CPC - Caspian Policy Center


The 8th Annual Trans-Caspian Forum: How to Maximize the Middle Corridor

The 8th Annual Trans-Caspian Forum: How to Maximize the Middle Corridor

 Press Release


8:30 am- 9:00 am: Registration and breakfast


Panel 1 – Building on the United States-Caspian Strategic Partnership  

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM 


The Caspian Policy Center is delighted to host the 8th Annual Trans-Caspian Forum, in partnership with the Embassies of the Caspian Region, including the embassies of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye, and Uzbekistan. In the last year, cooperation between the United States and countries of the greater Caspian Region has continued to grow. With the energy and security crises emerging from the Russia-Ukraine War, it has become clear just how important it is to nurture strategic engagement between the U.S. and the Caspian Region. The changing global paradigm has demonstrated a need for the United States to reevaluate its partnerships and assist countries in this crossroads region to secure their economic sovereignties through enhanced connectivity and increased trade. The United States and the Caspian region will need to develop and employ decisive and cooperative solutions to protect their national interests and collaborate with a diverse set of international partners. 


9:00 am – 9:05 am Opening Remarks 

Efgan Nifti, President, Caspian Policy Center


9:05 am – 9:45 am U.S. Keynote Remarks 


  • Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Global Markets, U.S. Department of Commerce 
  • Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia, U.S. Department of State




9:45 am – 11:00 am Caspian Keynote Addresses 

Moderator: Ambassador (Ret.) Richard Hoagland, Chairman of the Board, Caspian Policy Center 


  • Senior Official, Armenia 
  • Ambassador Khazar Ibrahim, Azerbaijan 
  • Beka Chkheidze, Director of International Relations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Georgia (Invited)
  • Rauan Tleulin, Deputy Chief of Mission, Kazakhstan 
  • Ambassador Bakyt Amanbaev, Kyrgyz Republic
  • Senior Official, Tajikistan 
  • Ambassador Sedat Önal, Türkiye 
  • Ambassador Meret Orazov, Turkmenistan (Invited)
  • Ambassador Furqat Sidiqov, Uzbekistan


11:00 am – 11:15 am Coffee Break


Panel 2 – Maximizing Development Impact: Prioritization & Coordination 

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM 


The Middle Corridor is a network of routes that cross Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, the South Caucasus and Türkiye, constituting a multimodal transport corridor that combines road, rail, and sea transportation. It represents the shortest path for goods traded from China to Europe, 3,000km less than the northern route through Russia. As part of the EU’s Global Gateway, European and international investors announced in January of this year an intention to commit $10.8 billion to support Middle corridor connectivity between Europe and Central Asia.  The funds will be used in support of a wide range of projects, paralleling World Bank and other related efforts, to tackle hard and soft infrastructure needs.  How are governments and international financial institutions planning to coordinate and prioritize the multi-faceted investments and policies needed to create an efficient, cutting-edge transport corridor?


11:15 am – 12:30 pm Panel Discussion 

Moderator: Dr. Marsha McGraw Olive, Caspian Policy Center Board Member 


  • Ambassador Erin McKee, Assistant Administrator, Europe and Eurasia Bureau, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 
  • Henrik Hololei, Hors Classe Adviser, Directorate-General for International Partnerships, European Commission
  • Tamar Satterwhite, Senior Attorney, Commercial Law Development Program(CLDP), Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Winnie Wang, Lead Infrastructure Specialist and Program Leader, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
  • Agnes Dasewicz, Chief Operating Officer, DFC (Invited)


12:30 pm – 01:30 pm Lunch



Panel 3 – How to Do Business Better Along the Middle Corridor: 

Experts Discuss Needs and Opportunities 

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM 


Though infrastructure gaps and challenges inhibit the Middle Corridor’s potential, some businesses in the region are doing quite well.  Experts from the energy, business, and extractive sectors discuss what works and what can work better in the Caspian region.   What steps can be taken to address institutionalized impediments to doing business in the Caspian region?  What has the creation of the Middle Corridor meant for international business? Are there low-hanging fruits to improve business capabilities?


1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Panel Discussion 

Moderator: Dr. Eric Rudenshiold, Caspian Policy Center Board Member 

  • Robert Scher, Vice President, BP America
  • Mamuka Murjikneli, CEO, Wondernet Investment Group 
  • Laura Brank, Partner, Dechert LLP
  • Eugene Seah, Chief Operating Officer, Baku International Sea Trade Port
  • Carolyn Lamm, Chairman of the Board, American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (Invited)


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