Letter from the former country director of American Councils for International Education to President of the Minister of Justice Fikrat Mammadov:
Dear Minister Mamadov,
This letter is offered respectfully in support of Adnan Hajizade, detained since July 8th on criminal charges of hooliganism. As former country director for the international nongovernmental organization, American Councils for International Education, and currently a professor in the United States, I have known Adnan since he was a high school student.
Only 55 students out of 1,500 applicants from Azerbaijan were chosen in 1999 to participate in the Freedom Support Act/Future Leaders Exchange Program (FSA/FLEX), a one-year high school exchange program. Adnan was one of the 55 selected. In complement to proven academic success as well aspotential, personal qualities sought in successful participants include flexibility and open-mindedness, leadership, commitment to community and society, and dedication to voluntarism and civicresponsibility. Not only did Adnan clearly demonstrate these strengths prior to program participation, but also since then his allegiance to society and to the positive development of Azerbaijan has become deeper and more mature.
While country director in Azerbaijan I had the opportunity to become well acquainted with Adnan in avariety of capacities. I saw him grow from a well-meaning high school student to an organizer and creator of orphanage and IDP outreach activities, youth programs to foster civil awareness and responsibility, and city park clean-up days. Adnan’s responsibilities at American Councils were varied and not only did he excel in his duties but he saw his work as part of a collective effort to contribute to the positive growth and strengthening of Azerbaijan.
Adnan’s potential to contribute to Azerbaijan’s social development, whether defined as community outreach generally or fostering civic awareness and responsibility specifically, or by demonstrating thatnational borders can be lines that join rather than separate, has already been shown by his volunteer activities in the last 10 years. Adnan has shown his dedication to society through an impressive array of projects and personal actions that at any age would be inspiring, but all the more so as he is just 26 years old.
Adnan is a young man of outstanding morality, possessing a deep faith in the inherent goodness of individuals, with a practiced belief that open discussion and non-violence will lead to trust and understanding between individuals and societies. When I came back to Azerbaijan this summer, I met people on the street who not having seen me for several years said, “Welcome Home.” I continue to work in my university and community in many ways to increase awareness and appreciation for Azerbaijan. I do this because of my admiration and respect for the friends and individuals I know in Azerbaijan, friends like Adnan.
I appreciate your consideration concerning Adnan, and respect the fair and impartial treatment Adnan will receive by Azerbaijan’s justice system.
Dr. Jeremy Tasch
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