A news team from Khazar-TV in the Eurasian nation of Azerbaijan spent most of Tuesday, Apr. 6, on the Clayton State University campus, shooting footage for a documentary on U.S. education and democracy, and learning about such Clayton State staples as the use of technology in education, and the diversity of the Clayton State student body.
Producer Vamig Nasirov, camerman Ramin Latifli, and interpreter Aybeniz Ganjaliyeva were accompanied by Kevin P. Krug, media producer for the Office of Broadcast Services for the U.S. Department of State, John Parkerson, Clayton State’s director of International Programs and the honorary consul in the southeast United States for the nation of Hungary, and Parkerson’s assistant, Cele Blair, as they interviewed Clayton State administrators and students, and toured the campus. Their visit to Clayton State was initially arranged by Beth Day, vice president of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE).
The Khazar-TV documentary, which will also include footage from the team’s visits to the University of Maryland, Georgia Tech, and Morehouse College, has a focus on the minority student experience in college. The final version is expected to be shown on Khazar-TV sometime in the fall of 2010.
The news team began their day with an interview of Clayton State University President Dr. Thomas J. “Tim” Hynes, Jr., followed by a panel discussion with three Clayton State students; Darius Thomas, president of Clayton State’s Student Government Association, Camila Morales, a student affiliated with the Hispanic and Vietnamese Student Associations, and Holly Shelton Dixon. During the course of their discussion with the students, Clayton State’s status as a “Notebook University,” wherein every student has access to a laptop computer, occasioned much comment, with Nasirov eventually doing a stand-up report in front of a table of Clayton State students with their laptops, and then a follow-up report at the University’s computer service help desk, The Hub.
Also taking part in the Azerbaijani tour were representatives from Clayton State’s student media, The Bent Tree newspaper, CSiR radio and CSTV.
The news team is part of a new public channel in Azerbaijan. They are in the U.S. on a two-week government grant. The theme of the trip is, “U.S. Education: Impacts on Democracy, Development and Society.” Nasirov is spending the time interviewing American students, administrators, teachers, parents and community leaders about the way public schools and universities are organized and governed. Clayton State is an especially good fit for the team’s interest in minority students, since the University’s student body has been named the most diverse in the southeastern United States a total of six times by U.S. News & World Report.
“Our trip was highly successful on all counts. We consider the [Clayton State] visit a real highlight,” said Krug.
Located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, Azerbailjan is at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia and is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south.