a literacy rate around 99 percent during Soviet times, Azerbaijan
places a high value on giving its young people a well-rounded
education. Since independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has reintroduced
the Azeri Latin alphabet and begun to focus on Azeri history,
language and literature.
All of these goals are enormous undertakings and Exxon Azerbaijan
Operating Company, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corporation, has
been actively involved in supporting these efforts since they
came to Azerbaijan five years ago. Manager George MacDonald describes
the rationale behind their involvement: "We believe that
by supporting the education of youth today we are helping to
build a strong Azerbaijan for tomorrow. We feel it is particularly
important to assist in educating refugee children who run the
risk of becoming a lost generation educationally."
Photo: Exxon's General Manager
George MacDonald presenting the new Azeri English Dictionary,
the publication of which they sponsored, to Leyla Gafurova, Head
of Akhundov Library.
Exxon funded the publication of the first major Azeri-English
dictionary in Cyrillic (1996) and Latin script (1998) through
the Institute of Foreign Languages. The dictionary of 45,000
terms represents more than 25 years of research by linguists
under the guidance and editorship of Vice-Rector Oruj Musayev.
The dictionary now is in libraries around the world.
Photo: Exxon providing educational support
to students and faculty of Baku School No. 46. Exxon announced
that they will be the corporate sponsor for this school.
Exxon, in cooperation with Ayna publishing house, helped publish
the first ABC textbook in the Azeri Latin alphabet. The company
provided a grant to print and distribute 50,000 copies to Baku
schools and libraries. Copies have also gone to refugee camps
in Bilasuvar, Saatli, Sabirabad and Sumgayit.
More recently, Exxon helped publish the first Children's Encyclopedia
in Azeri Latin. The five-volume set focuses on nature, history,
art, planet Earth and biology. Azerbaijani writers, artists and
scientists prepared the text and illustrations. The first two
volumes have been published and donated to all Baku schools and
libraries; the remaining three volumes are expected in early
Exxon has another long-term tradition of encouraging volunteerism
among its employees and their families. Pat Gabel, spouse of
an Exxon attorney, is a volunteer teacher at several Baku schools
and Baku State University. She was instrumental in coordinating
the Azerbaijan International Council for Education (AICE), a
non-profit association of volunteers. Last year, AICE facilitated
corporate sponsorship for five Baku schools; Exxon itself adopted
School No. 46. The company has donated hundreds of English-language
textbooks and materials, including audio-visual equipment and
writing boards. Exxon has also given more than 300 English-language
textbooks to Baku State University.
Exxon's emphasis on education has carried over into another priority
area - support for refugees. In cooperation with several relief
organizations, Exxon has undertaken programs to improve conditions
in the southern camps, including Bilasuvar. Nearly 3,400 children
received much-needed educational and classroom materials purchased
by the Red Cross with a grant from Exxon. More than 11,000 textbooks
and hundreds of maps, charts and other materials were distributed
to 18 schools in the seven camps.
Exxon has also established two scholarship programs for Azerbaijani
students to study in the U.S. These programs are administered
by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the American
Geological Institute, enabling four Azerbaijani students to study
business and petroleum engineering at Texas universities each
(7.4) Winter 1999.
© Azerbaijan International 1999. All rights reserved.
Back to Index AI 7.4 (Winter
AI Home |