Meet the LLM Class: Ilkin Gurbanov

LLM student Ilkin Gurbanov is from Azerbaijan and is a Fulbright Scholar. He earned his bachelor of laws degree from the Police Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He is a police colonel and has worked for the past 17 years as a law enforcement officer with experience in combating human trafficking, irregular migration, and the provision of passports and IDs. He has lectured and trained officials on various subjects related to state regulation of migration processes, combating human trafficking as well as protecting and rehabilitating victims.

Welcome to Minnesota Law!. Can you tell us why you decided to get an LLM from Minnesota Law?

Throughout my professional career, I have always had a strong passion for learning, and as such, I have always emphasized ways to advance and grow. Academic knowledge is crucial for achieving distinction as an expert in any field. During my participation in the International Symposium on International Crime Issues as part of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), I was impressed by the remarkable efforts in the U.S. and its achievements. A couple of years later when I was selected as a Fulbright Scholar, I focused on Minnesota Law enthusiastically because of its long-standing LLM program in the United States. My academic interests at Minnesota Law will include international criminal law, international law, human trafficking, immigration law, and international legal research.

What are you looking forward to most during your year in Minnesota?

Exploring the cities, discovering the great culture, meeting different people, and building relationships, doing my best to gain unique knowledge and valuable experience.

Minnesota Law strives to embody a culture of equity, inclusiveness, and belonging in the classroom and in our community. In your opinion, what are some of the most important aspects of creating a culture where all students feel like they belong?

By establishing and supporting deep, meaningful friendships and shared understandings, it is possible to achieve the mentioned culture, which is traditional in Minnesota Law. While having things in common is vital to forming new bonds, embracing cultural differences can also create unique opportunities for intercultural friendships to flourish. Cultural differences should catalyze the building of new connections.

Do you have a hobby or special interests? And/or what do you like to do during your free time?

As a special interest, I like exploring museums and following UFC, boxing, and judo tournaments during my free time. My hobbies are reading, going to the gym, and traveling.

Who inspires you and why?

In professional life – leaders, those who realize leadership as a call to serve while being aware of responsibilities and inspiring, respecting, and empowering others to advance humankind. In my personal life – my family members are my everything. They are my biggest supporters and motivators, constantly pushing me to achieve my goals. I feel incredibly blessed to have them in my life, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without their love. Also, my friends are inseparably intertwined with me, fueling me to keep on my targets. They are my rock, and I am so grateful for their unwavering presence.

What’s the most recent book or podcast you’ve read or listened to?

The book's name translation into English would be Baku Oil, on a Large Chessboard by Chapay Sultanov. Also written by Sultanov – History Does Not Like the Subjunctive Mood, and Yet… – offers a comprehensive overview of Azerbaijan's role during World War II and how it influenced significant war events. This is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys history and wants to delve deeper.

Finally, if someone is traveling to your country, what should they do or see?

If you're planning a trip to Azerbaijan, be sure to add trying some of the national dishes to your to-do list! Shah plov, dolma,, and Azerbaijani kabab are all must-tries. And while you're there, take advantage of the unique attractions in Baku, like Seashore Boulevard, the historical Maiden Tower, and the Inner City. If you venture out of the capital, you'll find plenty of beautiful regions to explore, with stunning mountain ranges as a backdrop. The national holiday spirit is extraordinary, especially in Novruz Bayram in March, when multicultural people come together to celebrate and honor their traditions passed down for centuries. But what really sets Azerbaijan apart is the hospitality of its people – visitors always leave with a deep appreciation for the warmth and kindness they experienced during their stay.