Regional Studies

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

Knowledge transfer takes place both in individual coaching sessions and in group seminars. Our experts for specific countries will familiarize you with the most salient political, economic, social, historical and cultural structures of your target country.

Our training can be carried out at any location of your choice in Germany or Europe, or at your own local base in Central Asia and/or the South Caucasus. You may wish to supplement our regional studies course with intercultural training sessions geared to one or more Central Asian or Caucasian countries.

Within our regional studies programs, particular emphasis is placed on political geography, politics, economics and development issues, history and culture. Blocks covering individual themes can be combined in a flexible fashion to create an integrated course covering one or several target countries.

The duration of the seminars, the exact selection of topics and the weighting accorded to each will be determined by your requirements and tailored to fit your professional profile.

In the area of political geography, the physical geography of your target country will be presented to you in the wider context of the region. Particular attention will be devoted to questions about how geographical circumstance influences political and economic actions taken by individual players and institutions and determines the course of path-dependent processes and developments. Within this framework, however, the political geography of the target country will not be seen as something which is static and necessarily represents the  respective country’s final destiny. On the contrary: the opportunities and possibilities that exist in today’s globalized world to overcome or weaken the effects of geographic path dependencies will be explored.

Extension topics: Environmental problems; water management; natural resources.

The area of politics will allow you to take a thorough look at – and behind – the “political façade” of your target country. The country’s political system will be analyzed from two sides: you will not only be inducted into the formal part (official institutions, organizations, political parties, trade unions, civil society structures, “rules of the game”); you will also gain insight into informal structures which are largely invisible to outside observers (informal ties, old boys networks, cliques, interdependencies and loyalties, informal strategies for gaining power etc.) This double perspective will help you switch smoothly between both sides of the respective political systems.

Extension topics: Regional integration; regional conflicts and security; relationships with Germany and other EU member states, the US, China, and Russia.

The area economy and development issues is closely intermeshed with the area of politics, as both regions are characterized to some extent by so-called “power-locked economies” – in other words, economic activity, access to resources and business decisions do not necessarily follow the “invisible hand” of the market within the framework established by the rule of law, but can be subject to restrictions and forces resulting from politics and (non-economic) political logic. That such restrictions are often invisible compounds the situation further. These connections between power and the economy and their effects on the development perspectives and ecology of your target country will take center stage in our discussions with you.

Extension topicsDevelopment disparities within specific countries; gender issues in business; health and education; finance and banking systems; foreign trade; demographic challenges; labour migration.

In the area of history, the historical aspects which have shaped your target country up to the present day and will continue to influence it into the future are examined. Current political and economic developments are seen in the light of their historical background, and problems resulting from history will be discussed. Was Karl Marx not right, when he remarked – in relation to this very problem: “We suffer not only from the living, but from the dead. Le mort saisit le vif!”? [“the dead seize the living”]. Against the background of your specific region of interest, we will show you where and how “the dead seize the living” and history continues to determine the present and the future.

Extension topicsPre-Soviet history; developments during Soviet period; recent history

In terms of the topic area culture, one thing can readily be stated: Central Asia and the South Caucasus are not comparable to somewhere like Japan. People in your target country will not expect you to be familiar with all the niceties and finer points of your target culture right from the beginning of your stay. But a basic grasp of Central Asian or Caucasian etiquette will still be essential if you are planning a longer stay. We will use examples for typical faux pas to show you the most important rules on how to conduct yourself to ensure you have a “soft landing” in your chosen country and its culture.

Extension topics: Values, norms, behavior, conventions, rules of etiquette, taboos, traditions; family structures, religions and religious institutions; local, regional and sub-ethnic identities; conflict management on a day-to-day basis.