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05 March 2014

Memorandum of Understanding Signed between Khazar University, BP and “ESI International" Company

On March 5, a Memorandum of Understanding to renew the activity of the School of Project Management (SPM) was signed between the university and BP at Khazar University’s Marble Hall. SPM was founded in 2011 by BP and its partners to provide representatives of the private and public sector an opportunity to study a wide range internationally accepted programs on project management. The purpose of this initiative is to support the improvement of performance in the management of local projects. The project is carried out with the collaboration with Khazar University and "ESI International," which is a leading training company on project management solutions.

Participants in the ceremony included administrators and staff members of Khazar University;  Mr. Gordon Birrell, BP Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, who also delivered a lecture to Khazar students  about BP's activities before the ceremony; Ed Hughes, manager of international university programs of "ESI International", ambassadors of several countries to Azerbaijan; and media representatives.
Gordon Birrell made a presentation at the signing ceremony and noted that BP and its partners agreed to extend the terms of support to School of Project Management (SPM) until November 2015.

G. Birrell noted that the school offers two world-recognized certificates: "Master's Certificate in Project Management" from George Washington University and "Project Management Specialist" from Project Management Institute. The decision to extend cooperation was based on successes of the school over the last three years. SPM has given two graduations so far and has awarded over 300 international certificates. It has also coordinated the full translation of its internationally recognized comprehensive curriculum and international standards on project management into Azerbaijani. Local managers who do not speak English can now benefit from its training. Khazar University’s founder and chairman of the Board of Directors and Trustees, Professor Hamlet Isaxanli, expressed his gratitude to BP for their support of SPM, and he expressed his belief that the renewed contract will contribute to the development of local potential and fruitful training. Then the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Gordon Birrell, Ed Hughes and Hamlet Isaxanli. 

We present Hamlet Isaxanli’s speech made at the signing ceremony:

Speech of Professor, Hamlet Isaxanli, Founder of Khazar University, Chairman of Board of Directors and Trustees at the contract signing ceremony between BP, ESI and Khazar University on the School of Project Management


Dear Mr. Gordon Birrell, BP’s Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Region President,

Dear Mr. Ed Hughes, ESI International Manager of College Programs

Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,


On behalf of Khazar University, it is my great pleasure to greet you and welcome you to Khazar University’s Neftchilar campus! Normally, the mission of a higher education institution consists of activities such as 1) providing education, 2) carrying out research, and 3) community service. Khazar University added to these the mission of 4) becoming a cultural center, and it has been able to accomplish that. Now in the age of the knowledge economy, an information society and globalization, some modern universities have also begun to take on the mission of creating strong university-industry relations. 5) Khazar University is among those modern institutions. This should not be surprising; on the contrary, it should seem very natural.

First of all, let us note that Khazar University is the first private university in Azerbaijan and in the broader region. It is the first university in Azerbaijan to use a student-centered model and to allow each student to graduate by making free choices, earning credits along his or her own selected trajectory. Khazar University, which is founded on the principle of academic freedom, has been able to create an attractive international environment which calls people to fruitful work. It is the first university in Azerbaijan to align its educational programs and administrative systems to western standards and is the first university with English as a medium of instruction. Many bachelors, masters and PhD programs are offered by its four schools: Engineering and Applied Science; Economics and Management; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Education. Khazar University is known for having the most diverse and developed doctorate programs in Azerbaijan, for which it surpasses most state universities in the number of applicants, and is first among private universities. In addition to its schools and academic departments, Khazar runs many institutes and centers which carry out various types of research, projects, and trainings (for example, the Technopark, the Film and Animation Center, Caucasus Resource Research Center, Eurasia Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub, the Institute for Educational Policy…). Many of these centers are funded by outside sources, and the majority of them were founded as a result of external grants.

Khazar University also takes first place in Azerbaijan and in the wider region for its international partnerships. We currently have around 250 international partnership programs covering Europe, America and Asia. Khazar University has become recognized worldwide. For example, in last year’s international QS ratings, Khazar was included in the 650+ top universities, and was first in Azerbaijan. For many years, Khazar’s library has been the only library from the Caucasus and Central Asia to be included in the ratings of libraries with its open access policy.

Khazar University places an extreme degree of importance on university-industry relations, and it would not be an overstatement to say that BP has been our closest and most faithful partner in this area. About 10 years ago when BP wanted to implement master programs and technical training in petroleum engineering for its young employees by combining distance and face-to-face education, it chose Khazar University from Azerbaijan and Herriot-Watt University from Great Britain as its university partners. We successfully implemented this program. The resulting partnership also gave our instructors the opportunity to receive training in Great Britain and our students the opportunity to receive scholarships from BP. This triangular partnership was named as the best example of university-industry relations at the World Bank forum in Budapest in 2005.

The first step of another partnership initiative we have with BP is what brings us all together today. As a result of cooperation among BP, ESI and Khazar University, the School of Project Management at Khazar University was created. The serious participation of BP empowered and popularized this new partnership triangle. Many young people have gone through the training of various project management modules, a large portion of them earned master’s degrees from George Washington University, and some of them have even succeeded in taking professional exams. These exams are already offered at Khazar University, so test-takers no longer have to travel abroad. I’d also like to say that as a result of the experience Khazar University gained, it was able to create its own master degree program in project management (as a concentration within its MBA program).

Taking into account the extraordinary success in project management, the same three partners—BP, ESI and Khazar University—have decided to sign a new contract.

I would like to thank BP for its great contributions worldwide to the development of education and research, particularly in Azerbaijan. I believe that in the near future, new partnership ideas will arise between Khazar University and BP, and we will continue our partnership for the sake of development of both the university and the industrial world.

I would also like to thank ESI, another friend and partnering organization. This was not a simple partnership; we have had to work hard and have met some difficulties, but we have achieved success. It is a sign of success that we are together today! Thank you very much!