I International Conference “Medicine and pharmaceutics in medieval manuscripts”

June 12-14, 2006

I International Conference 'Medicine and pharmaceutics in medieval manuscripts', organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Washington Sciences Academy, was opened on June 12 at the Foundation.

First, participants of the Conference arrived to Honor Alley, honored memory of national leader, prominent political figure Heydar Aliyev, laid wreath on his monument. 

Participants of the international conference laid flowers on grave of famous ophthalmologist, academician Zarifa Aliyeva. 

Then, participants of the Conference came to Heydar Aliyev Foundation. 

Visitors were in detail informed here of goals of the Foundation that carefully collects all the information on life and rich political and statehood activity of the great leader Heydar Aliyev. Role of Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Foundation, MP, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, First Lady of Azerbaijan, in this mission was emphasized. 

Visitors from different countries saw numerous pictures reflecting the very various moments of genius person Heydar Aliyev's life and creating a wide idea of the entire history of Azerbaijan, gifts presented to him by the popular political figures all over the world, books on the great leader, photos taken with leaders of different countries, figures of science, culture and art. 

Visitors highly valued the works implemented by the Foundation, major goal of which is to propagate and pass to future generations the philosophy of Azerbaijanism created by Heydar Aliyev. 

Visitors were impressed by exhibition of manuscripts and books at the Foundation. 

It was informed 364 of nearly 11,000 manuscripts at Manuscripts Institute of Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy cover medicine. 3 of them that are of special importance are in UNESCO World Memory Program International List. These are 13th part of multivolume work 'Al-Megalat as-Selasun' ('On surgery and tools') of Abulgasim Zahravi of XI century, 2nd volume of book 'Al-Ganun fit Tibb' ('Las of medicine') of Abu Ali ibn Sina, that was copied in Baghdad in XII century and manuscript 'Zahireyi-Nizamshah' ('Resources of Nizamshah') written in XII century by Rustam Jurjani that was copied in XVII century. These samples of cultural heritage that are universal wealth and were copied by popular penmen of the time are protected at Manuscripts Institute. 

In opening ceremony of I International Conference 'Medicine and pharmaceutics in medieval manuscripts' more than 50 reps from USA, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Bahrain, Estonia, Georgia, Iran, Israel, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece and other countries, reps of some international organizations, Azerbaijani state and government officials, MPs, famous figures of science, foreign ambassadors were present. 

President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, MP Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva opened the Conference. 

Then, visitors watched the film 'Living history' made by Heydar Aliyev Foundation. 

The film is about care and attention by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to history, culture, monuments of Azerbaijan and their protection, contributions given by the Foundation led by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva to realization of ideas of great leader Heydar Aliyev, international ties of the organization. Participants welcomed the scientific and historical information on ancient history, traditions of national medicine of our country, things found in Azykh cave, drug stores, medical schools, scholar-doctors of VII-XIV centuries in Gabala, Tebriz, Shamakhy, flora and fauna of Azerbaijan, medicinal herbs, rules of their use, mineral resources. 

MRS MEHRIBAN ALIYEVA: Dear guests! In my speech I already mentioned for last years Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been firmly cooperating with UNESCO. I am very glad that director general of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura addressed congratulation letter to the participants of the Conference. The floor is given to Abdulaziz Abid, representing UNESCO in the Conference, to read the letter. 

ABDULAZIZ ABID: Thank You very much. It is big honor to make a speech before you in this important conference. I want to read letter of UNESCO director general. He regrets for not attending this international conference and highly values works done by President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, First Lady of Azerbaijan Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva. With special pleasure I want to express gratitude to her on behalf of UNESCO and thank her for sincere words she said now. With your permission, I read the letter: 

'This first international conference on medicine and pharmaceutics is important chance to mention necessity of protection of written legacy. This lets us protect manuscripts by ancient traditional methods and modern information technologies as well. These days we are marking inclusion of the most important part of rich manuscripts legacy of Azerbaijan in World Memory Program. We know manuscripts stored at Manuscripts Institute of Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy are necessary documents serving the important goal of World Memory Program. Decision on inclusion of these documents in world memory list was made in 7th sitting of international advisory committee held in China on June 13-15, 2005. Participants of that sitting stressed necessity and value of these unique manuscripts belonging to Jurjani, Ibn Sina and Abu al-Gasim al-Zahravi and stated inclusion of these manuscripts in the list will show to the entire world contribution of Azerbaijan to development of science of medicine in the world. 

Inclusion of these scripts formed as a result of your rich history is start of big job. 

Unfortunately, such unique manuscripts are not protected in required level in some countries. It is connected to different causes, for instance, destruction of libraries, archives by accident or on purpose, or indifference to historical legacy. That is why speaking on behalf of the mankind UNESCO tries for protection of such important manuscripts. 

We will face very big duties. UNESCO and other NGOs, international, national and private organizations should strive to resolve this problem. 

UNESCO makes special attempts at present for ensuring international protection of the world legacy. UNESCO always pays attention to protection of world cultural monuments. State of manuscripts is not satisfactory in several countries. Inclusion of these scripts in world memory list indicates to the special attention top their protection. 

UNESCO implements important program in field of audio-visual and digital archives. We think documents protected due to modern methods face danger. We call all scholars and politicians to be aware of this issue. World Memory Program highly values protection of manuscripts in developing countries. Directing attention to the education and surveys this Program opens new chances for protection of important manuscripts. Regarding funding of the Program I want to note that it has not full funding possibility. That is why I want to catch attention of the conference participants to this issue that you should attach special importance to these issues'. 

Then, vice president of Washington Sciences Academy, secretary general of World Medical Historians Association Allen Tuvade delivered speech. He said: 

Mrs Chairman, thanks a lot. Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen! 

I greet you on behalf of World Medical Historians Association. 

We have cooperated before with president of Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy Mahmud Kerimov. 

Participation of President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva in this conference is sign of great importance she attaches to this conference. I express my deep gratitude to her for partaking here and special care. 

I listened to the words said here on the importance UNESCO attaches to this job and to me, inclusion of 3 unique manuscripts of Azerbaijan in World Memory Program is remarkable event. We must be attentive about protection and propaganda of written historical legacy. I think realization of this conference in Azerbaijan indicates to the big importance the leadership of the country gives to this field. The Conference will serve propaganda of these documents within cooperation with UNESCO and growth of interest in them. This is not only historical or archeological work. We all should unite our efforts in this field and ensure awareness of all the society on these manuscripts and participation in their protection. Modern technologies also should be used in this field. These historical documents should not be considered as dead ones. Including these manuscripts in certain lists the historians provide information to the society on them. But this is a part of the job. Scholars of other field should give their contribution to this. 

I think, this conference will be very fruitful. I already feel big interest of the participants to this event. Because of this I want to say the UNESCO representative and doctor Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva that I feel honor to represent here the organization in which I am member and at the same I want to offer cooperation to you. I want to be involved in joint research programs of you. This is very important work directed to protection of ancient scripts and in this view we should try to use all means - modern technologies, Internet and distribute this, implement our own studies, give recommendations and involve more people, scholars in this. I think such cooperation with Heydar Aliyev Foundation can be sample for research program in medicine. I think organizations of other countries also may cooperate with us. In case of such cooperation we will be able to ensure the important role of unique manuscripts remained from centuries in development of the universe. 

This conference will be base for future cooperative programs. I thank all participants of conference, Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy, Mr Farid Elekberov, UNESCO. 

With great pleasure I present diploma of World Medical Historians Association to Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva.

Without help of the Foundation, this conference would not be possible. I hope the Conference and Heydar Aliyev Foundation will continue works in this direction. 

Once again I thank you all and wish success. 

Then, president of World Medical Historians Association Afanasios Diamandopoulos gave speech: 

Dear Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, conference participants, I sincerely greet you all and thank for inviting me here. 

There were 2 main reasons I came here. It is honor to me to represent a big association here and pay a visit to your country. I am sure you all will benefit this conference. 

Second reason concerns the foundation. I was inspired much by this program as president of World Medical Historians Association. Because if you analyze here medical manuscripts, the history of medicine has direct connection to this and I was glad to have chance of making speech before participants of this conference. 

Our association also has done several works in this field. Passing frontiers between West and East we have gained chance to get familiarization with historical documents of different countries. 

70% of world population lives in Asia. Many of them are in poverty and hunger. Because of this they are not able to protect their written historical monuments. That is why we should look around and find a sample. Azerbaijan can be sample. Because since the ancient times Azerbaijan was popular for its scholars, medical researches. In this view I want to note special importance of the event. 

I have been to a number of countries of this region, attended several meetings. But I am much proud for work done by Azerbaijan and I am very happy to be in your country. 

Thank you so much for attention. 

Then, president of Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy Mahmud Kerimov was given the floor. He said: 

Dear Mrs Aliyeva! 

Dear conference participants, ladies and gentlemen! 

I cordially greet participants of this international conference organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Washington Sciences Academy on behalf of the presidium of Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy, wish the conference to be fruitful and successful. 

For the first time in Baku the international conference is held due to effective efforts of Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva and Heydar Aliyev Foundation led by her on ancient medicine and pharmaceutics. Reps, popular scholars from more than 20 countries have come to this conference. 

Reps from a number of international and national organizations are present here. For example: UNESCO, World Medical Historians Association, England Medical History Association, Turkey Medical History Association, Azerbaijan Medical Historians Union, Washington Sciences Academy, Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy, International Pharmaceutics History Association, International Islam Medicine Association and many other organizations. 

The conference is dedicated to very important event. Last year medieval medical manuscripts collection protected at Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy Manuscripts Institute was included in UNESCO World Memory Program. 

To mark this remarkable event Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Washington Sciences Academy organized international conference titled 'Traditional and medical pharmaceutics in medieval manuscripts' in Baku.

Azeri people has rich and ancient culture. Ancient manuscripts remained till our time prove it clearly. More than 11,000 ancient manuscripts are protected at Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy Manuscripts Institute. They were written in different times, languages, by different authors. They include poems, as well books on different topics. More than 360 manuscripts on medicine and pharmaceutics are protected.

UNESCO selected 3 of these manuscripts and included in world memory program. These are works of Abu Ali ibn Sina, Abulgasim Zahravi and Rustam Jurjani. 

These 3 manuscripts are really of universal importance. For instance, work of Ibn Sina protected in Azerbaijan is one of his most ancient works. Manuscript of Zahravi contains hundreds of surgery tools. Work of Rustam Jurjani is only in Azerbaijan. 

I hope inclusion of these 3 manuscripts in the world memory list is first step taken towards popularization of Azerbaijani manuscripts worldwide and our other precious manuscripts will be included in this list in future. 

To analyze the legacy of ancient Azerbaijani medicine and pharmaceutics and return it to use of modern science of medicine is one of important duties of our scholars. This conference is important in this direction. This conference is as if window to our rich past while we are looking at our history with new eyes, analyze sources of our scientific and cultural values with more fair criteria. 

Once again I greet conference participants, wish the conference to be fruitful. 

Lastly I express my deep gratitude to Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Washington Sciences Academy. 

Then, director of UNESCO Information Society Department Abdulaziz Abid gave speech: 

Mrs Aliyeva, thank You so much! 

This conference is bright sample of importance You attach to this field. I want to inform You World Memory Program is a wide program implemented by UNESCO in field of protection of heritage of all peoples worldwide. Our job is not completed with this. We must continue our works to have this program successful. This program is realized since 1992. A number of important historical documents were destroyed because of natural disasters, wars and conflicts. But due to implementation of this program precious manuscripts were transferred to digital format. 

The program has 2 major goals. First, by using modern technologies to protect and deliver to future generations these scripts. 

Second, to ensure access to this document by modern technologies. Another element of the program is implementation of propaganda among other member countries of UNESCO on these scripts and provide more information to people. 

Our program is too wide and we involve our partners, scholars, journalists, students in this job. 

UNESCO International advisory committee held 7 meetings already. In the 7th meeting recently held it was stated historical documents in many countries must be written by modern technologies and included in the world exchange program. 

International advisory committee has offices in 69 countries. I am sure the committee's office will be opened in Azerbaijan as well. Main goal of the committee is to recommend the member countries of UNESCO in field of protection of cultural and historical legacy. We recently held several events on realization of regional projects in Asia and Pacific region, Latin America and Caribbean Sea countries. They were requested to present their historical documents to the international list. This list consists of 3 segments. Listing of documents aims their popularization. Documents are included in international list in base of decision of the advisory committee. This is similar to other programs of UNESCO on cultural legacy protection. At the moment 120 very important manuscripts on medicine and pharmaceutics from 77 countries are in the international list. 

Azerbaijan National Sciences Academy also has given its contribution to this field. Creation of national register of most important manuscripts started in Azerbaijan at present. We highly value this. Compilation of these lists indicates to big attention shown to protection of historical documents. 

Documents submitted to World Memory Program are studied from different criteria and considered by the advisory committee. The list is very important and inclusion of any document in that is not so easy. The program started with several pilot projects and main goal of them is study of modern and traditional methods of protection of documents, simplification of ways of posting them on web sites, their publication. We have programs in a number of fields. For example, 6-7 years ago manuscripts in Prague were transferred to digital format. At present 30,000 historical manuscripts are in digital format there. 

We implemented another project in Yemen that was directed to protection of manuscript of Koran by modern methods. Important project was realized at Istanbul University which covered discussion of ways of protection of manuscripts. 

We realized project in Cairo on protection of documents on Islam. These documents were copied to CD and protected in archive in high quality. These documents include contributions of Islam scholars to medicine. 

We implemented a project at the institute in Madras city of India. Documents there contain ways of treatment with herbs. Project was implemented on manuscripts of XIV-XVII centuries kept at Al-Biruni Institute in Uzbekistan. 

I want to say we are working on a number of programs. Projects implemented in this field should be submitted to the technical committee first. 

We request UNESCO member countries to submit their ideas. UNESCO has allocated special funds for compilation of international list. 

At the end, I call you all to help UNESCO. Because UNESCO tries for protection of universal historical manuscripts and fights in this field. 

Thanks a lot for attention. 

MEHRIBAN ALIYEVA: Thank You so much, Mr Abid! 

Dear friends! Opening ceremony of our conference is over. The conference will be continued on June 13-14. 

I want to mention the conference is held not only in Baku city, it will be continued in Yevlakh city on June 14. I think this is very good because our guests will be familiarized with regions as well. 

I once again greet all our guests, wish you health, and success to the conference. Lastly I want to mention once more that Heydar Aliyev Foundation is open and ready for cooperation with all international organizations. 

Thank you very much. 

The conference participants were acquainted at the lobby of the Foundation with publications, audio-video albums on Azerbaijani history and culture, manuals, school appliances, music CDs developed in frame of the projects of Heydar Aliyev Foundation. 

Guests were familiarized with beautiful sites, historical, architectural, cultural monuments in Baku, listened to classic mugam.