Azerbaijan and Its Partners: Regional, European, Transatlantic

Monday, December 17, 2012
9:30 A.M.–1:00 P.M.

The University Club of Washington, D.C.
1135 Sixteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

 *To view the full recorded video of the event, please click here.


 9:00 A.M. to 9:30 A.M.
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Opening Remarks

 9:30 A.M.
Glen E. Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation

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Panel One: Azerbaijan and the Gas Corridor to Europe
9:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.
“Azerbaijan-Turkey Trans-Anatolia Project and the Gas Corridor to Europe”
Vladimir Socor
Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation
“U.S. Policy on the Trans-Caspian Pipeline and the EU’s Southern Corridor”
Daniel D. Stein
Senior Advisor, Bureau of Energy Resources,
U.S. Department of State

“Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz Gas Project: Opening the Southern Corridor”
Greg Saunders
Senior Director, International Affairs

“The US-Azerbaijan Strategic Partnership: Deliverables and Prospects”
Nargiz Gurbanova
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Azerbaijan to the United States

Margarita Assenova
Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia,
The Jamestown Foundation

Q & A

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Coffee Break
11:00 A.M. to 11:15 A.M.

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Panel Two: Regional and International Relations

11:15 A.M. to 12:15 P.M.
“The Implications of Failing to Resolve the Karabakh Conflict”
David A. Merkel
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European & Eurasian Affairs
“Turkey: Azerbaijan’s Key Regional Partner”
Alexandros Petersen
Advisor, European Studies,
 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

S. Frederick Starr
Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute

Q & A

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12:15 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.
“U.S. Policy Toward the South Caucasus: Retrospect and Prospect”
Ambassador Matthew Bryza
Former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan &
Director, International Centre for Defence Studie
Tallinn, Estonia

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1:00 P.M.



Margarita Assenova

Margarita Assenova is Jamestown Foundation’s Director of Programs for the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia and analyst for the Eurasia Daily Monitor. She covers energy security in Europe and Eurasia, including the South Stream gas pipeline, Nabucco, TANAP and nuclear energy. She is a journalist with over 25 years of experience and a recipient of the John Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 for her reporting on nationalism in the Balkans. Assenova has worked on democracy projects in Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia for the Center for Strategic & International Studies, International Republican Institute, Freedom House, the Institute for New Democracies, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. She currently serves as the Course Chair (Contractor) for Southeast Central Europe Advanced Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State. She has authored book chapters and papers on security, energy and democracy published by CSIS Press, Brassey’s, Freedom House, the Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers, and the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College.

Matthew Bryza

Matthew Bryza is the Director of the International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, Estonia and a member of the Board of Directors of The Jamestown Foundation. He is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States. He resides in Istanbul, Turkey, where he also works as a consultant on business and democratic development and as a board member of several private companies.

Bryza just completed a 23-year career as a U.S. diplomat, over half of which he spent at the center of policy-making and international negotiations on major energy infrastructure projects and regional conflicts in Eurasia. His most recent assignment was as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan from February 2011 to January 2012.

During 2005 to 2009, Ambassador Bryza served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, with responsibility for Eurasian Energy, the South Caucasus, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus. Ambassador Bryza simultaneously served as the U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE’s Minsk Group mediating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and as U.S. mediator of the Cyprus, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia conflicts.

During 2001 to 2005, Ambassador Bryza served in the White House as Director for European and European Affairs on the National Security Council Staff. His responsibilities included Eurasian energy, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and political Islam in Eurasia.

Previous assignments include Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Energy, Advisor on Economic Reform in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and Russia Desk Officer at the State Department; and Political Officer at the U.S. Missions to Russia (1995–97) and Poland (1989–91).

Nargiz Gurbanova

Dr. Nargiz Gurbanova has more than 11 years of experience in the foreign service of Azerbaijan. She started her career in the Department of economic cooperation and development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was responsible for promoting economic cooperation with the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, European Union and OSCE. Later, she served four years as Economic officer in the Embassy of Azerbaijan to Austria also accredited to UN office in Vienna, UNIDO, UNCITRAL and OSCE. She covered bilateral economic relations with Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia as well as OSCE and UN structures.

From 2008 to 2010 she was head of division for cooperation with European Union at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she led a team of diplomats responsible for elaboration and implementation of country cooperation strategies and programs with the European Union, also in the context of the European Neighborhood Policy and Eastern Partnership.

Effective August 2010, Dr. Gurbanova is Economic Counselor and later Deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Azerbaijan to US. Among other things, she is responsible for promotion of U.S.-Azerbaijani bilateral economic cooperation, including in the areas of energy, ICT, trade, agriculture, industry and tourism.

Nargiz Gurbanova has two master’s degrees in international relations and international management as well as a Ph.D. in political science (environmental governance) from Vienna University in Austria.

David A. Merkel

David A. Merkel is Managing Director of Summit International Advisors, a Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations and at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy a Visiting Faculty Member in the Geopolitics of Energy.

Mr. Merkel has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council in the White House, Director for Central Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department; and International Counselor to the Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies Social Science Foundation at the University of Denver and American University School of International Studies Dean’s Council in Washington, D.C.

He holds degrees in Economics and International Relations and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Alexandros Peterson

Alexandros Petersen is a scholar of grand strategy and energy geopolitics with a decade’s experience conducting research across Eurasia. He is the author of The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West and co-runs Dr. Petersen serves as an Advisor with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has been a Senior Fellow with the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, a Visiting Fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a Visiting Scholar at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) in Tbilisi.

Dr. Petersen regularly provides analysis to publications such as the Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Interest and the Atlantic. He has appeared on the BBC, Sky News, CTV and NPR. He received a B.A. in War Studies with First Class Honors from King’s College London and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Greg Saunders

Greg Saunders is the Senior Director, International Affairs, responsible for US political and government relations in support of BP’s global portfolio of commercial operations. He joined BP’s Washington office in 2004.

Mr. Saunders was previously posted to BP’s corporate headquarters in London and then to Algeria. Resident in Algiers, he served as the Director for Communications and External Affairs and was responsible for corporate responsibility, reputation/branding and relationship management programs for BP’s extensive oil and gas operations in Algeria as well as its entry strategy in Libya.

Prior to joining BP, he culminated a career with the US government with assignments in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Mr. Saunders graduated from West Point with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. He has an MBA from George Washington University and an M.A. in International Relations from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the French Ecole de Guerre in Paris. He speaks French and Portuguese.

Vladimir Socor

Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to present), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies there, focusing on energy policies, regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs.

Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions. He is a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program (Kennedy School of Government). He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Mr. Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983–1994). He is a Romanian-born citizen of the United States based in Munich, Germany.

Dr. S. Frederick Starr

Dr. S. Frederick Starr is Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program. He is a Research Professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Starr for several years served as Rector Pro Tem of the University of Central Asia, and is a Trustee of the Eurasia Foundation. Prior to founding the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, he served as founding Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies 1974-79; as Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Tulane University in 1979-1982; as Scholar-in-Residence of the Historical New Orleans Foundation in 1982-83. He was appointed President of Oberlin College in 1983, a position he held for eleven years. In 1994-96, he served as President of the Aspen Institute. Dr. Starr served as an advisor on Soviet Affairs to President Reagan in 1985-86 and to President George H.W. Bush in 1990-92. Starr holds a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University, an MA from King’s College, Cambridge University, and a BA from Yale University.

Daniel D. Stein

Daniel D. Stein is Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the U.S. Department of State. In this position, Mr. Stein provides advice and counsel on implementation of the Obama Administration’s policy relating to the development, transit, and distribution of energy resources in Eurasia. Mr. Stein has extensive experience in international energy projects, including transnational oil and gas pipeline projects.

From 1992 to 2009, Mr. Stein served as Regional Director for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). USTDA is a U.S. Government agency that funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. Previously Mr. Stein served as USTDA Regional Director for Asia and USTDA Regional Director for Latin America.

Mr. Stein worked from 1973 to 1985 at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he focused on U.S. trade with the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Stein holds B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.