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Viterbi School Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Azerbaijan Communications Ministry

"This agreement will be construed as a statement of intent to foster genuine and mutually beneficial academic and scholarly collaboration."

June 20, 2011 —

Signing: from left, Kenneth McGillivray, Isbendiyar Aliyev, and Yannis C. Yortsos. Professor Najmedin Meshkati is behind Dr. Aliyev
The USC Viterbi School of Engineering's ongoing globalization initiative reached the shores of the Caspian Sea on May 27, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Dr. Isbendiyar Aliyev, the head of the Ministry’s Information Society Development Department, joined Dean Yannis C. Yortsos and USC Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Kenneth J. McGillivray in the Viterbi Museum for the ceremony.

"This agreement will be construed as a statement of intent to foster genuine and mutually beneficial academic and scholarly collaboration encompassing broad and interdisciplinary areas of engineering disciplines and practices," states the memorandum, which also discusses exchange of faculty and students and possible advice by the Viterbi School in the establishment of an Information Technology University in Azerbaijan.

Said McGillivray: “On behalf of the University of Southern California, I am delighted that the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Ministry of CommunFlagsications are able to formally agree to a collaboration of joint education and research in engineering. I look forward to seeing the results of this interesting collaborative activity.”

In his remarks, Dean Yortsos described the extremely wide range of ongoing research at the School in the area of energy, including the advanced underground imaging and exploration techniques developed in the School’s Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSoft) and numerous other initiatives in fields ranging from nanotechnology to carbon sequestration.

He also spoke about the School’s continuing efforts toward globalization, pointing to ties with institutions in China, India, Mexico and many other countries. Dean Yortsos proudly noted the School’s distinguished faculty and described the advanced facilities that allow students to attend Viterbi School courses from anywhere in the world.

Dean Yortsos with Azerbaijan Consul General Elin Suleymanov
"We hope," said Dr. Aliyev, "that signing this document between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan and one of the leading U.S. universities represented by the world famous Viterbi School of Engineering will help to further promote Azerbaijan's academic exchanges with the United States and with California in particular.

“Our government is actively engaged in advancing new technologies and transforming Azerbaijan into the regional hub for innovation,” he continued. “We are working to use our energy wealth into developing non-energy sectors of the economy and strengthening the nation's human potential. Therefore, cooperation with such an experienced partner as USC could become a very important contribution to this effort."

Azerbaijan Consul General Elin Suleymanov was also present, leading a visiting delegation of distinguished academic research leaders from his country. He was joined by Viterbi School Professor Najmedin Meshkati, whose recent visit to Baku had led to the new agreement.

Meshkati, who was a Jefferson Science Fellow with the U.S. State Department last year, went to the Azerbaijan capital in early March at the invitation of Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies. He met with the minister and other officials, meetings that laid the groundwork for the MOU.

Kenneth McGillivray and Isbendiyar Aliyev
In Baku, the ministry also arranged meetings for Meshkati with leaders of Azerbaijan's National Academy of Sciences, Aviation Academy, State Oil Academy, State Oil Company (SOCAR), Diplomatic Academy and others. Additionally, Meshkati gave a series of lectures on his specialties: safety of complex technological systems and science diplomacy.

The Azerbaijan group that came to the USC campus for the MOU signing included Dr. Sevda Abdullayeva, director of the Center for Research and Development of High Technologies; academician Telman Aliyev, director of the Institute of Cybernetics at the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan; Dr. Havar Mammadov, rector of the Azerbaijan Technical University; and Dr. Elchin Babayev, head of the Foundation of Scientific Advancement of Azerbaijan.

This group had earlier participated in a Northern California celebration of the legacy of the noted Azerbaijani mathematician, engineer and computer scientist Lotfi Zadeh, who pioneered the field of “fuzzy logic” – a field in which two Viterbi School faculty, Bart Kosko and Jerry Mendel, are eminent experts.

"Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry signs memorandum of cooperation with University of Southern California" Trend News Agency Azerbaijan