3 journal of azerbaijani studies in search of 'khazar



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IN SEARCH OF 'KHAZAR

*


Hamlet ISAXANLI (Azerbaijan)








The realities of events associated with the establishment and development of Khazar University have left indelible traces in my memory. I intend to pass these events to you in their entirety and in all sincerity. I hope I can relive together with you, readers, those days spent in 'search of Khazar'.

1. Between Heaven and Earth
For a number of years I was familiarizing myself with different universities all over the world, whilst gathering my thoughts on science and education in my own country, Azerbaijan. These ideas and comparisons were taking a distinctive shape in my imagination - the shape of a university.

Novel ideas and thoughts seemingly appear unexpectedly, but in reality they are a result of long and intensive subconscious efforts. The information that we absorb, accept and keep in our minds is explored and analyzed in invisible and imperceptible ways. According to some hypotheses, this way is simply called a harmonization, putting thoughts into a correct and beautiful order. In this process, suddenly everything falls into place and an idea appears as a patch of light.

The first place where I studied after Azerbaijan was Moscow State University. I spent long years there first studying and then researching mathematics. The university's extremely high scientific
* This article was originally published in the "Khazar View"

("Xəzər xəbər") by Khazar University Press. N°N2İ0-12, 14/1996 and 19-25/1997.

** Prof. Dr., Founder and Chancellor of Khazar University.



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Hamlet ISAXANLI



potential and pleasant and creative atmosphere seemed to be a new world to me. Later I traveled more and came across more varied systems at universities in Canada and in Europe. I didn't content myself solely with giving lectures, presenting papers at different conferences, workshops, and conducting new research. These universities themselves slowly became my object of study and investigation. Later I also started practicing "distance learning" of the world's famous universities. With enthusiasm I studied histories of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (I was unable to visit those at the time) in order to understand their distinct features.

The crisis that has started in the higher education system in Azerbaijan was deepening further in the second part of the eighties. Historically, Azerbaijan has gained great successes in the art of music and other forms of art, and some fields of science had developed to the point that the foundations of certain scientific schools had been established. Meanwhile the spiritual values that the society was resting upon began to be reduced to dust, and the economic basis was about to be destroyed. These developments influenced every sphere of society including science and education. The habit of corruption, accepting bribes and falsifying the students' grades was spreading day by day from one university to another and from one lecturer to another. There was no control over corruption and it was becoming accepted as common practice. The scientists and intellectuals that were trying to maintain their integrity and distance themselves from the surrounding world were slowly becoming mere observers. The level and intensity of scientific research was sharply decreasing. The political and economic crisis in the Soviet Union started having an impact on universities and research institutes. Many claimed that the pitiful lecturer earnings forced them to take bribes, and this number was gradually increasing. Lies and hypocrisy, dilettantism and protectionism were prospering.

In July 1990 I was invited to Great Britain as one of the keynote speakers at the 11th International Dundee Conference on Ordinary and



Partial Differential Equations. There I met my old friends and some new faces, and refreshed in my memory the interesting pages of history of Scotland and England.

On the return London to Moscow flight, as I habitually do, I was trying to make travel notes and write down some of my thoughts. I was thinking and comparing the East and the West. My thoughts were random. Strangely, I was feeling myself not on the plane but between the earth and sky, in a condition of weightlessness. For a moment I felt strange anxiety and excitement. "Would I be able to establish a small university?". This strange question was not leaving me, but was attracting my thoughts like a powerful magnet. I was really struggling with my mind trying to free it of this annoying question, to leave it unanswered, but all my efforts were futile. On one hand, my mind was busy drawing up plans for university. On the other hand, I was putting up a weak resistance, thinking that I am again taken away from the realities of the world by rebelling thoughts.




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