March 14, 2017

“L’Opinione”: Mehriban Aliyeva’s new appointment will stimulate strengthening Azerbaijan's relations with Italy

Italy’s “L’Opinione” newspaper published an article by chairperson of the association of “Azerbaijan’s Friends in South Italy” Domenico Leticia about Azerbaijan’s first vice-president.


It is mentioned in the article that Mehriban Aliyeva, a beloved person of the Azerbaijani people, has played a significant role in the country’s public and political life before the appointment too. She has always devoted her high intellect for the wellbeing of her people, especially for women. A physician by profession, Mehriban Aliyeva is a deputy chairperson of the New Azerbaijan Party, and goodwill ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO. She has also made significant contribution to the development of sports in the country, heading the Gymnastics Federation since 2002. She was the chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the first European Games, Baku-2015, which had been successfully held in the Azerbaijani capital. She has also been entrusted with organization of the Islamic Solidarity Games to be held in June this year in Baku. Mehriban Aliyeva has been conferred on special honorary prize “Olympic Excellence” of the International Olympic Academy for her services in promoting Olympic values.


Mehriban Aliyeva has been heading the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, founded in 2004. The Foundation has been playing an active role in building a new society in the country, by implementing various projects in the spheres of education, healthcare, culture, sports, science, technology, environment, social sphere etc., and makes contribution to the country’s social and economic progress.


It is further noted in the article that the Foundation has gained respect also abroad for the works it has done for the restoration and preservation of the cultural heritage in the Holy See and Italy. Cooperation between the Foundation and the Holy See started on 22 June 2012 with signing of an agreement on allocation of a grant for the restoration of numerous cubic paintings on Saint Marcellino and Pietro catacombs related to the Roman period. In 2015, Mehriban Aliyeva was received by Pope Francis, and this was the high appreciation by the Holy See of the works done by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, as well as Azerbaijan’s multiculturalism model, and its role in the dialogue between cultures and civilizations.


The author underscores that thanks to the Foundation’s services, we have witnessed the restoration and preservation by a Muslim, yet secular, country of Christian monuments. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has made financial contribution to the projects on restoration of frescoes on “Buon Pastore”, “Orfeo”, “Noe”, “Casta Susanna”, Saint Marcellino and Pietro catacombs, and works are underway now on implementation of other projects.


Moreover, cultural events have been held by the Foundation in Italian cities. Attended by Mehriban Aliyeva too, these events have played a significant role in promotion of Azerbaijan’s rich historical and cultural heritage, at the same time, bringing the two peoples closer by culture, art and music. “Thinking about the situation in Azerbaijan’s geographical neighbours and their foreign policy, we amaze at this country’s model of multiculturalism, and endorse its significant role in the world”, said Domenico Leticia.


It is also noted in the article that Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment to the office of First Vice-president of Azerbaijan is also a manifestation of value attached to a woman in the country. This may be approached simply with interest and amusement. This will be a model of diligence, trust and professionalism for women not only in Azerbaijan, but also in other countries.


The author further states: “We are certain this appointment will stimulate Azerbaijan’s further development and progress, as well as expansion of this Caucasian country’s high-level relations with the Holy See and Italy.