Vol. 1, No. 6 (April 15, 2008)
A guide to contemporary Azerbaijan
Student Services Coordinator
Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy
The Azerbaijan National Encyclopedia Scientific Center has just published what almost certainly will be for many years the most comprehensive guide to the geography, history, culture, economy, politics and foreign relations of the Republic of Azerbaijan: the 884-page Azerbaijan (2007) volume of what will ultimately be a 25-volume national encyclopedia in the Azerbaijani language.
Its 155 articles were prepared by leading scholars. Its 591 pictures and illustrations and 89 tables are the most current available. And its 55 maps were prepared by the State Land and Mapping Committee. Some idea of its detail and richness is suggested by three of the most interesting sets of articles: those devoted to national security, the Azerbaijani diaspora, and economic development.
Azerbaijan’s national security policies, as the encyclopedia makes clear, are based on the principles of independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity and are developed and conducted by the collection of institutions known as the National Security System. Among these are the president of the republic, the parliament, the council of ministers, and the security council. The volume describes the way these and other bodies interact to advance the national security interests of the state.
Perhaps most interesting for many will be the sections on Azerbaijanis living abroad. According to the encyclopedia, there are approximately 10 million members of the Azerbaijani diaspora today, that is, Azerbaijanis who have moved from Azerbaijan rather than those who may be ethnically related (as in Iran) but who have lived outside its borders from time immemorial. The volume traces the history of diaspora organizations from the 1920s until today.
Because of the importance of economics and foreign trade, the encyclopedia devotes particular attention to these subjects, providing comprehensive and detailed information about oil, gas, and metal production, trade, and related issues. In addition, it includes tables and charts on government spending, poverty rates, employment and foreign trade.
Azərbaycan (2007), “Azərbaycan Milli Ensiklopediyası” Elmi Mərkəzi, Bakı (883 səh., tirajı 50000). [Azerbaijan (2007), “Azerbaijan National Encyclopedia” Scientific Center, Baku (883 pages, 50 000 copies)].