Central Asia, known as the home of Tamerlane and the Silk Road, is a crossroads of great cultures and civilizations. In 1991 five nations at the heart of the region-Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan- suddenly became independent. Today they sit strategically between Russia, China, and Iran and hold some of the world's largest deposits of oil and natural gas. Long-suppressed ethnic identities are finding new expression in language, religion, and occasional civil conflicts.
Civil Society in Central Asia is a pathbreaking collection of essays by scholars and activists that illuminates the social and institutional forces shaping this important region's future. An appendix provides a guide to projects being carried out by local and international groups.