Willamette World News

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Elshad Rustamov

⌠Ass Salam Aleykum■ is the most frequently heard phrase in the old and modern streets of Baku – the capital of Azerbaijan Republic, where I am from. The word means √ peace and I first of all wish you all peace too!
Azerbaijan is a country with a population of 8mln people; located in the Caucasus, on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, bordering Russia, Turkey, Iran and Armenia, it occupies the world▓s most important strategic crossroads between East and West. A country at the center of the historic Silk Road, Azerbaijan treasures its natural and cultural diversity. The largest country of the South Caucasus, it is home, along with ethnic Azeris, to more than 70 different ethnic groups, including Kurds, Jews, Russians, Armenians, Lezghis and many others.
Azerbaijan with its favorable soil and a mild climate was among the birthplaces of mankind. It was here that the Azykh cave, the earliest human habitat on Earth dating back 1-1,2 million years, was found. Azerbaijan has rich natural resources, such as gas, oil and etc. Since the mid √ 19th century the oil industry has been flourishing in Azerbaijan. The first industrial oil well was drilled in 1848. In the late 19th – early 20th centuries, Baku was producing 95% of the Russian Empire▓s and about 50% of the world’s oil production. Westerners such as the Nobels and Rotchshilds were among the oil magnates of Baku. It was also at that time that the Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibayov wrote his ⌠Leyli and Majnun,■ the first opera in the Muslim world.
Currently a number of vital international projects are being implemented in Azerbaijan; the most expensive and important is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline which will export oil from Azerbaijan and Georgia to European countries. Besides such , Azerbaijan is the home of wonderful natural environments, containing 9 out of 13 climatic zones existing in the world. In general the country is a modern synthesis of ancient civilization and modernism with an Old City situated right inside the downtown attracting many tourists from around the world. One of most famous sights is the 12th century Maiden▓s Tower. (on the left side of the picture.)
From 1920 until 1991 Azerbaijan was under the Soviet Socialist Republic rule. In 1991 after the collapse of Soviet Union became an independent country. As a result of Armenian aggression 20% of Azeri territories are currently occupied leaving over 1 million refugees. Despite existence of a number of international documents such as 4 UN resolutions demanding immediate release of the territories, this issue has not been resolved.
Now about myself. Having both a Bachelor▓s and Master▓s degrees in International Law in Baku, I am now a participant of the United States Department of State Program called MUSKIE, which enables me to study for one year as an LLM student here at Willamette.
I find Salem and Willamette a very friendly place and have met some people both among students and among the University staff which were and are extremely kind towards me.
One of the difficult things was to get used to a food here, since in Azerbaijan historic national foods are very popular. Eventually I ended up with an idea of cooking myself ?. I am looking forward to a successful academic year and an interesting life in this country.
Sag olun! √Thank you in Azeri language.

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