Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev was born in December 24, 1961, in Baku. After attending secondary school in Baku from 1967 to 1977, Aliyev began coursework at the Moscow State University of International Relations(MSUIR). Upon graduating in 1982, Aliyev continued his education at MSUIR as a political science postgraduate student. In 1985, he finalized his research work, receiving a PhD degree in history. Aliyev lectured at MSUIR for the next five years.
From 1991 to 1994, Aliyev led a group of private industrial-commercial enterprises. Then from 1994 to 2003, he served as vice president and later first vice president of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). While at SOCAR, he was actively involved in the implementation of then-president Heydar Aliyev’s oil strategy developing the strategic Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and laying the groundwork for the Southern Gas Corridor.Demonstrating his deep energy expertise, Ilham Aliyev has authored numerous research works on the geopolitical aspects of Azerbaijan’s oil strategy.
While working with SOCAR, Aliyev also began his political service to Azerbaijan. In 1995 and 2000, he won elections to parliament, the Milli Majlis, and in 2003 the people of Azerbaijan elected Aliyev to his first term as president. He officially assumed the post on October 31 of that year. He was elected to his second term as president in October of 2008, and his third in October of 2013. A member of the New Azerbaijan Party, Aliyev won election to be the party’s deputy chairman in 1999, its first deputy chairman in 2001 and its chairman in 2005.
President Aliyev has played an important role in building stronger relations with Europe and the West. From 2001 to 2003, Aliyev led Azerbaijan’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).In 2003, he was elected to be deputy chairman of PACE and a member of the PACE Bureau.
Since 1997, President Aliyev has served as president of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan. Aliyev is married, with three children and three grandchildren. He is fluent in Azerbaijani, English, Russian, French and Turkish.