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The third Azerbaijani-American Scholarly Forum held at the University of California Irvine

10 December 2008 [13:24] - TODAY.AZ
The Third Azerbaijani-American Scholarly Forum (AASF’2008) was held at the University of California Irvine’s (UCI) Crystal Cove Auditorium on December 6th, 2008, Today.Az reports with reference to the Azerbaijani-American Council.
Organized by the Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) in collaboration with the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, AASF is a one-day conference, bringing together students and scholars for academic exchange on subjects related to Azerbaijan. Initially known as the Youth Forum, AASF was previously held in UCLA (October 2006) and in UC Berkeley (December 2007). The AASF’2008 program consisted of three main panels: “National Identity and Social Development”, “Geopolitics, Diplomacy and Grassroots”, and “Energy, Economy and Technology” and a special Regional Update panel.  

Officially opening the event, AAC Secretary General Ms. Narmina Mamedova talked about the purposes of AASF and briefly touched upon its history. The following first panel of the forum, chaired by the AAC Board Director Gulzar Babaeva, Esq., featured Mr. Jason Katz of the Tool Shed Group, Professor Hakan Yavuz of the University of Utah, Ms. Aylin Cicek of the University of Southern California, Ms. Leyla Ismayilova of Columbia University and Dr. Javid Huseynov of AAC as speakers. Mr. Katz talked about the role of ethnicity in the U.S. grassroots politics and what lessons can Azerbaijani-Americans learn from these processes.  Professor Yavuz and Ms. Cicek focused on the development of Turkish identity and modern challenges to its further development inside Turkey and beyond its borders. Dr. Huseynov provided a brief overview of the role of Turkic identity in the development of secular and democratic ideals for the Turkic-speaking peoples in the early 20th century Russian Empire, and how this led to the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) in 1918. Drawing comparisons from history, Dr. Huseynov redefined the concept of pax Turcica as a new vision for ideals of peace, unity, liberty and democracy in the 21st-century Turkic-speaking world and announced the First pax Turcica Conference to be held in May 2009. Also speaking at the first panel Ms. Leyla Ismayilova of Columbia University, talked about the challenges of economic growth of Azerbaijan and the development projects for children in Azerbaijan.

Speaking at the second panel, Professor Altay Goyushov of UCLA provided a historical overview of the ADR Foreign Office in celebration of its 90th anniversary. Ms. Lisa Grajewski of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) talked about the intergroup and interfaith dialog between AJC and other ethnic, religious and cultural groups in Southern California, including AAC. Mr. Reshad Karimov of the agency provided a military analysis of the Russian-Georgian conflict in summer 2008, while Mr. Elman Abdullayev of California State University Northridge gave a comprehensive presentation on the methodologies of grassroots influence upon the U.S. legislation. Speaking at and chairing this panel, Dr. Adil Baguriov of US Azeris Network (USAN) introduced the U.S. Turkic Network (USTN), the first Turkic-American voter initiative to the audience, emphasized the importance of social networking in grassroots and announced the establishment of, the first Turkic social network.

The panel on economy and energy was chaired by the AAC Youth Officer, Ms. Uldouz Berenjforoush of UC Berkeley, and featured the presentations by Mr. Hadi Malek-Zehtab of Boeing, Co., Ms. Ulviyya Nasibova of Bernstein Global Wealth Mgmt, Mr. Aydin Onur of the Turkish-American Business Connection, Mr. Araz Mammadov of LA Film School and Mr. Ruslan Babayev of the Eastern Washington University. Speakers provided presentations on the energy sustainability as well as the local and global impacts of the current economic and financial crisis.

Finally, a special Regional Update panel featured Dr. Svante Cornell of Central Asia and Caucasus Institute (CACI), in Washington D.C., Mr. David Soumbadze of CACI, Dr. Hakan Yavuz and Mr. Elin Suleymanov, the Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, and was chaired by Dr. Javid Huseynov. Dr. Cornell provided his expert summary of the regional events in Caucasus in 2008, while other distinguished panel speakers commented on how the situation in the region of Caucasus reshaped the global geopolitical arena. Speakers specifically discussed the role of Russia, Turkey, the European Union and the United States, reviewed the perspectives of their further engagement in the region.
At the end of the academic part of the event, the annual AAC recognition awards were given to Dr. Svante Cornell, Dr.  Hakan Yavuz, Mr. David Soumbadze and Mr. Elin Suleymanov for their participation in a special panel as well as to Dr. Adil Baguirov for his contribution to Azerbaijani-American grassroots during the year 2008. The AASF program at UCI also featured a photo exhibition titled “The Progress of Beautiful Baku” by Mr. Colin Rosie and the new album titled “Flying to Baku” by the Azeri-American musician Fuad Javadov. The finale of the program featured a young local Azerbaijani performer Vahid Bayat.

On behalf of organizers, AAC expresses its gratitude also to the British Petroleum Fabric of America Fund and the Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. for their sponsorship of the AASF'2008.


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