China and Central Asia Studies Center (CCASC)

CCASC (China & Central Asia Studies Center) was launched in 2017 by KIMEP University’s College of Social Sciences. The center is primarily focused on the growing presence of China in Central Asia with an eye on the unfolding events and political processes across the greater Eurasian space. Our aim is to contribute to the debate on the socio-political, economic, and cultural aspects of these events with an emphasis on the role of China, following the implementation of the Belt & Road Initiative.
Based in Almaty, CCASC also offers academic and fieldwork support to researchers interested in the regional affairs or any aspect of social, political, economic, or cultural developments in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

Academic Director: Prof. Xiaotong Zhang

Professor Xiaotong Zhang assumed the role of Academic Director at CCASC in January 2024. He is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at KIMEP University and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of “Economic Diplomacy”, a peer-reviewed international journal. Previously, he founded the Wuhan University Centre for Economic Diplomacy during his tenure as a Professor of International Relations at Wuhan University. His primary research areas include economic diplomacy, geopolitics, European studies, and US-China relations. His most recent publications are “New Economic Statecraft: China, the USA, and the EU” and “Linkage Power Europe: the EU’s Trade Negotiations with China”. He earned his Ph.D. from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium.
Contact: ZhangXiaotong[a]


Research Coordinator: Maryam Agharabi

Maryam Agharabi became a part of CCASC in September 2021. She is a graduate of the Erasmus Mundus International Master program in Central and East European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Glasgow, UK. In her capacity as the research coordinator of the center, she is in charge of running CCASC's Visiting Scholars program, Internship program, organizational and external communications, as well as planning and organizing the center's various activities and events such as expert talks, panel discussions, workshops, symposia, and similar initiatives.

Contact: Maryam.Agharabi[a]

Address: #304, Valikhanov Building, Abay Ave. 4,
Almaty, 050010,
Republic of Kazakhstan