Tuesday, February 19, 2013

SAISers on Winter Break: Azerbaijan

This is the first in a series of student guest posts about their activities over the 2012-2013 winter break.  Our first guest blogger is Kaelyn Lowmaster.   As she previously completed the Certificate program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, she’s currently completing the MA component of the 5-semester option, and she is concentrating in Conflict Management.
“One of the real perks of being a Conflict Management concentrator is the opportunity to apply for the program’s annual field trip.  This January, fifteen of my classmates and I headed to the Caucasus to study the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.  We met with people affected by the conflict on all levels, from foreign ministers to refugees.  The conflict is a frustrating one:  there are widely different historical narratives, deep-seated mistrust, and heavy investment in the status quo.  Still, the reactions of refugees and internally displaced persons on the two sides provided a note of optimism - each asked us to carry the message to the other that they hoped to one day live again in peace.  I hope that, at some level, our trip to the region will eventually have some small positive impact on the peace process, but in the meantime it definitely made each of us better students of conflict management.”
The Azerbaijan​i Flag over the Caspian Sea, in Baku
Kaelyn in Baku
A memorial to Azerbaijan​is killed when Soviet troops invaded on January 20, 1990
Old City Baku with the newly-cons​tructed flame towers
Baku at night from the presidenti​al offices
Old City Baku at night
The line of contact from the relocated city of Agdam
A hill overlookin​g the line of contact from the Azerbaijan side
The view into Nagorno-Ka​rabakh from the Azerbaijan​i side
Inside a memorial to the poet Nizami, outside the city of Ganja
Dinner with the mayor of Ganja
The Georgia-Ar​menia border crossing
The Foreign Ministry of Armenia
Opera Square in Yerevan
The view into Nagorno-Ka​rabakh from the Armenian side
Iconic statue of a Karabakhi man and woman outside the town of Stepanaker​t, in the unrecogniz​ed Republic of Nagorno Karabakh
To read other posts in this series, please click here.