After three years as Director of Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, I now return to my position as professor of Central Asian Studies at Stockholm University. At the same time, I’m happy to say that my cooperation with the Institute will continue in a close and concrete manner.

An agreement has been reached between my University, the Research Institute and The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, stating that my future research work is to be carried out in Istanbul on materials from The Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collections at SRII. This work will be integrated in the Stockholm University SIPCAS program (Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies) and conducted within the general framework of “Silk Road Studies in Memory of Gunnar Jarring”.

The broader SIPCAS program was established at Stockholm University some 10 years ago, with initial funding from the aforementioned Royal Academy of Letters and Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. Extensive international partnerships for the exchange of students and scholars have been developed.

In this context, my mandate as SRII Director, 2012–2014, has been an extraordinary experience for further international cooperation. I have also had the pleasure of working for an expansion of the SRII agenda from the point of view of both geography and research topics as well as student activities. After a “travelling seminar” to south-eastern Turkey (, a follow-up workshop was organized on 15–16 December this year under the title of “From a Cradle of Civilization to a Globalizing Transit Region: Migration and Cross-Border Identities in South-Eastern Turkey” for the purpose of initiating research projects on different topics relating to this theme and in connection with a joint network founded by the representatives of four Nordic academic institutions, including the SRII, for studies on “Migration, Identity, Communication and Security in Turkey and Eurasia” (MICS; As a further development of activities at SRII/Istanbul and thanks to young students holding scholarships or working as trainees at the Institute, a new type of forum called “Today Talks” has been established for discussion seminars on sociopolitical issues in Turkey and neighboring regions.

Today Talks on 29 November, 2014, organized by Azize Güneş, Gürkan Özturan and Aria Nakhaei for a discussion of “Gendered Pressure and Young Women in Turkey”.

Today Talks on 29 November, 2014, organized by Azize Güneş, Gürkan Özturan and Aria Nakhaei for a discussion of “Gendered Pressure and Young Women in Turkey”.

From 1 January, 2015, as a consequence of my new position, this blog will be renamed as “The SIPCAS Director’s Blog”, with due changes in orientation and subject matters.

I wish all readers a HAPPY NEW YEAR. medaljongklipp

We are relieved!

Life at the Swedish Research Institutes in the Mediterranean region is back to normal. Our work continues as before and our Government is not threatening us any longer. We are relieved and still more grateful to all our colleagues and friends who stood up for us and demanded a withdrawal of the budget proposal, which would have put an end to the annual state funding of the institutes by 2017.

In a courtesy letter to the Government (below), the Directors of the institutes in Istanbul, Athens, Rome and San Michele (Capri), elaborate on a few points as examples of the significance of the activities and representation offered by the institutes:

With their facilities abroad, the four institutes constitute “second campuses” of universities and research environments in Sweden and to some extent also other Nordic countries. They play a prominent role in the internationalization of higher education and research. In close cooperation with Swedish diplomatic missions, our research institutes contribute to the promotion of Sweden from the point of view of both science and culture. Et cetera.

It is wonderful to be back on the right track again!
Letter to the Swedish Government, in Swedish, 2 December, 2014:

Klicka för att komma åt 01fbb20e-2632-44be-a29e-1690b769ae21.pdf

Institutet auditoriet