10 April 2007
ESI in Baku - Exploring the ground for empirical research in Azerbaijan

As ESI starts to expand its focus to the three South Caucasus republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Gerald Knaus and Nigar Göksel travelled to Baku from 10 to 14 April to develop an understanding of the state of research and analysis on the rapid change the country is experiencing.

Gerald Knaus gave a presentation, organized by the Diplomatic Academy, to a group of 30-40 diplomats working at the foreign ministry addressing the question "Is Turkey ever going to join the EU?". He discussed the EU's enlargement policy, Turkey's image, and the country's ongoing transformation as the accession process continues as well as the prospects of European involvement in Azerbaijan.

The three day program in Baku included meetings with local organizations such as the Economic Research Centre and the European Integration Committee, as well as representatives of international institutions such as the OSCE, UNDP, Worldbank and USAID. How the boom in Baku will translate into improved living conditions for Azeris living in various corners of the country, and how the regional development experiences of Europe might offer insight and inspiration were among the issues discussed.

Over the past seven years, ESI has been developing a distinctive form of socio-economic research in the Balkans and Turkey, which is widely recognised and respected by policy makers in the region and the international community.

Within the framework of our capacity building project and supported by the OSI Assistance Foundation, ESI is planning to transfer this successful model to the Caucasus to better understand trends in these societies. By building local analytical capacity for empirical research ESI seeks to help in tailoring new regional development policies.

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com