HS Essay Contest – Winners to Tour Azerbaijan This Summer – Mar 1 Deadline

We are pleased to announce a National High School Essay Contest on the Republic of Azerbaijan in partnership with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) National Office and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation for the 2011-2012 year. Ten Student Winners will be invited by WACA to participate in a two week-Study Tour of Azerbaijan. The program is open to all high school students in Tennessee.

Three regional winners will be selected by the Tennessee World Affairs Council and become eligible to win one of the ten spots on a two-week Study Tour to Azerbaijan in June 2012. High school students from across the State of Tennessee are invited to participate!

Azerbaijan is a country category for this year’s 2011-2012 Academic WorldQuest competition and may be of particular interest to those students participating in Academic WorldQuest.

About Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a country at the nexus point of the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Historically, the country has always been a middleman for the East and West– in ancient and medieval times it was a central point along the Silk Road and today its strategic placement keeps it a focal point for commercial and energy policies and regional and global geopolitics. The World Affairs Councils of America conducted a Leadership Mission to Azerbaijan in spring 2011.

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AZERBAIJAN ESSAY CONTEST FLYER

Timeline:
March 1: Student Essays must be submitted to local councils
March 15: Councils select the Top 3 Essay Contest winners and submit to WACA (See below)
April 1: WACA announces Top 10 essay contest winners.
June 20-30: Tentative dates for Trip to Azerbaijan

Essay Topic:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has planned an official visit to Azerbaijan. You are Secretary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Advisor responsible for Azerbaijan and have been tasked to write the briefing materials for her trip. The briefing materials can be no longer than 1000 words maximum. The materials must be succinct and to the point. They must include:

1. An assessment of whether/how the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-1920 influences Azerbaijan today in terms of democracy, rights of women, and foreign policy;
2. A discussion of how Azerbaijan’s geographic location has influenced the country’s security and economic policies;
3. An explanation of where the strategic interests of the U.S. and Azerbaijan converge and diverge;
4. A summary of perspectives for extending Azerbaijan’s geopolitical influence beyond the South Caucasus in light of its leading regional position and its socio-economic development; and
5. The top 3 most important issues in US-Azeri relations and your recommendations for US policy on the trip.

Reference Materials
Please encourage students to consult the Azerbaijan section of the 2012 Academic WorldQuest Study guide, available here: LINK  (MORE BELOW)

Judging Rubric:

A top-placing essay should have all of the following qualities:
1. Essay answers all of the questions asked in the Essay Topic (above)
2. Essay is within the word limit of 1000 words
3. Essay is clearly written with no typos or grammatical mistakes
4. Essay displays a clear understanding of Azerbaijan and its current geopolitical realities.

TO APPLY

Submit your essay to the Tennessee World Affairs Council by emailing it (as a .doc file) as an attachment to < patryan@tnwac.org >. Three winners will be selected by TN WAC and will then be eligible for one of the ten spots on the Study Tour to Azerbaijan.

The Tennessee World Affairs Council will award a certificate to each student who participates.

WACA will award the top three placing students from each Council with an official certificate.

Note on Students Selected for Study Tour:
Once selected, WACA will work directly with the top ten students to coordinate and ensure preparedness for the trip to Azerbaijan. WACA reserves the right to ensure students’ suitability to participate in the study tour to Azerbaijan. If a top-ten placing student is unable to participate in the trip to Azerbaijan, he or she will receive recognition for their essay but no alternative prize.

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RESOURCE LINK HERE

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a country at the nexus point of the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Historically, the country has always been a middleman for the East and West– in ancient and medieval times it was a central point along the Silk Road and today its strategic placement keeps it a focal point for commercial and energy policies and regional and global geopolitics. The World Affairs Councils of America conducted a Leadership Mission to Azerbaijan in spring 2011.

• State Department

o Read the State Department’s Background Notes on the Republic of Azerbaijan: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2909.htm

• Washington Post

o Read Azerbaijan wavers between East and West: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/azerbaijan-wavers-between-east- andwest/2011/06/03/AGmdvgRH_story.html

• Youtube-Discovery Channel’s Build it Bigger: o Watch until 4:25
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gl0q_Didvo

• Smithsonian Institute

o Under the left-hand side bar, read Azerbaijan under Site Overviews, Azerbaijan under Cultural History (including each period linked), and each subcategory under Shared Heritage
http://agt.si.edu/

• Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions 2011 (if you don’t have a copy on hand, please contact the Council to obtain a copy): o Read The Caucasus pages 87-100

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