Mirbahram Azimbayli

Mirbahram Azimbayli is from Azerbaijan, and currently studying in Oxford.

“I am originally from Karabakh and was raised in Baku, as a child of early years of our Republic, I could not escape from the ghost of the USSR easily. I received my bachelor degree from the Middle East Technical University built by Americans in Turkey where you can still find portraits of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky on the walls. In our campus, shaped like a pistol towards the USSR, I was taught international relations by Oxbridge and Harvard educated professors. On Erasmus in Leiden, I studied and travelled a lot, enjoyed Dutch waffles and riding my bike before it was stolen. Now, I am a final year MPhil student in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford, researching Azerbaijan-Russia relations after the Georgian War.

These days I am busy applying for jobs in the UK and Europe as well as writing my theoretical chapter. I was the youngest writer in Azerbaijan’s history having published two books and many articles. I enjoy writing poems and stories. After graduation, I am planning to publish a novel on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and life of internally displaced people. I have actively volunteered helping the IDPs living on the front line in Azerbaijan.

I love the Caucasian and Central Asian cuisines. I speak Azerbaijani, Turkish, Russian, English and some French.

William Murray-Uren

William Murray-Uren is a 25-year-old Scot hailing from Edinburgh and studying at Leiden University. “I am currently typing this in a little bedroom in the Netherlands as I recently embarked on an MSc in Political Science at the University of Leiden. In 2014, I completed my bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the University of Leeds before moving to London to cut my teeth in the professional world. I spent two years in the City, working for a financial PR firm, before moving back to Scotland to concentrate on less corporate endeavours.”

“Like a lot of Brits I believe wholeheartedly in the country’s National Health Service. This led to me spending the next year working with the Director of the Institute of Health and Society based at Newcastle University, researching the current ill-thought-out privatisation plan, which without pushback, could lead to the system’s demise. The work I was doing last year spurred me to get back into academia and has taken me to where I am now!”

Tamara Karelidze

Tamara Karelidze is a journalist from Georgia, and has previously worked as a media analyst, journalist, project coordinator and lecturer. “I am currently based in London doing my MSc in ‘Global Europe: Culture and conflict’ at London School of Economics. Last September I decided to quit my seven-year career, take a little break, and continue studying. I had several reasons. I really enjoy the learning process and starting my second MSc at LSE is very timely in my life. I consider that people can learn a lot of things, even from their mistakes and their daily routine. I try not to get embarrassed when I do mistakes, and just to learn from them.”

“I had a very tight working schedule in Georgia. I have worked for several media companies at the same time. Of course, multitasking is tiring but it helps you to become more flexible, think fast and think about different issues at the same time. I always try not to be afraid of challenges, because I consider that you should take risks, and savour every decision you do, and step you take. Living in your own comfort zone is easy, leaving it is more difficult, and not everybody can manage it. However, sometimes it is very important to make two steps forward, even if you need to do one step backward.”

Irene Katopodis

Irene Katopodis is a 24-year old Greek-American-Swiss polyglot who doesn’t really have a home, and likes to explore new things and meet new people. “This September, I finished my Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy, from SOAS, University of London, and I am now busy immersing myself in various projects in the MENA region.

“I enjoy spending hours in bookstores, debating ethical and moral hypotheticals, and hanging out with cats. Right now I am focusing on learning Arabic. More generally, I try to be a positive influence in my world. I have lots of dreams and aspirations, now it’s just a matter of making them a reality!”

Davit Musaelyan

Davit Musaelyan is a graduate student of political science at American University of Armenia. “I am greatly interested in Political History, Sociology, Philosophy, Mythology, and History of Science. I am an openly liberal person. People’s rights, freedoms and well-being are far more important than traditions and orthodoxy. I always believed that people are the foundation of nearly everything. Studying political science only made my beliefs stronger. This led me to study sociology to understand how people work and relate to each other”

“All factors in politics are slow developing effects of society’s values, traditions, views and culture. In my opinion changes in a state are slowly done from bottom up; meaning that people change the state and the government, rather than the other way around. And the only way to achieve progress is through change of society.

I strongly believe that everything should be subject to criticism, and strongly oppose any types of dogmas. Being a post-modernist, I believe that most concepts are man-made subjective things. In order to choose the right ideology and beliefs we need to argue and criticize everything, instead of silently ‘accepting everything as it is’.

I am very much looking forward to meeting new people with completely different ideas and opinions, so that we can criticize each other and learn from each other. There is nothing more enjoyable than a constructive philosophical debate about everything. It is the very first step to social progress.”

Tin Hinane El Kadi

Tin Hinane El Kadi is a social activist in Algeria and currently a political economy researcher at the London School of Economics. “I grew up during the Algerian civil war in the 1990s. I was fascinated by social issues from an early age. I was a social activist in Algeria for five years, and I publish regularly in the press on political and social issues in the country.”

“I have a degree in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics (LSE). My research work focuses on the constraints to export-diversification in oil-rich economies, State-Business relations, and democratic transitions.”


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