2017: International Summer School for researchers and practitioners from Central Asia
on Social Cohesion: Concept, Implementation and Impact Evaluation
“Social cohesion examines the strengths and weaknesses of society through aspects of daily life, such as social connectedness, and relationships. The Summer School introduced participants to social cohesion concepts, impact evaluation analysis, applying social cohesion as an outcome of community driven development, and producing an index using survey data with statistical software STATA,” said trainer Dr Kanat Tilekeyev from the University’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA).
IPPA and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) successfully completed its third summer school on Social Cohesion: Concept, Implementation and Impact Evaluation from 11 to 18 June 2017 in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyz Republic.
The 23 participants were from development agencies, non-governmental organisations, and higher education and research institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
“Social cohesion is important area of study in Central Asia. We are transitioning from planning to market economies alongside deteriorating human capital and, altered social and cultural norms,” said Akbar Subkhonov a participant from Tajikistan. “This may have weakened social cohesion among people and the School was an excellent opportunity to learn and discuss this.”
Key sessions were delivered by a team of regional and international experts, including Professor Kathryn Anderson, Vanderbilt University, Dr Damir Esenaliev, SIPRI, Dr Mandi M. Larsen, Jacobs University Bremen, and Dr Kanat Tilekeyev, UCA.
“The Summer School focused on the concept and, metrics of social cohesion developed by the Social Cohesion Radar team in Germany. The students who were engaged and active learners, now have the necessary tools to measure social cohesion in the context of their interests,” said Dr Larsen.
This is the third joint summer School offered by UCA and SIPRI. The first, on Labour Markets in Central Asia, took place in 2014. The second, on Impact Evaluation Methods in Central Asia, was organised in 2015. Each session was attended by more than 20 Central Asian researchers, young professors, doctoral students and civil servants.
“This iteration is a continuation of our successful series of capacity development training and we made it practical by teaching participants how the concept of social cohesion can be measured with an index,” said SIPRI’s Dr Esenaliev.
The two-week training was funded by the World Bank and the Aga Khan Foundation as a part of the Social Cohesion through Community-based Development project implemented in Kyrgyzstan from 2014 to 2017. It was implemented by Mountain Societies Development Support Programme in Kyrgyzstan, with SIPRI and UCA focusing on research and evaluation.
- Dates: 11–18 June 2017
- Location: Raduga Resort, Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan
Quality and nature of connections between people and groups is essential to stability and development. Social cohesion – “convergence across groups in society” – provides a structure for collective life that helps ensure greater degrees of predictability and certainty in inter- and intra- group relations. While there is no guarantee that all groups within a society will find agreement on all issues, the convergence across groups offers the incentive for groups to coexist as a peaceful society. Social cohesion has emerged over the last two decades as an important concept in both the academic and political discourses.
The Summer School “Social Cohesion: Concept, Implementation and Impact Evaluation” is a capacity building activity for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia under the “Social Cohesion through Community-based Development” project implemented in Kyrgyzstan from 2014 to 2017. The project aims to identify, pilot and build capacity for social cohesion mechanisms in community-driven development approaches. It has a focus on developing and piloting innovative approaches to strengthen social cohesion.
The summer school program has covered the following topics:
- Concept of social cohesion
- Measurement of social cohesion using micro-data from Kyrgyzstan
- Application of social cohesion as a development intervention outcome, such in impact evaluation studies
The summer school has provided practical skills on processing and analyzing micro-data on the statistical package Stata.
The summer school took place from the 11 to 18 June 2017. The languages of instruction were Russian and English with simultaneous translation provided.
Sessions have included lectures, class discussions, group work, case study exercises and statistical analysis.
Prof. Kathryn Anderson, Vanderbilt University, USA
- Dr. Damir Esenaliev, SIPRI
- Dr. Mandi M. Larsen, Jacobs University Bremen
- Dr. Kanat Tilekeyev, UCA
Who could apply?
- Researchers, primarily young professors, advanced PhD students and policy analysts from government, international agencies and civil society organizations based in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)
- A completed first degree in a relevant social science is a minimum requirement for acceptance
- A working knowledge of basic statistics is required. The online component of the selection process includes basic statistics exercises
Participation was free of charge for up to twenty successful applicants and covered:
- Regional travel expenses based on reasonable and average air and bus ticket prices
- Economy class return travel from Bishkek to Issyk-Kul
- Accommodation and food
Additional spaces were available for self-funded participants.
Applicants were required to submit, in English or Russian:
- A one-page curriculum vitae
- A one-page essay on their motivation to attend the Summer School and how their attendance will benefit impact evaluation and policymaking in Central Asia
- A letter of support from their current employer
Shortlisted candidates were required to complete an online three-week programme that included reading research materials on social cohesion, an assignment on basic statistics, and an online test based on previous materials.
Upon successful completion of the Summer School, the participants have received a certificate of attendance.
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI also has a presence in Beijing, and is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide. For more information on SIPRI, visit www.sipri.org
- Institute of Public Policy and Administration, University of Central Asia provides in-depth analysis of Central Asian economic policies and quality professional development opportunities for civil servants in the region. For more information on the Institute, visit http://www.ucentralasia.org/Research/ippa
- ISDC – International Security and Development Center provides evidence-based analysis and policy advice on the interactions of security, conflict, violence and fragility with socioeconomic development, growth, employment and poverty alleviation. ISDC is based in Berlin and collaborates with a broad range of partners in academia, policy making and practice. For more information on ISDC, visit www.isd-center.org
The Summer School was funded by the World Bank and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) as part of the “Social Cohesion Through Community-Based Development” project.
All information about Summer School can be downloaded from here.