CPC - Caspian Policy Center


International Actors in the Caspian Region

International Actors in the Caspian Region

Due in part to its strategic location at the intersection of Europe, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, the Caspian region has long been an area where outside powers have competed for influence. This is no less true today, with the region attracting considerable interest from China, Russia, the United States, and the European Union, as well as other nearby powers like Turkey and Iran. Central Asia and the South Caucasus are home to a vast wealth of natural resources and straddle vital east-west and north-south transit corridors. As Russia seeks to maintain its historic position, China expands its much-touted Belt and Road Initiative, and the United States sets its sights on reengaging with the international community, the stage is set for a renewed period of great power competition in the Caspian region. With effective foreign policy and an eye towards maintaining their national sovereignty while also developing their domestic economies, the countries of the Caspian region stand to benefit from careful and balanced engagement with their international partners.

The Caspian Policy Center has recently highlighted this increasing competition in its research work. In his January policy brief, Major General (ret.) Michael Repass highlighted the strategic importance of the Caspian region in Great Power Competition. In other recent policy briefs, we have surveyed the status of Chinese, Russian, European, and American power in Central Asia, and assessed the capabilities of the Russian and Chinese militaries in the region. At this event we will delve further into these topics with experts from the diplomatic, military, and academic communities to better understand how the United States and Caspian nations can approach this period of competition in the region.

09:00 – 09:05     Welcome remarks – Efgan Nifti, Chief Executive Officer, Caspian Policy Center

09:05 – 09:10     Moderator’s introduction – Ambassador (ret.) Richard Hoagland, Security and Politics Program Chair, Caspian Policy Center

09:10 – 09:15    Keynote remarks – Dr. Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History at Oxford University

09:15 – 09:30    Opening statements


  • Major General (ret.) Michael Repass, Security and Politics Program Senior Fellow, Caspian Policy Center
  • Roger Kangas, Academic Dean and Professor of Central Asian Studies, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies
  • Niva Yau, Researcher at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Eurasia Program Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute


9:30- 09:55      Discussion and Q&A

09:55 – 10:00      Closing remarks