Azerbaijan Ambassador to Speak at U.Va. on April 14


April 9, 2009 — Yashar Aliyev, ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, will visit the University of Virginia and deliver a talk on "Azerbaijan-U.S. Relations" on April 14 at 4 p.m. in the Commonwealth Room in Newcomb Hall.

His talk is free and open to the public.

"We are striving to train our students as global citizens," said Gowher Rizvi, vice provost for international programs, whose office is sponsoring the Ambassador Forum talk. "The visit of Ambassador Yashar Aliyev offers a wonderful opportunity for our students and faculty to interact with the ambassador and learn more about Azerbaijan and U.S.-Azerbaijan relations."

Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, astride the southeastern end of the Caucasus Mountains, Azerbaijan is home to more than 70 ethnic groups. Bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south, Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Aliyev, who is fluent in English, Arabic, Russian and Turkish, has served as ambassador to the United States since 2006, the culmination of a long diplomatic career. Before that he was Azerbaijan's permanent representative to the United Nations from 2002 to 2006, during which time Azerbaijan was elected to the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council (2002), Commission on Human Rights (2005) and Human Rights Council (2006.)

Aliyev served as vice president of the 59th session of the U.N. General Assembly (2004-2005). The session's agenda included "the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan,"

While at the U.N., Aliyev also served as a vice president of the Economic and Social Council in 2004-2005, vice president of the Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in 2001 and chairman of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) in 2005-2006.

Aliyev attended Azerbaijan State University from 1972 to 1977, where he achieved the school's highest degree in Oriental Studies. He then attended the Academy of Sciences in Moscow for post-graduate work at the Oriental Studies Institute, from 1980 to 1982. He also studied for one year in the early 1990s at the Diplomatic Academy of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After graduation from Azerbaijan State University, Aliyev worked for academic institutions in Azerbaijan, and served in the Soviet Union's military and trade missions in Iraq (1977-1979) and Kuwait (1985-1988).

He joined Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989 as a political officer in the Department of Information and Political Analysis, later serving as first secretary in 1990 and deputy head in 1991. In 1992, he headed the Ministry's Department of International Organizations, before beginning his diplomatic career at the U.N. as counselor on political affairs at the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan from 1992 through 2001.

During that time, he served two one-year terms as charge d'affaires (in 1993 and in 2001) and as Azerbaijan's delegate to the U.N. First and Fourth Committees.

— By Brevy Cannon