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Azerbaijan as a Regional Hub in Central Eurasia: A Strategic Assessment of Euro-Asian Trade and Transportation

A book talk with author Taleh Ziyadov, Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Discussant: James Coyle, Pepperdine University.

Thursday, September 27, 2012
12:00 PM - 1:45 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

Book summary: The countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia (i.e. Central Eurasia) have always acted as a land bridge along the major commercial routes between Europe and Asia. The Silk Road trade brought wealth and prosperity to the region’s inhabitants at different stages in history. The exchange of goods introduced new ideas and technologies, enriching and advancing the development of these societies. The disruption of the ancient trade routes, however, had a longā€lasting negative impact on the region. Some areas were gradually able to recover, while others never did. Over time, a number of commercial cities faded away as they lost the prominence they once held in the Silk Road trade, and new vibrant megacities emerged in their places. Euro-Asian trade was the economic backbone of Central Eurasia for centuries.

Today, the majority of this trade bypasses the region, and so do the attendant benefits. Most of the trade between Europe and Asia is conducted by maritime transportation via the Suez Canal, which makes up more than 90% of total cargo exchanged between the two continents. The success of the Central Eurasian hub strategy largely depends on the ability of the regional states to attract some of this Euro-­Asian continental container trade by creating integrated and competitive intermodal transportation and logistics networks across Eurasia.Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads of major Eurasian land and air transport corridors—a feature that will play a vital part in its long-­term hub strategy, if utilized properly. Potentially, the country could serve not only as a commercial bridge between Europe and Asia, but also as a major distribution center in Eurasia. 

The book provides a strategic assessment of the Euro-­Asian trade and transportation networks through Central Eurasia, identifying key lessons for Azerbaijan and other aspiring hub countries, in order that they may take advantage of the increasing levels of commerce between these two major economic blocs: Europe and Asia. In particular, it proposes a specific development scheme for Azerbaijan’s hub strategy. The potential economic reward for transport development in Central Eurasia is enormous, and the realization of this potential will transform the region as a whole. 

Taleh Ziyadov is a research fellow at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA) and a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge (UK). He holds a Master’s degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and specializes in issues of energy security, transportation, and economic development in Central Eurasia.

James Coyle is adjunct faculty at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy and director of Chapman University's Center for Global Education. He holds a PhD in political science from George Washington University, and his academic interests include European and Eurasian politics, international relations, Middle East politics, comparative politics, issues in intelligence, and political risk analysis. He is co-author of Culture and Conflict in the Middle East published in 2003 by Prentice-Hall.

Sandwiches and coffee will be served.

Due to limited seating availability, please RSVP at the link below by September 25, 2012.


Parking is available in Lots 2 or 3. Parking map, Parking at UCLA, Directions to UCLA Campus, Directions to UCLA Bunche Hall

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, Program on Central Asia, Consulate General of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles

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