October 13, 2005

A ceremony of awarding Mehriban Aliyeva the "Ruby Cross" Order

A ceremony to award the order Ruby Cross of the International Charity Foundation Philanthropists of the Century to the First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva took place on October 13.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva made a speech in the ceremony.

Speech by Mehriban Aliyeva

- Dear guests!

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

First of all, let me express my deep gratitude to the Foundation 'Philanthropist of the Century', to You, dear Pyotr Pyotrovich, to You, Angelina Mikhaylovna for such a high value set to my activity. Thank You for the sincere words You addressed here to me. I was much impressed of this.

I would like to talk a bit of activity of our Foundation. Angelina Mikhaylovna talked very well and comprehensively about it. Still I want to say a few words. Our Foundation has been established nearly a year ago. I say with pride that during this period we managed to become very prestigious and respected organization in the country. Our philanthropic activity perhaps has very big role in this.

In the beginning of our activity we knew that together with the global, large-scale and long-term projects in which the Foundation takes part, we would pay very big attention to the people belonging to the poor section of our society - children deprived of parents, refugees and IDPs, people living in low level than poverty, olds and children suffering from different diseases.

A little more than a year has passed and I can say with pride that all the works done just in that direction give their results, their real fruits. I feel very happy visiting the schools. I have told that I personally will come to every boarding school, baby house in Azerbaijan. We have visited 40 children's homes so far. Nearly 30 of them have been renewed, reconstructed. We have created real circumstance, improved the conditions for life and education of these children. Besides, children feel that they are not forgotten, they are necessary for the society. It is a kind of chained reaction - they are taken interest, visited, paid attention. And importance of this is not less than ensuring them with hot place and education.

The Program 'New school to the new Azerbaijan', which was advanced by the initiative of the Foundation in May this year caused very big resonance in the republic. We held the monitoring of all the schools within the republic and found out that there are such schools that are unsuitable not only for education but were unbearable in general. It is hard to believe but within 4 months 90 new schools were commissioned, more 40 will be ready by the end of this year.

A number of big projects are implemented in culture and health fields. For instance, the project on assistance to the children suffering from diabetes. Together with other public organizations we achieved to ensure the children in the republic suffering from this disease with necessary medicines. Thalassemia that is genetically transmitting disease is big problem in Azerbaijan. A number of Mediterranean countries have almost coped with this disease and put an end to that. That is why using the positive experience of these countries, involving international experts, we have made a program on repeal of thalassemia in Azerbaijan. In October this year we will start the construction of the qualified thalassemia center. Every child suffering from blood disease will be able to get here the most effective medical aid.

In our activity in field of culture we try to keep the heritage of periods and generations protected. Because the formation of high culture, art, national soul is impossible without this. All the projects we implement are of all-cultural importance. In this point, I would like to talk about 'Uzeyir Hajibeyov' project that is to be carried out in near future. The project covers the entire heritage of this music genuine of Azerbaijan. We are proud of another project 'Galina Vishnevskaya and Mstislav Rostropovich'. It has already been implemented and heroes of the project themselves, music community have highly valued the project.

We plan to organize a festival in February 2006 in Baku on the 100th anniversary of great musician Dmitri Shostakovich. We have very big plans and programs. As I said, we have global projects. But at the same time I can say with pride that we try to pay attention to everyone applying to our Foundation. We receive thousands of letters. I do not want to talk now about separate cases, specific aid. But I have to say that such people are not hundreds but thousands. Except fulfilling the important duties, I consider helping such people, when we are aware and able to help, is one of the biggest services of our Foundation.

Dear guests! I can talk much about activity of the Foundation but I do not want to misuse your attention and time. We live in such a world in which there are many problems and issues to pay attention and correctly understand. Talking of the current day we often hear words such as 'globalization', 'integration', 'scientific-technical progress', 'high technologies' and you would agree with me that these words are sounded often than ideas such as real humanity, mercy, charity, spirituality. Our experience, experience of our Foundation showed that there are too many people in our country ready to answer the calling, render disinterested aid. Goodness brings goodness, this is probably the major service of our Foundation's activity.

Thank you so much for the words you said of our activity. To be awarded the prize is always pleasant. But every award demands at the same time to approach the work you have assumed with responsibility. I am sure while awarding its nominees your organization takes into consideration not only their former services but also hopes that these philanthropic works will be continued in future.

I want to assure everyone that we will not be satisfied of the successes we have gained. We have big plans. We will enlarge the activity, first of all, philanthropic activity of the Foundation.

At the end I want to say that the charity will save the world.

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