Eva-Maria Auch: You must visit Azerbaijan in order to know and love it

Baku, November 24, AZERTAC

Head of the Department of History of Azerbaijan at the Humboldt University of Berlin, professor Eva-Maria Auch gave an interview to AZERTAC.

-Mrs. Auch, you often travel to Azerbaijan. What is the purpose of your current visit?

-As you said, I often visit Azerbaijan. I have been closely cooperating with Azerbaijan for years. The purpose of my current visit is participation in an international conference “NGO cooperation – achievements and prospects” organized by the Council of State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations under the President of Azerbaijan.

I would also like to note that the Department of History of Azerbaijan at the Humboldt University of Berlin has realized a research project on theme "The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in German media." During the meetings as part of the visit, we discussed the results of this project. We have collected and analyzed all the materials related to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during 20 years - since the start of the conflict in 1988 and till 2008.

Some 46 percent of German population receives information from newspapers and magazines. German readers put more trust in print media than the Internet and TV. From this perspective, the research has been mainly carried out in such influential newspapers as «Frankfurter Allgemeine», «Neues Deutschland», weekly magazines «Der Spiegel» and «Die Zeit». The majority of materials about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were published in 1992. In general, «Der Spiegel published 48, «Die Zeit» - 41, «Frankfurter Allgemeine» - 1156 and «Neues Deutschland» - 616 materials about this conflict.

-How do you assess the current state of the Azerbaijani-German relations? Do we have any opportunity to deepen our relations?

-Relations between the two countries can have a different format and level. Cooperation may include political, economic, sports and other areas. Next year Baku will host the first European Games. From this perspective, we can further expand relations between Germany and Azerbaijan in the field of sports. We can make presentations to provide German people with more information about the development processes in Azerbaijan. The countries have stable economic relations. Azerbaijan is the only country in the region which has a German Chamber of Commerce along with the Russian one. As for the political relations between the two countries, it is enough to recall the recent visit of German Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani people have a very rich history, culture and also an unprecedented religious tolerance and generous hospitality. Azerbaijan –German relations have deep historical roots and a great potential in the fields of politics, science, economy, sports and culture.

-You heads the Department of History of Azerbaijan at the Humboldt University. What kind of activity does your department provide?

-The Humboldt University of Berlin – is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Germany and the whole Europe. The University has a large number of students (about 60,000) and it is a good decision of the Azerbaijani government to open the Department of History of Azerbaijan here. Students from Potsdam, Brandenburg and the Free University of Berlin are among the students studying the history of Azerbaijan at Humboldt University. The department carries out various projects to promote Azerbaijan's history, culture, literature and language. The Institute of History employs 22 Professors. They offer the students here interesting lectures about the history of Azerbaijan, seminars and master classes. The Embassy of Azerbaijan in Germany actively supports the activities of the department. The Department of History of Azerbaijan attracted great interest as Azerbaijan is the largest and the most developed country in the Caucasus.

-Do you organize trips to Azerbaijan for German students studying the history of Azerbaijan?

-Our department is implementing a project "Summer School" together with the Baku Slavic University. Some 12 of the 20 students, who visited Azerbaijan in the framework of this project, are currently studying the history of Azerbaijan. You need to visit Azerbaijan to know and love this country: I have always tried to convey this idea to my students.

-Please share your impressions of modern Baku

-Baku has changed significantly over the past years. It resembles me Berlin, Dubai, London and Paris. As a historian, I don’t get tired of exploring the ancient, mysterious alleys of Baku.

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