June 26, 2006

The first sitting of the General Assembly of countries that have ratified the Convention 'On Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage'

The first sitting of the General Assembly of countries that have ratified the Convention 'On Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage', following the initiative of UNESCO's Department of Culture, was held in Paris, June 26.

President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva attended the sitting.

Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the sitting.

Speech by Mehriban Aliyeva:

Mr Director General,

Ladies and gentlemen!

First, I congratulate you all on the remarkable event such as validation of the Convention on protection of non-material cultural legacy.

I express my gratitude to UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura for inviting me to attend the General Assembly of participant countries and efforts directed for soon ratification of this Convention by member states.

Non-material cultural legacy is genetic base of world nations. That base had been created for centuries and played important role in formation of peoples, ethnic groups, understanding their community and then in formation of nations and statehood.

Today we see more than 190 states, covering a number of nations, in the world map. Each of them has specific historical legacy containing material and non-material cultural values. Duty of every state must consist not only of protection of those values, but also creation of conditions for education of new generation in base of specific traditions of that state.

Current development era of the universe is characterized with globalization covering all activities of human being. Globalization brings with a number of positive things and opens new possibilities for settlement of problems of the mankind. Specially, different cultures are connected and value of every culture for the universe is understood. But globalization causes new threats and challenges. Most dangerous of them is dictation of stereotypes. Weakest among them is just non-material cultural legacy. There is need today for protection not only of art things but also traditions, rituals, in a word, the most ancient forms of expression of culture.

This is of great importance before non-tolerance, confrontations among religions, terrorism and extremism. In many cases those tendencies are based on lost of cultural guidelines and values. All civil nations should unite their efforts to fight this problem, because this obstacle can be removed by sincere and direct dialog only.

From this point of view, validation of the Convention is a step timely taken towards protection of cultural heritage of the world.

Convention 'On protection of non-material cultural legacy' is of great importance also for Azerbaijani people that has given big contributions to the universal culture.

Azerbaijan is ancient country but young independent state. Cultural legacy of Azerbaijan protected for centuries, our traditions, music, language, habits guarantee our independence along with political stability. Azerbaijani mugham was included in 2003 in the world verbal and non-material legacy pearls list. Mugham is ancient art and its deep philosophy must be handed from one generation to another. Protection, rehabilitation and development of folk art is one of priorities of culture policy of state of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is multinational country and this is wealth of our people. The state always focuses on development of national minorities culture. All historical monuments of different religions are protected by the state. Religious tolerance of Azerbaijanis is well-known highly appreciated in the world.


With pleasure I want to inform the meeting participants that ratification of the Convention is in last phase in Azerbaijan and our country will soon enter the list of participant states of the Convention.

There are conflicts, wars going in the world currently. Historical and cultural values of the universe are destroyed. A number of things are lost forever. As a result of Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hundreds of ancient architectural and cultural monuments of our people have been destructed in occupied areas of Azerbaijan. Cities where best mugham masters were born have fully been destroyed. Regarding this, let me once again emphasize the necessity for bigger attention of international organizations and world community to the fate of cultural and historical monuments in conflict zones. Aggression against cultural legacy is unacceptable. Except respecting and protecting the own culture, the universal and world culture must be respected and protected.

Dear friends!

It is too hard to say unambiguous views on the events ongoing in the world. But an issue is quite obvious: the culture is universal tool able to resolve a number of problems of modern society in wider sense. This is why protection of the universal cultural heritage is too necessary to us.

Lastly, I twice express my gratitude to UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura for big efforts directed for soon ratification of this Convention.

I wish successful and fruitful activity to all you.

Thank you so much!

Go to the news