Visiting Azerbaijan V: Policy Community, Business and Academia

On the invitation of Natig Shirinzade, Chairman of the Institute of Global Economic Problems, the President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), Klaus F. Zimmermann, has visited Baku, Azerbaijan, on 10-13 November 2018 to discuss research and policy issues and to intensify contacts. Chairman Natig Shirinzade is also a GLO Fellow and the GLO Country Lead Azerbaijan representing GLO. MORE DETAILS.

In front of the Milli Mejlis, the National Parliament

Organized by Natig Shirinzade (right side of the picture), Zimmermann met with researchers and scientists, representatives from business and government including members from the office of the First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund and his staff, the Minister of Labor and the Minister of Education with their staff, the Chairman of the Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the National Assembly, and the Deputy Foreign Minister and Founding Rector of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA University) with various administrators and professors from ADA University and the Azerbaijan State University of Economics.

A highlight of the visit was a meeting with the Honorary Academician Ziyad Samedzade, the Chairman of the Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the National Assembly (Milli Mejlis).

Klaus F. Zimmermann: “The exchange with Ziyad Samedzade was a big honor and great pleasure, we have debated and agreed on important issues of the globalized world, the perspectives of our countries, and what we have to do. A truly great man; I am deeply impressed. He found time on the eve of an important budget debate in the parliament to receive me in his office in the National Assembly on Monday, November 12, and to join us for dinner. About his significant intervention in the parliamentary debate in the following morning I read in the media the day later:”

“The activities of the country’s banks once again caused a barrage of criticism. This time, criticism was voiced by the parliamentarians during the discussion of the draft state budget for 2019 at the plenary session of the Milli Majlis (National Assembly). The statement of Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Ziyad Samadzadeh was especially noteworthy. He stated bluntly: ‘We cannot be satisfied with the activities of banks in Azerbaijan, because their assistance to the real sector is insignificant.’” (MPs attacked banks. Elnur Mammadov in the AZERI DAILY)

The full program on November 12-13, 2018 included the following major program points in this sequence:

The joint initiative of Natig Shirinzade and Klaus F. Zimmermann was broadly covered by the Azerbaijani media:

Left picture: In the middle, Sahil Babayev, Minister of Labor and Social Protection. Right: Natig Shirinzade and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Excellent and deep discussions with key staff members of the office of the First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Emin Huseynov (left) and Khalid Ahadov (right). Broad and common understanding about the global human challenges and the large potentials for deeper collaborations between Azerbaijan and Europe.


With Shahmar Movsumov as the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Fund prepares for the future of the country investing resources around the world and supporting the change of the country including activities strengthening infrastructure and human resources. Both Natig Shirinzade and Klaus F. Zimmermann were visiting Shahmar Movsumov and his staff in his headquarter to introduce the respective institutions and to discuss the research needs to deal with the major challenges of the country. Bellow: In the headquarter of the Fund.



In both ministries, labor and education, the exchange was about the political strategies to deal with the demand for effective government using the instruments of the digital age, establishing the physical and administrative infrastructure needed for the post oil age, the need to strengthen entrepreneurship and the development of skills and education. A particular need was identified in vocational training, where large efforts of both ministries are under way. Zimmermann agreed with ministers Sahil Babayev (labor) and Ceyhun Bayamon (education) that vocational training could be key for the development if combined with proper entrepreneurship and small business. He advertised for the German dual system, knowing the difficulties with an adaption of the model that requires long traditions and the strong support of the business community.


Shirinzade and Zimmermann further met with Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev, Deputy Foreign Minister and Founding Rector of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA University). At the ADA University, they met with him and Fariz Ismailzade (Vice Rector for External, Government and Student Affairs), Elkin Nurmammadov (Dean of the School of Business), Rahman Shahhuseynli (Director of the Office of International Affairs), Kavus Abushov (Assistant Professor, Political Sciences), all ADA University, and Anar Rzayev, Vice-Rector International Relations and Programs of UNEC, the Azerbaijan State University of Economics. Topics discussed included the mission of GLO, the natural role of the country as a geographic, economic and political meeting point between Europe and Asia, and potentials for academic exchange of the universities with Europe. The visit at ADA University ended with a lecture of Zimmermann for ADA students.

Zimmermann speaking at the ADA University Global Perspectives Lecture Series in front of a large audience of interested students.


Klaus F. Zimmermann et al. (2013). Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training. Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics, Vol. 9, 1-157. now publishers.

Luca Barbone, Martin Kahanec, Klaus F. Zimmermann and Lucia Kureková (2013), Migration from the Eastern Partnership Countries to the European Union — Options for a Better Future, IZA Research Report, No. 55, Bonn. (50 pages)

Martin Kahanec, Klaus F. Zimmermann, Lucia Kureková and Costanza Biavaschi (2013), Labour Migration from EaP Countries to the EU – Assessment of Costs and Benefits and Proposals for Better Labour Market Matching, IZA Research Report, No. 56, Bonn. (164 pages)

On the more touristic side, Zimmermann explored on November 11 and 12 the city of Baku and the environment directed by a strongly motivated team of tourist guide, interpreter and driver. These experiences provided him with deep insides into history, modern developments, challenges and potentials of the country. On November 10, he was visiting modern Baku and enjoyed some of the local culture. On November 10 in the afternoon, he has been in the old city of Baku, and on November 11, among others, in the Gobustan National Park, saw the Petroglyphs and investigated the Zoroastrian temple of Ateshgah (Part III). At the end, he inspected Yanardag, the burning mountain. (The links lead to the four individual reports from the previous days.)


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