Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2003 (11.3)


Historian Zaza Aleksidze (also spelled Alexidze), Director of the Institute of Manuscripts in Tbilisi, Georgia, has devoted his entire lifetime to studying ancient languages, ancient scripts, Caucasian history and Orthodox liturgy. Little did he know that one day the accumulation of this knowledge would enable him to decipher the 5th century Caucasian Albanian script that few people even imagined existed which had its origin in the land which is now called Azerbaijan. Page 38.

1 Albanian Script: How Its Secrets Were Revealed? - Aleksidze and Blair
2 Zaza Aleksidze. Decipherer: Glimpses of Childhood - Blair
3 Quick Facts: Caucasian Albanian Script - Aleksidze and Blair
4 Caucasian Albanian Script: Significance of Dechipherment - Aleksidze
5 Udi Language: Compared with Ancient Albanian - Aleksidze
6 Udins Today: Ancestors of the Caucasian Albanians - Zurab Konanchev
7 Heyerdahl Intrigued by Rare Caucasus Albanian Text

The deliberate truck bombing in Baghdad that took the life of Sergio de Mello was the worst disaster targeting UN personnel that this international peace organization had known in its 55-year history. We discovered that de Mello had visited Azerbaijan to assess the tragic refugee problem back in 1995. Paolo Lembo, former UN Representative to Azerbaijan writes a personal tribute to the man who he claims was "a cut above others" and who many said was slated to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations. Page 14.

Fluent in Azeri and Russian, Azerbaijan International Editorial staff member Gulnar Aydamirova, 20, played an enormous role in gathering much of the material for this issue. She met with the late Aziza Jafarzade (16), the Ministry of Sports press office to learn about Baku hosting the World Cup Rhythmic Gymnastics (22) and European Judo Championship (24), Representative of the Udin people Zurab Konanchev (58), Majnun Karimov who has just published Azerbaijan's Traditional Instruments (62), and Oruj Musayev who has just published a 1,700 page English-Azerbaijani dictionary (63). Thanks, Gulnar!

Kathleen Shryock and her husband Jim were among the first American families to adopt children from Azerbaijan. Since then more than 100 U.S. families have joined them. This past summer, the Shryocks helped to host the 2nd Annual Reunion-"Celebrating Our Families". Kathleen describes her impressions of the Kansas City event. A silent auction of art by Azerbaijani children, featured in the article, helped to raise money for children in Baku still living in institution care. Here Kathleen is pictured with her daughter Rachel. Page 34.

These days, electrical power shortages are so frequent in Tbilisi that Georgians are complaining that it reminds them of hardships they suffered during World War II. But lack of electricity did not deter George Alexidze, 14, from digitizing and emailing us all the photos and graphics that were used to accompany the 19-pages of text for the article featuring his father, Zaza Alexidze, who recently discovered and deciphered the Caucasian Albanian alphabet which was found in manuscripts in a mountain monastery in Egypt. See page 38 and following.

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