Shamsiyya Mustafayeva is the Associate Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA). She earned a MPA/MAIR from Maxwell in 2010 with a CAS in Conflict Resolution and another in Leadership of International and Non-Governmental Organizations. She also holds a MA in Teaching Methodology from Azerbaijan University of Languages and a BA in Philology from Azerbaijan State Institute. Originally from Mingachevir, she now lives and works in Baku, Azerbaijan.
ADA is a world-class institution dedicated to preparing innovative global leaders and to promoting useful collaborative research on diplomacy, public and international affairs, business, humanities and sciences. Located in Baku, at the center of an increasingly significant part of the world, ADA has seen remarkable growth since its inception. What started as a training institute to meet the urgent needs of the region’s expanding diplomatic service has now grown into a university with several schools offering both graduate and undergraduate degree programs.
As Associate Vice Rector, Shamsiyya is responsible for faculty recruitment, hiring, development, budget management for the Vice Rector’s Office, new program development, quality assurance, and teaching and research excellence. Her teaching responsibilities include an undergraduate course on Leadership, Teamwork and Communication; and Executive Education Training on Employee Motivation, Cross-Cultural Communication, Leadership and Management.
Prior to her role at ADA, Shamsiyya worked as a Training Director for Peace Corps Azerbaijan for almost four years. As she explains, “My experience with the Peace Corps shaped me as a manager and impacted me a lot at a personal level. I developed a better appreciation for public service and citizenship, which led me to apply to the Maxwell School.” Her duties at the Peace Corps included leading staff in planning and delivering of effective training, ensuring training events had a clear and appropriate training design, coordinating the hiring process, ensuring appropriate budget management by training and administrative staff, and establishing and maintaining good working relationships with local authorities and community leaders.
In reflecting back on her time at the Maxwell School, Shamsiyya notes that the Athenian Oath hangs on the wall in her office, and it offers her inspiration: “Whenever I am tired, overwhelmed or frustrated with all the challenges that building a brand new university and a new model of education can bring, I look at the Oath and it reminds me why I am there, and that I promised to leave this place greater, better and more artful than it was transmitted to me. That keeps me going.”
Shamsiyya also credits Maxwell for helping her develop her systematic and strategic management skills. She shares, “I am grateful to the Maxwell professors who helped me to think strategically and equipped me with tools to facilitate purpose formulation, set goals and achieve results. They also taught the importance of process, or “how we get there.” My colleagues will tell you that I care as much about the process as the results. I am happy and proud to be Maxwell alumna!”
Her advice for current students? “Plan your studies well. If I knew how important public relations would become nowadays, I would have taken a few PR courses at the Newhouse School. Try to build skills along with gaining knowledge. When I started looking for jobs, employers were not interested in what I knew, but they were very much interested in what I could do. Maxwell is great at public finance – take those courses, you will not regret it.”
Shamsiyya can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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