I am delighted to be returning as Director of the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs, having first assumed the role during the organisation’s start-up. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Zhanbolat Ussenov for taking over from me as ECFA Director in early 2015 and I wish him every success as he embarks on a new chapter at the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom.
I am pleased to observe that the ECFA is constantly evolving and progressing. As you know, the Fourth Annual Meeting of the ECFA will once again take place at Cliveden House on 20 – 21st November 2017, and I am pleased to announce that the after-dinner guest speaker will be the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, H.E. Kairat Abdrakhmanov. This year we are also honoured to welcome The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Astor and Viscountess Astor, in whose beautiful family home we are privileged to hold our event.
This year the ECFA as expanded its remit to include research covering the geopolitical and economic influence of China and the United States on the Central Asian region, and the further integration of the Silk Road that is vital to all participating countries. To that end we have commissioned an Occasional Paper, due to be published next month, examining the work carried out to date by Central Asian and EU states on the New Silk Road, and considering opportunities for cooperation and synergy with China’s ongoing “One Belt One Road” strategy. This is in addition to two further, thoroughly researched Papers also due out this year, and I very much look forward to these additions to the ECFA’s multilingual Programme of Publications.
The guestlist for the ECFA’s Fourth Annual Meeting reflects the wider scope of our organisation, with the Director-General and Deputy Director-General of the Chinese government’s “One Belt One Road” Special Project Committee confirmed to attend as observers. Participants in the Meeting will be able to discuss new developments in Europe-Central Asia political, security, institutional and economic relations, as well as potential areas for collaboration between Central Asia, Europe, China and the US. We believe it will be a stimulating and productive discussion that builds on the valuable exchanges that took place last year, and as Director I look forward to keeping you up to date on all the news going forwards.