The worldwide spread of libertarian ideas continues to advance with the launch of a new project based in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. AzadliqCiragi.org ("Lamp of Liberty" in Azerbaijani), the latest addition to Cato's international programs, promotes ideas of liberty in a language spoken by over twenty five million people, most of them in Iran.
Tural Veliyev, a Baku-based businessman and editor of AzadliqCiragi.org, says: "What we want for our country and for the region is what Adam Smith called 'the obvious and simple system of natural liberty.' Liberty should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, language, nation or other characteristic. Free minds, free markets, and peace are universal values that we are happy to promote in partnership with the Cato Institute." It is a joint endeavor of Cato's Center for Promotion of Human Rights and the Free Minds Association of Azerbaijan.
The majority of Azeri speakers, who live in Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia, Armenia, Russia and other countries in the region, are Muslim and they have a long tradition of toleration of Jewish, Christian and other minorities.
Cato vice president for international programs Tom G. Palmer praised Veliyev's work and noted that colleagues from France, Russia, Iran, the US, and Jordan were also helpful in launching the project: "International cooperation to promote libertarian principles is more necessary than ever if we are to avoid the horrors of the twentieth century and make the new century one of freedom, peace, prosperity, and justice."
The AzadliqCiragi.org project includes an active website (www.AzadliqCiragi.org), publication of books, podcasts, essay contests, seminars, conferences, and more. The topics it covers and discusses include free trade, human rights, democratization, economic development, women's rights, tax reform, energy policy, property rights and the rule of law. The first book launched by the project -- The Law, a classic defense of limited government by the French economist Frederic Bastiat -- is the basis for the project's first essay contest.
AzadliqCiragi.org works closely with the other projects of Cato's Center for Promotion of Human Rights to promote freedom in the region, especially Cato.ru (Cato's Russian project), CheragheAzadi.org (Cato's "Lamp of Liberty" in Persian), ChiraiAzadi.org (Cato's Kurdish "Lamp of Liberty"), and MisbahalHurriyya.org (Cato's "Lamp of Liberty" in Arabic).
Tural Veliyev was a Cato Institute intern in 2003. The webmaster is Hamid Dalglijli, a student in Baku who also interned at Cato.
The Cato Institute is a Washington-based think tank that is entirely privately supported and receives no government support. The Free Minds Association is a group of young people from Azerbaijan who support individual liberty, the rule of law, free markets, free trade, toleration, and peace.
Cato's other international projects include: