In September 2020, nearly three decades of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh escalated into full-scale war. Forty-four days later, a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement between the two countries brought an end to the fighting, culminating in a military victory for Azerbaijan. Despite three years of international efforts, however, a full-fledged peace agreement between the two countries has remained elusive. Most recently, Azerbaijan’s September 2023 military operation in Karabakh resulted in the dissolution of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and a return to Azerbaijani control over Karabakh. Over 100,000 Armenians have left Karabakh since then, exacerbating a pre-existing humanitarian crisis among that population. Moreover, the domestic and bilateral political dimensions of this new status quo in the South Caucasus are entrenched in a complex geopolitical context of alliances, roles and interests, involving Russia, Europe, Turkey, Iran, and the United States.

This online discussion brings together two experts in conversation to discuss the current political and geopolitical context of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, the prospects of a peace agreement, the future of Armenians in Karabakh, and what comes next for the region.


Mr Ahmad Alili is a researcher in international public policy and regional security of the South Caucasus, EaP countries and neighbouring regional powers. He is part of several peacebuilding initiatives supported by the EU, UN and PfP consortium. Currently, he is the director of the Caucasus Policy Analysis Centre (CPAC), a Baku-based independent think-tank working towards regional integration of the South Caucasus. Mr. Alili is a lecturer at the Academy of Public Administration in Azerbaijan on the role of non-state actors in regional security, public management and good governance. In addition, Mr. Alili has lectured in ad-hoc workshops and seminars organised by international and local actors. He holds an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London, an MSc in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Azerbaijan, and a BSc from Baku State University.
Dr Arman Grigoryan is an Associate Professor in the International Relations Department at Lehigh University. He received his PhD in political science at Columbia University, where his dissertation was a study of escalatory effects of third-party interventions. He also holds an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago, and an undergraduate degree with a major in Middle Eastern Studies from the Yerevan State University. Professor Grigoryan has published articles on interventions, ethnofederalism, the relationship between war and democracy, and US foreign policy. His publications have appeared in International Security, the International Studies Quarterly, the International Political Science Review, and Ethnopolitics.

Dr Jeanene Mitchell is an international development and area studies expert in the South Caucasus and Turkey. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Restart Initiative, an NGO founded in the Republic of Georgia with the mission of building connections for development in the South Caucasus. In collaboration with the Hertie School in Berlin, Dr. Mitchell is the Project Lead for the Economic Connectivity|Armenia-Azerbaijan Dialogue Series, a track-two dialogue initiative that has received support from the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Previously, she directed stakeholder engagement for a United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility water project in the Kura River Basin of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Dr. Mitchell holds a Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Washington, an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University, and a BSFS in International Politics from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.


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