His Excellency Mr. Ali Alizada, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan, paid a visit to the COMSATS Secretariat on 3rd November 2017, to hold a meeting with Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS.
Dr. Zaidi introduced COMSATS as an intergovernmental organization, which is an apex forum of the South for cooperation in Science and Technology for socio-economic development. He briefed His Excellency about the mandate of the organization and its activities, which include expansion in membership, and efforts to increase involvement of the North for development in the South. He also informed the Ambassador that the financial needs for the expenditure of Secretariat, which is permanently placed in Islamabad, Pakistan, are met by the Government of Pakistan.
The Ambassador was acquainted with the organizational structure of COMSATS, which comprises Heads of State-level Commission, the Ministerial Consultative Committee, and the Coordinating Council with Heads of Centres of Excellence affiliated with COMSATS as a Network. The Commission, Dr. Zaidi informed, is currently being headed by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo. The consultative committee is chaired by the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan. He also apprised the Ambassador about the success of COMSATS’ flagship projects in Pakistan. Dr. Zaidi mentioned the expected accession of Somalia as a member state of COMSATS, which would raise the number of Member States to 26.
Dr. Zaidi also apprised the Ambassador about the upcoming Technical Advisory Committee, which he dubbed as the think tank of the organization is meeting for the 2nd time on 15th November 2017 in Trieste, Italy, to provide the future plans and activities of the organization.
The Executive Director also elucidated how the membership would benefit Azerbaijan. The benefits include provision of scholarships by COMSATS Centers of Excellence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, China, and Turkey; participation in capacity building events in CoEs; participation in International Thematic Research Groups; and exchange visits of scientists for exploring the avenues of bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation. The Ambassador was also informed about the obligations of joining COMSATS.
His Excellency thanked the Executive Director COMSATS for the briefing. Referring to his the discussions in his earlier meeting with the Executive Director, the Ambassador informed that he has studied the material shared with him during that meeting and shared his views with relevant institutions in Baku. He noted that his interactions in this regard with the relevant division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Azerbaijan have been overall positive. He suggested that Dr. Zaidi should also personally visit Azerbaijan and hold meetings with relevant officials to further improve prospects of Azerbaijan’s accession to COMSATS.
His Excellency showed interest in some collaborative cultural activities with CIIT, which include an upcoming seminar, for which ideas were shared with regards to programme and speakers. The Ambassador also showed his desire to provide sponsorship for small projects of the COMSATS.
The Ambassador showed keen interest in the scholarship offers by CIIT and hoped to encourage Azerbaijani students to benefit from the quality education being provided by the Institution. He noted the almost 100% literacy rate in Azerbaijan and over 70% of them wishful of securing admissions in University. In view of such statistics, he considered the offers of study scholarship in institutions like CIIT an opportunity to address the increasing competition for University admissions in Azerbaijan.
In response to some of the questions of the Ambassador regarding the scholarship, Dr. Zaidi suggested some useful options to facilitate admissions of Azerbaijani students, which could include a panel of admission officials from CIIT visiting Azerbaijan for on the spot admissions.
The meeting ended on a note of cooperative between COMSATS and Azerbaijani institutions. At the end, Executive Director COMSATS presented COMSATS Shield to Ambassador.