In the next installment of our online series dedicated to the youth group working towards Baku’s bid to host World Expo 2025, we speak to three students at Baku Higher Oil School about what makes Baku unique and their experience of supporting the bid so far
For Baku Higher Oil School students Ayisha Maharramova, Fardin Vantani and Mahire Asadzade (a bachelors student in chemical engineering, a petroleum engineering student and a process automation engineering student respectively), getting involved in the World Expo 2025 bid as part of a special Group of 25 youth leaders means an exciting change to bring some of their skills and expertise to the table.
How did you get involved in the bid?
Ayisha Maharramova: My friend attended the Milan Expo in 2015 and I was intrigued by how exciting her experience had been. It sparked an interest in the World Expo, and when I found out Baku was bidding to host the 2025 edition, I wanted to get involved and represent my country.
Fardin Vantani: Last year, I became interested in the process of the bid. I think I realized that this could be a really fantastic opportunity for the country and its residents. Then, one day, I received an official letter in the post saying I had the chance to participate in this project. I couldn’t believe it, it was like a fulfillment of a dream. It still feels like one of the best days of my life.
Mahire Asadzade: I have always been interested in cultural and historical events and projects in Azerbaijan. One day, while studying in the library, some students were talking about Expo 2025. It piqued my curiosity, so I applied!
What are some of the exciting things you have done as part of the bid?
Ayisha Maharramova: One highlight I would definitely say is being involved in photo shoots in some of Baku’s most interesting places. Also, getting to meet the BIE Enquiry Mission (the world expo governing body) was a priceless experience, in that it gave us a platform to talk and have real exchange, from our world views to ideas and future plans.
Fardin Vantani: I’ve had a lot of fun with my buddies working on the bid, but I’d say one of the most splendid experiences was meeting the BIE Enquiry Mission team. During these meetings we got a real chance to share our impressions about the World Expo 2025.
Mahire Asadzade: I believe the Group of 25 has given a bit of a magic touch to my student life. More than I expected: new friends, new goals and a great opportunity.
What would a successful bid mean to you?
Ayisha Maharramova: For me, a successful bid will have displayed Azerbaijan’s motivation and the ways we can implement World Expo goals.
Fardin Vantani: To be honest, it is too early to answer this question. I have a lot of expectations and its success would make me very happy indeed.
Mahire Asadzade: A World Expo in Baku would be such an unforgettable and magnificent event both for visitors and residents alike.
What do you hope will be the legacy of Expo 2025, if Baku is successful in winning the bid?
Ayisha Maharramova: The Baku Expo 2025 site can be easily converted into a natural park at the end of the Expo, while the Azerbaijan National Pavilion can be transformed to house a permanent exhibition, educating visitors about the country’s achievements in economic, social and humanitarian fields.
Fardin Vantani: People from various parts of the world would get a chance to know more about this ancient, rich, multicultural and fantastic country. And once this happens, I think, the number of tourists on Baku’s streets will increase.
Mahire Asadzade: With the help of the Expo, Azerbaijan can encourage human capital development all over the world.
How would you describe Baku in just three words?
Ayisha Maharramova: Mysterious. Exciting. Comprehensive
Fardin Vantani: Places of interest.
Mahire Asadzade: Opportunity. Development. Humanity.
What is your favourite thing about Baku?
Ayisha Maharramova: My favorite place is the Old City (Icerishere), since this historical core highlights our culture, history as well as traditions.
Fardin Vantani: There are many beautiful locations in the city, however the most outstanding one is the Flame Towers.
Mahire Asadzade: The culture of Azerbaijan is tightly bound with the history, religious beliefs, national traditions and values of the country.
What do you think makes Baku unique?
Ayisha Maharramova: Everything makes it unique: its national cuisine, hospitality, architecture and mainly its location on the Silk Road. This multicultural city includes modern and traditional sides of our culture. Alongside the oil and gas spectrum which our economy is diversifying away from, this city is famous for the best tourism experience in the Southern Caucasus.
Fardin Vantani: The meeting and unification of the ancient and modern world in one small city.
Mahire Asadzade: The atmosphere of antiquity and modernity in this contrasting and picturesque city.
Of what are you most proud about, being from Azerbaijan?
Ayisha Maharramova: I am proud to be a person from this land of fire. I’m proud of its cuisine, of its hospitality, diversity, nature, nature and more.
Fardin Vantani: I love the Azerbaijani spirit of resistance and unbreakable motivation. Although, throughout the centuries, this country has experienced many difficulties and challenges, it has also regained its independence many times, and shown the world what it is capable of.
Main image courtesy of Jonathan Glynn-Smith. Images courtesy of Expo 2025 Baku Azerbaijan