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Cablegate: Azerbaijan's Nomination for the 2008 Secretary's

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKB #1264 2921217
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191217Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4077

UNCLAS BAKU 001264

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G/IWI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KWMN KDEM KPAO AJ
SUBJECT: AZERBAIJAN'S NOMINATION FOR THE 2008 SECRETARY'S
AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE

REF: STATE 126072

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED (SBU) - NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) We are pleased to nominate Fatima Aghamirzayeva to be
considered for the Secretary of State's Award for
International Women of Courage (ref). In Azerbaijan, very
few women are active in business or politics; however, Ms.
Aghamirzayeva has been a trailblazer in both areas. As a
young widow with four children to support, Ms. Aghamirzayeva
opened her own business, the World of Carpets Association, in
1988, becoming one of Azerbaijan's first female
entrepreneurs. Through her commitment to promote political
and economic equality for women and by the daily example she
sets, Ms. Aghamirzayeva demonstrates exceptional courage and
leadership in advocating for women's rights and advancement.

2. (U) The World of Carpets Association is based in Guba,
Azerbaijan, and has grown to include three branches. Ms.
Aghamirzayeva employs about 65 women in the company's Guba
center, who teach other women the tradecraft of
carpet-making, giving them the skillset to provide for their
families for life. Between 200 and 300 women work in the
three branches, which are located in small villages with some
of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Many of
these women are ethnic Lezgin, one of Azerbaijan's larger
minority groups. In addition to employing these women, who
would otherwise have very slim chances finding work, the
World of Carpets Association promotes regional agricultural
development by using only natural dyes from plants grown by
local farmers.

3. (SBU) Ms. Aghamirzayeva also serves as the chair of the
Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party's (ADRP's) regional
branch which includes the northern cities of Guba, Gusar, and
Kachmaz. Created in 2005, the ADRP is a small political
party comprised of "businessmen and entrepreneurs," with a
platform focused on promoting democratic reforms and creating
a favorable climate for small and medium businesses.
Although most Azerbaijani women are not politically active
and do not join political parties, Ms. Aghamirzayeva quickly
rose through the ranks to become a leader in ADRP, and ran
for Parliament in 2005. She believes that a woman "must lack
fear" in order to be politically active in Azerbaijan, but
chooses to persist, asking "If not me, then who would raise
these issues?"

4. (U) Fatima Aghamirzayeva is the owner and president of the
World of Carpets Association and a regional chair of the
Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party. Ms. Aghamirzayeva was
born on January 10, 1953 in Guba, Azerbaijan. Her passport
number is 0350275. Ms. Aghamirzayeva can be reached by
telephone at 994-169-5-17-75 (office), or 994-50-313-0090
(mobile); by mail at Gabala street 26A, Guba, Azerbaijan,
A4000; or by e-mail at worldofcarpet@mail.ru.

5. (U) The Embassy's point of contact for women's issues is
Political Officer Rebecca Naslund, who can be reached by
telephone at 994-12-498-0335, extensin 4210, or by e-mail at
NaslundRJ@state.gov.
DRSE

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