David Crowe presents on Mongolia and Greater Central Asia at international conference in China
David Crowe, professor of legal history at Elon Law and professor of history at Elon University, recently presented at the 10th Conference of Central Asia and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in China at the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The invitation-only conference was held at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in Shanghai, scheduled to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the SCO. The SCO is an international organization based in China that coordinates relations between China, Russia, and the five Central Asian republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In addition to these seven member states, there are a number of countries, including Japan and Mongolia, with observer status to the SCO.
Conference participants were principally diplomats and government officials from the seven SCO member states. Scholars presenting at the conference included Michael Fredholm and Marianne Laanatza of the Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies and Alexander Cooley of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute and Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies.
Additional participants included, Pan Guang, Professor and Director, Center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies, and Vice Chairman, Shanghai Center for International Studies; Liu Zhenyuan, Vice Chairman of the Council, Shanghai International Culture Association and former Vice Mayor of Shanghai; and Qi Dayu, Deputy Director, Department of European–Central Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
At the conference, Crowe delivered the paper, "Mongolia and Greater Central Asia," and chaired the keynote panel, "Ten Years of SCO Process: Retrospect and Prospect." Crowe's paper dealt with efforts by Mongolia, which was a Soviet satellite from 1921 to 1991, to reorient its foreign policy towards China and the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan.
"Kazakhstan and Mongolia share a common history that goes back to the time of Ghenghis Khan," Crowe said. "Both also shared a long era of Soviet domination and development and have enjoyed similar successes in their transition to a capitalist economy. Kazakhstan and Mongolia share a common frontier yet both must tred carefully internationally because of China and Russia's keen interests in their natural resources. Equally important, about 5% of Mongolia's population is made up of ethnic Kazakhs, who fled to Mongolia to escape Stalin's forced collectivization int he 1930s. From a purely diplomatic and economic perspective, it suits Mongolia (and to a lesser degree Kazakhstan) to strengthen their ties since it limits their isolation, wedged as they are being two to the world's emerging super powers."
After laying out the history of these ties and the contemporary political, diplomatic, and economic developments of both countries, Crowe develops the position in his paper that China, which he says has a keen interest in Kazakhstan's vast natural resources and now dominates Mongolia's economy, must proceed with what a "silk glove" approach - a delicate touch with sensitive, creative strength beneath.
While in China, Crowe met with faculty and staff from the Shanghai University of Finance and Industry, worked with representatives from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences to help plan a conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the American-Chinese accord, which opened up relations between both countries, and met with a Chinese publisher to discuss publication of a Chinese edition of Crowe’s 2008 book, The Holocaust: Roots, History, and Aftermath.
Click here for more information about Elon professor David Crowe.