KORACENTER FOR BLACK SEA AND CENTRAL ASIA


General Information

The Center For Black Sea and Central Asia (KORA) is a research center of Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara-Turkey. KORA was established in 1992 and has become a leading research institute conducting research on Caucasian, Central Asian, East and Central European countries.

 

KORA’s research projects are initiated and conducted by its highly qualified staff who has a wide regional expertise and intensive fieldwork experience. Most of our research projects reflect a comparative perspective where academics from different departments in social sciences such as sociology, political science, international relations, economics and management, education and natural sciences. As a result, significant number of research briefs, project reports and monographs as MS and Ph.D theses are produced.

 

While initiating these research projects, KORA is mainly funded by Middle East Technical University. Since 1996, KORA conducts at least two comparative research projects as well as case-studies each year within the framework of METU’s Scientific Research Programme. The Center conducted numerous research projects on Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Crimea, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. All of our research projects are based on long-term fieldworks in the region. KORA also provides experience in the field for research assistants and graduate students from different departments through these projects.

 

KORA has worked in close collaboration with many national and international organisations in conducting its activities providing funds to our research projects. We are proud to have worked with international organisations such as the British Council, the United Nations Development Programme, UNESCO and NATO. We have also collaborated in research with many multinational companies such as British Petroleum and Rio Tinto.

 

The projects that we have conducted since the early years of our establishment formed a basis for generating new research interests for our staff members. Our young researchers completed their Ph.D.s on the various aspects of post-Soviet transition and became area specialists. Our senior political scientists, sociologists, historians and economists expanded their areas of interests and started to work on the Eurasian countries. The accumulation of necessary experience and knowledge in the field resulted in expanding the scope of our activities. Acknowledging our staff’s expertise, increasing interest among our undergraduate students to post-Soviet studies and an urgent need for a higher academic programme, KORA initiated the establishment of an interdisciplinary post-graduate programme, Eurasian Studies under the Graduate School of our university.

 

Eurasian Studies is the first and the only graduate programme in Turkey which offers a master’s degree on post-Soviet studies. Each year, we accept around 40 students from various departments and universities. The enrolment is getting highly competitive since the number of applicants increases each year. Our ultimate aim is to form an academic milieu for Eurasian Studies in Turkey with our post-graduates who would have deep intellectual knowledge on the region and field experience. In order to reach this aim and have well-equipped researchers, our Programme collaborates with the Department of Modern Languages in METU and provides Russian and local language courses for our students.

 

KORA has also had major experience in the organization of national and international conferences. In the last four years, the Center organised three international conferences and hosted around 100 academics from regional and international academic institutions.

 

Currently there are several ongoing interdisciplinary research projects conducted by our Centre . The first one is ‘Forming a Database on Eurasian and Middle Eastern Studies’. The aim of this project is to collect bibliographic information on available publications and printed materials including books, articles, working papers, project reports, thesis, and course outlines in the fields of Eurasian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies done in Turkey, and create a database available on Internet through a search engine. Therefore, it will be available for the use of students, researchers and academics both within and outside the university. A second project is entitled ‘The Contribution of Internet to the Democratization and Civil Society Formation in Azerbaijan, Central Asia and Turkey’. The aim of the project is to identify the potential contribution of the use of internet and information technologies to the democratization and civil society formation in the countries stated above. The sample of the project includes non-governmental organizations, visual and printed media institutions, and official institutions.

 

KORA conducts both projects in collaboration with four other universities in Turkey integrating their academic staff and research assistants to our own work in order to increase their experience in research projects, and to ameliorate their academic qualifications. Besides its academic research activity, KORA, takes pride in the cooperation with the private sector, governmental institutions, and the civil society. KORA provides consultancy for the private sector, and is particularly specialized in development studies and social impact assessment. In its social impact assessment projects, KORA was particularly keen on combining different perceptions of the private sector, government and non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders and successfully managed to establish deliberations among different sections of society.