The Young Professionals Network hosted a discussion on June 2 about socio-political developments in Tajikistan. Dr. Edward Lemon, Research Assistant Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and President of the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, was the guest speaker for the event. Khamza Sharifzoda, YPN Class of 2019 alumnus, moderated the conversation.

Dr. Lemon has previously held positions at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Exeter in 2016. Dr. Lemon’s research focuses on the transnational dimensions of authoritarianism, including transnational repression and authoritarian regional organizations, with a focus on post-Soviet Central Asia, Russia, and China. He has also conducted research on security issues, including violent extremism and political violence. 

Khamza Sharifzoda is a research analyst at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D.C. Previously, he worked on community development projects and poverty and equity issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank. Khamza obtained an interdisciplinary Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a focus on the political and economic development of post-communist countries. While in graduate school, he was also a fellow with NATO’s project, Small States and the New Security Environment, analyzing Russian influence in the South Caucasus. He completed his undergraduate degree in political science and international relations at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. Khamza is originally from Tajikistan.

The discussion covered recent socio-political developments in Tajikistan, as well as the country's foreign policy and the impact of regional developments in Central Asia on Tajikistan.

YPN will be hosting a virtual closing ceremony for the current cohort and invited guest speakers at the end of June, giving fellows an opportunity to reflect on the past year.