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This Friday, May 24, Windham World Affairs Council will be continuing the journey through Central Asia which it began on May 10 with the talk on “The Uyghurs of Xinjaing.” In this week’s talk we will visit Xinjiang’s neighbor to the west, Kyrgyzstan, a small post-Soviet republic at the complex crossroads of tradition and modernity. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the parlor of the Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., Brattleboro. There will be coffee, tea, and conversation starting at 7:00 pm, and the talk will begin at 7:30 to be followed by a Q & A.

Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Mountains total 93% of the Republic’s territory. The Tian Shan mountains (“Celestial Mountains” in Chinese) surround the old caravan route and dominate the country. Although geographically isolated by its mountainous location, Kyrgyzstan had an important role as part of the historical Silk Road trade route. Over its 2,000 year history it was invaded and conquered many times by different empires, including the Uyghurs, the Mongols, and finally, in 1876, the Russian Empire. It became part of the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution, remaining in the USSR as the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic until it declared independence from Moscow in 1991.

New York University Faculty member Christopher Edling will be our guide to Kyrgyzstan, where, as a Fulbright researcher, he completed a study of bride kidnapping in the region. Before going to Kyrgyzstan he had a career in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Improv, National Lampoon, CBS Radio, The Hollywood Reporter, and other media outlets. From 2009-2012 he served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. He holds an MFA in Writing and a Certificate in Feminist Scholarship from Columbia University and currently teaches in the NYU Expository Writing Program.

In this talk, Chris will tell us what he learned about the life and culture of Kyrgyzstan during his time as a Fulbright researcher there, and will also talk about his study of bride kidnapping.