2023 Silk Road Future Leaders Seminar

From 22–26 May 2023, the NESA Center for Strategic Studies hosted an informative Silk Road Future Leaders Seminar focused on the theme, “Strategic Competition in Central and South Asia.” The seminar brought together the next generation of young military officers, diplomats, and academics from South and Central Asia.

Silk Road Seminar group photograph on the steps of the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C.


There were 13 sessions organized around themes relating to the geopolitical and security dynamics that strategic competition among major powers has created in Central and South Asia. The sessions provided instruction and discussion to analyze conditions and events in Central and South Asia and their outcomes. Participants were able to critically engage with subject matter experts to examine national and regional perspectives and priorities.

The five-day seminar featured several internationally recognized scholar-practitioners from the NESA Center and other educational and policy centers. NESA Center Professor of Practice Brianne Todd served as the course director and moderator, and NESA Center faculty presenting in the seminar included Dr. Richard Wiersema and Distinguished Professor Ambassador Ali Ahmad Jalali. Invited external speakers included: Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff, Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University; Dr. Anna Borshchevskaya, Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Fellow, European Foundation for Democracy; Dr. Elizabeth Wishnick, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Naval Analyses; Dr. Dawn Murphy, Associate Professor, National War College, National Defense University; Michael Kugelman, Director, South Asia Institute, Wilson Center; The Honorable Dennis Hertel, Former U.S. Congressman (Democrat, Michigan’s 14th District); and Dr. Thomas Lynch III, Distinguished Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Research, Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University.

Professor Brianne Todd (on the right front table) speaking during the welcome session.


Read about the last Silk Road Seminar held from 15–18 August 2022.

Silk Road Future Leader’s Program: Emerging Regional Challenges


The views presented in this article are those of the speaker or author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.