January 31, 2006

A ceremony of presenting the 'Person of the Year 2005' award to Mehriban Aliyeva

The National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev Foundation and ANS Group of Companies named First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva the Person of 2005 for her services to development of education system in Azerbaijan, safeguarding and popularization of Azerbaijani national and cultural heritage in the world, the work towards enhancing the image of the Azerbaijani people in foreign countries, organization and conduct in the country of the 27th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship and the large-scale charitable activity.

A prize-giving ceremony on this occassion was weld at the Park Inn hotel in Baku on 31 January.

Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony.

Speech by Mehriban Aliyeva:

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

First, I express my deep gratitude to The National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev Foundation and ANS Group of Companies for highly valuing my activity and announcing me 'Person of The Year'.

The year 2005 will be recalled with a number of important and essential events in the history of Azerbaijan and memory of people: implementation of BTC project, parliamentary elections, enormous assets in economy of the country, realization of the world championship on rhythmic gymnastics, which is Olympic discipline, for the first time in the country. This list can be continued and announcing me 'Man of The Year', summarizing the year full of such intensive events, is a great honor for me and very big responsibility at the same time.

Naturally I do not think of any award planning my works. I just had directed my efforts to several targets. I was feeling the responsibility starting any activity.

I think irrespective of the necessity and character of the work the real responsibility is what the one feels before itself and promises made. As an internal demand I feel this responsibility in every step I take. From another hand, this is the greatest responsibility before you, society and nation. In this sense, there were numerous letters and respect addressed to me and they called me to continue these works, and I was feeling their support.

Except ANS Group of Companies and the Fund named after National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev I express my gratitude to every person believing and supporting me.

I consider this award as a high value set to the activity of the Foundation named after Heydar Aliyev that continues his policy. From the first day of establishment the Foundation has set very important and big objectives. We wish to possess in our society a place worthy to our name and be able to continue statehood, Azerbaijanism, patriotic philosophy of Heydar Aliyev. Our position has always been consisted of to characterize every person, every organization with the works done and results gained not with praise and bright epithets.

The programs 'New school to new Azerbaijan', 'Development of children homes and boarding schools', projects 'Highest care to diabetes-affected children', 'Life without thalassemia', albums 'Garabagh singers' and 'Garabagh realities' - all these are only some part of activity of Heydar Aliyev Foundation in 2005. Just for these actions Heydar Aliyev Foundation possesses great prestige and support in the society.

One of the brightest actions of 2005 was realization of 'New school to new Azerbaijan' project. All the rural schools of the country were analyzed and list of those that were in most unsuitable state compiled during development of this project. In second stage, within very short time 132 schools were built and commissioned. So many schools have never been constructed within such short time in Azerbaijan. Record of soviet time was 110 schools and majority of those schools were built in cities. But pour project considered improvement of state of rural schools.

In 2005 we achieved to provide seats for 22,000 schoolchildren within this project and I believe our project will be continued this year.

Taking an opporutinty, I express my deep thanks to every organization and body, local and foreign companies, businessmen having responded to the initiative of Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

The projects that the Foundation always pays attention are connected to the boarding schools and children homes of the country. Beside reconstruction of material and technical base of these institutions we try to morally support the orphans, create a kind of family atmosphere for them. But I can say all these children were native to us, we regularly meet with them and today I am calling all our society to pay attention to this problem.

Protection of our moral heritage, rich history and traditions, beautiful music and literature and to deliver them to the future generations and all the world is spiritual debt of Heydar Aliyev Foundation. 'Garabagh singers' album released last year was welcomed with big attention and interest by the society. A number of new books on mugham will be published in close future. We will try in future to widen our activity in this direction.

I would like to emphasize the projects concerning the health: help to children affected with diabetes, actions taken to remove thalassemia and other genetic diseases. We receive hundreds of letters and people suffering from different diseases request us to help them and we try always to render this help to them.

Creation of 'Azerbaijan' portal is one of the most successful projects of 2005. This portal available on three languages has become a source of detailed and fair information for the world community on our country.

In a word, activity of Heydar Aliyev Foundation in 2005 was very rich and I can talk on all the projects and programs. We summarized the year a few days ago, presented the report to the public. We tried to disclose all the directions of activity of the Foundation. This is why today I talked only about some of our projects.

Heydar Aliyev Foundation is always open for cooperation with very organization and citizen and I am confident we together will implement many great works for development of our country and future of our people.

Dear friends, today we live the era of modern equipment, high technology and globalization. I think, one of the biggest paradoxes of the time is that even if the progress obtained, communication possibilities contribute to solidarity of people and establishment of closer contact, indifference in real life increases, gap among people is deepened. Sometimes we do not hear the voice of humanity, even neighbor does not hear the neighbor, brother does not want to help the brother. One of the most painful problems today all the world faces is that the spiritual ideas get cheaper, they are replaced with false ideals. Sometimes the person in the society gets into such a situation when all the doors are closed to it. It is lonely with its problems and it thinks no one and nothing can help it. In this event it turns to our Foundation. I do not want to say we immediately solve all its problems. But that person would not see indifference here and all the possibilities will be used in maximum to solve its problems. Perhaps, the charity, mercy is one of the most beautiful features specific to mentality, culture of Azerbaijani people, its traditions formed for centuries and as Heydar Aliyev Foundation today we try to continue these traditions.

Every person is likely to have own philosophy of life. This philosophy is not to be expressed with words. It will be expressed somehow in actions. Our Foundation also got such a philosophy. This philosophy is based on very simple idea: to do goodness to people. If the one feels goodness towards itself not only in hard times but in daily life as well, it can fill its life with another sense. I believe that much in the world can be changed towards goodness with good acts.

Finally, I would like to underline another desire I got. As you know, the Armed Forces Assistance Fund established by initiative of Heydar Aliyev functions due to support of the community. ANS TV and Radio Company always pays great attention to nationality, patriotism, independence and territorial integrity of our country and this is an appreciable fact. I would like to transfer the money award given to me today to the account of that Fund.

Once again I express my deep gratitude to ANS Group of Companies and The National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev Foundation. I wish the year 2006 to be more successful, lighter and all your dreams to come true. Thank you very much.