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Nargiz Pashayeva gathered world-renowned scholars in one Centre

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A significant event took place on 30 May 2019: the first meeting of the Board of the Oxford Nizami Ganjavi Centre to study Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Central Asia was held at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, Azeri Daily has learnt from the Nizami Ganjavi Centre.

As is known, the centre, bearing the name of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker, was established in 2013 in the structure of Oxford University - one of the oldest and most authoritative universities in the world, to study history, languages and cultures of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It has special academic value for Azerbaijan and its historical and scientific heritage.

On 23 May 2018, at Clarendon College, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson and Professor Nargiz Pashayeva signed an agreement according to which the Nizami Ganjavi Scientific Centre of Azerbaijan and Caucasus Studies became permanently functioning at Oxford University as its integral part. The 'Contract of the Century,' as it was dubbed, which was a historically important event of a cultural, scientific and humanitarian scale, was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR).

The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Nizami Ganjavi Centre, which was preceded by a lot of work, was also dedicated to the anniversary of the ADR, its unfading ideals.

The meeting made an extremely important decision on the approval of the members of the Board of Directors of the Centre. It includes:

Edmund Herzig - Professor of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, who made great efforts from the first day of the creation of the Centre to ensure its permanent functioning;

Alexander Morrison - representing the Council of the Department of Humanities at Oxford University, a scientific researcher at the New College, Oxford University, an expert on history - global, imperial, intellectual, political, military;

Professor Christopher Jerry - from the Council of Social Sciences at the University of Oxford, Director for Russian and East European Studies at the Oxford School for Global and Regional Studies, Dean of St. Anthony College, University of Oxford;

Professor Nargiz Pashayeva - Rector of the Baku Branch of Moscow State University Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vice-President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, and Professor Robert Glive - specialist of Arab studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter (UK), nominated by the British Foundation for the Study of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus and appointed by the Oxford Humanities Department Council university;

Two members nominated by the Council of the Faculty of Oriental Studies are Luc Tredwell, representing the Khalili Research Centre at Oxford University, a lecturer in Islamic numismatics, and Dr Paul Wordworth, a research scientist at Brasenose College of Oxford University, who is the head of the Barda archaeological expedition, researching late antique and early Islamic periods of the ancient Azerbaijani city.

The agenda of the meeting included a discussion of scientific projects, such as, for example, the preparation and organisation of a grand exhibition dedicated to the Land of Lights - 'Journey to the country of silk and fire: Meetings of Britain and Azerbaijan (1561-1918),' which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2021 at the Royal Geographical Society.

Another project is the compilation by Professor Mir-Ansari in collaboration with Azerbaijani colleagues of the Consolidated catalogue of Nizami Ganjavi's manuscripts, stored in libraries around the world. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete. Among the issues discussed at the meeting are topical issues such as naming the library of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Oxford University after Nizami Ganjavi, which was reflected in the aforementioned Agreement of 23 May 2018, teaching the Azerbaijani language at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University and many others.

At the first meeting of the Board of the Centre, issues related to the archaeological research in Barda were also discussed, the results of which were settled in the reports and publications of scientists at Oxford University. The book 'City Life on the Border of the Islamic World: Barda and Province of Arran after the fifth century AD' is expected to be published by Brepols in 2020, two workshops (in 2 stages) on Barda's archeology in Baku and Oxford are devoted to 4 years summer work in this area.

Further, the holding of conferences and round tables with the assistance of the Oxford Seminar for the Caucasus and Central Asia (TOSCCA), which, as a rule, attract a wide audience of students and scholars from Oxford and outside. The Nizami Ganjavi Centre (ONGC) also provides scholarships for visiting scholars so that they can take part in the university's academic life as residents. The selection committee will consider applications for compliance with the following criteria:

- the quality of the planned research and its compliance with Oxford research resources;

- the qualifications and experience of the candidate for the planned research;

- the potential contribution of the proposed research to the achievement of ONGC objectives.

At the end of their visit, invited scholars will be required to submit a report on the work they have been doing during their scholarship program.

An important place in the activities of the Centre is occupied by the tasks related to the translation industry. In this regard, it is necessary to mention the book 'The Great Azerbaijani Poet: Nizami Ganjavi: Life, Work and Times' published in 2016 by Berthels. There are also a number of incoming proposals on translations and publications, among which, for example, the book by Alem Nuriyev, 'Crafts of Caucasian Albania,' published in Russian in 2009.

Members of the Board of Directors of the Centre are elected every three years. Note that Academician Nargiz Pashayeva is the first scholar from Azerbaijan, included in the management (Management Board) of the Oxford University Science Centre.

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