Azerbaijan - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Azerbaijan - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

by Nikki Kazimova
     
 

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For Westerners, the modern state of Azerbaijan may be hard to pinpoint. This small, oil-rich country in the southern Caucasus, on the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea, only made its way on to the contemporary world map after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. As the world shrinks and competition for precious resources intensifies, the direction this… See more details below

Overview

For Westerners, the modern state of Azerbaijan may be hard to pinpoint. This small, oil-rich country in the southern Caucasus, on the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea, only made its way on to the contemporary world map after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. As the world shrinks and competition for precious resources intensifies, the direction this strategically and economically important country takes will affect us all.
 
The historically tolerant and pluralist Azeri people have an ancient history and a rich culture. Azerbaijan lay on the route of the Great Silk Road, the trade network that connected China with Europe, and its people have lived through centuries of conquests by different imperial powers. It was also situated in the heart of the Great Game, the struggle for control of Central Asia played out between Russia and the West at the turn on the nineteenth century, which seems to be going through a modern remake. Azerbaijan has been called “the quintessential borderland, many times over: between Europe and Asia, Islam and Christianity, Russia and the Middle East, Turks and Iranians, Shi’a and Sunni Islam.”
 
Azerbaijan was briefly independent after the First World War, when it was the first Muslim state to adopt progressive Western values. A democratic republic with full women’s suffrage, it boasted the first women’s high school, the first opera, and the first female opera composer, as well as the first ballet in the Muslim world.
 
There followed seventy years of Soviet rule. After a bitter war in 1991–94, areas of Azerbaijan were occupied by neighboring Armenia, and the country has absorbed a huge number of refugees. At the same time, it is experiencing a new oil boom and the economy is growing. Among the people, there is a growing sense of national identity. Culture Smart! Azerbaijan looks at the many facets of this identity and explains the complex workings of Azerbaijani society. It will equip you with vital information and advice about the customs, practices, and sensibilities of a society poised on the brink of change.

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Editorial Reviews

Karabakh Foundation
Written in a simple yet direct manner, the book is designed for those conducting business in Azerbaijan or for serious tourists interested in more than a cursory cultural experience. The book provides a cheat sheet of customs, social norms, and values to integrate the reader into Azerbaijani society. For example, gender roles and relations are explained in the context of dating, family relations, and values. Tips like how to get around like a local and where to shop for groceries provide invaluable insights to a successful cultural experience.

Hospitality is also a cornerstone of Azerbaijani society, expressing the belief that generosity is one of life’s core values. Ms. Kazimova gives tips on how to successfully benefit from invitations and social interactions that form the basis of Azerbaijani relationships. Another insight she gives is the importance of relationships over deadlines and timeliness, another sticking point that often provides a stark contrast and frustration between Azerbaijanis and Westerners, particularly in business matters.

On a higher level, this is a simple expression of cultural diplomacy at its best. The book does not excuse or dismiss cultural issues, but merely seeks to promote mutual understanding. It portrays a cultural richly grounded in history, yet quickly adapting to the demands of modernity and foreign investment. In the years to come, Azerbaijan will become more of a global player in an increasingly interdependent world: without a doubt, this book is a valuable resource and a must-read for those who travel and do business in Azerbaijan.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781857335484
Publisher:
Kuperard
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Series:
Culture Smart!
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
1,103,979
File size:
8 MB

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