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Public Lecture Series with Sam Mehta

Central Asia’s Silk Road: People and Places


For most Westerners, Central Asia is in the middle of nowhere. It has been a forgotten land for centuries. Once Russia annexed the region, it surely got lost in history. But the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave birth to five new nations in Central Asia. These new nations as defined today, that were never nations in their past, now have the burden of creating national identify, governance, security and economic prosperity for their people. Each has been struggling to a varying degree, but they all have reached a point where a traveler can safely pass through them, and comprehend and appreciate their legacy, as well as their struggle.

Central Asia is a vast land that sits between China and the Caspian Sea, and for two millennia it was a thoroughfare for Silk Road traders, armies, artists, scholars and missionaries. Today, Central Asia’s culture reflects a mixture of East and West based on its role in connecting Asia with Europe on the Eurasian Steppes. The journey is more a string of tourist sites, taking the traveler between cultures. As the land changes, so do the features of the people — their cheekbones, noses, skin, eyes, and even their hats. The cultural panorama is impressive consisting of Chinese, Mongol, Siberian, Turkic and Persian. It is a journey in the footsteps of great warriors such as Darius, Alexander the Great, Qin Shi Huangdi, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane — and great explorers such as Xuanzang, Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo.

The Silk Road also was a conduit in its era, facilitating the flow of goods, ideas, religion and technology in both directions through these countries — and Central Asia played a crucial role in its success.

Sam will share images of his journeys along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Specifically, he will transport you to Central Asia through his images and his intellectually stimulating narration covering history, geography, people, culture, art and architecture. We know a lot about the history of this region starting with Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and Russians. He will also share his perspective on how these five new countries are handling the post-Soviet transformation and share his thoughts on how the new Silk Road, led by the Chinese, will influence their future.

Date: Monday, September 12th, 2016

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price:

$5 with a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, you may also call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste