History of IICAS

The International Institute for Central Asian Studies was established on July 5 1995 as a direct outcome of the UNESCO Silk Roads Expeditions. The concept of the Institute was conceived during the Steppe Route Expedition in Central Asia organized within framework of UNESCO Project “Integral Study of the Silk Roads: Roads of Dialogue”, and a major project of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1987-1997).

Following the official establishment, the General Director of UNESCO Mr. Federico Mayor solemnly opened the Institute on 27 August 1995 in Samarkand (Uzbekistan).

Initially, the Agreement of the Institute was signed by Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. In 2020 Mongolia joined the IICAS.

The main objectives of IICAS are to bring to the attention of the international community historical and cultural issues on Central Asia and to strengthen collaboration between local scholars and their colleagues abroad through a multidisciplinary study of the region. Institutions and scholars are linked to IICAS through a system of Associated Members (public or private institutions and non-government organizations of a scientific or cultural nature) and Corresponding Members individuals.

IICAS is governed by a General Assembly and an Academic Council. The IICAS Secretariat is headed by a director elected from among the nominations made by Member States. When choosing a leader, the principle of rotation of the countries represented by the institute is used.

Directors IICAS:

Mr. Evren Rutbil (Turkey), 2024

Master of Social Policy (Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ)), Senior expert on international development cooperation at Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA). Previously Country Coordinator of TİKA Offices in Kazakhstan and in Kyrgyz Republic, Vice Coordinator in Kosovo, Senegal and Uzbekistan. Coordinated hundreds of cooperation projects and training programmes in different spheres such as education, health and culture. He was a member of the Academic Council of IICAS from 2020-2023.

E-mail: evrenrutbil@gmail.com

Mr. Dmitriy Voyakin (Kazakhstan), 2018-2023

PhD, Head of the Department for Documentation and Archaeological Conservation of the Institute of Archeology named after Margulan of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Member of the National Commission for UNESCO and ISESCO of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


E-mail: d_voyakin@hotmail.com


Mr. Pilho Park (South Korea), 2014-2017

Doctor of Juridical Science.

He was the Administrative (Legal) Officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Western Pacific Regional Office in Manila, Philippines in 1990s. While in private practice of law, he was also the Legal Adviser of the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) under the auspices of UNESCO.

Mr. Shahin Mustafayev (Azerbaijan), 2008-2013

Professor, Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies. Full member of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. IICAS Corresponding Member


E-mail: mustafayevsm@gmail.com


Mrs. Kadicha Tashbaeva (Kyrgyzstan), 2002-2007

Head of the Department of Archeology, Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.


E-mail: kadichaty@gmail.com


Mr. Ashraf Akhmedov (Uzbekistan), 1995-2001

PhD, Leading Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan.


E-mail: beruni1@uznet.net