Fariz Ismailzade, Azerbaijan, is director of the Advanced Foreign Service Program at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to joining ADA, Fariz worked for 10 years in the NGO sector of Azerbaijan, most recently as director of political programs at the International Republican Institute. Fariz has also conducted research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. His research mainly focuses on the geopolitics of the Caucasus region and CIS affairs. Fariz is a regular correspondent for Eurasianet.org, Transitions on Line, Jamestown Daily Monitor and Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst and has written on the politics and economics of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus region for Institute for War and Peace Report, East-West Institute, Analysis of Current Events, Freedom House, CaucasUS Context, Azerbaijan International and Collage. Fariz has also presented at international conferences, including the Middle Eastern Studies Association, NATO Advanced Research Workshop in Kiev, Ukraine, and the Association for Studies of Nationalities in New York. Since 2006, he has been a recipient of the International Policy Fellowship Research Award. Fariz earned his BA in political science from Western University in Baku and holds a Masters in social and economic development from Washington University in St. Louis.
Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan, is Azerbaijan’s first Consul General to Los Angeles, California with personal rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Prior to that he served as Senior Counselor at the Foreign Relations Department, Office of the President in Baku, Azerbaijan and as Press Officer of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington, DC. Before joining diplomatic service, Mr. Suleymanov worked with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Azerbaijan and with the Open Media Research Institute in Prague, Czech Republic. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Massachusetts, Mr. Suleymanov also holds graduate degrees from the Political Geography department of the Moscow State University, Russia, and from the University of Toledo, Ohio. Mr. Suleymanov speaks Azerbaijani, English, Russian and Czech languages.
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