By Nigar Orujova
A memorandum of understanding on establishing the Scientific Center of Azerbaijan and Caucasian Studies named after great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi at the University of Oxford, one of the leading universities in the world, was signed in Oxford on October 28.
The memorandum was inked with Director of International Development at the University of Oxford, Liesl Elder, as part of a visit of Moscow State University Baku branch rector, co-chair of the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society, Professor Nargiz Pashayeva, to Oxford.
The facility will be the first Azerbaijani research center to study the history and culture of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus region, established at the Oxford University in the UK.
Nizami Ganjavi, the 12th century greatest representative of the Eastern Renaissance, displayed the quintessence of world literature and philosophy in Khamsa (Five), via the aesthetic power of his art.
The new center aims to implement long-term research projects on the historical heritage and culture of Azerbaijan and conduct a variety of scientific, cultural and social events, lectures and discussions.
It also intends to implement student exchange programs and establish scientific communication in various fields between the Baku branch of the Lomonosov Moscow State University and the University of Oxford.
Nargiz Pashayeva delivered a report on the creative work and valuable heritage of Nizami Ganjavi at the Oriental studies faculty of the university.
The event brought together Professor of Oriental Studies at the Oxford University Edmund Herzig, Professor Julie Bray, Dr. Geert Jan van Gelder and Professor on Islamic History Robert Hoyland, Professor Theo M. van Lint, Head of the Oriental Section of Bodleian Library Dr. Gillian Evison, Assistant Curator of Islamic Art of Ashmolean Museum Francesca Leoni, and Alasdair Watson, Project Officer at the Bodleian Library.
Vasim Mammadaliyev, an Azerbaijani scientist of Oriental studies, Dean of theology faculty at the Baku State University also attended the event at the invitation of Professor Nargiz Pashayeva.
Pashayeva's speech was of great interest to the attendees. After the speech, she answered questions of scholars. This was the first address by an Azerbaijani philologist in Oxford made at such a high academic level.
Summarizing her speech, Pashayeva said, "If we have two sources of pride, one of them is Nizami Ganjavi".
After the signing of the memorandum an official dinner was served in honor of the guest on behalf of Oxford University at Christ Church, the oldest university college.
Pashayeva familiarized herself with education opportunities available at the university and the academic activities there, and accompanied by Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies Edmund Herzig and Professor Robert Hoyland, she visited the gallery of Islam and the ancient Near East in the well-known Ashmolean Museum.
Afterwards, Pashayeva visited the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, which is one of the oldest and richest libraries in the world. She got acquainted with the stored Middle Age manuscripts of the world-known works, especially the classics of the East, including Nizami Ganjavi.
Copies of rare manuscripts of Nizami Ganjavi's works and various illustrations relating to his "Khamsa" work were showcased at the Duke Humphrey hall.
Copies of Nizami Ganjavi's manuscripts were presented to Prof. Pashayeva, while she donated to the library books on Azerbaijani history and culture.
At the end of the visit, a reception was held with students and teachers of Oxford University, as well as members of the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society. Azerbaijani classical music and works by Bach and Paganini sounded during the reception.