Autumn 2006 (14.3)
Opens New Consulate in Los Angeles
Azerbaijan has just opened another presence
in the United States- the first consulate apart from the one
adjoined to the Embassy in Washington, D. C. The new Los Angeles
Consulate has jurisdiction over 13 western states: Alaska, Arizona,
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Why Los Angeles? According to Consul General Elin Suleymanov,
it was a logical choice.
Elin Suleymanov, the first
Consul General in Los Angeles.
Azerbaijan needed a
presence beyond Washington, D.C. where the Embassy opened in
late 1992 under the direction of Hafiz Pashayev [see article
about his return to Baku after serving as Ambassador after 14
Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States and
is known for its dynamic
business community. As a mere state - not even a country - California
boasts the seventh largest economy of any financial entity in
the world. Both California and Alaska have strong oil reserves,
which make them very conscious of similar issues.
Left: Azerbaijan Consulate in Los Angeles is located
at 11766 Wilshire Boulevard
In addition, according
to Elin, there is a very strong high tech industry in Silicon
Valley California. In August, Azerbaijan's Minister of Communications
and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov visited California to
explore the possibility of making Azerbaijan a hub for Information
Technology (IT) in the Caucasus and Caspian region.
In addition, alternative new
energy technologies are also being developed on the West coast-
both solar and wind power. "To foster such relationships,
naturally, you need a presence nearby," says Elin.
In addition, there is a significant
Azerbaijani community in Southern California, especially Azerbaijanis
Elin also admitted that another strategic criteria for the new
location was the strong Armenian community in Los Angeles. Still
the war between the two countries over Azerbaijan's territory
in Nagorno-Karabakh is not over though a cease-fire was signed
The war has resulted in tens
of thousands of deaths and nearly one million refugees. "One
of our objectives is to make the Azerbaijan point of view known
here. In discussions, which concern us or our entire region,
we want our views to be heard," Elin pointed out..
Considering his youth,
Suleymanov brings considerable experience to his new position
as diplomat. Prior to his appointment as Consul General, he worked
in Baku as Senior Counselor in the Office of President Ilham
Aliyev in the Department of International Relations (2004-2006).
Left: Staff of the newly established Azerbaijan Consulate
in Los Angeles. Left: Khalid Hasanzade (Financial Manager), Elshan
Baloglanov (Consular and Legal Officer), Elman Abdullayev (Political
and Economic Officer) and Elin Suleymanov (Consul General)
Elin studied Political Geography
at Moscow State University where he graduated in 1992-just months
after the Soviet Union had collapsed when Azerbaijan, along with
14 other former Soviet Republics, gained independence.
That same year Elin became the
first Edmund S. Muskie Fellow from Azerbaijan to be selected
to pursue graduate studies in the U.S. where he pursued a Master's
Degree in Public Administration at the University of Toledo,
Left: Fourth Annual Central Asia Conference at the University
of Montana in Missoula (April 18-22, 2006). Left: Elin Suleymanov
(Consul General of Azerbaijan to Los Angeles and Western States),
George Dennison (President of the University of Montana), Brian
A. Schweitzer (Governor of Montana), Khamrokhon Zaripov (Tajikistan
Ambassador to the United States) and John G. Fox (Director, U.S.
State Department Office of Caucasus and Central Asian Affairs)
Then he headed to Europe
to the Czech Republic to work with the Open Media Research Institute
He returned to Baku in 1997 and became Public Information Officer
for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Reflecting on those years working with refugees throughout the
Azerbaijan countryside, Elin observes: "It was a very fulfilling
job to work with the refugees.
It was a very important, despite how tragic it was to see the
conditions under which so many of our people were living who
had been displaced by the war with Armenia.
In reality, the refugees were
very hopeful people. I learned so much from them: when people
face strong, serious and deep problems, somehow, they are able
Above: Elin Suleymanov and his wife Lala with
Montana Governor Brian A. Schweitzer
From 1998-2002, Elin
returned to the States and was appointed Press Officer and First
Secretary at the Azerbaijan Embassy in Washington, D.C. under
Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev.
Those were very important years and the team working with Pashayev
went on to take very important leadership roles in the diplomatic
world of the Azerbaijani government.
Elmar Mammadyarov was later appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Fakhraddin Gurbanov became the Ambassador to Canada and Tahir
Taghizade heads of the Information Department of the Foreign
Ministry. And Elin now serves in Los Angeles.
Left: Home page of the Web site of the Consulate General
of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles. Visit: AZconsulateLA.org.
Useful information on their Web site includes: forms related
to Visas. Links to media with daily updates in English and Azeri
coming from Azertaj, Today.AZ and Public TV. Satellite TV from
Azerbaijan. Useful Web links.
These were the years
during which Azerbaijan had stepped up its relationship with
the United States quite strongly. We were there during the 1999
NATO Summit. Elin was in Washington on the notorious date of
9/11 (September 11, 2001).
After that he took an academic leave and was admitted into a
two-year program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,
a program established by Harvard and Tufts universities. Again
Elin was the first Azerbaijani student to enter this program.
His MA thesis was entitled "Emergence of New Political Identity
in the South Caucasus: Energy, Security, Strategic Location and
Appointed as Consul General
in December 2005, Elin admits that it has taken considerable
time to work through the logistics of setting up an office in
Los Angeles. "We had no presence here," he said. "It
took time to find a building and apartments for our staff. The
office began functioning in June. I'm particularly grateful to
the Consulate Corps here in Los Angeles, who helped me identify
many issues here. I'm also very grateful to the Azerbaijanis
who live here. Foremost, I would name Pirouz Khanlou and Javid
The Consulate held an Independence Day Reception on October 18,
2006, and assisted the Azerbaijan Council of California (ACC)
in the organizing of the First Azerbaijan Youth Forum on October
21st. Various cultural events are in the works to attract both
Azerbaijanis as well as mainstream community members. They are
planning to organize Azerbaijan Language Classes for members
of our Diaspora and their children who would be interested.
The Consulate offers the following
services: Issuing of visas for residents living in the Western
U.S. In addition, the Consulate produces a Newsletter called
"Azerbaijani Perspective: News from the Caspian's West Coast."
Request to be added to mailing list. Contact: Consulate General
of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 11766 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite
1410, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tel: (310) 444-9101, Fax: (310)
477-4860. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: AZconsulateLA.org.
Request their newsletter.
Read More by Elin Suleymanov
Elin Suleymanov is no
stranger to Azerbaijan International. Over the years he has written
several major articles before being appointed to a diplomatic
Are Not Alone" (Deep appreciation to the magazine for
publishing about Azerbaijan). AI 2.2 (Summer 1994).
in Search of the Future: Identity Changes in Post-Soviet
Azerbaijan. Guest Editorial. AI 4.4 (Winter 1996).
Dugout Shelters and Promises to Keep: Azerbaijan's Refugees.
AI 6.3 (Autumn 1998).
4. "Inside the Soul of
a Caucasian," Book
Review of "Ali and Nino" written by Kurban Said.
AI 12.2 (Summer 2004). Note: This essay is always at the top
of Google when you Search for "Ali and Nino".
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