Boosting regional cooperation: ADA Univerity in Baku hosts prestigious International Forum in June

Thu 14 June 2018 13:59 GMT | 13:59 Local Time

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This month, Baku prepares to open yet another successful summer season for international tourists.

In addition, this summer the capital of Azerbaijan will be hosting the brightest minds from across the broader region with leaders and executives representing all public and private sectors traveling to Baku to attend the 5th Annual CAMCA Regional Forum from June 21-23.  

“’CAMCA’ stands for Central Asia, Mongolia, Caucasus and Afghanistan, countries that are a part of the Central Asia-Caucasus Fellowship Program of the Rumsfeld Foundation and Central Asia-Caucasus Institute,” said Emil Gasimli, current National Coordinator of Fellowship Alumni in Azerbaijan and head of Business Development at SOCAR Azerbaijan. “It is not only massive in terms of geographical coverage, but also in terms of its goals. The CAMCA Network is unique in its aim to boost regional cooperation by creating linkages between rising leaders across all sectors in the ‘CAMCA’ countries.” He added that each annual CAMCA Regional Forum is able to attract high-level regional and international speakers and influencers representing government, business, science, education and civil society. “Due to its unique history, geography and culture, Azerbaijan, and Baku in particular, is an ideal place to promote regional development,” added Nargiz Nasrullayeva-Muduroglu, a Fellowship alumna and Adviser at the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan. Currently the Azerbaijani alumni team is actively involved in the organization of the Forum’s agenda and events.  

The 2018 Forum is supported and hosted in partnership with the leading educational facility in the country and the broader region – ADA University. “As an international platform aimed to connect Azerbaijan with the outside world, we are committed to support various international events boosting regional cooperation. The concept of the CAMCA Regional Forum perfectly fits our mission and we expect it to be a celebration of multiculturalism, tolerance, diversity and development,” said Fariz Ismailzade, Vice Rector for External, Government and Student Affairs at ADA University.  

According to the Forum organizers back in Washington, D.C., there is also a clear excitement for the upcoming 2018 Forum as well as a level of pride in the network of rising regional leaders that participate annually. “The CAMCA Regional Forum grew out of the Rumsfeld Fellowship Program and is an initiative of the program’s impressive and growing alumni network,” said David Soumbadze, the Fellowship Program Director.  “The Forum was established to provide a creative platform for region-wide discussions on means of advancing economic growth, social development and regional cooperation in the CAMCA region. Since the first broader gathering in Astana in 2014, we’ve come a long way and it is energizing to see that the CAMCA Regional Forums are developing into a ‘Regional Davos,’ where rising young leaders from the region come, along with international leaders and stakeholders, to meet, discuss, make deals and create lasting friendships.”  

The two-day agenda, focused around the 2018 Forum theme of “CAMCA: Emerging Regionalism,” will feature panels and discussions on the CAMCA region’s ongoing reforms and intraregional activities; the region’s unique geopolitical stance, energy and security challenges; trade and transport infrastructure projects; as well as discuss the region’s place in global affairs, education initiatives, human capital development and more. Among the confirmed speakers are the first Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States, Rector of ADA University Hafiz Pashayev; Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the American Foreign Policy Council, Dr. S. Frederick Starr; former President of the World Bank and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Amb. Paul Wolfowitz; First Deputy Chairman of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, Senator Sodiq Safaev; Governor of the Astana International Financial Center, Kairat Kelimbetov, as well as notable business executives and additional distinguished experts from top international universities and policy centers.  At present, the organizers anticipate over 250 participants representing more than 20 countries.

“Building on the regional momentum that has evolved through our Fellowship Program over the years, the Forum was established as one of the first and only platforms to bring together representatives of the 10 CAMCA countries spanning from the South Caucasus to Mongolia to discuss opportunities for regional cooperation,” said Sarah Tonucci, Executive Director of the Rumsfeld Foundation. “Due to the diverse and impressive pool of participants, the Forum essentially serves as a ‘one-stop shop’ for professionals interested in regional cooperation and partnerships, as well as for outside nations, businesses and organizations that have an interest in engaging with the region.” She also highlighted the expectations of the Foundation to see the 5th Annual CAMCA Forum in Baku as yet another successful and enjoyable gathering of some of the top rising leaders from across the region who are committed to fostering regional cooperation. “We hope that those in attendance will walk away with a number of new ideas, partnerships and plans for further collaboration,” added Mrs. Tonucci. 

About the CAMCA Network

The CAMCA network is a collection of professionals committed to sharing ideas, knowledge, expertise, experience and inspiration across the 10 countries of Central Asia, Mongolia, the Caucasus and Afghanistan (CAMCA). This new generation of regional leaders values free market economic systems, good governance, the rule of law and basic human freedoms; supports the sovereignty of their countries and traditional national values; and acknowledges the importance of regional and global cooperation. As an initiative of alumni of the Central Asia-Caucasus Fellowship Program, members of the CAMCA Network believe in the value of a connected region and are passionate to contribute to the development, prosperity and cooperation of the CAMCA region through a variety of joint activities and projects.

About the Rumsfeld Foundation

The Rumsfeld Foundation encourages leadership, public service and free political and economic systems in the U.S. and abroad. The Foundation is committed to providing opportunities for rising leaders, honoring service to nation and to promoting liberty.

About the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute

The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI) strives to promote study and policy-related work on the vast territory of Central Eurasia stretching from Turkey to Western China, encompassing eight former Soviet republics as well as Afghanistan through five main channels: impartial research; publications and dissemination; forums and conferences; teaching; and acting as a "switchboard" for knowledge and information. Founded in 1997, CACI is affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C., and forms a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center with the Institute for Security and Development Policy’s Silk Road Studies Program in Stockholm. 

Fidan Huseynli
CAMCA Network Member

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