On Friday, January 26, 2024, the 5th Borderless Onsite Meeting was held in conjunction with the International Bureau Global Commons.

This year, Ms. Hasanova Nargiz, a 5th-term NipCA Fellow from Azerbaijan, presented on the topic “Azerbaijan – the Land of Fire, and More.”

While Baku, the capital of oil-rich Azerbaijan, continues to make remarkable progress, the country’s unique traditions and culture have also been preserved and passed down through generations. Ms. Hasanova introduced rock paintings in Gobustan, a World Heritage site, the Nowruz festival celebrating the arrival of spring, and Azerbaijan’s unique food culture in an engaging presentation featuring video clips.

From the perspective of history and tourism, Ms. Hasanova highlighted ancient rock paintings in Gobustan and the Caucasus Mountains, mud volcanoes symbolizing the “Land of Fire,” Ateshgah (the “Temple of Fire”), and Yanar Dag (“Burning Hill”) with stunning photographs.

Azerbaijan’s traditions and cuisine reflect various influences from neighboring countries. Preparations for Nowruz, the Iranian festival of fertility held in March, begin a month in advance, with celebrations of the four elements (water, fire, wind, and earth) each Tuesday. Ms. Hasanova shared photos of the festive table adorned with “xoncha” and the green sprouts called “semeni” that decorate the center of the plate, illustrating the country’s rich cultural scene.

To conclude, a clip from the famous 1956 Soviet-era comedy film “O olmasin, bu olsun” was shown, captivating participants with its traditional costumes, dances, and music.

Photographic materials on Azerbaijan’s archaeological sites and cuisine were displayed on each table, with foreign students in attended provided detailed explanations. This event was especially meaningful as there are currently very few students from Azerbaijan at the university, fostering a closer relationship between Japan and Azerbaijan. Ms. Hasanova was delighted to meet fellow Azerbaijani students for the first time at this event.

The next Borderless Onsite Meeting will be held on Friday, March 15, featuring the first NipCA Fellow from Turkmenistan, who will introduce his country.