Podcast by Mark Elliott
Episode 25 | Azerbaijan’s Elin Suleymanov has been ambassador in the UK, the US and Comedy Central
If you thought diplomats had to leave their personalities behind to do their jobs, think again. Elin Suleymanov is Azerbaijan’s current ambassador in the UK. Before that he spent a decade as Baku’s main man in Washington, becoming probably the only ambassador to have appeared on Comedy Central. There’s plenty of humour in this very human yet incisive podcast conversation, but much to think about as Mark asks Elin about “caviar diplomacy,” Armenian detainees and hopes for longer term peace in the Caucasus.
Episode 24 | Yerevan Based Analyst Richard Giragosian Shares Some Optimism About Regional Peace
Armenian-American analyst Richard Giragosian is the founder of the Regional Studies Center - an independent geopolitical think tank based in Yerevan. He’s a frequent contributor to global news networks, newspapers and periodicals. Before moving to Armenia a decade and a half ago he had been a staffer in the US congress and a lecturer to the US Special Forces. In this eloquent podcast, Richard suggests that, in the Caucasus, there is a clear window of opportunity for reframing decades of conflict. He gives insights as to how Azerbaijan might better understand Armenian viewpoints and how Armenia itself could benefit from greater diversity.
Episode 23 | Arnold Alahverdian, Co-founder of Bright Garden Voices
Though Armenians and Azerbaijanis were often friends and neighbours during the Soviet period, since independence – and the two Karabakh wars – contact between the two peoples has been sadly lacking. And that has made it easy for each side to dehumanize and demonize the other. Whether online or in person, contact and discussion between everyday Azerbaijanis and Armenians could help to slowly reverse this process and bring about the conditions needed for lasting peace. That’s the philosophy behind Bright Garden Voices, whose co-founder, Arnold Alahverdian, joins Mark on this edition of the Caspian Podcast.
Episode 22 | Ramin Jabbarli - researcher and teacher born to an Azerbaijani-Turkish family in Iran
Episode 22 | Ramin Jabbarli - researcher and teacher born to an Azerbaijani-Turkish family in Iran by Mark Elliott
Episode 21 | Polina Dessiatnichenko, Ethnomusicologist, Tar Player, and Mugham Enthusiast!
Polina Dessiatnichenko (https://polinadessi.com) is a Ukrainian-Canadian ethnomusicologist and player of the 11-stringed tar, an archetypally Caucasian musical instruments typically used to accompany Azerbaijani mugham. In this unique edition of the Caspian Podcast Polina explains with demonstrations various musical motifs with which tar players build up the structure of that Unesco-listed form of very traditional yet partly improvised music. Polina also explains a little about the linkages between mugham and ghazal poetry and reveals that learning these art forms is an all-encompassing spiritual endeavour rather like becoming the devotee of a guru.
Episode 20 | Dr. Darya Hodaei - Promoting Azerbaijani-Turkic Language and Culture
If you’ve read her article at caspianpost.com, you might feel that you already know Dr. Darya Hodaei – a Florida-based Azerbaijani-Turk from Iran who is the brains behind the language website EnglishAzerbaijani. On top of her day job as a pharmacist and the pressures of motherhood, she has written three bi-lingual children’s books to promote the Azerbaijani Turkic language and culture. In this podcast we get to know her a little better and hear more about her passion for her native language.