At ADA University, all students participate in undergraduate leadership program. Throughout academic year, students work in teams, go out to society, find a cause, engage with the community and come up with a solution.
At the end of April, a panel made of vice rectors, deans, faculty and staff gather to hear presentations by student teams. I used to chair these panels. Sometimes, I would get emotional barely hiding my tears. We would all hear how students would grow aware of society, emotionally attach to its challenges, turn it into their passion and make a difference in an orphanage, assisted living house, out in a neighborhood etc. You become a better citizen if you are never indifferent, rather emotionally attached to your country. The panel would select 3 top projects.
During the first week of May, we would put together a grandiose event on The Great Lawn. The whole university would dress up in style, gather over a cocktail and dinner, share a meal together, present awards and celebrate its core values of civic engagement, citizenship and social responsibility. Those were moments of pride and self reflection for me. Of my own citizenship and responsibility. Extending beyond any borders.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More