Well,it tolerance among youth throughout the Caucasus. Throughout

Well,it is a fact thatI was not always so passionate about studying the international Development, asI am now. I did my bachelor degree in teaching, and graduated the universitywith all the “C”s on my transcript, and it seemed fair for me, just because Icouldn’t afford bribing some university officials, and had to be satisfied withthe “C” no matter how hard I tried. However I always had the “why” questions onmy mind. So I had to find some answers before I apply for the Masters degree inSocial Sciences.

I had to prove myself as a public leader.  Thereby I have started my journey.Although I graduatedwith a bachelor’s degree in philology, I have been involved in many projectsand activities in the fields of civic activism and youth education, both duringuniversity and after graduation. Over the years I have participated in a lot ofprojects and activities conducted by non-formal organizations and democraticinstitutions. I was chosen as an administrative member of the Ganja YouthFoundation, and we have cooperated with other youth foundations in Azerbaijan,Georgia and Armenia, to help promote understanding and tolerance among youththroughout the Caucasus.

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Throughout the many projects I have participated in,youth leadership, peace and sustainable development have always been commonthemes.Insummer 2010, I participated in the Annual Youth Civic Leadership Academy, organizedjointly by Ganja Education Information Center and the US Peace Corps. As partof this academy, I took courses on Human Rights, Critical Thinking, Law,Democracy in the United States, and Leadership and received a certificate withhonorable distinction for my active participation in these courses, and thefollowing year I returned to the academy as a trainer.

Unfortunately there arenot enough institutions in Azerbaijan providing youth with these types ofcourses. My interest in International Development took me to the USA.  As part of the International VisitorsLeadership Program organized by US State Department, I met with representativesof top NGOs, including the Boys and Girls Club of America, UNICEF, the OrphanFoundation of America, and the George Soros Foundation. Through learning abouttheir working methods and cooperation structure with other institutions, Irealized that the role of non-governmental institutions is essential in thedevelopment of a civil society as well as the resolution of interstateproblems. I learned how NGOs in the US cooperate with otherNGOs as well as governmental organizations to solve complex problems.

Withmy passion of contribution to world peace I did a four month volunteer servicein Balkans. This experience gave me a unique chance to be as a small peaceambassador in another developing areawhich has a conflict similar to Caucasus,and also to take a look at the current situation in Azerbaijan from theoutside. Through my volunteering experience in southern and eastern Serbia andmy cooperation with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe(OSCE) in Serbia, I have realized that the promotion of intercultural dialogue,tolerance, and respect for human rights plays a significant role in the developmentand peace keeping of any country.Whileworking with the Peace Corps Azerbaijan I have learned about the Peace Corpsapproach to development and diversity.Working in people-to-people term, not forbut with them by encouraging every man and women, children to activelyparticipatein for the better change is a key to development.

As a result inorder to commit to the development of the world I went to Italy, where I dideight month volunteering through European Volunteer Service (EVS) in a social field.I was working side to side-by-side with the people with special needs. It alsogave me an opportunity to observe and have a better idea about the social lifeof well-developed and developing countries in Europe.

Allthese above mentioned experience made me to feel as a strong candidate for theMaster Program in International Development inUK. I can combine my experiencewith the knowledge that I will get from your university and return to mycountry and help my people to overcome the challenges that it faces. Unfortunatelycorruption is still among these challenges. I see how the governmentalinstitutions are struggling in the fight with corruption, however it needs agood back-up, it needs well educated brave people to join the government ofAzerbaijan and take it to the brighter future with zero corruption. Because,neither peace, development nor human rights can flourish in an atmosphere ofcorruption. (Ban Ki-Moon)  Azerbaijanneeds to build a better cooperation with governmental and non-governmental institutionsaround the world.

This is where I am focusing.  One of my goals in future is to helpstraighten a sustainable network between NGOs in the Azerbaijan and Europe andin order to promote intercultural dialogue, tolerance and human rights through non-formaleducation methods. Ibelieve The University of Bristol is the right place to fulfill my thirst oflearning.  I am excitedly hoping to learnfrom the core units offered by the university such as Conflict Security andDevelopment. This unit will pushme to better understand the hot conflicts inCaucasus and contribute to the peaceful dialogues between the nations andinvolve more attention from international community to this area.  On the other hand learning about InternationalPolitical Economy will help me to analyze Azerbaijan’s economical potential andhave certain clarity about the promoting and hindering forces of developmentissues. Overall,I owe my current successes in life to thinking critically and not being afraidto take risks.

My experiences training youth at the Youth Civic LeadershipAcademy, training Americans about Azerbaijan language and culture, visiting theUS on the behalf of US State Department’s program, monitoring themost recent parliamentary and presidential elections and workingvoluntarily in other communities outside of Azerbaijan have all made me moreresponsible member of my community and citizen of the world. My current andpast positions have allowed me to connect with many different people fromdiverse communities and be in challenging situations; therefore I see thepotential development of humanity through peace. Now that I have seen thepotential, I want to be involved in the development process. Having considered myself as a young peace activist and peacekeeper, I now knowwhat I want to do and how to do it.

I want to seek my master’s degree in SocialSciences, focusing on International Development in order to reach my short andlong term goals, become a global narrator for the Peace and Development.


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