- Dear Mr. Hafiz Pashayev, ADA University celebrates the National Press Day for the first time with its new department of "Communication and Digital Media" specialty. By opening a new specialty, what changes did you want to bring to this field?
- You are correct. Our first students of the Communication and Digital Media studies major, which we started in the last academic year, are finishing the academic year and moving on to its second year. Our first group consisted of 40 local and four foreign students. This year, admission to the specialty continues. In particular, applications from abroad indicate a growing interest in the communication major at ADA. It seems to me that the interest in this field is also related to the changing role of Azerbaijan itself in the international scene.
Those interested in communication and media were primarily looking for interesting content. Today, the content that Azerbaijan can present to the world is getting richer and more diversified. As President Ilham Aliyev noted in his speech at the annual international forum on "South Caucasus: Development and Cooperation", which has already become a tradition in our university, Azerbaijan is actively promoting a new era in the Caucasus - an era of peace and cooperation. We need new communication specialists who will convey these new stories of our country to the modern world in an understandable language.
- How do you see journalists of the new era?
- The revolution of digital technologies of recent years has opened wide opportunities for journalists. Their investigative, public advocacy, and educational missions have become global. But in this process, their competition also increased. Social media has enabled every user to tell his truth and share his opinion. Thus, subjectivity has increased in the media environment. When I watch the media, I witness that even the journalists themselves are subject to this subjectivity. Even if we live in an abundance of information, it is very important to maintain objectivity, verify facts, and prepare unbiased materials. Otherwise, the public cannot get the necessary benefits from the media. Here, it is also necessary to consider the choice of topics to be covered. When I was the ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States, I started every morning by reading the "Washington Post". Because I had to get prompt and unbiased information about what was happening not only in my country, but all over the world. I had to analyze it correctly and make decisions. These days, perusing the media agenda makes people emotional ranging from aggressive to depressed. Judgments have replaced the solutions we are looking for in the highlighted topics. However, journalists should clarify the issues, explain the reasons, and respond to the expectations of the public. But in the era of online media, the abundance of information often leads to superficial and incomplete preparation of materials. I hope ADA students will stay true to the fair mission of journalism and media.
-Is there enough potential in ADA to teach this field well?
- I think that we have had our say in education in the last 16 years. Since its establishment, ADA University has been closely monitoring the job market and trying to train the human resources needed by Azerbaijan. There are many similarities between teachers and journalists. Both of them must communicate effectively with their audience, remain impartial and interest their audience in the issues under discussion, and explain complex topics in understandable language. When they found a gap in the researched issues, they had to research it and find a way out. In order to do all this, they first had to understand the audience well, protect their interests and approach them with good intentions. Of course, even in the classroom, not all students are the same. Among them there are also those who are unmotivated, lazy and irresponsible. But the teacher's job is to patiently educate them all, to teach them the knowledge and skills they will need in life. The job of the media is to guide them in a progressive direction based on the interests of the public. The teaching potential of ADA University currently allows for high-level education in twelve bachelor's and eight master's specialties. In addition to higher degrees, the Institute of Development and Diplomacy of the University implements professional development programs in various fields. The media field is one of them. Last year, the MEDIA Development Agency, created by President Ilham Aliyev to support reforms in the field of media in the country, chose ADA University as an academic partner from the first day when establishing its activities. Multidisciplinary trainings and conferences on media and public relations are held in our educational centre. I think that this process will gradually bring new healthy tendencies to the media field in the country.
- The majority of ADA students belong to the younger generation. What do you think about this generation and what are your expectations from them?
- As everyone expects from the young generation, I would like to see them educated and prepared for the future life. We want to be specific about their goals and how they will achieve them. First of all, they should be worthy of their homeland and family. In particular, let them constantly work for the strengthening of our independence. Let them not forget that the generations that came before them made many sacrifices to get this independence. And even the generation to which they belong played a decisive role in the liberation of our collectives. Let them study in our university in such a way that they can be a support for Azerbaijan, built by their peers by sacrificing their lives, live a rich life internally and share this wealth with our whole society. Every now and then, I come across our young people who pretend to look down-to-earth and modern. For example, to young people who have tattoos on their skin. In previous generations, this fashion belonged to those in prison. After leaving the prison, they were in a hurry to delete those tattos because they did not want to be associated with their past. The beauty of a person is in his nature. It is the greatest gift of nature. I am not in favour of artificial interference with it, because our greatest and most attractive wealth must be gathered in our inner world. As you grow older, all external interference will fade away, and your inner world will become richer day by day.
- Thank you for the interview, dear Rector Mr. Hafiz Pashayev.
By Fidan Namazova
Student of Communication and Digital Media studies major at ADA University