Open letter to the Israel – Azerbaijan International Association (Aziz)

Respected leadership of the Israel – Azerbaijan International Association – peace be multiplied to you!

Valery Novoselsky.

As a person that has been working in the field of journalism and public diplomacy for a considerable time and cooperating with you in an information project since the spring of 2008, I want to share my view of a useful educational initiative.

Being quite familiar with the exigencies of public debate in the electronic media on the Roma and Jewish themes, I came across – with some surprise – another ethno-political theme that turned out to be even more complex to me. Namely, the unresolved situation with Nagorny Karabakh and the continuing state of political conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The intensity of virtual discussions and claims of opponents to each other are even stronger and they are still farther from any conciliation or compromise…

I am glad that such people like Rizwan Huseynov – a journalist famous in Baku – are doing everything they can to let the history and relationships of Azerbaijanis and Armenians discussion themes to acquire intellectual character. Ideological differences are inevitable, even among countries that have signed a peace treaty. Whatever is important is the form they have and the kind of ethics the representatives of a particular version hold onto. Both Mr. Huseynov and those that are of the same mind with him take a step forward clearing the inevitable ideological polemic of gross abuses and sexual threats that so far are heard from a number of self-appointed “advocates” on both sides.

I would rather recommend a useful example in Armenia. Not being an expert on the Caucasus, I was looking for an available educational structure that would help me acquire systematic knowledge on the subject. And after a simple search, I found a most wonderful institution – namely, the Armenian Virtual College (AVC). In October last year, they celebrated three years since its inception in 2009. During their educational activities, more than 2,000 students from 63 countries studied at the AVC. AVC’s goal is to provide an opportunity to everyone to get a fundamental education in Armenian studies using online education. Although the primary audience of AVC are the Armenian diaspora, the students are not required to belong to it.

Since October 2011 I have been studying the history of Armenia from ancient times to the present day. I’m interested in the opinion of Armenian historians on the history of their country, and I respect that opinion. I am also grateful to the teachers and other employees of AVC for the attention they pay to the students learning. No doubt that, thanks to them, Armenia will have new friends who have basic knowledge of the history, culture and language of the Armenian people. And regardless of their official duties, they will be public diplomats in the real sense of the word.

The college curriculum is not permeated with hatred for anyone, and there is no doubt that AVC students can explain the facts of Armenian history with dignity, cultural respect due to the correctness of the material presented.

In this regard, let me express my astonishment regarding the absence of a similar educational institution in Azerbaijan. My personal opinion is that an institution in the Open National University form, where successful students would receive support for further training, will help Azerbaijan to have friends. It will also help to preserveAzerbaijan’s diaspora that risks today – as a lot of ethnic diasporas – losing knowledge of their own language, history and culture. It will also help to always have a people that would be able to participate in the dialogue between the civil societies of Armenia and Azerbaijan worthily. I hope that in the Azerbaijan government, there are people who will support the creation of such a structure, which would not be antagonistic to anyone, but would properly provide facts on Azerbaijan history and culture, teach the basics of Azerbaijani language, where everyone could learn regardless of his ethnic and religious identity.

The time of rude mutual attacks and slander has to be gone!

And both in the present and future, there needs to be a harmonious dialogue between educated people endeavoring to reach real peace, even though complex compromising.

And the activities of the Armenian Virtual College and Mr. Rizwan Huseynov with like-minded people are steps in the right direction along that way!


Valery Novoselsky.

Editor of Public Diplomacy Network (PDN)

Editor of Roma Virtual Network (RVN)

Student of Armenian Virtual College (AVC)

Galilee, Israel