With remote learning still in effect across many education systems, students with limited access to internet and/or electronic devices struggle to learn and lag behind their peers. In the developing world, such barriers to learning can be precursors to massive education crises.

Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

Schools and universities with over 1.5 billion learners in 185 countries, equaling to 89.4% of the world’s student population, were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (UNESCO, 2020). Following the transition to online learning, students in developing countries were left with little to no access to education. According to the recently released Global Education Monitoring Report (2021), 1 in 4 secondary students in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia do not own a laptop, while 1 in 10 do not have access to the internet. …


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…


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.

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…


#13: Kimchi

A plate of kimchi (Photo by author)

I know it has been a while since I last shared a food confession. Pandemic has been rough and consistency is not one of my strongest suits. Nonetheless, I am back to talk about fermented cabbage. One of the weird habits I have developed during the long nights of lockdown is getting up from my bed past midnight to grab something pickled from the fridge. No, I am not pregnant (my belly would say otherwise). I guess my body must be trying to replenish some kind of nutrients.

Recently, I have been craving kimchi, delicious Korean-style pickled cabbage. Crunchy yet…


Azərbaycanda qadınların təhsilə çıxışı ilə bağlı ciddi maneələrin olduğu haqqında həyəcan təbili çalmağın vaxtıdır. Bu sahədə problemin nə qədər dərin olduğunu anlamaq üçün mövcud statistik məlumatlara baxmaq kifayətdir. Şəhla Qarayeva Təqaüd Proqramı kimi təşəbbüslər qadınların təhsilə əlçatanlığını işıqlandırmaq və həll yolları təklif etmək üçün yaradılıb.

Photo by delaram bayat on Unsplash

Azərbaycanda 15–24 yaş əhali arasında oxuma-yazma qabiliyyəti olmayanların təxminən 67%-ini, 25–64 yaş əhali arasında isə 77,4%-ini qadınlar təşkil edir (YUNESKO, 2021). Təkcə 2017-ci ildə, 15 yaş və ondan yuxarı yaşlı azərbaycanlılar arasında oxuma-yazma qabiliyyəti olmayan qadınların sayı (10,764) kişilərin sayından (5,015) iki dəfədən çox olub (YUNESKO, 2021). Nəzərə alın ki, burada söhbət oxuma-yazma kimi baza bacarıqlardan gedir.

Bundan əlavə, Azərbaycanda ümumi orta təhsilin 11 il olduğunu nəzərə alsaq, qadınlar arasında ortalama tamamlanmış təhsil illəri 10.2-ə bərabər olduğu halda, kişilər arasında bu rəqəm 10.9-a bərabərdir (YUNESKO, 2021). Başqa sözlə, qadınlar arasında 11 illik təhsili başa vurmayanlar kişilərə nisbətən qat-qat daha çoxdur…


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.

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

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…


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…


#11: Sheki halva

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…


#10: Peaches

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…

Abbas Abbasov

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

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