Sister Networks

Welcome to Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance

The Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance (CELA) is an ambitious, multicultural initiative, promoting regional cooperation and fostering the development of tomorrow’s most forward-thinking, mid-career leaders in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia and Afghanistan.

What is CELA?
Thirty years ago, a group of American business leaders recognized that global economic interdependence required them to establish successful international business networks and partnerships. They formed the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) to further the development of their international business goals, but in the ensuing 30 years the organization has grown. SIBF members want to share their experience with future leaders around the world.
The CELA organization for which you are applying was started in 2002 by SIBF members to begin sharing this experience in Central Eurasia. The idea was to develop a regional platform for development and cooperation by supporting and linking the new generation of mid-career leaders from eight countries of the former Soviet Union (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) and Afghanistan. In terms of general worldview, culture, society, language, professional and personal goals these people had much in common and much to share. CELA created a platform and network that allowed them to make these personal connections, open professional channels, and do projects together.

Who attends CELA?
CELA members are citizens of one of the ten countries of the Central Eurasia region, typically in their 30s, and working in the sectors of business, government, or NGOs/civil society. They are the innovators and the agents of change – the ones who want to make a positive difference in their societies. The gateway to membership in CELA was an intense 10-day leadership academy at the Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey and now at the American University of Bulgaria in Blagoevgrad. There is a highly competitive selection process. Approximately 40 new CELA members are selected annually and inducted in the network. In addition, over a dozen members of the SIBF come as presenters, instructors, facilitators and mentors, bringing their real-life experience to the program to ensure it have a highly practical flavor.

What are the outcomes of CELA?
The pillars of CELA are learning, linking and working together. Learning comes in the form of the leadership education which members experience in the annual summer leadership academies, and then the follow-up events held in the course of the years in the countries of the region. These have ranged from business roundtables in the Caucasus, or a conference on tourism development in Central Asia, to workshops on mountain development in Tajikistan or corporate social responsibility in Georgia. In each case, best practices and lessons learned are shared among participants from different parts and perspectives of the region. This is the point about linking and working together in CELA – it means pooling knowledge from within the region itself, and turning them into actionable ideas appropriate to the local circumstances.

To individual CELA members this network has meant new opportunities in their professional lives, sustainable personal growth and dep and long lasting friendships. The addition of parallel networks in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America make these opportunities for ambitious business development even broader. For more individual comments see the Testimonials.

 

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Afghanistan

General Data
Area: 647,500 thousand square kilometers
Population: approximately 32,738,400 (the population of Afghanistan is divided into a wide variety of ethnic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the country in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are not available. Therefore most figures are approximations only: Pashtun: 42%, Tajik: 27%, Hazara: 9%, Uzbek: 9%, Aimak: 4%, Turkmen: 3%, Baloch: 2%, Other: 4%)
Capital: Kabul
President: Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Official language: Pashto and Dari
Religion: Muslim (99%)

Armenia

General Data
Area: 29.74 thousand square kilometers
Population: 3,222,900 [97,2 % of Armenia’s population are Armenians. Minorities living in Armenia include Yezidis, Russians, Kurds, Assyrians, Greeks, and others.]
Capital: Yerevan
President: Mr. Serzh Sargisyan
Official language: Armenian
Religion: Christian (99%)

Azerbaijan

General Data
Area: 86.6 thousand square kilometers
Population: 9,356,500 (2013 estimate)
Capital: Baku
President: Mr. Ilham Aliyev
Official language: Azerbaijani
Religion: 93% Muslim, 4% Christians, 3% – other religions.

Georgia

General Data
Area: 69,700 thousand square kilometers
Population: 4,469,200 (84% Georgians, 6.5% Azeri, 5.7%, Armenians, 1.5% Russians, 2.5% others)
Capital: Tbilisi
President: Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili
Official language: Georgian
Religion: Orthodox Christianity (82%)

Kazakhstan

General Data
Area: 2,724,9 sq. km
Population: 16,911,911 (2013 est.)
Capital: Astana
President: Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev
Official language: Kazakh and Russian
Religion: Three main religions include Muslim 47%; Russian Orthodox 44%; Protestant 2%, other 7%

Kyrgyzstan

General Data
Area: 199,900 sq. km
Population: 5,550,239 (2011 est.) 68.9% Kyrgyz, 14.4% Uzbek, 9.1% Russian, 7.6% others.
Capital: Bishkek
President: Almazbek Atambayev
Official language: Kyrgyz and Russian
Religion: The Population of Kyrgyzstan is 75% Muslim, 20% Russian Orthodox and 5% other.

 

Tajikistan

General Data
Area: 143,100 sq. km
Population: 7,616,000 (2011 estimate) 79.9% Tajik, 15.3% Uzbek, 1.1% Russian, 1.1% Kyrgyz, 2.6% others
Capital: Dushanbe
President: Emomali Rahmon
Official language: Tajik
Religion: 85–90% of the population of Tajikistan is Muslim, mostly Sunni, roughly 4% are Christian, mostly Russian Orthodox, and less than 1% is Jews.

 

Turkmenistan

General DataArea: 491,210 sq. km
Population: 5,125,693 (2012 estimate)
Capital: Ashgabat
President: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Official language: Turkmen
Religion: 89 Muslim, 9% adhere to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and for 2% others.

 

Uzbekistan

General Data
Area: 447,400 sq. km
Population: 29,559,100 (2012 estimate) 80% Uzbek, 5.5% Russian, 5.0% Tajik, 3.0% Kazakh, 2.5% Karakalpak, 1.5% Tatar, 2.5% others.
Capital: Tashkent
President: Islam Karimov
Official language: Uzbek
Religion: 90% Muslim, 6% Christian and 4% others.

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