Academic conferences

Europe’s Geopolitical Future: Mapping Perspectives on EU Policy in its Eastern Neighborhood, 10.-11.03.2022


International conference on

Europe’s Geopolitical Future: Mapping Perspectives on EU Policy in its Eastern Neighborhood

Conference organized by the Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES) at the University of Zurich in cooperation with the Department of World Politics and International Relation at the Russian-Armenian University in Yerevan

Venue and date: University of Zurich, March 10–11, 2022

Financed with a Seed Funding Grant (SFG) from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)


The aim of this conference is to explore the EU’s role, interests, goals, and opportunities in the geopolitically complicated environment of its Eastern Neighborhood (comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). Moreover, the conference looks into the foreign policy priorities of individual countries of the Eastern Neighborhood, and discuss challenges, problems as well as key areas of ongoing and potential collaboration with the EU. Additionally, the conference addresses great power politics in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood region, in particular EU-Russian relations and its potential to develop a collaborative agenda in a shared neighborhood. The members of the conference will also analyze the Swiss experience in cooperating with the EU and discuss the potential applicability to the Eastern Neighborhood region. A separate panel is dedicated to the larger security and geopolitical implications resulting from the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Call for Papers

For this conference, we have launched a Call for Papers (PDF, 55 KB). The paper proposals are invited to address the following issues:

  • EU foreign policy: The countries of the Eastern Neighborhood in Brussel’s agenda: This panel includes papers dealing with various aspect of EU policy towards the countries of the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood policy and Eastern Partnership Program.
  • Strategic security environment: The EU and great power competition: The panel encompasses presentations addressing challenges resulting from great power competition in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood, including but not limited to, the EU relations with China, and Turkey, as well studying the impact on transatlantic relations.
  • Russia and the EU: Building a collaborative future in the shared neighborhood: The panel addresses the current trends and problems EU-Russia relations, as well as the search for cooperative solutions in a shared neighborhood.
  • EU in the foreign policy agenda of the Eastern Neighborhood countries: The panel addresses the foreign policy priorities of individual countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries and discuss key areas of ongoing and potential collaboration with the EU, as well as challenges and problems in these areas.
  • Mapping the EU’s role in protracted conflicts: The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh: The panel encompasses papers on the current stage and future perspectives around the Nagorno-Karabakh. Papers address the EU involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and the role of the EU in other conflict areas in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood.
  • The EU-Swiss model of cooperation and its applicability in the Eastern Neighborhood: The panel introduces papers discussing the Swiss model of cooperation with the EU, and analyzing its potential applicability to EU–Eastern Neighborhood relations.

We invite papers from various disciplines that examine aspects of these challenges in an innovate way. While we welcome submissions on a broad range of possible topics and from all disciplinary approaches, we welcome proposals that make a contribution to the specific topics as outlined above. We appreciate proposals from senior as well as younger researchers from all over the world, but especially encourage PhD students and Postdocs from the countries of the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood to apply.

We expect paper proposals to be about 600-800 words long, and to include a detailed discussion of how the paper fulfills the outlined requirements and whether and how it builds upon previous work by the author. Please submit your application in English and as a single PDF-file via Email (including an outline of your proposed paper, a CV and list of publications) by November 30, 2021 to:

For further enquiries, please contact:
Dr. Dunja Krempin
Coordinator, Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES)

Download Call for Papers (PDF, 55 KB)

Eurasia in Transition: Geopolitics, Connections and Challenges, 10.-12.11.2021

International conference organized in cooperation between the Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES) at the University of Zurich and the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich.

Venue and date: University of Zurich,  November 10–12, 2021


Eurasia is transforming. Since the emergence of fifteen new national states on the territory of the former Soviet Union, this vast region saw major political and socioeconomic transformations, and repeated reconfigurations of its geopolitical and geo-economic landscape. If the 1990s were marked by Russia’s retreat from the region, in recent years, Russia has emerged as a key power trying to counter the eastward expansion of Western states and organizations, as well balancing China’s growing economic influence, especially in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. In the meanwhile, the post-Soviet states of the region have developed their own foreign policy agendas: The three Baltic states have become members of NATO and the EU, and Ukraine and Georgia aspire to join Western institutions in the near future. Others, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, have integrated more closely into Russian-led organizations such as the Eurasian Economic Union or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (including also Tajikistan), or have shown no clear geopolitical preference (Azerbaijan, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).

The transformations in the central Eurasian space will have far-reaching repercussions on the international order and present challenges, but also opportunities, for the West, Europe and Switzerland. However, the trajectories are still little understood and have not received the attention that they deserve by the academic community. The key aim of this international conference is therefore to get a better understanding of the changes in this key part of the central Eurasian landmass, by exploring three major issues:

Geopolitics: In a region as vast as Eurasia, geographical factors play a crucial role for politics and international relations. This is especially true for the landlocked post-Soviet states of the Central Asia and Caspian regions, which face significant obstacles to participation in the global economy. The ways these countries engage with one another and with outside powers, including Russia, the West and China, impacts the larger political and economic contours of the central Eurasian region in important ways. Analyzing the interests and motives of the key actors, and understanding the various interactions taking place between regional and outside actors, is a key aim of this conference.

Connections: Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, post-Soviet Eurasia has evolved into several regional groupings. These new regions have formed as societies become linked through multilateral organizations, trade, culture, shared memories and identities, or infrastructure. A second aim of this conference is to understand how these connections have changed and evolved over time and space. Of all the connections, infrastructure, namely transportation routes and energy transportation networks, are especially important, as it is believed that these structural relations among states are important for the emerging regional contours of Eurasia.

Challenges: Another goal of this conference is in seeking to identify and understand key challenges affecting both regional and international dynamics: The trajectories in central Eurasia do not only depend on outside influence, but also on transformations taking place within individual countries, resulting from internal political dynamics or societal responses. A key task of this conference is therefore to analyze internal social dynamics, assess the likelihood of political changes within individual countries, and consider possible consequences for existing patterns of international relations and interactions. At the same time, the members of this conference will also aim to understand the broader global impact of these trajectories, assess current Western policies, and discuss ways in which Europe and the larger West– including Switzerland – should react.

Scope and organization of this conference

By bringing together scholars from the Eurasian/Asian region, as well as Russia, Europe, the United States, and Switzerland, this conference represents a pioneering endeavor to approach these questions in a comprehensive manner and put them into a broader context. The total number of active participants is around 45, about a third of which were recruited through a Call for Papers (PDF, 51 KB) launched in summer 2019.

The conference is held during the spring semester 2020, which enables students from the University of Zurich, the ETH Zurich, and other Swiss universities to attend the conference or individual conference sessions. The conference is open to non-academics, and practitioners from the relevant Swiss ministries and departments are especially welcome to attend.

Contact & Registration

Dr. des. Dunja Krempin, CEES
Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES)
University of Zurich, Depart. of History/Eastern European History
Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, CH-8006 Zürich
Tel. +41 (0)44 634 38 16


The conference is funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

28. Tagung Junger Osteuropa-Expert*innen (JOE), 30.9.-2.10.2021

Vom 30.9. bis 2.10.2021 findet die nächste Fachtagung für junge Osteuropa-ExpertInnen (JOE) statt. Gastgeberin ist das Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES) an der Universität Zürich.

Die Tagung bietet einen Überblick über die aktuelle Osteuropaforschung im deutschsprachigen Raum und ermöglicht einen interdisziplinären  Austausch zum östlichen Europa sowie eine Vernetzung unter den NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen. Die Tagung richtet sich an fortgeschrittene Studierende, DoktorandInnen und jüngere Promovierte unterschiedlicher Disziplinen, die ihre Forschungsprojekte vorstellen und diskutieren möchten.

Die Tagungssprache ist Deutsch, Beiträge können auch auf Englisch eingereicht und gehalten werden. Einsendeschluss für Bewerbungen ist der 15. Februar 2020.

Die Tagung wird von der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde (DGO), der Forschungsstelle Osteuropa (FSO) an der Universität Bremen und dem Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES) an der Universität Zürich veranstaltet.

Das Programm der Veranstaltung können Sie hier einsehen:

Programm (PDF, 194 KB)

Bei Fragen richten Sie sich bitte direkt an das Organisationsteam:


JOE on Web (1.10.2020)


JOE Online-Tagung; 28. Tagung der Jungen Osteuropa-Expert*innen Neue Forschungen zu Osteuropa, 1. Oktober 2020

Organisiert von der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde e. V. (DGO), Berlin in Kooperation mit der Forschungsstelle Osteuropa an der Universität Bremen (FSO) und dem Center for Eastern European Studies an der Universität Zürich

Programm der Veranstaltung (PDF, 165 KB)