Azerbaijan: Bid for 2024 Summer Olympics

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Azerbaijan, located within the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, was characterized by CultureGrams in 2013 as having a mild climate and great wealth potential (1). After gaining political independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country has made significant progress in terms of economic, political, and human development issues. By virtue of its status as a developing country, Azerbaijan strongly desires to improve its standing and respectability in the eyes of the international community. One of the outlets through which Azerbaijan aspires to accomplish this goal pertains to international sport, or more specifically the hosting of the quadrennial Summer Olympic Games, a process overseen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC has twice rejected the Olympic bids of Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku over the last decade, but the city refuses to give up as evidenced by a statement from Konul Nurullayeva, CEO of Baku’s 2020 bid committee, claiming that the city’s bid in 2024 “will be even more convincing” (Baku 1). In spite of critics who vilify Azerbaijan for its unresolved human rights issues, the IOC should give Baku the opportunity to host the 2024 Summer Olympics because of Azerbaijan’s flourishing economy and commitment to progress as well as Baku’s key existing infrastructure.
Understanding the makeup and growth of Azerbaijan’s economy requires knowledge of the geopolitical negotiations surrounding the oil reserves of the Caspian Sea. As explained by Pinar Ipek, professor at Bilkent University, in “Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy and Challenges for Energy Security,” the actual legal classification and division of the Caspian Sea has historically been the subject of a dispute with great eco...

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