Azerbaijan International

Autumn 1999 (7.3)
Page 10

Reader's Forum
Connected to Baku

I just received the latest issues of Azerbaijan International (AI) magazine here in Tajikistan. Whenever I get them, it's like receiving a letter from home or getting back to a book that I didn't get to finish reading the night before. You can't imagine how important this magazine is to me, how powerful it is to feel reconnected to Azerbaijan and its activities, to the ideals and emotions I felt during that most important moment of my life.

I've just finished meticulously reading your issue devoted to art [AI 7.2, Summer 1999] and was so happy to discover so many of my Azeri artist friends whose paintings and sculptures decorate my house in Rome.

I remember the first pioneering efforts of AI back in 1993 and 1994, when the magazine struggled to gain an international audience. You wanted the people in Baku to understand how important it was to have a professional and attractive medium so that Azerbaijan could be known in the international community. What an epic, wonderful struggle! And now I have in front of me a glossy, world-class magazine!

Since I left Baku in 1997, I've spent the past two years in Tajikistan, where the United Nations was able to implement the Peace Agreement transforming this most troubled Republic into what I consider to be one of the few true success stories of the UN in the last ten years. We would not have succeeded, had we not been assisted by fortunate historic circumstances that we used to achieve our goals. It has been, indeed, a wonderful, intense adventure, in a splendid country characterized by pristine natural beauty and an ancient culture.

My next assignment is Kosovo. I'm very happy to be going there, as I believe that the unprecedented UN undertaking in Kosovo is one of the last great adventures of this millennium. It certainly will be a challenge, but isn't that what life is all about?

Paolo Lembo
Former UN Representative in Azerbaijan (1992-97)
Currently Special Representative of the Secretary-General ad interim in Tajikistan (1997- )
Newly appointed Resident Director, UNDP Kosovo (from September 1999)

From Azerbaijan International (7.3) Autumn 1999.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

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