By Nigar Orujova
The activity of the Scientific Center of Azerbaijan and Caucasian Studies named after Nizami Ganjavi at Oxford University has been appraised at an event held at the Baku branch of the Moscow State Lomonosov University this week.
The event was attended by state and governmental officials, MPs, scientific and art figures.
Rector of the Baku branch of Moscow State University, Professor Nargiz Pashayeva said the aim of the event was to present another stage of the program on the establishment of the Scientific Center at the Oxford University.
The official website of the Center has been placed in the site of Oxford University, Pashayeva said, adding that the Center had been officially recognized. She congratulated the event participants.
Noting that Oxford University gained first place for its scientific research among the world universities, she said the scientific research by the University's Oriental Studies department is an example to other higher such establishment in the world.
A memorandum on the establishment of the Scientific Center of Azerbaijan and Caucasian Studies named after Nizami Ganjavi at the Oxford University was signed on October 28, 2013.
Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Elchin Afandiyev and President of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Akif Alizade stressed on the importance of the Center in popularizing Azerbaijan in the world.
The Center is involved in research, academic exchange, scientific and practical conferences, scholarship programs, implementation of cultural projects. One of the functions of the Center is to collect scientific information, resource and library fund related to Azerbaijan.
The popularization of science and public figures of Azerbaijan through the translation and publication of their work in English, French and German is an important part of the Center's activity. It also develops educational and knowledge-based activities on the content of the program center for the 2015-2020 years.
Within five years, the program is planned to prepare three graduate students, undergraduates and translate the work of several Azerbaijani scientists into foreign languages.
The Nizami Ganjavi Program for the study of ancient languages and cultures of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus was established in 2013 when Professor Robert Hoyland came to Azerbaijan to visit archaeological sites and was invited to meet with the rector of the Baku branch of Moscow State University.
Their shared interest in education and research resulted in a joint decision to work towards the establishment of a Center in Oxford that could provide resources for students and scholars from all over the world to come together to investigate and discuss pre-modern history and the culture of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus.
The first step in realizing this aim has been the creation of the Oxford Nizami Ganjavi Program, which will oversee excavations in Barda region of Azerbaijan, the translation of major works of Azeri and Russian scholarship into English and sponsor a number of graduate students.
This program will run for five years, in the course of which it is planned to establish a more permanent Center with a long-term endowment.
By this, the organizers want to fill a gap in modern scholarly work on the Caucasus, which tends to focus on recent politics and to ignore the long, rich and diverse history of this strategically and culturally important region of the world.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz