OverviewThe EastWest Institute (EWI), with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, will host the "Afghanistan Reconnected: Cross-Border Cooperation at a Critical Juncture” conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 4. The conference will focus on promoting necessary reforms to unlock both Afghanistan’s and the region’s economic potential, amid a time of transition and a declining security situation. Chaired by EWI’s Vice President for Regional Security Ambassador Martin Fleischer, the conference will include the participation of senior political and business leaders representing Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. BackgroundThe conference—which will be held in the margins of the meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan—is part of the review phase of the 2013-2015 “Afghanistan Reconnected Process,” during which EWI has convened a series of high-level consultations to address regional economic and security issues in Afghanistan and its neighbors, post-2014. The conference will highlight the Process’s achievements, while reassessing priority areas of future EWI engagement. Participants will also review cross-border cooperation developments in Greater Central Asia over the past three years, as well as concrete areas of progress and regress in trade, transit and energy cooperation. In addition, participants will discuss how national and trans-national chambers of commerce can contribute to enhancing regional cooperation. Keynote speakers include: Ambassador Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, European Union Special Representative in Afghanistan and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan; Wahidullah Waissi, Director General of Economic Cooperation, Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Markus Potzel, Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan; Professor Hamidullah Farooqi, Kabul University. AgendaAn open panel session will be held at the Renaissance Istanbul Polat Bosphorus Hotel from 17:30 to 19:30 on June 4. Registration begins at 17:00. This session is open to the public and will be conducted in the presence of distinguished guests— including attendees of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan—and representatives of the press.