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Regional Policy Symposium

The Regional Policy Symposium Program is a forum for American students, scholars, and professionals to examine and discuss current policy-relevant research on the countries of Eurasia and Eastern Europe from multi-disciplinary and multi-regional approaches. Key research findings and conclusions are disseminated to U.S. policymaking and academic communities.

For more than 10 years, the Symposium brought together American junior and senior scholars and members of the policy community to discuss critical policy issues around a single theme. Past topics have included transnational crime and corruption, regional security, frozen conflicts, gender and youth.


 The Regional Policy Symposium Program was developed by IREX in collaboration with the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and funded by the Title VIII Program of the U.S. Department of State in support of the following goals:

• To enable American junior and senior scholars to work together in analyzing complex issues affecting the countries of Eurasia and Eastern Europe from multi-disciplinary and multi-regional approaches. 86% of past Symposium participants enhanced their understanding of the intersection of policy issues and academic research in their respective fields as a result of participation in the program.

• To encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas and networking opportunities among scholars with similar regional interests. 80% have sustained professional communication with other participants since the conclusion of the program

• To provide policymaking communities with knowledge of current research on evolving regions and valuable findings and conclusions drawn from intensive interaction among scholars. 43% of participants provided consultations to U.S. policymakers and governmental agencies following participation in the program

• To nurture interest among junior scholars in the study of these regions. 93% of participants increased their knowledge and understanding of social, political and/or economic developments of the countries discussed.

Project Activities

The Symposium involves two full days of peer review of current research projects and roundtable discussionsand the dissemination of research results to the policy community through a networking event. Junior scholars are chosen to participate based on a national competition.

Past Symposium topics have included:

• Gender in the 21st Century in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

• Regional Security in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

• Prospects and Challenges for the First Post-Communist Generation: Young People Today in Eurasia and Eastern Europe

• Frozen Conflicts and Unrecognized States in Southeast Europe and Eurasia

• The Former Soviet Republics of Central Asia and the Contemporary Silk Road

• EU and NATO Member States and their Eastern Borderlands

Project Facts

•The Symposium represents an effective model of academic mentorship and peer review: 57% of respondents to an alumni survey noted that participation in Symposium discussions influenced the direction of their research.

•The Symposium brings together participants from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, ranging from political science, to business, to criminology, to anthropology.