Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan has struggled with its identity. Many chose to sweep the centuries of subjugation and imperialism under the rug, refusing the victimhood. I argue that, in order to rediscover the Azerbaijani identity, there is a need to acknowledge and undo the legacies of Russian and Persian imperialism.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I vividly remember my first trip abroad without my parents, as a teenager born in the USSR, who was traveling with an Azerbaijani passport. It was a trip to Moscow, Russia with a group of secondary school debaters during the summer of 2004. In fact, we were only stopping in Moscow because we had to get our visas at the Estonian embassy on our way to the Youth Debate Forum in Elbiku, Estonia.

The reason the Moscow trip was so memorable is because of the treatment we received on the flight and later at the airport. The Baku-Moscow flight operated by Aeroflot to the Domodedovo Airport was filled with Azerbaijani migrant workers or гастарбайтеры (gastarbeiter [guest worker] in German) as Russians like to refer to them pejoratively. …


At a time when missiles are being launched and the fighting ensues between Armenian and Azerbaijani defence forces, I draw on the lessons from a Jewish-Arab school for peace to envision what co-existence might look like once both communities come together and start to live in peace, if and when that happens. Integrated schools with Armenian-Azerbaijani students should be at the heart of future peace and reconciliation efforts.

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Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

Since I first heard about Neve Shalom or Wahat al-Salam (‘Oasis of Peace’ in Hebrew and Arabic, respectively), a Jewish-Arab peace-building community established in 1970 (NSWAS, 1994), I have been childishly dreaming of an Armenian-Azerbaijani educational community that will lead the way in establishing sustainable peace in the South Caucasus. While there does not seem to be hope for peace between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the foreseeable future, both need to start planning for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region where everyone can live peacefully.

Located at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the buffer zone between Israel proper and the West Bank (Nathan, 2007), Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam is a small village where Jewish and Arab students participate in a peace education program (Feuerverger, 1998). In addition to being the first binational/bilingual primary school (pre-K to 6th grade) of its kind, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam also operates the School for Peace for adult learners, a spiritual community center, a museum, and a humanitarian aid program, among many other activities (AFNSWAS, n.d.). …


Məktəbli vaxtlarımızda atalarımızın hikmətini zarafatla sorğulasaq da, həqiqət orasındadır ki, tək bir insan digərlərinin həyatında yaxşılığa doğru böyük dəyişikliklər etməyə qadirdir. Əziz müəllim və insanlıq idealı Dr. Şəhla Qarayevanın həyat hekayəsi buna sübutdur. Mənim müəllimim öz insaniyyəti ilə yüzlərlə insanın həyatını dəyişib və bunu etməyə davam edir.

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Seminar zamanı Şəhla Qarayeva

Şəhla Qarayevanın vəfatından üç ilə yaxın vaxt keçsə də, onun irsi hələ də yaşayır. Həyatına və müəllimlik karyerasına Füzuli rayonunun Aşağı Seyidəhmədli kəndində başlayan Şəhla müəllim 2018-ci ilin aprelində xərçənglə uzun müddət mübarizədən sonra həyatdan köç edib. Kənd məktəbində başlayan karyerasını Bakı Dövlət Universitetində ingilis dili və amerikan ədəbiyyatı üzrə dosent olaraq başa vuran Şəhla Qarayeva onu tanıyanlar tərəfindən işinin peşəkarı, dürüst, həyatsevər və qeyri-ənənəvi müəllim olaraq yaddaşlarda qalıb.


#12: Bagel sandwich

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Everything bagel with scallion cream cheese. Photo credit: Shu-Yi Hsu

Picture this: toasty crust with sesame seeds and onion salt, crunchy bacon glazed with maple syrup, and dollops of scallion cream cheese. Now imagine biting into a bagel sandwich going through these layers of flavors/textures. If that doesn’t sound like heaven to you, I don’t know what would.

Bagels were never part of my diet until I started living in New York. I’m glad it started here because New Yorkers are very fussy about their bagel in the best way possible. Its shape, size, texture, doughiness to chewiness ratio, even the way it is cut and eaten has specific rules. Eating a bagel sandwich makes me feel part of that culture I had zero contribution to. …


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Photo: “pages” by Bill Selak is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Lesson 1: Ugly is just a useless adjective

The strong wind was blowing in my face as I walked towards her apartment and was reminded that November was here. I wasn’t really sure why I was heading to my former teacher, Sheyla’s apartment; was it because I loved her?; or maybe I felt sorry for Sheyla?; or this just seemed to be a very good reason to make some time to actually read books (I always find excuses to leave books on my shelf for months)..I can’t tell.

The last time I saw Sheyla was in summer 2012. That day I hardly stopped myself from bursting into tears. Several years before that my teacher had to go through a risky surgery that she has not been able to recover from since then. Although she seemed to be improving, her skinny physique, severe stuttering, and inability to walk without help were shockingly destructive to the woman I used to know who taught me life. …


#11: Sheki halva

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Pieces of Sheki halva on a plate

I’m extremely happy this week. I started the new academic year, made progress in my side projects, and most importantly, received a package from my family with a box of Sheki halva in it. This is the second halva post on the Confessions of a foodie (Cof) and you guessed it right — I just love the sweet stuff!

If I had to pick one dessert for the rest of my life it would be Sheki halva (‘Şəki halvası’ in Azerbaijani). You must understand that choosing one dessert has got to be the hardest decision for someone with a sweet tooth like mine. I believe Sheki halva — which categorically speaking, is a type of baklava — is the most decadent dessert to ever exist. This ingredient list is a telling evidence that Sheki halva was concocted in the Sheki khan’s palace: milky hazelnuts, rice flour, sugar, ground cardamom and coriander seeds, saffron, and honey syrup. …


#10: Peaches

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Delicious end-of-summer peaches on a plate

What better way to mark the end of summer than indulge myself with a plate of juicy end-of-summer peaches?! I crave these curvaceous fruit because of its aroma and texture. I am convinced that biting into a soft-skinned peach that releases sugary juice and smells like meadow is a piece of heaven on Earth.

There are three stages of a peach: (1) apple-solid peach that is way too crunchy and has almost zero juiciness; (2) soft and fragrant peach that releases its sweet nectar as I bite into it; (3) overly ripe empty-feeling peach that is mushy and tasteless inside. Most peaches I have encountered in the US are either #1 or #3. …


#9: Sauerkraut

Generous serving of Russian-style sauerkraut and slices of sharp cheddar cheese on a plate
Generous serving of Russian-style sauerkraut and slices of sharp cheddar cheese on a plate
A generous serving of Russian-style sauerkraut and slices of sharp cheddar cheese on a plate

The crunch, slightly tart flavor, and the pickle juice — the three reasons why I love sauerkraut, fermented cabbage with carrots and raisins or cranberries. You can find creative variations of this pickle that includes beets, tomatoes, eggplants, etc. in many parts of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. My earliest memories of eating this delicacy involves big family gatherings in Baku, where kələm turşusu (literally, “pickled cabbage”) is served along with fatty and carb-heavy dinner meals such as pilafs and kebabs.

I have recently started pairing sauerkraut with my favorite cheese, that deserves its own Confessions of a Foodie (CoF) post, sharp cheddar. The nutty taste of the cheese, coupled with its milkiness and tang, blend so well with sauerkraut. I am no nutrition expert but I think a small plate of sauerkraut with a few slices of sharp cheddar could serve as a balanced meal (you better not quote me on this). …


Öz kimliyimizi yenidən kəşf etmək üçün imperialist təfəkkürünün bizə sırıdığı ali mədəniyyət yalanlarına şüurlu yanaşmalı, azərbaycanlı kimliyi, Azərbaycan dili üzərində qurulan və cəmiyyətimizdəki irqi, etnik, cinsi, linqvistik və s. müxtəliflikləri tərənnüm edən, eləcə də heç bir ayrı-seçkiliyin yol verilmədiyi cəmiyyət idealları formalaşdırmalıyıq.

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Keçən il çuşkalıq haqqında yazıma olan iradları ümumiləşdirsəm, tənqidçilərin mövqeyini belə ifadə etmək olar: “Cəmiyyətdə olan aşağı mədəniyyət forma və davranışları, zövqsüzlükləri ‘çuşka’ adlandırmaq düzgündür”. Bu yolla sanki həmin şəxslər cəmiyyətimizdə işlək bir ifadəyə çevrilmiş ‘çuşka’ anlayışının istifadəsinə haqq qazandırırdılar. Lakin bu mövqe ‘çuşka’ sözünün haradan gəldiyi, necə istifadə olunduğu, kimin ‘çuşkalığı’ müəyyənləşdirdiyi və onun istifadəsinə qarşı arqumentlərə tamamilə biganə yanaşır.

Çuşkalığın hardan yaranması və tarixçəsi haqqında İlqar Fəhmi “Bakı tarixindən kollaj” kitabında yazır:

“Bu zümrəyə məxsus şəxslər [rusdilli psevdobakılılar] özlərini daha çox Avropalı hiss etdiklərinə görə, bizim əyalət adamlarına yuxarıdan aşağı baxırdılar, onları geridə qalmış hesab edirdilər ki, bu da məlum məsələdir ki, çoxlarının xoşuna gəlmirdi”…


Why do we need chairs and discussants at the conferences? Who benefits from having chairs and discussants? And how can we do better as comparative education scholars and practitioners?

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Theme of the CIES 2019 Annual Conference (Source: www.cies2019.org)

The function of conferences in the academia is to serve a role of forum for intellectual exchange and a place for polishing ideas, receiving feedback, improving our scholarship. Having chairs and discussants at the conferences is the main mechanism to facilitate such enriching intellectual discussions.

At the 2019 Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Annual Conference I observed a pattern of missing chairs and non-existent discussants. It made me wonder whether it was a conference-wide issue or just the sessions I attended. Thus, I analyzed the conference program with a specific focus on the formal paper and panel sessions.

According to the call for contributions, formal panel sessions are “submitted by a group of presenters (at least 3) who also designate their own chair and discussants” (CIES 2019). Similarly, formal paper sessions are “assigned a chair who moderates and monitors time; a discussant may also be assigned by conference organizers to offer commentary and critique, and to elicit discussion following the individual presentations” (CIES 2019). The reality, at least according to the conference program, is somewhat different. …

About

Abbas Abbasov

PhD Student, Teachers College, Columbia University #highered #access #internationalization #postSoviet l lifelong learner, curious educator, outgoing introvert

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