“Today, dialogue, cooperation and partnership are the key parameters of relations between Romania and Azerbaijan”

08 february, 2024

“Today, dialogue, cooperation and partnership are the key parameters of relations between Romania and Azerbaijan”

“Today, dialogue, cooperation and partnership are the key parameters of relations between Romania and Azerbaijan”

My interlocutor is Lyudmila Bezhenaru, Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor of the Department of Slavic Studies “Petru Caraman”, head of the Center for Azerbaijani Multiculturalism at the University of Iasi “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, Iasi, Romania.

- Lyudmila -khanum, welcome to Azerbaijan. What are the reasons for your sincere love and warm attitude towards Azerbaijan? 

- Thank you. I don’t know if sincere love needs reasons... Most likely, it appears as a result of something. In my case, my interest in Azerbaijan appeared during my school years thanks to my class teacher Maria Dmitryevna Andriuta, who interested us with stories about your country, songs performed by the great Muslim, and even participation in various educational competitions. Then, already, as a teacher at the University of Iasi, in 2013 I participated in the IANUS program competition, and, most likely, intuitively, I chose your country and won a ten-month scholarship at the Baku Slavic University. This period played a decisive role in my attachment to Azerbaijan, since during this time I became acquainted with the history of the country, its traditions, customs, the sights of the city of Baku, went to Lankaran... I lived ten months of intensive knowledge of what is now called  Azerbaijaniness . At the same time, I worked on my doctoral dissertation (this was the purpose of the research), collected material, worked in the library... But, above all, almost every day at the university I met with teachers, library staff, students and masters - and these were unforgettable experiences days that gave me the opportunity to get to know, first of all, people, the character of Azerbaijanis, their mentality, behavior in different life situations.

  During the same period, she began to study Azerbaijani literature and the works of Kamal Abdulla. At the same time, she published the first articles on his work, then worked on “Kamal Abdulla: Philosophy of Completeness” in Serbia, the presentation of which took place at the Knowledge Society in Baku, then began translating his work into Romanian. To this day, I have written more than 20 articles on various aspects of his work, which were published in Romania, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, and translated three of his novels (“And There’s No One to Forget” is about to be published in Iasi publishing house). Now I am engaged in various aspects of his work - research, translations, publication, popularization. This is most likely a tribute to the creativity and personality of the representative of the golden fund of Azerbaijani literature, and at the same time, a personal attachment to Azerbaijan, to its interesting culture, literature, to the most interesting traditions of the Azerbaijani people, its history.

  My activities as a representative of the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism in Romania since 2016, director of the Center for Azerbaijani Multiculturalism at Iasi University, participation in various conferences, teaching within the framework of the Erasmus project at AUL, participation in the Winter School of Multiculturalism 2023, as well as my seven visits to Azerbaijan alone reinforced my primary, maybe even youthful ideas about your country and its people: this is one of the corners of the world, the image of which I want to help promote, in which I want to spend, at least occasionally, some moments of my life and enjoy warm, cordial hospitality.

How well known is Azerbaijani culture, literature and art in Romania? What innovations and projects exist in this area?

- Romania was one of the first countries to recognize the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As proof of the friendship of our countries, it should be noted that in Bucharest there is a monument to Heydar Aliyev and a regional branch of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation operates. A monument to the Romanian composer George Enescu was inaugurated in Baku. Such symbolic gestures, as well as many other cultural events, bring the Romanian and Azerbaijani peoples closer together. In Bucharest, a monument to national leader Heydar Aliyev was erected in 2005 in a park located in the city center, on Heydar Aliyev Alley. At the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the 8.5-hectare park was restored in March 2007 and, after restoration, turned into one of the most beautiful recreation areas in Europe. The reconstruction of the park was carried out on the basis of a project prepared by an architectural team, which included the Azerbaijani architect Eldar Huseynov. As a response, on October 11, 2006, in one of the central parks of the 8th microdistrict of Baku, the opening ceremony of the monument to the great Romanian musician, violinist, composer and conductor George Enescu by Natik Aliyev took place.

Having entered the cultural space of Romania after the First World War, Azerbaijani literature “took root” in the souls of Romanians thanks to translations. A number of translations of Azerbaijani literature have been published in Romanian: the epic “Kitabi Dede Korkud”, the work of the classic of Azerbaijani poetry Fizuli, “Leyli and Majnun”, the collection of poems by Bakhtiyar Vahabzade “Time and Space”, the biblical-Koranic history of Suli Faghiha, “Joseph and Zuleikha” ", (Suli Fagyih,  Iosif  ș i Zuleyha ), a collection of lyrical poems by Kazi Burhaneddin,  Divan,  (Qazi Burhaneddin,  Divanul ) , Nariman Narimanov's novel "Bahadur and Sona". The epic “Kitabi Dede Korkud   was translated and adapted by Nermin Yusuf and Nevzat, the foreword was written by Nevzat Yusufa Sarigol, and the afterword by Shamil Dzhemshidov. The book was published by Editura Paideia in 2002. Two translations of the Koran into Romanian were carried out. The first was published at the beginning of the 20th century and was made by Silvestre Octavian Isopescu in 1912 (reprinted in 1992, 2001, 2002, 2005); the second translation appeared in 2000, republished in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007. It was made by Professor George Grigore, who is also the author of a bilingual Romanian-Arabic edition of the Qur'an, published in 2003 in Istanbul. Basically, in different periods, some fundamental works of classical Azerbaijani literature (Fuzuli) or modern (anthologies of works by famous authors, including Bakhtiyar Vahabzade, Anar, works of Chingiz Abdullayev translated by Professor Dmitry Balan, and Kamal Abdulla in my translation). It is impossible to say that there is a specific publication plan or project for translating Azerbaijani literature into Romanian (even through third languages), but we are working on it, which is why we have included this item in the Center’s work plan. You can compile and publish an anthology of Azerbaijani literature in Romanian (we have a project with the department of Azerbaijani literature at your university) or translate some new works by contemporary authors. This requires financial support - from the State Translation Center of Azerbaijan or various foundations and sponsors. I think we can resolve this issue.

For me, as a specialist literary critic, the monographic studies of academician Isa Habibbeyli, published under the title “Literature. Time. Modernity". This is a large-scale spatio-temporal modeling of the Azerbaijani literary process in the context of modernity, a value matrix of the author’s consciousness about the achievements and successes of Azerbaijani literature and the science of literary criticism. The author defines today's priorities of Azerbaijani literature, science and literary connections and partly outlines the prospects for artistic development, and gives the reader the opportunity to clearly imagine the modern literary situation.

This monograph is truly an innovative discovery; it is perceived as an updated  creative manifesto of the modern Azerbaijani literary school , created by academician Isa Habibbeyli, which deals with the problems of research, development and modernization of Azerbaijani literature. It sums up the scientist’s ten years of meticulous scientific research, and conceptually clearly defines the prospects for priority research into Azerbaijani national literature in the future. I think that translating this scientific work into Romanian would help the Romanian reader and specialists get acquainted with the centuries-old history of Azerbaijani literature, better understand and appreciate its role in the world literary process.

Another idea arose after the publication of the book “Kitabi-Dede Korkud and Fuzzy Logic”, dedicated to the memory of the creator of the theory of fuzzy logic, the world famous Azerbaijani scientist Lutfi Zadeh, who is very famous and revered in Romania. The authors of the book, people's writer, academician Kamal Abdullah and corresponding member of ANAS, Professor Rafik Aliyev, based on the theory of logic of Lutfi Zadeh, for the first time applied the principles of fuzzy logic in folk art, analyzing the epic  Kitabi-Dede Korkud . We have already planned a meeting with the participation of the authors, our colleagues from the Faculty of Computer Science, students of computer science lyceums and, of course, colleagues I. Dzitac, FG Filip, MJ Manolescu from the Agora University of Oradea, who are studying the legacy of the founder fuzzy logic. At Agora University, Lotfi Zadeh spoke at conferences twice as an honored guest, and colleagues dedicated two issues of a scientific journal to these events and to the memory of Lotfi Zadeh. Let me note, between the lines, that the founder of the Romanian school of computer science, Grigore Moisil, was a colleague of Lutfi Zadeh. Sometimes I’m even surprised how many visible and still unexplored pages connect our countries! Therefore, I would like to make every effort to lift the curtain on getting to know them and increase them.   

- You are one of the scientists who is engaged in the work of one of the world-famous representatives of modern Azerbaijani literature, academician Kamal Abdulla. Your book on this topic was recently published. What can you say about the visible and invisible sides of Kamal Abdulla’s work? 

- Having been involved in the work of Kamal Mehtievich for more than 10 years, knowing him personally, I imagine aspects of his activity as a kind of mosaic, consisting of the life of a citizen and a writer, a rector and a scientist. Each of the components of this conglomerate is important and constitutes its essence. This is, firstly, a personality of comprehensive complexity: prose writer, playwright, poet, literary critic, translator, essayist, linguist. He is a world-famous Slavist and Turkic scholar, a full member of ANAS. This is a creative rector, whose rector's experience is a total of 20 years. This is a person with attractive inner strength who knows how to convince and captivate people with his ideas. This is also a charismatic personality,  the secret  of whose  individuality you want to unravel.  And, in my opinion, it is possible to unravel, at least partially, through his creativity. Reading every page, thinking about every word, trying to decodify it - this is the only way to learn  the visible and invisible  sides of Kamal Abdulla’s work. And painstaking work with or on the creativity of Kamal Abdulla is  always a great intellectual work that captures and absorbs. His works of art are so aphoristic, multifaceted, metaphorical and philosophical that many texts, especially dramatic ones, can be divided into quotes. In his plays I discovered more than 400  sermons and instructions , let's call them that, in which the meaning and wisdom of life are embedded. These are not edifications, not instructions, not moralizing advice; these are the Teacher’s advice, because a mentor is a teacher, and instructions are teaching from a mentor. Do we like to listen to instructions? If we want to learn the wisdom of life, and just study, then of course. Otherwise, why read the highest class literature from Kamal Abdulla?

   There are also many laconic, original phrases in his work, which I would call  Kamal aphorisms . (In the work of Kamal Abdulla one can identify  Kamal philosophy, Kamal flavor  and even  Kamal territory in his drama or in  the Valley of Magicians ). I’ll give just one example of Kamal’s aphorism: Give me something that won’t happen. After reading this statement, our imagination, our brain begins to work - firstly, there is an explosion of emotions and many question marks - how can you give something that will not happen? What could  it be? Why won't it happen? And  where  might it not be? In which world - in a parallel world or in the present?  Who should give? He, she, the bird Simurgh? Or maybe an Angel? And secondly, this is the meaning embedded in this statement. Honestly, this aphorism made a strong impression on me: the first, and second, and third, and numerous readings of it are like a new sensation, a new discovery. Because  Kamal’s aphorisms  have some kind of magical power that penetrates the reader’s heart and remains in it forever. You can hold your breath and exclaim: God,  as it is said! And not because I am an impressionable reader, but because the work of Kamal Abdulla invites the reader  to think,  discovering new visible and invisible sides of the works of the Great Master.       

 And how many aphorisms there are in the short prose “Plato seems to have fallen ill”! The author’s instructions - “Do not make yourself an idol”, “Do not live with the thought of revenge”, “Do not live in the world alone” - confront us with the problems of our own sins and testify to the principles of forgiveness and love for all people taught by the Koran and the Bible , Sacred books of world religions.

The idea of ​​forgiveness (I wrote about this) - one must be able to, one must learn to forgive - and forgiveness itself is needed because it gives inexpressible spiritual joy - this is the image of the ideal model of the world that Kamal Abdulla creates in his works through his  words . The author takes the reader through the three stages of the forgiveness process itself:  do not judge, forgive, love . This must be done, first of all, through a personal example of righteous life and sacrificial love in the name of saving not only the lost and mistaken, but also one’s own soul. And how consonant with this is Kamal’s aphorism:  A forgiving person  is a great person. Think about these words! The author changes (and thus complements) the meaning and content of the concept of  greatness : a “little man” can also be great, even if not gifted with outstanding abilities or qualities that evoke admiration, but  who knows how to forgive ! And my thoughts are already ripe for a new study - about  greatness  in the understanding of Kamal Abdulla.  

Consonant with the idea of  ​​forgiveness , it seems to me, is the work of the Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel laureate (1994), who tells us that  every conscious sin  is a path to purification , and unconscious sin is just a meaningless run through the labyrinths of life.  Learning to forgive  - as a model of the world from the Azerbaijani writer - is the path to purification, which in the novel “The waters embraced me to my soul” by the Japanese author, in fact, is also a kind of model of the world. It is necessary to put the issues of our own sins at the forefront of our convictions and profess the principles of  forgiveness  and  love for all people , because without forgiveness we lose our souls and live our lives meaninglessly. For those who are deprived of the power to forgive are deprived of the power to love, the invisible side of Kamal Abdulla's work tells us. And love presupposes that you first think about your loved one. In the parallel worlds created by both authors, wounds are always healed with love and forgiveness, and they heal. Kamal Abdulla and Kenzaburo Oe also tell us how you can rebel against yourself, against your  ego , if you want to discover goodness and love in yourself  . About the battle with yourself, which can only be won  by humbleness . About a person's journey to himself, and to the divinity within himself through  love.  And then the waters rise like a mirage, cleansing everything around, and cleanse your soul, enveloping it entirely and clasping it in its arms like a pool. And you find yourself in the Garden of Eden - in the Valley of the Magicians, where  the time of solitude, created by Kamal Abdulla, has its own meaning, its own regularity, its own  holiness. And although this time is not visible, an interesting scientific work can be written about it. How can one very successfully speculate about the work of two great authors of our time, Kamal Abdulla and Eugene Ionesco, and, starting from the cruelty of the absurd and tragic grotesque in the work of the Romanian writer, achieve the magic of realism in the work of its founder in Azerbaijani literature.     

And my book “Secrets of Games in the Labyrinths of Fate” is a short prose dedicated to Kamal Abdulla, the greatest  Master  of modern literature, whose love for  words  was, is and remains the meaning of his whole life. These are my touches to the portrait of the Master Artist, this is the thinking reader’s view of  Kamal’s  fantasies on the topic ... This is most likely the invisible side  of Kamal Abdulla’s individuality  , the visibility of which must be sought in his work,   unraveling it, Creativity ,  Mystery .        


-What principles and directions does the activity of the Center for Azerbaijani Multiculturalism, operating at the University of Iasi in Romania, include? 

- In the context of our interview, I would especially like to note the interesting experience of AUL, which developed and implemented a unique and effective system of Centers, which has great educational, cultural and civic potential. We consider the initiative of the Azerbaijan University of Languages ​​and the opening of the Center for Azerbaijani Multiculturalism at the University of Iasi “Al.I.Cuza” and the course on Azerbaijani multiculturalism to be important steps in the cultural-educational relations between Romania and Azerbaijan. These intensively developing projects in many universities around the world prove that steps aimed at studying the tolerant foundations of the cultural, social, political essence of Azerbaijani reality, which has turned tolerance into a way of life, to conduct a scientific analysis of the tolerant basis of ethnocultural and religious diversity, to promote the image of Azerbaijan in world are being successfully implemented. Abroad, including in Romania, thanks to the educational policy of AUL, a communication platform and a strong lobby of intellectual youth, represented by young friends of Azerbaijan, have been formed. Youth and students  are the most active, dynamic component of society, open to cooperation and knowledge. At the same time, educated, creative youth are the main source of nutritional forces for the development of integration processes of any national society, in particular, Azerbaijani and Romanian. Therefore,  promoting the image of Azerbaijan and the Romanian-Azerbaijani dialogue on understanding the other within the framework of cultural and educational relations, familiarization with the history, traditions, and culture of Azerbaijan constitute, basically, the work of our Center, being its main goals.  

The Baku International Center for Multiculturalism, within the framework of a project to teach the subject “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” at universities in Azerbaijan and foreign countries, opened the course “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” in the 2017-2018 academic year at the Department of Slavic Studies “Petru Caraman” of the University of Iasi “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”. From 2017 to 2023 About a hundred students attended the course. In addition to the program classes, three video bridges were held jointly with students of the Azerbaijan University of Languages, and course participants participated in four conferences and meetings organized by the Center for Multiculturalism. Joint seminars and laboratory classes were held jointly with students of the Center for Romanian Language and Culture at the Azerbaijan University of Languages, at which Azerbaijani students presented projects on Romanian topics, and Romanian students presented projects on Azerbaijani culture and civilization. As an additional step towards completing the course, at different times, eight students from the University of Iasi took part in the International Summer and Winter Schools of Multiculturalism, organized by the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism.

In 2019, we held a large-scale event - the essay competition “Azerbaijan is a country of fire, let me get to know you!”, in which students and students of Romanian lyceums participated. There were more than sixty participants from three counties of Romania; we were pleased with the fact that the guys, who had never been to Azerbaijan, were able to write worthy works only from written and Internet sources, and even declare their love for Azerbaijan in poetic form. The works were published in our scientific journal  Interdisciplinaritate și dialog / Interdisciplinarity and Dialogue , and the participants were awarded diplomas and books “Valley of the Magicians - Câmpia vrăjitorilor” by Kamal Abdulla in Romanian.  

The exhibition “Azerbaijani Literature in Romanian Translations”, organized by the Center and the Central University Library named after. Mihai Eminescu, as well as the exhibition “Azerbaijan through the eyes  of others ” - photographs of our teachers and students who visited Azerbaijan. A large audience was gathered by the literary evening “Kamal Abdulla: The Philosophy of Completeness” and the production of his play “One, Two, Three, Four, Five...” on the Iasi stage.


Just recently, in October 2023, as part of the University Days and the celebration of the one hundred and sixty-third anniversary of its founding, the Center for Azerbaijani Multiculturalism of the University and the Department of Slavic Studies held a round table “Azerbaijan - a paradise on the shores of the Caspian Sea,” in which students, masters, teachers and guests participated departments. At the event, issues of Azerbaijani culture, customs and traditions in the Romanian cultural space, Azerbaijani-Romanian relations in the cultural and educational spheres were discussed.

The center, together with radio Yash, as part of the program  Dialogues of Cultures,  prepared and aired  two programs about Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani culture and the meeting of the writer Kamal Abdulla with readers in November 2022. An article about Azerbaijani literature, about its translations in the Romanian space, and about the most translated modern authors - Kamal Abdulla and Chingiz Abdullayev, appeared in the second volume of the  encyclopedia of translations,  a large project "History of translations into the Romanian language", which covers all facets of culture: literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, technical, scientific, etc., in which more than one hundred and fifty researchers participate. This is a kind of  Azerbaijani Encyclopedia of Translation project , only you had it 20 years earlier!

Lectures, video tours, online bridges and meetings with Azerbaijani students and scientists, translations and presentations of books, master classes on Azerbaijani literature and its translations at your university, as part of the Winter School 2023, at the Chisinau State University. Ion Creangă, at ​​the University. Lev Gumilyov in Kazakhstan, publications on Azerbaijani topics and about Azerbaijan, facilitating the signing of agreements between universities - this is only a small part of the work that our Center does, and I am a course teacher, head of the Center, translator, literary critic.

In my opinion, this means promoting the image of Azerbaijan in Romania (and in the world), nurturing and forming reliable trusting relationships in the modern culture of Dialogue.

 - As you know, in recent years AUL has been making progress in expanding international relations and positions in international rankings. What criteria and conditions can you mention when considering the analysis of these successes and results? 

The successes of the Azerbaijan University of Languages ​​are impressive. The inclusion of AUL in the QS 2023 ranking of world universities in modern languages ​​is not only a worthy nomination, but also an indicator of the work of a university with a centuries-old history and a deep cultural and educational heritage in the field of higher education in Azerbaijan.

Being ranked 304th among 1954 prestigious higher education institutions in the world is not only the result of many years of hard work by each member of the large AUL family. This is also  a great responsibility of the academic community , which managed to create a university that meets modern requirements and is able to compete with the best higher education institutions in the world.  Responsibility to society and country.  This is the invaluable merit of the highly respected Kamal Mehdievich, rector of the university, academician, world-famous scientist, national writer, whose Creativity and creativity helps to think outside the box, bridge the generation gap, understand other cultures and be tolerant of the image of  the Other.

And this is well understood by the academic community of AUL, which is a participant in the learning process and a transmitter of knowledge, and does everything to  meet the rapidly changing requirements of modern society . 

From numerous meetings and close cooperation with colleagues from AUL, I can say with responsibility that the teaching staff,  constantly accumulating teaching experience and constantly refining and increasing it , approaches students in the Makarenko way: with great demand and respect. The teaching skills of our colleagues show that they are  innovators,  constantly balancing on the line between the desire to preserve traditions and the need for innovation, between inspired Creativity and the achievement of mandatory learning outcomes, between an individual approach and educational standards.

The academic community of AUL is a builder, putting together the building of scientific knowledge from small bricks, laying the foundation for the development of each student and the state as a whole for many years, establishing communications between all participants in the learning process, cutting  windows into the unknown and opening doors to the future.

- How do you assess the possibilities of integrating Azerbaijani education into the global educational process and the availability of these opportunities at AUL? 

- The main characteristics of modern society today are its qualities such as development, variability, dynamism, and novelty. Aspects of the new wave of reconstruction of the architecture of university education are diverse and multifaceted. Today there is a lot of talk about the “Bologna” alternative mechanisms for the harmonization of national educational systems of higher education, about the construction of the  European Higher Education Area (EHEA ) , a space aimed at increasing the level of cooperation between higher education institutions in Europe and beyond, a space that is a clear manifestation of integration trends, which views  education as a source of common good and as an area for which society is responsible.  Equal access to higher education for all, lifelong learning, employment, improvement of educational programs, development of innovative research and international programs, as well as increased mobility of students, young scientists and teachers are just some of the priority steps of the European Higher Education Area.

Our university was the first of 86 Romanian universities to join this education system and has been a member of the European Higher Education Area for more than twenty years. We have some experience in this system, therefore we can say that the Bologna process is not only challenges, innovations and expectations, but also contradictions and disappointments, and like any living process it can be supplemented and improved. Its  alternative  mechanisms should be based on close academic cooperation, mutual trust and respect for cultural diversity and the traditions of national education systems. And most importantly, in my opinion, they should not replace, destroy or simplify national education systems, the fundamental nature of scientific knowledge and the integrity of the individual.

      At the moment, the Bologna process has already gone beyond the European Union. Unfortunately, the “new economy” and “globalization of education,” which erase the national boundaries of competition, seemingly objectively, are put forward to us as a key resource for economic growth and increased well-being in a particular country. The personnel training system, in our case ,  mainly pedagogical,  acquires in this regard, I would say,  strategic importance , becoming the main instrument for ensuring well-trained specialists in any field and their high competitiveness. The process of training and education is becoming not only technological; it acquires a “personal” character when the general level  of professional competence  of a specialist is complemented by  his personality’s abilities for systemic thinking, empathy and leadership, and intercultural and interlingual communication . Personal skills are important for people now and will remain in demand in the future. Broad professional competencies, complemented by “soft” skills, not related to professional activities, but necessary for successful work, with the ability to find innovative solutions to problems and problems, with teamwork and critical thinking skills complement the  integral educational paradigm , which is continuous and involves learning for all people throughout their lives. Scientists and educators call it “a genuine  new fundamentality . ”

In the Azerbaijani education system, the Azerbaijan University of Languages ​​is an institution with a deep cultural and educational heritage, which enhances and complements the integral educational paradigm.

Having inherited the rich experience of the predecessors of the Azerbaijan Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages ​​and having gone through a difficult but interesting path from an institution with a single department of foreign languages ​​in the twenties of the last century to a prestigious university with research laboratories, cultural and language centers, today the Azerbaijan University of Languages ​​trains professionals in more than sixty specialties in thirty-two departments of five faculties. Among the specialists are journalists, translators, and regional experts. But first of all, the university trains teachers.

And the training of competitive specialists - and I know that your former students and masters are successfully working in various fields and institutions - is a service  for  and  for  the benefit of the prosperity of the country, education and science, for the benefit of educating citizens with an active position in life. This is why teacher training is also a strategic component of the profession.        

If until now, in many education systems, learning was aimed at accumulating knowledge, now we are moving away from the era of industrialization (being replaced by robotization and digital technologies). This means that students – future specialists – must be taught not just to accumulate knowledge and memorize it, but to be able to think and independently obtain information and evaluate it critically.

The skills of critical thinking, complex problem solving and interaction are combined by innovative scientists into one comprehensive skill -  the skill of collective problem solving . The concept of “21st Century Skills” is a new reality in education, its essence is thoroughly discussed by Professor at the University of Melbourne Patrick Griffin, who is the leader of the largest international scientific project on assessing and teaching 21st century skills and competencies. This concept, in my opinion, is applicable to all levels of education - both at school, and at university, and during training in the workplace, because the world needs people who can acquire knowledge and skills throughout their lives, who are mobile and communicative, capable of change, able to adapt to different life situations. Therefore, this concept can be safely introduced into any education system, without fear that it will destroy something. It will most likely complement the formation of the personality of a competitive specialist with new qualities. And this will only benefit both the specialist himself and society.

I think that the academic community of AUL perfectly understands and feels the trends of the times in such a complex process as education and upbringing. In this process, the Azerbaijan University of Languages, which was included in the group of the best universities in the world in modern languages ​​in the QS 2023 university rankings by area, strengthens its influence in the world, applying to cooperation not only professional competence, the ability for empathy and leadership, intercultural and interlingual communication, but also teamwork skills, the ability to work in a team and find innovative solutions to tasks and problems, as well as the ability to calculate risks, including reputational ones. And only by relying on the national education system and updating it with some proven innovations, I emphasize, proven innovations of other educational systems, keeping up with global trends, but successfully adapting them, can you expand international relations, and offer something interesting of your own, and be competitive in world educational rating systems. The leadership and teachers of AUL are called upon to solve these problems, educating a new generation of intellectuals, trained both in Azerbaijan and abroad in the framework of numerous projects, intellectuals who will put forward new ideas, use the opportunities provided and look for ways to solve the impending crises in modern society.

- At the moment, Azerbaijan occupies a position in the world as a victorious country and a victorious people. What new realities, in your opinion, does this position and role dictate for the culture and literature of the victorious people? 

 I want to congratulate the Azerbaijani people on solving this important problem, which has touched their minds and hearts for three decades. Nagorno-Karabakh, a beautiful place with a very complicated history in the very center of Transcaucasia, is the territory of Azerbaijan. This is not a subject of debate or discussion. There is a UN position. There is international law. Our Center has repeatedly supported the aspirations of the Azerbaijani people.

            New realities are not only the restoration of the territorial integrity of the country, but also the transformation of destroyed territories, and the unconsoled mothers and families of martyrs, and children left without a breadwinner. And these realities require the unification and cohesion of society, the exit from the “comfort zone”, from each citizen’s “my home on the edge” to support the country in establishing a new life in the post-war territories.

Many of us, due to our natural laziness and innate hedonism, are not ready to fight for the happiness and well-being of the country, the city in which we live, or our small homeland. We look for easy ways, sometimes we even fight for the right to do only what we like, what brings pleasure, we act as WE consider necessary. But that doesn’t happen. Living in a society, we cannot fail to respect the laws of this society and the personal boundaries of its citizens. “ You may not be a poet, but you must be a citizen ,” wrote Nekrasov, meaning that a person is not obliged to have talent, to be a poet and writer, but is obliged to live by all the rules of morality, respect his homeland, not betray it, and work for its benefit, to be a patriot of your country. I don’t think that all of your fighters who gave their lives for their country knew these lines, but I am sure that all of them, being in a difficult life situation, did not look for easy ways, did not give up the idea that with their exploits they could bring prosperity to the country and society. Or maybe they didn’t even think about the feat, they simply stepped out of their comfort zone when the Motherland was in danger and defended it at the cost of their lives. In my opinion, working for the good of the Motherland and for your own joy - this is the essence of a victorious people. And the country is also responsible for its citizens. Because only a country whose value system on its path to strengthening the status of a regional power includes the strengthening of statehood and independence, as well as traditional values ​​based on pillars such as family, faith and homeland, is capable of providing equal rights to every citizen, people and every ethnic group living in Azerbaijan and bear responsibility for their well-being.

And, of course, the feat of the people should be shown not only in documents or documentaries, but also in wartime media. For the sake of preserving historical truth for future generations, it should become an example for illumination in fiction, in cinema, on theater stages, etc. So that people, and especially future generations, remember at what price happiness was won, as the poet would say. And the integrity of Azerbaijan was won at the cost of shed blood, mainly of young guys who have to live and live... And this is a new reality for Azerbaijani culture. Very significant in this sense is Kamal Abdulla's letter-manifesto about the culture of winners, creativity and harmony.

- And finally, your ideas about future activities and cooperation with AUL... 

- Today, dialogue, cooperation and partnership are the key parameters of relations between Romania and Azerbaijan. This is the logical result of a far-sighted, wise policy of building relations between the two peoples. Cultural and scientific ties play an important role in strengthening bilateral relations. Today, Romanian-Azerbaijani cultural and educational relations are well structured and organized both at the macro level and directly between cultural and educational institutions or the media, on the basis of a number of bilateral agreements, understandings and protocols. Our universities preserve and enhance the good traditions of educational cooperation, and this is evidenced by  the Cooperation Agreement signed on November 10, 2022 by our rector, Professor Tudorel Toader and the rector of AUL, academician Kamal Abdulla. The most important task remains to develop the accumulated potential, deepen and expand these connections at the level of faculties, departments, student organizations, and solve important problems of modern science in order to consolidate the position of our education systems and our universities in the global educational and information space. For this, both we and you have all the data - human potential, good material resources, legally formalized relationships, and creative leadership. We just need to work with full dedication, look forward, use the positive experience of different education systems and always the one that suits our national education systems, and, relying on traditions, increase it. And we will definitely succeed!

  On my own behalf, and on behalf of the students of the course on Azerbaijani multiculturalism, I wish peace and prosperity to your Home - Azerbaijan, prosperity and new achievements to the academic community of the Azerbaijan University of Languages. And thank you for your interesting and informative questions.



Cooperation agreement signed on November 10, 2022 by the rector Professor Tudorel Toader and the rector of AUL, academician Kamal Abdulla.


Kamal Abdulla at a meeting with readers and presentation of the novel Incomplete Manuscript in Romanian. Iasi, Romania


Presentation of the novel Valley of the Magicians in Romanian at the Iasi Central University Library. Professor at the University of Iasi, literary critic Livia Kotorcea


Signing a cooperation agreement with the Chisinau State Pedagogical University “Ion Creangă”.



Meeting and presentation of the novels “ Valley of the Magicians” and “ Incomplete Manuscript” at the Chisinau State Pedagogical University “Ion Creangă”.


Tural Jafarli

AUL press officer