Summer 2005 (13.2)
Bolstering the Future
ExxonMobil Committed to Youth
Left: Distribution of Young People's Encyclophedias
at the Sabirabad Refugee Settlement at the Community Center built
with ExxonMobil funding.
the world's leading petroleum and petrochemical company, has
been working in Azerbaijan for more than 10 years, where they
have been in the forefront among international businesses in
their commitment to Azerbaijani youth and education - especially
One of the very first projects that Exxon undertook was to publish
a bilingual Azerbaijani / English dictionary. Ironically, at
the exact moment in history when Azerbaijan had gained its independence
and youth were clambering to learn English, there were no funds
to publish such a significant volume.
Left: Azeri Language Competition. Young refugees
from seven occupied regions (Aghdam, Gubadli, Kalbajar, Fizuli,
Lachin, Jabrayil, Zangilan). Afad Gurbanov, renowned Azeri linguist,
chaired the judges' Panel.
in, immediately realizing how important the project was. Professor
Oruj Musayev, the compiler of the dictionary, had devoted nearly
25 years of his life in this research. The first volume - Azerbaijani
/ English dictionary - was published in Cyrillic in 1996. Then
ExxonMobil went on to publish two more volumes in the new Latin
script. This was essential because one of the first pieces of
legislature passed [December 25, 1991] by Azerbaijani Parliament
when the country gained its independence was to reclaim the Latin
script that had been in use in the late 1920s and 1930s before
Stalin imposed the Cyrillic alphabet.
This decision meant that all significant works needed to be republished
in the new alphabet - a gargantuan task. So, in 1998, an expanded
volume of the Azerbaijani / English dictionary in Latin script
came out [45,000 terms, 650 pages].
Photo: Internet Resource Center at Bilasuvar
Refugee Settlement. Left to right:
Gurban Sadikhov (Cabinet of Ministers), Drew Goodbread (ExxonMobil),
Samir Mammadov (Relief International), 2004.
Five years later
in 2003, a reverse edition - English / Azerbaijani was published
a hefty, five-pound volume with 130,000 terms and 1,700 pages.
These dictionaries are, without a doubt, a milestone in the linguistic
and lexical history of the Azerbaijani language. Exxon's involvement
at that precise moment in time was a determining factor that
inspired such work to be done.
Another on-going project since 1999 has been the development
of a set of Encyclopedias for Youth. Currently, there are 20
volumes. These are widely distributed throughout schools, especially
among children living in refugee settlements, where books are
so scarce. Young people there have even used them to successfully
prepare for university entrance exams. Professional Azerbaijani
writers, artists, and scientists have developed the texts and
Left: ExxonMobil Books being
distributed at the Sabirabad Refugee Settlement.
ExxonMobil has also made significant contributions to Junior
Achievement-Azerbaijan, which is committed to educating youth
about business, economics and free enterprise.Also with ExxonMobil's
support, seven schools have been built in Southern and Central
regions: Masazir, Bilasuvar, Beylagan, Saatli along with three
schools in Imishli. Relief International and its national NGO
partner MADAD Azerbaijan have supervised the construction.
Recently, a Community Information Resource Center has been opened
in Bilasuvar. The center is equipped with several computers,
printers and scanners, and has a 24-hour Internet connection.
This center will enhance educational skills and providing access
to information technologies.
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