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.