Spring 2003 (11.1)
ASA Youth Appreciation Awards 2003
Each year at Novruz
(New Year's Day which is celebrated on the first day of Spring-March
20 or 21), the Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA) officially
recognizes outstanding young Azerbaijanis who are actively working
to promote Azerbaijan in the United States. This is the third
year in a row that ASA has presented awards. This year's recipients
are graduate students Natig Mustafayev and Samira Askarova. ASA
President Tomris Azeri presented the Special Recognition Awards
at the annual Novruz Dinner, which was celebrated at the Baku
Palace Restaurant in Brooklyn, New York on March 23, 2003.
Left: Natig Mustafayev
Natig Mustafayev, 23,
a Ph.D. student in Economics at Columbia University in New York
City, was born in Guba, a city in Azerbaijan near the northern
border with Russia. Natig attended high school in Baku and received
his undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Economics
from Istanbul's Bogazici University (formerly Robert College),
one of the top universities in Turkey. While there, he received
the highest GPA among the university's economics graduates. Last
year, Natig received a full scholarship for five years of graduate
study at Columbia.
The scholarship covers tuition, stipend and insurance at $50,000
a year and will enable him to pursue a master of arts degree,
a master of philosophy degree, and a Ph.D. Out of 900 applicants,
Natig was one of only 13 students at Columbia to receive the
scholarship. His specialty is Developmental Economics and Economies
in Transition. Natig was recognized by ASA for his efforts to
form an association of Azerbaijani students at Columbia University.
The group's aim is to organize presentations, talks and conferences
in order to familiarize the academic community about Azerbaijan,
its history and its people.
Along with Khanum Ibrahimova from Columbia University and Gunel
Sultanova from New York University, Natig represented Azerbaijan
at the McLaine Leadership Program Gala Celebration event held
this past January. The three students set up a booth to display
traditional items that represented Azerbaijan. Part of their
presentation included a live performance of Azerbaijani mugham
music played on the kamancha. Contact Natig at: email@example.com.
Left: Samira Askarova
The second recipient
is Samira Askarova, 23, the first young woman student studying
in the U.S. ever to be awarded the ASA Youth Appreciation Award.
She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Public Administration
at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public
Affairs in Syracuse, New York. Her specialty is public finance
and international development. Samira is a graduate of the Lomonosov
Moscow State University's School of Public Administration. In
June 2002, she received two scholarships to study at Syracuse:
The Syracuse University Graduate Scholar Award and the Maxwell
Dean's Office Professional Scholar Award.
In February, Samira gave a presentation at her university entitled
"Undeclared War: The Khojali Massacre of 1992." She
wanted to inform Syracuse University students and staff about
the history of Azerbaijan and its geopolitical importance to
the world. She also spoke about the Karabakh War, emphasizing
the great tragedy of Khojali, when Armenian troops massacred
more than 600 innocent civilians as they were fleeing their homes
in the night.
Khojali, which had the only airport in Nagorno-Karabakh, was
the first town to fall to Armenians in the war that left nearly
1 million Azeris refugees.
Samira is encouraging other Azeri students to arrange seminars
and presentations on this subject and has offered to share her
handouts, PowerPoint presentation and other materials. Contact
Samira at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recipients of the First ASA Youth Appreciation Awards, presented
in 2001, include: Adil Baghirov, Javid Huseynov, Fariz Ismayilzade
and Sanan Nasibli. The 2002 recipients were Siraj Mahmudov, Zaur
Mammadov and Taleh Ziyadov. Search at AZER.com.
ASA is a non-profit organization that has been serving the Azeri-American
community since its establishment in 1972 in Newark, New Jersey.
The organization's primary goals are to foster relations between
Azerbaijanis and Americans, to preserve and strengthen the Azerbaijani
culture and heritage, and to unify all Azerbaijanis. To learn
more about the Azerbaijan Society of America, see: http://usa.azeris.org.
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