‘Qatar became a second home to some of us,’ say Azerbaijan expatriates

Tue 19 Feb 2019 06:08 GMT | 10:08 Local Time

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Expatriates from Azerbaijan have formed an association recently. The small but well connected community of expatriates was meeting to celebrate their national festivals and functions, and at some point they realised that their number has grown, especially in the last few years and there is a need to create an association and bring people together, The Peninsula, Qatar’s daily newspaper, reported.

Eldagiz Rafibayli, a well known name in the community, and other key expatriates, supported by the Embassy of Azerbaijan took the initiative and formed an association in December last year.

“We have not decided about the name of our association. Name and other details about the association will be announced soon,” Eldagiz Rafibayli, Chairman of the association told The Peninsula. “One of main objectives of forming the association is to bring our community members in Qatar together” he added.

There are also instances, when community members, especially the newly arrived expatriates, need some assistance such as information about housing, driving license, school admission, etc. Being a part of the community, makes life easier in this sense.

Born in 1980 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Eldagiz holds Masters Degree in Business Management and International Relations. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), British Petroleum (BP) and SOCAR in Azerbaijan and moved to Doha in 2011 after accepting a job offer from Qatargas.

He is one of the founders of Rugby Union of Azerbaijan and is currently the President of the Azerbaijan Rugby Federation.

First initiative of the community was organising Azerbaijani language lessons and drawing lessons for the kids.

After forming the association, number of activities by the community members is expected to increase in future. “We are planning to hold classes where children can learn about their history, culture, music and literature,” he added.

In future, the association is also planning to organise cultural events jointly with Qataris and other communities here in Qatar. “The ties between Qatar and Azerbaijan are strong and we want the people of both our counties to interact more. This will bring our two nations even closer InshaAllah” added Eldegiz.

Azerbaijan expatriates say that they are enjoying their stay in Qatar and praise the country for facilities offered to expatriates here.

“Qatar is one of best countries in the world to be with family. It has world-class infrastructure, education system and is among the safest countries in the region. And it is very family oriented, in my opinion,” said Eldegiz.

The number of Azerbaijan expatriates coming to Qatar has increased in the past few years due to easing of visa system. Azerbaijan has also emerged as an attractive tourist destination for Qataris, who have began going to the country in large numbers.

“The relations between the two counties will develop further and we want to play our part in their development,” said Eldegiz.

Another Azerbaijani expatriate, Ayseba Umutlu, who works with Al Jazeera as a producer said that the association of the community used to organize different educational, cultural activities for the community.

“We celebrate national events and holidays of both Azerbaijan and Qatar. Embassy of Azerbaijan also organizes events to mark national celebrations of Azerbaijan,” Ayseba, who is also deputy chairperson of the association, said. She said that the number of Azerbaijani community members was growing in Qatar.

She said that many Azerbaijani people had started exploring Qatar. “Also many Qataris are now visiting Azerbaijan,” she said, emphasizing the need of more cultural exchanges between two countries which she said would bring two nations closer to each other. She said that the community association was also trying to introduce Azerbaijani cuisine in Qatar.

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