11-12, 2023. In addition to two keynote speeches and two days of thematic panel sessions, the conference includes the launch of a policy brief, roundtable discussions, a LiK data users workshop, a student research poster competition, professional and academic networking opportunities and a conference reception.

This year’s keynote speakers are Dr Michelle Brock from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Dr Arnaud Caiserman, Assistant Director, Mountain Society Research Institute, Graduate School of Development, University of Central Asia.

The Life in Kyrgyzstan (LiK) conference is an established annual event convened each October in Bishkek. It brings together national and international experts from academia, government, development agencies, non-governmental organizations, media and research institutions. The conference serves as a platform for exchanging leading-edge knowledge and experiences on recent socio-economic and environmental developments in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, with the aim of promoting evidence-based policy making.

We welcome proposals for individual research papers and entire panel sessions (comprising three to four papers) exploring various aspects of socio-economic and environmental development in Kyrgyzstan or in Central Asia more broadly. Additionally, we invite researchers to present research in the disciplinary areas of economics, economic history, sociology, political science, public health, cultural anthropology, social and human geography or environmental sciences. We particularly encourage empirical papers that echo the themes listed below or that utilize data from the publicly accessible LiK Study available at Finally, we encourage doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to participate in the conference and benefit from feedback provided by senior researchers and practitioners.

The topics of individual submissions or panel sessions may include but are not limited to:

  • Food security;
  • Rural livelihoods and agricultural markets;
  • Resilience and sustainability;
  • Climate change and its impact;
  • Labour markets;
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • The informal sector;
  • Migration and remittances;
  • Poverty and inequality;
  • Education;
  • Public health;
  • Demography and population dynamics;
  • Trade and economic integration;
  • Public services and decentralization;
  • Peace-building, trust and expectations;
  • Social protection and social safety nets;
  • Gender, children and intra-household decision making;
  • Impacts of the war in Ukraine on Central Asia;
  • Micro-level data, survey methodology and panel data collection;
  • Methods of rigorous impact evaluation.
  • Living with Covid-19;

The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2023 by email to For submissions of individual papers, we prefer to receive and will give priority to full papers but will also consider submissions of 200-word abstracts. For session proposals, please list a session title, a session chair (with name and affiliation), a session organizer (with name and affiliation) and the titles and all co-authors (with names and affiliations) for each paper and enclose a 200-word session rationale along with 200 word abstracts for each paper. All submissions must be in English and should include a clear statement indicating which author (of co-authored) papers will present the paper and whether the presenter will present in-person or online. Authors of accepted submissions will be notified by 15 July 2023.

We will hold the conference in a hybrid mode to allow both in-person and online participation though preference will be given to in-person presentation of papers. The languages of the conference are English and Russian. Simultaneous translation will be provided.

There is no conference fee. Registration for participation in the conference without presenting a paper will close on 4 October 2023. For further information on the Life in Kyrgyzstan Study, please see or send a message to

The academic committee comprises of Prof. Kathryn Anderson (Vanderbilt University), Prof. Tilman Brück (IGZ/ISDC/HU), Dr. Damir Esenaliev (IGZ/ISDC), Prof. Christopher Gerry (UCA), Dr. Saida Ismailakhunova (World Bank), Dr. Baktybek Kainazarov (UNFPA), Dr. Kanat Tilekeyev (UCA), and Prof. Nurgul Ukueva (AUCA).

Note: Further information regarding the data users workshop and the student research poster competition will be provided in future announcements.

Organising Institutions

University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration was established in 2011 to strengthen public policy in Central Asia. It provides in-depth analysis on current and emerging policy issues facing the region, and improves the analytical capacity of governments and civil society to use evidence in decision-making processes through professional development. The Institute has produced a series of peer-reviewed research papers on social and economic issues, public administration and public policy relating to Central Asia and Afghanistan. For more information on IPPA, please visit:

IGZ – Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops carries out basic and applied research supporting the sustainable production of vegetable and ornamental plants and the rational use of natural resources. It contributes to understanding fundamentals of horticultural and plant science, sustainability in production and use of plants, healthy nutrition and wellbeing of the population. Its work is rated by acceptance and appreciation by professionals in practical horticulture and by the society, publications in high-ranking scientific journals and acquisition of competitive grants. For more information on IGZ, please visit:

ISDC – International Security and Development Center is a non-profit academic institute based in Berlin, Germany. We conduct research to improve lives and livelihoods shaped by violent conflict, fragility and humanitarian emergencies, providing policy advice and building capacity on international security and socio-economic development. We are unique in the global research scene for being dedicated to work exclusively on the security-development nexus. For more information on ISDC, please visit:

Partner Institutions

American University of Central Asia (AUCA) is a multi-disciplinary learning community in the American liberal arts tradition with the mission of developing enlightened and impassioned leaders for the transformation of Central Asia. AUCA is the first university in Central Asia to offer US accredited degrees in liberal arts programs through a partnership with Bard College in the United States. With a current enrolment of approximately 1,500 students from over 25 countries, AUCA offers students a quality education based on an American college model with a credit-hours system, a liberal arts curriculum, and a commitment to freedom of expression and inquiry. The University offers 14 undergraduate educational programs and 9 graduate programs. For more information on AUCA, please visit

Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians, working together on the front lines of today’s biggest crises to create a future of possibility, where everyone can prosper. Our mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps has been working in Kyrgyzstan since 1994 providing humanitarian assistance to people, communities and institutions across the country. For more than a decade, Mercy Corps has served as the implementing partner of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition program. Since 2012, Mercy Corps has provided more than 2,500 metric tons of supplemental commodities (fortified flour, rice, peas, lentils and oil) to provide nutritious hot meals to over 150,000 children in kindergartens and primary schools across Kyrgyzstan. Two other key components of the program are social behaviour change and literacy promotion, both aimed at improving child health and learning outcomes. For more information on Mercy Corps, please visit

The World Bank is an international organization dedicated to providing financing, advice, and research to developing nations to aid their economic advancement. By giving loans, and offering advice and training in both the private and public sectors, the World Bank aims to eliminate poverty by helping people help themselves. Since the Kyrgyz Republic joined the World Bank in 1992, the Bank’s financial assistance has amounted to over US$2,024 million. The World Bank support has helped the country to maintain macroeconomic stability, invest in strategic infrastructure, and improve access to social services. For more information on the World Bank, please visit

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Its mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA presence in the Kyrgyz Republic dates back to 1992, and it has assisted the country by supporting the preparation of the first national census, by delivering reproductive health commodities, and by building national capacity in integrated SRH and youth-friendly health services, in the development of policies in youth and gender equality areas, and on data collection and analysis. For more information on UNFPA, please visit

The 2023 October LiK conference is convened by the Institute of Public Policy and Administration of the University of Central Asia (UCA-IPPA), the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), and ISDC – International Security and Development Center, with the additional support of the American University Central Asia (AUCA), Mercy Corps, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank.

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