October 21, 2006

An event entitled 'Azerbaijan: On the Junction of Cultures and Civilizations' at UNESCO

President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva attended the event in connection with the Day of Azerbaijan held under the title of 'Azerbaijan: On the Junction of Cultures and Civilizations' in the frame of the 'Dialog Among Civilizations' week dedicated to the 60th anniversary of UNESCO.


Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony.


Speech by Mehriban Aliyeva:


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Dear guests,


First, I would like to greet you all at the presentation of the Azerbaijan Day and express you my gratitude for attending such important event.


I express my special gratitude to director general of UNESCO Mr Koichiro Matsuura for being here with us today.


This year we mark the 60th jubilee of UNESCO. Over passed 60 years UNESCO has given great contribution to the development of universal culture, education and science, the dialog among various civilizations and cultures. The activity of UNESCO is based upon the universal values such as peace, tolerance, cultural heritage. Poverty reduction, education to everyone and development of all nations worldwide is integral part of that activity.


Today we are holding the Azerbaijan Day in frame of the Tolerance Week of UNESCO - 'Dialog Among Civilizations', and I think it is of very symbolic sense. Because yesterday it was the 15th anniversary of independence of our country.


Azerbaijan is the ancient land distinguished with rich cultural legacy and traditions.


Throughout the centuries Azerbaijan has played great role in realization of the dialog among civilizations. Our country is situated at the junction of East and West. The first democratic republic in the East was founded just in Azerbaijan in 1918. It was the first parliamentary republic of European type in the entire Muslim world.


At the same time, among the Muslim countries the first opera, ballet, theatre, women schools, free press, equal voting right of women and men have been stated in Azerbaijan.


At the moment Azerbaijan has become a modern country sharing the European values and fully understanding its way. One of the important factors of the successful development is that Azerbaijan is secular state, a country distinguished with high tolerance.


Azerbaijan has been multinational country historically. All the national minorities here are entitled to the equal rights upon the Constitution and live as the one family. Religious and ethnic tolerance is the major element of the successes we have gained, and our wealth.


History of cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNESCO backs to the era of our independence. A number of projects have been implemented over the last years in field of education, science and culture. Material and non-material monuments of Azerbaijan have been included in the UNESCO World Legacy List. For example, UNESCO has included Icherisheher in the list of the most beautiful monuments of the world, mugham of Azerbaijan in the Non-material cultural heritage list.


During his visit to Azerbaijan in 2005 Mr Koichiro Matsuura attended the ceremony to lay the cornerstone for the International Mugham Center constructed due to UNESCO support. At the time we also held an international conference 'UNESCO-Azerbaijan: Bridge to Future', discussed education affairs. And now we are intended to change Azerbaijan into the sample of the best education system in the region.


We are also implementing together with UNESCO the important education projects for refugee and IDP children. Our cooperation with UNESCO covers projects such as restoration of Ateshgah Temple, inclusion of Gobustan in the World Cultural Heritage List.


Azerbaijan cooperates with UNESCO not only in frame of projects carried out inside the country. According to the objectives of UNESCO, every member of the international community must help other countries and nations in need. Along with UNESCO we are planning to reconstruct the school in Muzaffarabad city of Pakistan destructed as a result of the quake.


All this shows that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNESCO is very fruitful, large and successful.


Dear friends,


Today I from one side feel deep honor to represent my country - the Republic of Azerbaijan at this prestigious event. From another side, as Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO I am very glad to be once again in our common family.


Finally, let me once again express you all my gratitude for coming such a solemn event and wish you success. I believe you will enjoy the event.


Thank you for attention.


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