For 3,000 years, Central Asia marked the point where the people and cultures of China, the Middle East, India, and Greece came together and interacted. Known as the "Silk Road," this diverse and exoctic land gave rise to divergent flourishing religious traditions of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam in historic times, and to growing cultural conflict between Russia and Great Britain in modern times. The discovery of massive amounts of oil, natural gas, and precious minerals has turned this region into another Persian Gulf. With the collapse of the Soviet Union five years ago, this region and its countries have now become a major focus of both hope and anxiety. S. Frederick Starr, chairman of the Central Asia Institute, School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, will explore the past, present, and future of this unique region, and ask whether the U.S. has any interest there. And if so, what?