Access Press meets guests from Azerbaijan, Czech Republic

Murad Mammadov’s quest to learn about educating children with disabilities recently took him from his home in Baku, Azerbaijan to Minnesota. Mammadov was fortunate to have been chosen by the United Nations Organization to intern in the United States and learn more about special education programs.

Mammadov spent several weeks on the East Coast and with the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities. He visited many organizations, including Access Press, in his quest to learn about how to create a more favorable environment for children with disabilities in his own country. Although Mammadov’s background is in accounting, he has a strong interest in helping special needs children and a passion to help create a better Azerbaijan. Mammadov was just a young man in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh when armed conflict took place from February 1988 to May 1994 between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Over the years, there have been many attempts for peace in his homeland. Thus far there have been only agreements concerning civil rights between the two parties.

Mammadov was given “Hope” by many adults during the war. Now, he is taking on the personal responsibility to return that “Hope” to the children. “Many people gave me many things but the most important thing I was given was hope, now I have an opportunity to return that hope,” He said.

He went on to say, “with hope and an appropriate education the children from Azerbaijan with special needs will become an asset to their communities. Each Azerbaijani deserves dignity, especially our children with disabilities.” We went on to speak about people first language and as we talked, he recognized how people first language offers a little bit of dignity to the children.”

One learning experience in this country centered on people first language, which is respectful to people with disabilities. “I will remember people first language, it will be my first lesson I give to my associates and coworkers as we creating the new model and methodology in educating
our children with needs; even though it doesn’t translate, in our language well showing dignity is imperative,” Mammadov said.

Benjamin and Assistant Editor Jane McClure also hosted a delegation from the Czech Republic and Slovakia last month. The group of media professionals was part of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange. The group represented print and broadcast journalists and advertising professionals.

Access Press was one of several media outlets the group visited, in the Twin Cities and in rural Minnesota.

The group discussed how Access Press produces its print edition and also discussed media ethics and challenges facing print media.

Visitors also heard a presentation on the history of Twin Cities neighborhood and community newspapers.