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5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue wraps up in Baku
Baku, May 3, AZERTAC The 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue under the motto "Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict” has ended in Baku. Addressing the closing ceremony, Executive Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, UK, Professor Michael Hardy thanked the Government of Azerbaijan for the excellent organization of the Forum. He highlighted the importance of the event. Michael Hardy said that three main plenary sessions on the themes of “Managing diversity: multi-level and multi-sectoral collaboration”, “Youth4Peace: Building a CounterNarrative to Violent Extremism” and “Migration, displacement and human security” were held on the sidelines of the Forum. Azerbaijan`s Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev thanked all participants and partners. He noted that important topics were discussed during the 2-day Forum. Then High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO Nada Al-Nashif, ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri and UNWTO Executive Director Manuel Butler Halter commended the Government of Azerbaijan and President Ilham Aliyev for the excellent organization of the event.
Vice-President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attends plenary session of 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
The 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue has featured the second plenary session on “Youth for peace: Building a counter-narrative to violent extremism”. Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the session. Leyla Aliyeva addressed the session which was moderated by High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos. Speech of Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva Dear friends, colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen, First of all, I would like to welcome you in beautiful Baku at the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, a platform to support the diversity and peaceful co-existence. It is wonderful to see so many people from all around the globe organized by the reason to make this world a better place. Rich diversity, cultural differences and understanding that will all connected by the bond of humanity that is what brings us all together here today. I am especially pleased to take part in the discussion on youth role in promoting peace and embracing diversity. Young people have an amazing ability to build multiple networks and transcend all borders and frontlines. By striving for work peace and harmony young people are often regarded as hopeless romantics. I think it is a cynical attitude. I truly believe the openness of youth for dialogue is exactly what will lead to peace and prosperity. Dear friends, Education does not just mean gaining knowledge and skills for professional development. Moral and spiritual education is equally important. In this regard, family and schools are two core institutions. The family plays an important role in preparing children for a peaceful world by nurturing such values as compromise, cooperation and respect for all humans. Lack of these values create a vacuum that can be filled by feelings of hate, emptiness and intolerance. At the same time, empowering young people with proper education and training is essential in order to fulfill their full potential. Young people have the ability to learn quickly and observe as well as process tones of information. They are also more aware of protecting our environment and magical benefit nature gives of all us. Yet, too much pressure shouldn’t be put on young people. As it showed the world’s mightiest people are not always happy. Some are stressed, diseased. This means we must support the youth to create a better world than the one we have created for them. So they can enjoy the beautiful planet and live in harmony. And with the development of high technologies the speed of our thoughts increased drastically and our thoughts are one of the most powerful energies. It is faster than the speed of light. The world needs to invest in this potential and make sure the young generation has all the right opportunities for development. There are more young people in the world today than ever before. Their ideas and innovations could transform the future of the whole planet. But there are 617 million youth worldwide still lack math and literature skills. And this means we are missing their precious potential. Youth are the embodiment of progress. Each new generation is more advanced than the previous one. It is also more humane, tolerant, compassionate and open-minded. This is just a natural cause of history. So let’s help young people direct their energy at solving global problems. Let’s help them help all of us. Time is the most important resource in life. So let’s not waste it. Words must always be followed by actions. And we should not forget our intuition which is a sacred gift given to every human being. Everyone can make a difference in building a peaceful and sustainable community of nations by changing themselves and improving the way they see the universe. Dear friends, Like Jesus said we should learn from children. They speak and make the truth, are straight forward and eager to do good deeds. They are the living reminder of essential things that grown-ups turn to forget all the time. The material world does not mean success. And what is important in life is love, health, happiness, unity, understanding and unconditional support of each other. And that is all what I would like to wish all of us. Thank you.
World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue features High Level Ministerial Panel
Baku, May 2, AZERTAC High Level Ministerial Panel “Mobilizing intercultural dialogue for concrete transformative action” has been held on the sidelines of the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku. The panel heard speeches on ongoing conflicts, elimination of violence, establishment of cooperation, development of tourism and other important issues. The event was chaired by Azerbaijan`s Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev. He stressed the historic importance of the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue. Garayev noted that the Forum brings together high-ranking officials from more than 100 countries and 30 international organizations.
ISESCO Director General hails First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva`s activity in humanitarian sphere
Baku, May 2, AZERTAC “First Vice President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva is a model for the ladies of not only the Islamic world but for other countries to imitate, and to learn her experience, goodness, big heart and care for the needy and poor people,” said ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, who attended the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue under the motto "Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict” in his interview with AZERTAC. “She is a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, and she is very keen on participating in all the good venues and activities that serve the humanity. She decides her responsibilities as the Vice-President of the Republic and as the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. She is also involved in many other activities not only locally but outside the country regionally and internationally. And at ISESCO we are very proud that she accepted to be our Goodwill Ambassador,” Altwaijri said. “The Fifth Forum on the Intercultural Dialogue is a step in the Baku process that leads to new understanding and cooperation between cultures and followers of the religions all over the world. And it is also a sign of the success of the forum which started in 2011. The fact behind this success is the commitment of the Republic of Azerbaijan and its leadership to dialogue, peace, understanding, and creating an atmosphere of friendship between the followers of cultures and religions that reveals the beauty of this diversity and eradicate the factors of decadence, misunderstanding, and stereotypes. So I am very optimistic that the Baku Process represented in this forum will continue to give the world the needed culture that strengthens cooperation and understanding among the peoples of the world. And ISESCO is very proud to be one of the organizers of this forum since its inception,” ISESCO Director General added.
5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue gets underway in Baku
Baku, May 2, AZERTAC President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have attended the opening ceremony of the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue under the motto "Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict” at the Heydar Aliyev Center. The head of state made a speech at the opening ceremony. Speech of President Ilham Aliyev Dear ladies and gentlemen, Dear guests, First of all I would like to greet all the participants of the forum and express my gratitude to our guests for being with us today. We have guests from more than 100 countries, more than 500 foreign representatives participate in the forum. This shows that the forum in a relatively short period of time transformed into a global platform to address one of the most important issues of today's agenda, issues of cultural dialogue. I remember eight years ago, when we held the first forum probably we did not even imagine that the forum will get such a broad international support. Our initiative to organize world forum on intercultural dialogue in 2011, was based on our history, our geography, and our understanding that in order to make world safer we need to be very active on the issues of promotion dialogue between civilizations, between cultures, between representatives of different religions and ethnic groups. And broad international support which was shown to the forum encourages us. Today among organizers of the forum we have leading organizations of the world, and our joint efforts, joint activity contributes to the cause of intercultural dialogue. Azerbaijan is a place where, for centuries, representatives of different religions, ethnic groups have lived, created, communicated. For centuries Azerbaijan has been the land of religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence of representatives of different nationalities. Our history, our geography shows that only in the spirit of partnership, in the spirit of mutual respect we can achieve success. Today Azerbaijan's rapid development is also based on this cultural heritage, also is driven by the solidarity which all the representatives of our society demonstrate. We are proud of our history, we are proud of our historical monuments which also demonstrate that for centuries representatives of different religions have lived and created in Azerbaijan. We are proud of our ancient history. One of the oldest mosques in the world is situated in the ancient city of Shamakhi. One of the oldest churches in the Caucasus, the church of Caucasian Albania, is situated in our ancient city of Shaki. Our history is the history of cultural diversity and today based on that historical heritage Azerbaijan demonstrates to the world that intercultural dialogue is the only way how to bring countries closer, how to establish more bridges between representatives of different religions and civilizations. Multiculturalism for us is the way how we live. This is a relatively new word but we have lived in this atmosphere for centuries. And the fact that 2016 was declared the year of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan demonstrates that we want to attract attention of the world to this important idea. 2017 was announced the year of Islamic Solidarity. That was also a symbolic step, demonstrating our historical heritage, our roots, and our openness to the world. And I think these tendencies, if they prevail, prevail globally will make our world safer, more predictable, and more peaceful. Multiculturalism for us also is one of the important elements of our policy and the international center of multiculturalism was created in Azerbaijan, and we are promoting these values, we are demonstrating that multiculturalism has a great future. We all know that there are different views regarding this issue. But I think our forum and numerous international events organized in Azerbaijan and different parts of the world with this agenda clearly shows that we are all trying to promote the values of multiculturalism. World forum on international dialogue, is one of the important international events globally, and of course for our country, but at the same time Azerbaijan during the last years hosted numerous international events, such as World Religious Leaders' Forum, traditional Baku Humanitarian Forum, seven times we organized Baku Global Forum, which is also a very important platform to address the issues of political development and cultural dialogue. That forum is organized by Nizami Ganjavi International Center and many other important international events. Thus, we are trying to attract attention of the world community to these important issues. I am sure that the discussions at the forum today and tomorrow will not only reveal the problems and allow the speakers to express their views but will also contribute to strengthening the partnership, solidarity, cooperation and as a result will build more bridges between cultures. Last year, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of Baku Process. This is also an initiative that we are proud of. I remember when we launched this initiative in 2008, it immediately got very positive international approach and attention. That was for the first time, when Azerbaijan brought together ministers of cultures of member states of the Council of Europe, and member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and more than hundred countries got together in Baku, in order to discuss the prospects for cooperation. We organized another session with participation of above mentioned ministers in 2009. And this initiative was named Baku process, and today Baku process is one of the most important instruments of dialogue between Europe and the Muslim World. Azerbaijan as one of the few countries which is the member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and European institutions is playing its natural and I am sure, positive role in establishment of contacts in providing opportunities for dialogue-dialogue what we need. We need dialogue in issues related to culture, in issues related to inter-religious relations. We need dialogue on all the issues. Political agenda, on economic cooperation, on issues related to security, and the name of the forum is dialogue. So, that is what we present to the world and that's what gets very broad international support. So, Baku process today is an initiative which is supported by United Nations, by other leading international organizations and of course, I am sure that Baku process has a great future. The forums like this attracts attention of international community to the issues of cultural dialogue. It elaborates new ideas, new approaches and for those, who make decisions in different countries and international organizations, I think this is a very good and positive platform to make right decisions. Azerbaijan in this respect, inside the country and outside, conducts the policy which is based on mutual understanding, on cooperation, we are building bridges. We are situated between Europe and Asia, and our geography of course, influenced our history, and is influencing our today's development. Today Azerbaijan as a relatively new independent country plays an important role in building bridges between Europe and Asia. Political, economic, cultural and bridges from practical point of view, connectivity, transportation. Last year we celebrated the 27th anniversary of our independence and during this period of time Azerbaijan transformed into a modern, developing country with modern infrastructure and with a very clear vision for the future. One of the main problems we are facing for many years is the Armenian occupation. For more than 25 years Armenia continues to occupy our historical land Nagorno-Karabakh, and seven other districts of Azerbaijan. This is brutal violation of international law. Our people were subject of ethnic cleansing, more than one million refugees became homeless as a result of Armenian aggression and occupation. The OSCE twice sent a fact-finding mission to occupied territories and their report clearly show that all our historical heritage, all our historical religious monuments are destroyed. United Nations Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from our territories and these resolutions remain on paper. So this is one of the indicators that sometimes resolutions of the Security Council are not implemented for so many years and there is no mechanism of implementation or if there is a mechanism it is not applied and thus Azerbaijani lands are still under occupation. Numerous international organizations like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Alligned Movement, OSCE, Council of Europe and other adopted similar decisions and resolutions with respect to territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is recognized by the whole world and must be restored and the conflict must be resolved based on international law norms, relative UN Security Council resolutions, the UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Despite this huge problem and humanitarian catastrophe, Azerbaijan managed to transform into a modern country with very active foreign policy with economic policy which allowed us to improve largely the living standards of our people. On foreign policy track Azerbaijan is a reliable partner to many countries. We area active member of Islamic Cooperation Organization, we have very close ties with European Union and with nine members of EU Azerbaijan adopted documents on strategic partnership. As I said Baku Process is our contribution to establishing bridges between Europe and the Muslim world. In other words, our foreign policy agenda is based on cooperation, on strengthening partnership and on mutual benefits. And our foreign policy allows us to implement very important international energy transportation projects because without good cooperation, with partners, with different countries it is not possible to implement these projects. Our economic development during the last period of time was also supported by our energy projects. And together with our neighbors and with our partners we managed to connect the Caspian Sea with Black Sea, Caspian Sea with Mediterranean Sea by diversified network of pipelines thus providing energy security for us, for our neighbors and for many countries in the world. And today when we are actively working on the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor this is a new scale of the project. This project already makes it possible for seven countries to get together and to take benefit and advantage of this. Our economic development during the last 15 years was the fastest in the world. We implement very important reforms which allow us to improve largely the business climate in our country, to attract investments. And according to the World Bank’s latest assessment Azerbaijan is number 25 with respect to Doing Business Programme of the World Bank and business climate is very friendly to foreign investments. We are working now on the strategy of reducing our foreign debt which is low-it is about 19 percent of GDP. And at the same time, we are working on issues related to diversification of our economy and eradication of unemployment and poverty. That was one of the main topic on our agenda because our economic development is transformed into the increase in living standards of our people. Fifteen years ago, around 50 percent of our population live below the poverty line, now this figure went down to about 5-6 percent. And poverty, unemployment, social inequality, illiteracy-they are one of the sources of radicalism, extremism. Azerbaijan is a very active partner in the fight against international terrorism, radicalism, extremism. At the same time, we promote to the world the values of Islamic civilizations, we organize numerous exhibitions, presentations, cultural events in different parts of the world to demonstrate our culture and to demonstrate the culture of our partners in other Muslim countries. Talking about the connectivity, I would like to mention the projects which Azerbaijan participates in, particularly the transportation projects. We look at these projects not only from the point of view of transportation connectivity, these projects actually change the atmosphere in the region. They create the broad format for international cooperation. Azerbaijan is situated on the ancient Silk Road and modern infrastructure which we created recently has already transformed Azerbaijan into an important transit country. And without close cooperation with our immediate neighbors and other partners it is not possible to become a transit country. You need neighbors, you need partners. Therefore, investments in transportation automatically lead to a more predictable situation in the region where the countries share the benefit. Our policy is to achieve our goals, to make country stronger through cooperation, through mutual understating and through shared benefits. In our policy related to energy security we are always trying to find a proper balance between producers, transit countries, and consumers. Because there should be a win-win situation. Otherwise it will not work. And we always must be ready to extend support to our partners when they need it and of course if we need this support we also expect the same from our partners. Azerbaijan is also an active participant of the North-South transportation network. Thus, if you look at the map you will see that from north to south, from east to west the transportation lines cross our country. But in order to do that we had to work hard. Geography is not enough, geography is only a prerequisite, a basic element but we invested largely in transportation infrastructure, sea ports, railroads, airports, highways so that today Azerbaijan from geographical point of view and point of view of transportation hub can provide a lot of opportunities for our partners. Dear friends, today’s Forum is a remarkable event here in Azerbaijan. I once again like to express gratitude to all our partners, partner organizations, intellectuals, politicians, public figures, representatives of NGOs, representatives of media, scientists who participate at the Forum. I am sure that the discussions will be very productive and as a result of discussions the recommendations will be provided. And I am sure that those who make decisions about the future of their countries or regional development will take into account our recommendations and the world will be more stable, secure and safe. Thank you very much. The event then featured the screening of a video highlighting the history of civilizations, ongoing conflicts and acts of terrorism across the world, and the atmosphere of tolerance in Azerbaijan. Other speakers at the event included High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO Nada Al-Nashif, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef Bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, and Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri. The forum is organized by the Azerbaijani government in partnership with UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO), the Council of Europe, and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). High-ranking officials from more than 100 countries and 30 international organizations attend the event.
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