TAMIU Students, Faculty Travel to Azerbaijan Saturday to Study Energy Industry in Caspian Sea Region

TAMIU Students, Faculty Travel to Azerbaijan Saturday
to Study Energy Industry in Caspian Sea Region

Until recently, Carlos González, 19, a systems engineering major at Texas A&M International University, knew nothing about the Republic of Azerbaijan, the largest country of the South Caucasus region by the Caspian Sea.

Mario Vargas, Marcus Alexander Martínez, Carlos González, Dr. Guillermo Domínguez, Brenda González, Rosaura Martínez, César Sandoval and José González

Texas A&M International University students traveling to Azerbaijan meet with Dr. Guillermo Domíngez, director of the TAMIU School of Engineering before their trip (center). Pictured from left to right are Mario Vargas, Marcus Alexander Martínez, Carlos González, Dr. Domínguez, Brenda González, Rosaura Martínez, César Sandoval and José González.

On Saturday, July 4, however, González will get to visit Azerbaijan and its capital, Baku, as he will be one of nine students and alumni, mostly from TAMIU, who will travel to the country to learn about the energy industry there.

“I’m open minded towards it,” said González about visiting Azerbaijan, “There’s lots to learn about other places we don’t know much about and I’m excited.”

González and the student group will attend Baku Summer Energy School 2015 in Baku, July 4-17. The School is an annual, two-week certificate program organized by the Caspian Center for Energy and Environment of ADA University in partnership with the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic. The School brings together world-renowned scholars, academicians and policy makers to examine and gain better understanding of global energy and environmental issues and their practical application.

The trip is made possible through a historic agreement TAMIU signed with the Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ) in April. The accord will facilitate student and faculty research and study collaborations in Azerbaijan. U.S. Congressman Henry Cuéllar helped facilitate the Affiliation Agreement for Collaborative Education with AFAZ.

AFAZ is a business, cultural, charitable and congressional advocacy organization formed to build bridges between the United States and Azerbaijan, educating the American public about issues related to US-Azerbaijani relations and Azerbaijani Americans.

TAMIU students and alumni participating in the trip include Brenda González, José Jesús González, Carlos Owen González, Marcus Alexander Martínez, Rosaura Martínez, Cesar Sandoval and Mario Vargas (TAMIU alum).

Dr. Guillermo Domínguez, director of the TAMIU School of Engineering, said this is the first time TAMIU participates in the Baku Summer Energy School and that this will be an annual undertaking. Students, mostly majoring in engineering and one in political science, were chosen by a TAMIU committee that interviewed students and reviewed their letters of interest.

Dr. Domínguez, who will accompany the student group to Azerbaijan, said aside from participating in seminars, the group will visit petroleum installations and companies there. Participants will also enjoy recreational opportunities including swimming in the legendary Caspian Sea and excursions to various regions of Azerbaijan such as volcanoes and the museums of Azerbaijan’s first oil baron, Haji Zeynalabidin Tagiyev and the world-renowned Nobel brothers. 

“One of the big advantages for students participating in this trip is that they will be exposed to a different culture and great possibilities to network professionally as well as gain an international experience,” said Domínguez, “If they get into the oil business, this seminar will help them a lot.”

Major topics included in this year’s seminar include Fundamentals of Energy, Energy Economics, Energy Revenue and Resource Management, Energy Law, International Politics of Energy, Energy and Environment, Strategic Management in the Energy Industry, the Regional Perspective of the Caspian Black Sea Area, and Caspian Energy: Littoral States’ Perspective.

As TAMIU readies to launch its Petroleum Engineering Program in the future, agreements such as the one with AFAZ will lay the foundation for expanded international learning experiences for students interested in oil industry careers, Domínguez said.

Domínguez, a petroleum engineer with extensive oil business experience in Canada and México, said traveling to Azerbaijan will be a first and a new experience for him as well.

“This is a great effort that TAMIU is undertaking and we are the only University in Texas that’s attending the Baku Summer Energy School,” he said.

González said aside from visiting Azerbaijan and learning about its culture, he looks forward to visiting its oil fields.

“That really interests me because I’ve never been on an oil field site and I’m a hands-on learner,” González said, “It would give me a great understanding about petroleum engineering, not just how it’s in the U.S. but in other countries as well.”

Azerbaijan is home to the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), a wholly state-owned national oil company headquartered in Baku, the capital city. It is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world.              

Azerbaijan, about the size of the U.S. State of Maine, is located in the South Caucasus region, bordering Russia to the North, Iran to the South, Georgia and Armenia to the West and to the East, the Caspian Sea. It is home to over 9 million people.                

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268

Summer University office hours are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Fridays.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu