Caspian Basin Studies Program

About Caspian Basin Studies Program

Caspian Basin Studies (CBS) is a certificate program that offers a unique opportunity for foreign diplomats and civil servants to explore and study in depth the Caspian Basin region. CBS provides participants with knowledge about the region's diverse and rich history and culture, demographic makeup, ethnic and territorial conflicts, trade and economic affairs, and issues of geopolitics and regional security. The program is designed to equip participants with a wide variety of analytical tools to help them better analyze and explain the intertwined and complex relationships that exist among the regional states. 

Courses are taught by ADA University full-time professors, as well as practitioners from government agencies, international organizations and local think-tanks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan hosts a study tour at the end of program.

Foreign diplomats and civil servants get a unique chance to not only acquire knowledge, but also network with public and private sector leaders of Azerbaijan and other countries in the region, as well as practitioners from government agencies, international organizations, local NGOs and independent think-tanks.

The program includes field trips to Azerbaijan's oil and natural gas facilities along the Caspian Sea coast, including the Sangachal Terminal, and other historical towns along the Ancient Silk Road.

At the end of the program, all participants receive an ADA University Executive Education certificate of completion.


This Module focuses on the economic development patterns of the Caspian states and unique challenges that their economies face. It offers a critical assessment of the impact of resource abundance on the economic growth patterns in the region and highlight alternative strategies for the development of a regional non-oil economy. Participants will examine the transition economies of regional countries in comparative perspectives and evaluate the role of natural resources in the economies of the resource-rich states.

This Module provides a comparative examination of topics related to foreign policy-making, geopolitics, and security issues in the Caspian region.  Participants study institutions and foreign policy-making processes and factors influencing the foreign policy of individual Caspian states. The Module investigates interstate relations and regional security challenges, including ethnic and territorial conflicts.

This Module covers issues associated with political and societal transformation in the Caspian region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It focuses on political developments in the regional states and challenges faced by the governments in the reform process. It examines concepts including, but not limited to, state formation, religion, and demographics as they apply to the Caspian basin region in general and Azerbaijan in particular. The Module includes presentations and discussions on transition and democracy as well as human rights and civil society.

This Module surveys the dynamics of Caspian energy production and export and developments in recent energy politics. Participants learn about major oil and gas exploration projects in the region and look at different country strategies with respect to energy security. The Module also covers issues related to the environments and ecosystems of the Caspian Sea. Participants have an opportunity to visit one of the energy sites in Baku as a part of this Module.