UC Berkeley continues partnership with Azerbaijan Technical University

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UC Berkeley is continuing its partnership with Azerbaijan Technical University, or AzTU, an engineering-focused public university located in Baku, Azerbaijan, as announced Wednesday in an AzTU press release.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and AzTU Acting Rector Khalig Yahudov signed a memorandum of understanding to continue the partnership between the two campuses for an additional five years. The campuses’ partnership began in 2011, and AzTU was the first university in Azerbaijan to sign a memorandum of understanding with UC Berkeley.

The agreement allows graduate students to maneuver between the two campuses to conduct research and study in a new culture and under different faculty, who will also be able to visit scholars from each institutions.

“This agreement gives an opportunity to students, faculty members to travel to Azerbaijan, study in a foreign nation and take in the allure and culture of a new land,” said Shahnaz Shahbazova, an associate professor at AzTU and coordinator of the memorandum, in an email.

Shahbazova previously came to UC Berkeley in September 2014 to present her research on mathematical models of expert systems. The appearance was sponsored by the Berkeley Initiative for Soft Computing, which is led by Lofti Zadeh, a UC Berkeley electrical engineering and computer science professor emeritus and Azerbaijani native.  

The AzTU press release called the newly formed relationship with UC Berkeley “an important step in the preparation of qualified engineering staff in Azerbaijan.”

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof  said in an email that the MOU was signed to pursue the exchange of academic materials, faculty and graduate students. It also seeks to connect educational, cultural and research projects.

The MOU is a “standardized template” for the campus and, consequently, minimal negotiations are needed, Mogulof said.

The agreement has encouraged Azerbaijani students to study at UC Berkeley, according to Shahbazova. She said after the agreement, a number of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in UC Berkeley whereas there were none studying at the campus before, Shahbazova said.

“As a coordinator of the agreement, I can proudly say that collaboration of both universities leads to development of science and education,” Shahbazova said.

Contact Ahna Straube at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @akstraube.