June 10, 2008

Youth Forum in the frame of International Forum “Expanding the role of Women in Cross-Cultural Dialogue” started in Baku

Youth Forum in the frame of International Forum “Expanding the role of Women in Cross-Cultural Dialogue” started in Gulustan Palace, Baku, on June 10.

Attended by representatives from numerous world countries, the Forum is discussing the topics of strengthening laws aimed at enhancing the advancement of young women in economic, cultural, social and political fields and protecting them from all forms of violence and discrimination, strengthening national institutions and civil society organizations for protecting rights of girls and young women, ensuring better future for girls and young women through enhanced participation in and access to education, strengthening the role of youth organizations, in particular within the framework of Youth for Alliance of Civilizations, in promoting active participation of girls and young women in global inter-cultural dialogue.


Opening the Forum Elshad Isgandarov, Secretary General of Youth Forum of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for Dialog and Cooperation, said the objective of the Forum is to lift the role of youth, specially women in prevention of different discrimination in the globalizing world and attract attention of the world community to this issue. Realization of the Forum in Baku at the initiative of Heydar Aliyev Foundation is the sign of high attention the state of Azerbaijan renders to the woman problems. We believe discussions to be held in the Forum will play significant role in settlement of problems women across the world face, specially in elimination of religious, racial discrimination and expansion of cooperation in this field.


Ali Sarykaya, President of OIC Youth Forum for Dialog and Cooperation, expressed gratitude to the state of Azerbaijan and Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, MP, for organizing such an influential event in high level. He said protection of woman rights has special place in decisions and resolutions adopted by influential international organizations such as UN, OIC, OSCE, CE. Today’s forum has been organized in Azerbaijan in accordance with national cultural features and in high level. I once again express my gratitude on behalf of the participants.  


Stating protection of woman rights is emphasized in Islam the speaker said women play huge role in establishment of peace in the world, expansion of the cross-cultural dialog. But some problems, illiteracy of women and girls, violence against them put them beyond the political processes. That is why, OIC Youth Forum for Dialog and Cooperation considers the International Baku Forum will develop our cooperation to get the goal set.


Mrs. Hanifa Mezui, Head of NGO Section of UN Economic and Social Affairs Department, expressed gratitude on behalf of the organization she represents to Heydar Aliyev Foundation and specially First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva for holding the International Baku Forum “Expanding the Role of Women in Cross-Cultural Dialogue”. She valued realization of the Forum in Azerbaijan as the high indicator of the role of the country’s women in the public.


This forum which has been organized due to high efforts by Heydar Aliyev Foundation is the important sign of the model of peace, also promotion of peace among people. I must emphasize suffrage was given to women in Azerbaijan much earlier than European countries.


To achieve higher development in the globalizing world women must be provided with circumstances to demonstrate their talent. Simplification of integration of women into the society must be priority. Specially gender equality is one of important issues. Special actions must be taken in frame of international organizations to put an end to women unemployment and poverty, to involve women in education. Fundamental decisions must be made to strengthen position of women in society, assure their use of fundamental rights. Major principle of UN Charter is about woman right. Investing in gender equality will serve strengthening of role of women in promotion of peace. Growth of role of women, particularly young girls in expansion of the dialog of civilizations and cultures will contribute to creation of more peace-loving and secure world. Today, over 50% of population all over the world consists of women and that is why solution of global problems is not possible without participation of women. Only strong woman can make contribution to the important changes. 


Talking of lifting the role of youth in solution of global problems Director for Science of the Future Generations Rights Foundation of Germany Yorg Tremmel said new approaches in formation of communication of people may play important role to prevent the wars. For this, exchange of children and youth must be arranged, their living in families together must be mentioned as an important factor. Noting various projects are performed for this goal in Europe and America Y.Tremmel said those actions can be taken in Caucasus region too. He mentioned corresponding system must be created to implement similar projects and programmes. The system must provide for identification of families to cooperate, elimination of language problem, problems must be discussed at least. International projects and third countries can be used when there are problems among the countries.   


Then, Leyla Aliyeva, OIC Youth Forum for Dialog and Cooperation First Senior Coordinator for Dialog of Cultures and Civilizations, delivered speech.


Leyla Aliyeva said realization of this international forum focused on women and dialog in Azerbaijan is of symbolic sense. Azerbaijan personifies both the cross-cultural dialog and development of women. In Azerbaijan that was the first parliamentary republic in the Moslem East women were entitled to elect and be elected yet 90 years ago. They were the first women in East having political equality. But in western democracy this incident took place much later.   


Noting from the ancient times religious tolerance, great respect to different religions and cultures existed in Azerbaijan L.Aliyeva talked of the role of girls and young women in the dialog of cultures in the modern, changing and globalizing world.


She stressed there are millions of illiterate young women in the world, nearly 50,000 girls and young women are yearly involved in human traffic, juvenile girls and young women often become victims of interstate and ethnic conflicts, aggression and occupation.


Despite all these difficulties women and girls have big resources and skills from the point of view of international dialog. Leila Aliyeva talked of the role women can play to achieve the objectives of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.


Assessing women as one of major founders of the democratic society she said since the status of women in the society is low, chances for democratic development drop. Participation of women in elected bodies creates more equal society. 


The higher social status young women have as future mothers, the more possibilities young generations have to grow in the environment of tolerance and respect to diversity. So, international cooperation is the high efforts made to achieve more democratic, secure and stable world in direction of growth of socio-economic and political rights of young women.


L.Aliyeva touched upon works done by OIC Youth Forum for Dialog and Cooperation towards development of young women, counted the rights provided by Islam to women. 


Mrs. Leila Aliyeva proposed on behalf of OIC Youth Forum for Dialog and Cooperation to hold a seminar in 2009 in Baku on the dialog of civilizations directed to development of girl and young women. She said this event may be continuation of global works done in base of the World Youth Action Plan UN adopted in 1995.


Thomas Utup, UN Alliance of Civilizations Secretariat Project Manager, stated importance of the Forum, expressed gratitude to Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO. He expressed confidence the Forum will play important role in promotion of elimination of illiteracy and poverty among women. T.Utup said propaganda of the cross-cultural dialog among women is necessary. The Alliance deals with creation of the bridge of communication among civilizations. For this, education, press and all other possible means must be used. Te speaker noted the role of women in society is a means to study the level of human rights protection in countries. 


Thomas Utup emphasized connection of violation of woman rights in some countries with Islam is wrong, noting necessity for involvement of women in education to lift their role in society. He stressed the huge importance of international dialog in this field. The Alliance has advanced 3 proposals to have progress in this direction. First, projects must be realized on education for men and women. International student exchange among young girls is of significance in this direction. Second, to increase the role of young girls in the press, and the third proposal envisages lifting the role of young girls in international and national organizations, their representation in different communities.


Founder and President of Culture Ambassadors International Society Helma Bloomberg highly valued realization of such a forum in Azerbaijan. Noting necessity for increasing the role of women she recalled action of woman leaders of XX century as Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton. Saying women play huge role in protection of peace the visitor stated cultural dialog among men and women must be created in society. She mentioned countries with high economic development, development of ICT brings to creation of the cultural dialog. Role of women is more limited in countries where this sector has not been developed. Underlining necessity for increase of role of women in business, protection of their rights according to cultural and religious norms H.Bloomberg highly valued the fact that women in Azerbaijan were granted suffrage for the first time in the Islamic world.


She said women in USA realized suffrage in 1934, in France in 1945 and in Lichtenstein only in 1984. On this point, granting of this right to the Azerbaijani woman in 1919 indicates to the high development of the society in that sphere.


Talking of activity of the organization she represents the speaker mentioned Culture Ambassadors International Society has executed projects in more than 100 countries across the world in field of woman rights protection. She stated necessity for creation of summer camps to remove obstacles to women. 


UNDP Special Affairs Advisor Shahid Hussein expressed pleasure of attending the influential Baku Forum dedicated to the important problem, highly evaluated its importance. Talking of problems of women upon his long-term experience he said in any family job of women begins a day earlier. Because just women make food and clothing every family will use the next day. The speaker presented facts concerning difference between the structure of working day of man and woman. He said in civilization of XXI century women are always engaged in job, stated sacred Koran, specially its article 95 provides for equal rights to women along with men. Noting necessity for exchange of experience to ease the job of women S.Hussein said the cross-cultural dialog will play a significant role in this field.  


OSCE Senior Advisor for Gender Affairs Jemile Seftaui said a number of decisions and resolutions for protection of woman rights and freedoms have been adopted in the organization she works for, as well in UN, CE. She expressed hope the Forum organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation will play important role in settlement of problems women face in the world, elimination of woman illiteracy, violence and poverty. She stated lifting the role of women in the society, their active involvement in political processes will play significant role in settlement of conflicts in the world. J.Seftaui expressed gratitude to First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva for organizing such an event. 


Then, discussions were held, participants said views and proposals on the theme, shared impressions. They stated basically proposals on protection of woman rights, elimination of illiteracy and poverty, increasing participation of women in political processes and creation of peace will be included in the final document.