Activity Of Some Of The Azerbaijani Research Centres

Diana Galstyan, Araks Pashaian

"Noravank" Foundation
07 December 2009

Azerbaijani research centers or the so-called "think tanks" work in
the format of foundations, NGOs, as well as academic entities. The
centers mainly work in two directions: social-economic and social and
political. They attach special importance to the studies directed to
the development of Azerbaijan as well as researches devoted to the
study of the regional developments. A lot of attention is paid to the
problems connected with the RA and NKR. The "think tanks" from time
to time arrange conferences, workshops (very often in collaboration
with the well-known foreign organizations) on different themes.

>From typological point of view "think tanks" in Azerbaijan can be
divided into two main groups:

"Think tanks" established and sponsored by the state "Think tanks"
financed by the international structures and foundations.

Azerbaijani analytical centers cooperate with many foreign
organizations (UN, Council of Europe, NATO, OSCE, World Bank,
International Institute for Strategic Studies, World Trade
Organization, UNESCO, Eurasia Foundation, Carnegie Foundation (New
York), Marshal Foundation (Germany), George Soros Foundation, UNPD,
USAID, Oxfam and etc.).

The main purpose of the centers financed by the western structures
and foundation is to boost:

The establishment of the civil society in Azerbaijan Democratic
processes The implementation of the liberal social and political
reforms The protection of human rights and gender equality.

The entities sponsored by the state can be classified into two groups:
academic and non-academic. The vivid example of the latter is the
centre for strategic studies under the president of the Republic of
Azerbaijan which receives rather big subsidies from the state.

It is characteristic that in Azerbaijan there are net structures
working in the Caucasian region which also have offices in Armenia and
Georgia, such as the Caucasus Research Resource Center CRRC. Let us
mention that the logic, financing and target goals of the analytical
centers financed by the West both in Armenia and Azerbaijan generally
coincide. In Azerbaijan almost the same grant programmes work as in
Armenia and other post-Soviet countries.

Below we present information about several Azerbaijani leading
analytical centers.

Centre for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of
Azerbaijan Though the centre has only two years history (established
in November 2007 by the decree of Ilham Aliyev) it has already
been distinguished by its eager activity. The constituent document
of the organization reads that the establishment of the centre
is conditioned by the necessity in the analyses directed to the
improvement of the governing system of Azerbaijan, social and political
analyses. According to the aforementioned document the number of the
employees of the centre is 30. It is headed by Elhan Nuriev1, who had
worked in European and the US research and analytical centers. Nuriev
wields the methodology of dynamic studies and implementation of the
results of those studies.

The centre works in several main directions. Among them are, e.g.,
the study of the local, regional and international processes. As a
result of those studies the political programmes concerning domestic
and foreign policy are drawn up. The part of the functions of the
centre is the coordination of the activity of the authorities and
other research institutions.

The important part of the activity of the centre is providing
"truthful" information about the NKR. In this context the special
attention is paid to the establishment of the centre of the Armenian
studies. According to the statement of Nuriyev made in one of
the interviews there are specialists who speak Armenian, know the
Armenian history, psychology, mentality. The centre is monitoring
the Armenian books, mass media, the statements and addresses of the
public figures in Armenia and the Diaspora. The publications of the
monographs concerning different aspects of the "Armenian Question"
as well as the elaboration of "Conception of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict settlement" are prepared.

For the short time of its existence the centre managed to arrange
several conferences in Moscow, Baku, London, Berlin and etc.

The motto of the centre is: "Our purpose is the national security
protection of Azerbaijan".

Center for Economic & Social Development (CESD) It was established on
January 1, 2005. The chairman of the centre is Vugar Bayramov2. The
centre was created to study economic, social, energy, communication,
financial spheres in modern Azerbaijan; it promotes the implementation
of practical projects in the social and economic spheres. CESD
elaborated programmes and proposals on the poverty eradication,
social and economic reforms, the efficient use of the energy resources
and etc.

The centre which is supposed to be one of the leading "think tanks"
in the country is cooperating with German Marshal Foundation, Eurasia
Foundation, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International
Development Economics Association and other international
organizations. CESD is included in NIRA3 (National Institute for
Reserach Advancement) list and together with another centre – Centre
for Economic Studies (since 2006 Institute for Scientific Studies
and Economic Reforms) – is included in PAROS4 (The Policy Association
for an Open Society).

In the first half of 2009 CESD arranged 12 workshops in different
regions of Azerbaijan and 2 international conferences ("Choice between
Asia and Europe: the Possibilities of the Central Asia", conference in
Hong Kong in cooperation with the WTO); it published reports and books.

The difference of the "Centre for Economic and Social Development"
from other Azerbaijani analytical centers is the following:

It publishes strategic reports in order to influence the policy of the
government It has the largest and the most verified network on local
(almost all the Azerbaijani analytical centers and universities are
included) and international levels.

The centre lays a claim to become a school for the young specialists
who can play an important role in the development of the political

It also works actively with the volunteers. Today 8 volunteers are
included in the day-to-day works of the centre and that number tends
to rise.

Institute of Peace and Democracy – IPD The initiator of the
establishing of this "think tank" was Leila Yunusova5. The IPD was
founded in 1995 as the humanitarian project of the Union of Women
of Azerbaijan "For the Peace and Democracy in South Caucasus". That
union has been working since 1994 as an Azerbaijani branch of the
"Dialogue of the Women of Transcaucasia".

The institute deals with rather wide spectrum of issues. It deals with
the search of the ways of development of Azerbaijan and the mechanisms
of maintenance of peace in the region, protection of human rights
and the issues of the improvement of the market economy as well as
carries out educational activity.

IPD has the following departments:

Human rights protection State and the society Conflict resolution
studies and migration Women issues Youth issues Institute arranged
conferences ("Women for the life without war", "Youth and the peaceful
settlement of the conflicts", "Islam in modern Azerbaijan", "European
Council and the issues of ethnic minorities"), workshops ("Women
political figures and social and political life", "Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict and its influence on the ethnic minorities living in

The brief information about the aforementioned and other "think tanks"
is presented below in the Table 1 .

Academic institutions of Azerbaijan These institutions mainly deal
with the research in the fields of political studies, history,
oriental studies, sociology, philosophy, ethnography, archeology,
law, religion and economy.

It should be mentioned that the capacities of the academic institutions
are inferior to the ones of the non-academic institutions. The
available public funds are not enough to pay high salaries, arrange
conferences and academic missions, running web-sites, publishing books
and carrying out other issues concerning the academic management. From
this point of view the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences is
an institution which needs serious reforms6. It is remarkable that
the development of the academic science in Azerbaijan is boosted by
the western structures. As a rule Azerbaijani academic institutions
cooperate with NATO, CORDIS (Community Research and Development
Information Service), IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency),
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), UNESCO (United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), INTAS
(International Association for the promotion of cooperation with
scientists from the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union),
ANSF (Azerbaijan National Science Foundation), ISTC (International
Science and Technology Center), CRDF (Civilian Research & Development

Table 2 presents brief information about the Azerbaijani academic

1Elhan Nuriyev – political scientist, Doctor of political sciences.

Professor. Graduated from the Faculty of the English and French
languages of the Azerbaijan Pedagogic Institute (today, Azerbaijan
University of Languages). Then he studied at the Diplomatic Academy
of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and Goethe Institute in
Germany. He worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan,
the George Washington (US) University, Peace and Conflicts Institute
(Germany). In 2001-2004 he was co-chairman of the expert group
working under "Partnership for Peace" consortium which dealt with
the settlement of conflicts in the South Caucasus.

2Vugar Bayramov – Ph.D. in Economics. He graduated from the Azerbaijan
State Economic University, continued his education in the US. He worked
at Economic Research Centre, Azerbaijan State Economic University,
"Azadliq" newspaper.

3NIRA is a Japanese independent policy research think tank. It was
founded in Tokyo in 1974. Its objective is to conduct independent
research to contribute to the resolution of contemporary complex
issues. They include rather wide scope of issues such as politics,
economics, international affairs, society, new technologies, and

4The founding meeting of PASOS took place on June 18, 2004 in Moldova.

This institution promotes and protects such open society values
as democracy, protection of human rights. It supports the entities
that individually and jointly foster public participation in public
policy issues

5Leila Yunusova – Doctor of Historical Sciences, the founder of the
first human rights protection non-governmental organization in the
Soviet Azerbaijan (1988), the leader of the "Independent Democratic
Party" (1991-1996).

6It is remarkable that the scientific sphere is announced a priority
line in the development of the country. In April 2008 by the decree of
president I. Aliyev state committee on the reforms in the sphere of
science which firstly implies the alternation of the generation. And
in 2007 by another decree of president the state programme for the
Azerbaijani youth to be educated abroad in 2007-2015.

7Only in 2007 the US Civil Studies and Development Foundation allocated
$2.5 million to the Azerbaijan National Science Foundation for the
development of the science in the country and in that framework
about 57 grant programmes, in which 214 scientists were involved,
were carried out.