Azerbaijan International

Summer 2003 (11.2)
Page 12

Readers' Forum
Introducing Azerbaijan

In 1999 I arrived in the U.S. to study at Juilliard School of Music. From my first day here I was very surprised to realize that my peers knew nothing about my country's culture and traditions. In fact, they didn't even know where Azerbaijan was located. I tried to explain and show them some pictures and let them listen to some CDs, but I soon realized the most effective way was to pass them an issue of Azerbaijan International magazine. That was the best image of our country, its culture, people, traditions, art, music

I'm not sure where and how the idea of developing each issue on a specific theme originated, but it's absolutely great! It provides the best approach so readers can form an impression about us. It seems there's hardly a topic that hasn't been covered by AI! How many people have discovered my country's past by reading "Eyewitness of the Century", AI 7.1 (Autumn 1999) and "Memories" AI 10.4, (Winter 2002) issues. How many of my fellow students fell in love with our food, accepting my invitation to go out to the Azerbaijani restaurant here in New York after reading "Food! Glorious Food!" AI 8.3 (Autumn 2001). By the way, the Food Issue traveled along with me on one of our Julliard tours to Barbados, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina!

I could never believe how many people, in fact, do read AI until I was featured in a couple of issues, and my music was broadcast on their Web I have received letters from many parts of the world. I was contacted by British publishers of the Children's World Encyclopedia, asking me to write my impressions about coming from Azerbaijan to Juilliard. A Scottish violin teacher asked my advice for his left-handed student (since it was mentioned that I am a "lefty" in the article). Just a few days ago, I received an e-mail from a 14-year-old boy looking for someone to advise him since he wants to come to Juilliard in a couple of years!

Some people who have listened to my samples of violin music on the AI Web have written me touching letters, expressing their gratitude for being able to explore and understand Azerbaijani culture.

As a musician, through performing and traveling, I meet many people from different countries and cultures on my way. I feel that it is extremely important to have such a valuable archive of history, geography, culture and art, to refer people who want to get to know Azerbaijan better. There's more than 10 full years of articles and thousands of photos archived at their Web

I thank all of the staff of Azerbaijan International, along with the editor, for their restless search for news and incredible energy, in presenting as much as possible about our country. Thank you, AI!!!

Sabina Rakcheyeva,
[Violinist, Graduate from Julliard]
New York City

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