The World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue started in Baku
The World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue started in Baku on April 7. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony.
The World forum on Intercultural Dialogue hosted in Baku is an initiative proposed by Azerbaijan and supported by UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, Council of Europe, North-South Center of the Council of Europe, ISESCO and the Euronews. The forum marks a recognition that intercultural dialogue is one of the most pressing challenges of the world and, indeed, one that increasingly manifests itself on a global scale. It will provide an opportunity for the sharing of good practice and the launch of new initiatives. The forum brings together ministers of culture from 20 states, deputy ministers, representatives of the leading international organizations, director general of ISESCO, deputy director general of UNESCO, Chairman of the PACE, parliamentarians and diplomats, mayors, eminent figures of culture and scientists. President Ilham Aliyev and Azerbaijan’s First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva who arrived at Gulustan Palace to join the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue met with high ranking officials of foreign countries and international organizations attending this prestigious international event. During the meeting they noted the importance of the World forum on Intercultural Dialogue and expressed satisfaction with Azerbaijan’s active participation in this process. The event was opened with screening of a video clip about Azerbaijan…… President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev addressing the World Forum said that it was not for the first time that Azerbaijan has hosted such an event, highlighting the significance of the forum. “Several events dedicated to the intercultural dialogue have been held in Azerbaijan since 2008. One of these events, related to the religious confessions, was held last year. This tradition is expected to be continued. This autumn Baku will host the 1st Humanitarian Forum”, Prsident Ilham Aliyev stressed. The head of state said all nations in Azerbaijan lived like a family throughout centuries. “There was no national and religious confrontation and misunderstanding in the country. The power of every society is related to its religious and national diversity. As the Azerbaijani state, we prefer to secure national and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is among the countries, which can be an example in this format. Representatives of all ethnic groups and religious communities are living in equal conditions here. There are all conditions for their praying. Those who visit Azerbaijan can confirm it”, the President added. President Aliyev said he had not doubt questions related to religious tolerance in Azerbaijan would always solved and stressed the importance of other countries’ studying this unique practice. The head of state noted that in this respect it is of great importance to hold such forums in Azerbaijan, expressing assurance this event would yield good and practical results. Recalling that Baku was declared the Islamic Culture Capital, Azerbaijani President said Azerbaijan’s ancient city of Nakhchivan would be entrusted this title in 2018. President Ilham Aliyev also talked of Azerbaijan’s connection with western civilizations in all times. Azerbaijan is the first country to establish a democratic republic in the East, to grant Azerbaijani women with the right to vote, the first opera of the East was composed in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a member of both the Council of Europe and Organization of Islamic Conference. It’s no coincidence that Azerbaijan was selected as a center for intercultural dialogue. President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan had been an independent country for 20 years now, socioeconomic reforms were introduced successfully in the country and good relations had been established with the neighboring countries. “The stability and economic development observed in Azerbaijan today make our country stronger”, said the head of state, adding that economic achievements of the country, improvement of the population’s living conditions and implementation of global infrastructure projects in the country added to our strength. Saying our might was in national and religious diversity, the head of state touched on the Daghligh Garabagh conflict. “We have Daghligh Garabagh problem, our country suffers from ethnic cleansing. Azerbaijan has around 1 mln. refugees and IDPs, a part of our territories recognized by the international community are still under the occupation”, President Aliyev said. The head of state once again stressed that Azerbaijan fully relies on domestic resources in terms of economy. In conclusion, President Ilham Aliyev once again wished good luck to forum participants. Also addressing the forum PACE Chairman Mevlut Cavusoglu, ISESCO director general Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, UNESCO assistant director general for strategic planning Hans D`Ovril, Executive director of the secretariat of UN Alliance of Civilizations Marc Scheuer, and head of Crans Montana Forum Mr. Jean-Paul Carteron expressed honor and pleasure to be attending such a prestigious event, describing Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s participation in the forum as Azerbaijan’s commitment to intercultural dialogue. They said as intercultural dialogue had a universal character, this process was a motivating factor for peace, cultural understanding and elimination of poverty. The speakers wished luck to the work of the World Forum. Then a memorial picture was taken