In April 2016, the third wave of the fellowship program was launched. Based on the lessons learned from the previous waves, the design of the fellowship program has been upgraded. In total 5 fellows, including 2 international students, were enrolled in a 6-month long fellowship. Within this program, they committed to 400 office hours to support the day-to-day running of the programs of EPF/CRRC Azerbaijan. All fellows received a 3-day long orientation and then, a 3-day long advanced training in research methodology and design. They were producing monthly analytical articles and each was working on one large-scale research project.
After graduating with a BA degree in English Translation at Khazar University in Baku, Elchin was involved in civic activism in Azerbaijan. In early 2016 he obtained his Master’s degree in International Relations: Europe from Visegrad Perspective, a joint degree from four universities in Central Europe. Elchin’s research project at CRRC Azerbaijan will focus on growing militaristic attitudes in Azerbaijani society – particularly among civil society groups – following the escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April 2016.
Gunel was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She has a bachelor degree from Azerbaijan University of Languages. Gunel later went to the UK to pursue a Master’s degree in Education at University of Sheffield, for which she was awarded a scholarship by the State Program for the Studies of Young Azerbaijanis Abroad (2007-2015). Her main research interest is in inclusive education, for children with disabilities. During her studies abroad, Gunel explored the conceptualization of disability and the deficiencies of special education in Azerbaijan’s social policy. As an independent researcher, she attended the `Education Policy and Research Forum` hosted by School of Education of ADA University and the US–Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association (AAA), where she presented her research. Gunel’s research project within the CRRC fellowship explores the civic engagement of young people in the reform of higher educational institutions. She intends to analyze the most effective mechanisms for promoting the active involvement of young people in these efforts. In this way, the project attempts to highlight the invaluable role of youth in the development of society.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, Ilaha holds an MSc degree from King’s College London in International Development and Emerging Economies. During her studies she became more interested in the policy-making for development and different socio-economic development models in emerging and middle-income countries. Her previous experience includes working as a pro-bono consultant in London and as an intern for UNDP and the Baku-based Center for Strategic Studies. Currently, Ilaha’s research project within the CRRC fellowship attempts to analyse the effectiveness of the state-led development model (developmental state) in Azerbaijan during the last 20 years. This is based on existing research on the possibility of state-led development in small countries with limited resources and economic scale. Her research focuses on investigating the major drawbacks of this model and analyses the implications regarding how to move forward in building a more effective developmental state in Azerbaijan.
Originally from the United Kingdom and a graduate of Russian and Spanish Languages and Cultures from Durham University, Lucy is currently a Topchibashev International Fellow on the Master in Public Policy program at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA). Her recent research focuses on gender politics and shifting cultural attitudes in Azerbaijan and the wider post-Soviet region. Prior to this, in her early career her focus was on open data, the governance of oil revenues and ‘resource curse’ issues, as well as in political risk analysis of the CIS region. Lucy’s research project for CRRC Azerbaijan will focus on the interplay between economic growth and gender norms in the post-Soviet region, and will attempt to use available empirical data and indexes to ‘zoom in’ on which factors can contribute to greater empowerment of women in the unique post-Soviet institutional context.
Originally from The Gambia, Omar holds a BSc Degree in Economics and Finance from the University of The Gambia. Eager to broaden his international knowledge and for career advancement, he moved to Azerbaijan in August 2015 to pursue MA in Public Policy at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA). While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he served as an Economics teacher at senior secondary level in The Gambia for three years and subsequently worked as a consultant with Gambia-based Pristine Consulting Firm.
Omar’s research interest focuses on the practice of Good Governance in Azerbaijan with emphasis on the impact of oil rents on corruption in Azerbaijan.