Dare to dream, then, pursue your dreams with passion. Persevere, you may have built a real thing in life.

Galib Mammad

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I grew up in a remote town of Azerbaijan. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a diplomat one day. The more I studied, the bigger the world became in my imagination. And I left that small town in pursuit of dreams and education. Right when I graduated, I found myself at the crossroads of history. The Soviet Union collapsed, and my country of Azerbaijan became independent. I became one of the first diplomats of independent Azerbaijan.

Education took me out of a small town and gave me a chance to realize my dreams. Independence set me on a path in life and let me reach heights all over the world. I owe every single success I have earned in life to my education and to the independence of Azerbaijan. My story is about giving back, pursuit of passion and trying to build a real thing in life. I thought I would tell it in my own words here. 


Azerbaijan has given me a chance. I have gone around the world and converted that chance into making myself an even better Azerbaijani. I have lived in different countries, learned and spoken multiple languages, taken and absorbed different cultures, changed jobs. I have done much at the Embassy of Azerbaijan, US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, Azerbaijan Trade and Cultural Center, ADA University Foundation, and finally, at ADA University. Wherever I worked, I worked hard. With unique ideas, initiatives and service. I came to the US from a remote town of Azerbaijan. This amazing country has helped me to realize myself and succeed all over the world. I have been a proud Azerbaijani-American. And I have never stopped giving back to Azerbaijan what it has given to me once.   


Titles and positions have never excited me. Setting up something from scratch, creating unique experiences, having an impact, living life meaningful has excited me most. Throughout, I have searched for, found and pursued my passion. 

What if you take off your suit and tie once in a while, put on an apron, serve some tea to those who work hard, then, get on a stage... lights go on... and a beautiful woman comes onto that stage on a wheelchair, unimpeded, on a path you may have built...and she is someone you may have given a chance for self realization?! You step aside and let her run the show. And one dozen US Congressmen are watching from the balcony. What if you dream and make sure your dreams are pragmatic?! What if you build pathways for others than for yourself only?! And if you have a burning desire to do so all the time, you have Passion. Go get it. 


“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing,” said Abraham Lincoln once. Since the very first day I started to work, I have lived an incredibly meaningful life. Thirst for learning, tolerance and diversity have been my aspirations. I have reached out and found inspiration in those who have managed to relate to my passion and creativity. I have asked weak ones to step up and helped strong ones to step in. I have earned every single penny of mine, because I have worked hard for it. I have never liked being on stage. Rather, I have worked backstage for dreams and ideas to showcase on stage. In the fastest pace of life-turned-into-work, less I have noticed that I have also grown my own tree, which has been a real thing throughout.


From diplomacy to non-profit, to business, to education management, to even high fashion... This all seems unruly. Mine has never been a straight-path career. Rather, every single day at work has been filled with passion for me. It is a rare luxury in life when Passion becomes the title of your work.


Learning is no longer confined to classrooms. We also learn while experiencing. Thirst for knowledge has taken me from one culture to another. I have kept my own, but absorbed and learned from others. I studied in Azerbaijan, Russia, USA, Argentina and Italy. I have learned to speak English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Turkish and write well in my own Azerbaijani. Education has expanded my mind and made me fall in love with the world around me.


In 2002, I was admitted to Goizueta Business School (GBS) at Emory University. Its MBA ranked top 25 at that time. Goizueta MBA has turned out one of the best choices I have made in life. Living in Atlanta, Georgia exposed me to many opportunities. Studying at GBS gave me a top quality business education. In 2004, I earned my MBA. Life takes some turns. A few years later, I joined Rector Hafiz Pashayev to build a world-class university in Azerbaijan. While doing so, GBS has been my inspiration.


In early 2000s, Argentina went through a major economic crisis. So had done Azerbaijan after independence. In May 2003, I went to an exchange program at Universidad Torcuato di Tella to learn about it. Di Tella's is also one of the top business schools in South America. While in Buenos Aires, I learned more about economics, but I also experienced a unique culture at times of its hardship, earned friends and improved my Spanish. Argentina will remain a unique experience for me.


Goizueta MBA gave me an opportunity for self discovery. I had developed an interest in fashion management and wanted to work at Giorgio Armani only. I started interning in its boutique in Atlanta, dressed windows, went on to work with VP of Marketing in its head office in New York. I, then, moved to Milan and studied MBA in Fashion Management at SDA Bocconi for one semester. Italy taught me about small business ownership. Experience, network and education in high fashion led me to launch my own business.


As a youngster from a remote town of Azerbaijan, I dreamed of becoming a diplomat one day. For an average Azerbaijani, studying at MGIMO and entering Soviet Foreign Ministry would have been impossible. I thought I would go in as an interpreter first. So, I enrolled in Institute of Foreign Languages in Baku with hopes of learning English first. After one year of study, I left for Russia and resumed my study at the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, which offered a diploma of an interpreter. I was about to graduate when the Soviet Union collapsed. History made a turn and rewarded my perseverance. I started as an interpreter at Foreign Ministry of independent Azerbaijan. Soon, I became one of its first diplomats.


Rarely I would take a picture, appear in a video, or even sit in a front row. I always thought those were less relevant. Mine has been more about deeds than words, more about impact than photo-ops. Through these posts, I thought I would share some memorable moments of the most recent years.

Opera and University

The first oil boom in the early 20th century left Azerbaijan with opera, ballet, women's college and alike. These accomplishments were the first of a kind in the entire muslim world. The second oil boom in the early 21st century has built a world-class university in Azerbaijan. Opera was one of the biggest legacies of the first oil boom. ADA University is one of the biggest legacies of the second oil boom.

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Tribute to Heroes

In 1992, I interpreted Lady Margaret Thatcher at a state dinner in Gulustan Palace in Baku. Some 24 years later, I got on a stage in Gulustan Palace and spoke as Senior Vice Rector of Azerbaijan's flagship university. More than 500 guests were in attendance. In less than 10 days, we had raised more than 1 million manats for children and spouses of those fallen in war to study in ADA University for free.

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100 Years of Thought, Enlightenment, Values

2018 Commencement Ceremony was dedicated to 100-year anniversary of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first one in the Eastern world. We emphasized thought, enlightenment and values that this nation had gained over the past 100 years. Portraits and spirit of Azerbaijan's thought leaders, such as Akhundov, Zardabi, Sabir, Uzeyir...were in presence.

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