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Migration news network expands borders


The American University of Central Asia’s (AUCA) Central Asia Migration Research Network in Kyrgyzstan is celebrating the 100th issue of its e-News Digest.

AUCA launched the weekly news digest to promote the exchange of news and research on migration in the region in 2008.

Director of AUCA’s Social Research Center (SRC) Aida Alymbaeva described the network as“primarily an electronic venue for the exchange of ideas and info on current and future research projects, conferences and journals among its members.”

The SRC began a partnership with the UNESCO Almaty office to expand the reach of the migration network in 2009. The cooperation has been fruitful; the e-news digest now has 300 subscribers, double the number it had just one year ago.

Subscribers come from 30 countries, ranging from Argentina to New Zealand, and including government ministers to students. The e-news Digest offers content in both Russian and English.

“It’s the only resource of its kind in the sub region: a user-friendly service for receiving migration information in Central Asia,” said UNESCO Almaty Social and Human Sciences Programme Specialist Laura Kennedy.

“We immediately saw enormous potential in working with AUCA to disseminate migration information, both within Central Asia and also around the world,” she said.

AUCA also launched a quarterly newsletter on migration issues in 2009 as part of its partnership with UNESCO. The newsletter includes exclusive interviews from government and other migration experts, as well as selected in-depth news not included in the weekly digest. It is available in both Russian and English, in printed form, and accessible on the AUCA website.

In 2010-11, the Bishkek-based AUCA will continue expansion of the migration research network. Plans include an improved user interface, additional English-language content and an expanded research database.

AUCA SRC will also sponsor student and faculty-led research projects on the theme “migrants in crisis;” the theme is particularly relevant given not only the economic crisis impacting migrants throughout the region, but also the current political crisis in Kyrgyzstan that has complicated border crossings and heightened tensions with neighbouring states.

SRC’s Aida Alymbaeva is hopeful that AUCA’s partnership with UNESCO will continue to influence a positive and practical dialogue: “…helping the expert community to increase its knowledge about migration processes in the region and to influence the adoption of effective policies by countries in the region.”

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By Laura Kennedy, UNESCO Almaty