Information about some of TEAS' key contacts in the UK, Azerbaijan, Brussels, Germany and France:



Tale Heydarov – Chairman

Tale Heydarov, Azerbaijani entrepreneur and promoter of social, cultural and charitable activities, is the founder and Chairman of TEAS.  Inspired to promote Azerbaijan on the European stage, Tale founded the LSE Azerbaijani Society in 2006 while studying International Relations and History at the London School of Economics. The society went from strength to strength under his stewardship and has since evolved into TEAS, a pan-European organisation with offices in Baku, London, Paris, Brussels, Istanbul and Paris.
Tale is passionate about engaging with European leaders on the subject of Azerbaijan - its businesses, its culture and its politics. He is a great believer in the importance of forging stronger ties with European countries, to foster better understanding and increased prosperity. Tale speaks English, Azerbaijani, Turkish and Russian and holds a Master’s degree in International Security and Global Governance from Birkbeck, University of London.
He is proud to have played a key role in organising highly successful boxing and football matches, the latter between teams of ex-Arsenal players and Refugees/IDPs in London to raise both awareness of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and funds for charity, including for the Mo Farah Foundation.
Tale has written and edited a number of books on Azerbaijani history and politics. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly, English language magazine 'Visions of Azerbaijan', a high-quality introduction to the country's history, culture and nature, with updates on international relations, business and tourism, as well as reporting on efforts to settle the Nargorno-Karabakh conflict.
In 2011 Tale helped open a resource centre in Sumqayit, Azerbaijan’s third city, to host the project Our Talents ­ Our Future, which gives educational support to bright students from disadvantaged families.
Since 2011, Tale has been founder and Board Trustee President of the European Azerbaijan School (EAS). The aim is to ensure that the school is accessible to as many Azerbaijanis as possible, and Tale has taken the lead in creating a range of scholarship programmes for high-calibre pupils and those from underprivileged backgrounds.
Tale set up the TEAS Academic Centre for Azerbaijani Studies (TACAS) in 2013; the aim was to facilitate the international exchange and development of research into the history, culture and heritage of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan¹s role in World War II was a topic for discussion in an early TACAS symposium, which was organised together with Yahad-In Unum. A wide variety of Azerbaijani historical materials have been uncovered by TACAS in the British, Ottoman and Russian archives.
In 2014 Tale founded the Azerbaijan Teachers' Development Centre, to bring a 'vibrant, innovative and inclusive educational environment' to Azerbaijan.
Tale further developed his passion for education in 2014 through the launch of TEAS Press. The press works with international publishers to print leading international academic work in the Azerbaijani language. It also promotes Azerbaijani literature and academic achievement by translating and publishing these works in English. The press has offices in Russia and Turkey and also produces audio books. Üç Alma (Three Apples) fulfils the same role as TEAS Press, but for readers of a younger age.
Tale’s media work also extends to films. Azerbaijan International Film (AIF) was established in 2012, and its productions include Thomas Goltz’s Azerbaijan Through Foreign Eyes, Jeffrey Werbock’s Young Voices, Ancient Song and The Life Story of Ivonna Botto-Shirmammadova.
The President of Azerbaijan awarded Tale the Progress Medal for his development of the Azerbaijan diaspora in 2011. In May 2014 he was awarded the 'International Dialogue of the Year' prize by Business Year Magazine.



Lionel Zetter – Director

In 2013, Lionel was appointed Director of TEAS. Previously, Lionel held numerous senior roles in the public relations sector, commencing his career as Associate Director of the Media Information Group before becoming Company Secretary at PR+CI. He was Managing Director of Parliamentary Monitoring Services Ltd and Political Wizard Ltd, and Deputy Chairman of Dods Parliamentary Communications.

He has also held the positions of Director of the Enterprise Forum, Managing Director of Zetter’s Political Services Ltd, Vice-President of Public Affairs Asia, and Senior Counsel at APCO Worldwide.

Lionel is a Fellow of the Charted Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of National Union of Journalists. He was President of the CIPR from 2007 to 2008, and is a former Chairman of the Government Affairs Group.

He is the author of books including Political Campaigning Handbook; Lobbying – the Art of Political Persuasion; and Blueprint – the Policies and Personalities of the Conservative Government. He also publishes the Zetter’s Political Companion series.

Lionel was voted Personality of the Year 2008 by readers of Public Affairs News (PAN), and was awarded the PAN ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award in 2012. He is also a regular feature of the PR Week Power Book.

Lionel Zetter
t: +44 (0)207 808 1903



Sabina Rakcheyeva – Arts & Cultural Advisor

Sabina is Arts & Cultural Advisor at TEAS and a member of the European Cultural Parliament. A renowned violinist, she was the first Azerbaijani graduate from the Juilliard School of Music in New York and, to date, has performed in over 40 countries.

Actively involved in the cultural diplomacy field, she has appeared at the UNESCO Hall in Paris, UN General Assembly Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Bundestag in Berlin and addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Sabina's objective at TEAS is to raise awareness of all Azerbaijani cultural aspects, including art, architecture, dance and music, through a range of concerts, performances, exhibitions and publications.

Sabina Rakcheyeva
t: +44(0)207 808 1908




Taleh Bagiyev – Director of TEAS Azerbaijan

Taleh is Director of TEAS Azerbaijan. Prior to joining TEAS, Taleh co-founded and held the position of Chairman at the Anglo-Azerbaijan Youth Society. The Society worked to promote knowledge of Azerbaijan and the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabah region to a world audience.

He holds a Masters Degree in History and has co-authored a number of books, including Azerbaijan and Great Britain: Co-operation and Partnership 1991–2001, and oversaw the launch of Visions of Azerbaijan magazine in 2006 in collaboration with the London Azerbaijan Society.

Taleh’s objective at TEAS is to manage TEAS’ projects in Azerbaijan, including publications and films focusing on the country’s history, educational projects and programmes designed to acquaint visiting professionals and politicians with all aspects of the business, history and culture of the country.

Taleh Bagiyev
t: +994 (0)12 539 63 45/47



Marc Verwilghen – Director of TEAS Belgium

Marc is Director of TEAS Belgium, having previously been a distinguished Belgian Senator, member of the House of Representatives and Minister. During his extensive ministerial career, he focused on developing countries, economy, foreign policy, science, justice and energy. He is also a practising lawyer.

As Vice-President of the Belgian Senate, Marc visited Baku in 2011 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Azerbaijani independence, and was astounded by the development of the country.

Marc is passionate about developing bilateral trade and educational relations between Belgium and Azerbaijan. He is also focused on increasing Azerbaijani–EU engagement at the highest level. This is both for trading purposes and as a means of bringing about greater awareness of the need for peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the related humanitarian crisis.

t: +32 (0)2 550 34 34






Marie-Laetitia Gourdin – Head of TEAS France

Marie-Laetitia became Head of TEAS France in 2014. She has solid expertise in international relations and geopolitics relating to Eastern European countries. Prior to joining TEAS, she worked at the International Energy Agency (an autonomous body of the OECD) as Energy Analyst for a collaborative programme regarding clean energy technologies involving Russia, Ukraine and Caspian and Black Sea countries, and other regions. She has also worked at the French Prime Minister’s Office for European Affairs on issues related to the EU European Neighbourhood Policy.

Marie-Laetitia’s major focus is to raise TEAS’ and Azerbaijan’s profile among French stakeholders in France, engaging with French politicians, the private sector and civil society.

Marie-Laetitia Gourdin
t: +33 (0)1 70 91 72 84




Shahin Namati-Nasab – Director of TEAS Germany

Shahin is Director of TEAS Germany, where he has developed TEAS’ presence in the country by raising awareness of Azerbaijan and developing relationships with key stakeholders in the region.

Educated in Germany, Paris and London, Shahin holds a Masters Degree in Research Economics, and an MSc and BSc in Economics and Mathematics for LSE.

His main objective at TEAS is to raise awareness of Azerbaijani culture and history, in addition to highlighting the economic developments in the country and the business opportunities that exist in the region.

Shahin Namati-Nasab
t: +49 (0)30 26 39 93 71




Rena Rzaeva – Head of TEAS Turkey

Rena is Public Affairs Executive at TEAS Turkey. Prior to joining TEAS, Rena worked at Accenture's Strategy Consulting division in the UK.

Rena holds a Bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics, and a Master’s degree from University of Oxford, St Antony's College.

Rena has worked in Russia, Turkey and the UK, gaining experience across both public and private organisations, such as UBS, LUKOIL, CNN Turk, the British Consulate and Bloomberg.

Rena Rzaeva
t: +90 (0)212 381 86 37