Azerbaijan International

Winter 2002 (10.4)


Ilham Aliyev is a SOCAR Vice President, a Member of Parliament and head of Azerbaijan's delegation to Council of Europe - not to mention being the son of President Heydar Aliyev. This past October, he spoke at a question-and-answer session organized by the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. As usual, he dealt with a wide range of major issues in a very direct, straightforward way, providing a comprehensive update on where Azerbaijan stands today. Page 14.

Many of the profound, striking images that have graced this magazine's pages over the years have come from photographer Oleg Litvin. We choose his photos time and again because they are more than just snapshots of daily life in Azerbaijan - rather, they are rich with symbolism and reveal careful thought about his subjects. Whether they depict the plight of refugee children or the timeless monuments of Ichari Shahar (Baku's Old City), Litvin's photos capture the essential character of this unique country.

We often turn to musicologist Aida Huseinova for the latest developments related to Baku's classical music scene. Here she describes Agshin Alizade's new ballet based on the memoirs of French writer Alexander Dumas' travels in the Caucasus in the mid-1800s. Alizade's passion always puts him among the top of jthe list of our favorite contemporary composers. Huseinova has a Ph.D. in Musicology and teaches music history at Baku Music Academy. She spent this past year at Indiana University as an American Council Junior Faculty Development Program Fellow. Page 12.

In his role as Public Information Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Vugar Abdusalimov has been an invaluable resource for us in our research of Azerbaijan's ongoing refugee crisis. He has organized field trips to the camps, personally going out of his way to help us understand and then document this tragic situation. Likewise, his empathetic photos show us up close what life is really like for Azerbaijan's nearly 1 million refugees. Page 55.

Back in the early 1990s right after the collapse of the Soviet Union when Susan Cornnell was writing her "Baku Diary" columns for our magazine, the Baku that she encountered was considerably different from the Baku that exists today. Despite Azerbaijan's heartbreaking war and extreme economic challenges, Cornnell managed to look below the surface of the city and make timeless observations about Azerbaijani culture and values. Read about prevailing recycling patterns and treasuring plastic bags on Page 42 and the spirit of fun that pervades when snow blankets Baku on Page 34.

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