Azerbaijan celebrates World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

21 May 2014

Cultural performance

On 21 May, UNO Baku joined Azerbaijan University of Languages (AUL) in holding an event to mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The event took place at AUL’s Folklore Center of the Information Resource Complex and brought together students, university professors, diplomats and local journalists to highlight the importance of cultural diversity for peace and sustainable development. 

“The United Nations recognizes the role of culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable development,” the UN’s Resident Coordinator, Antonius Broek, told those in attendance. He also stated that cultural diversity is a valuable asset for attaining the development goals of the UN, which include fighting poverty, promoting gender equality, instituting “quality education and human rights, and we try to fully integrate it (cultural diversity) into global strategies for sustainable development.”

Officially initiating the Day’s activities, Professor Samad Seyidov, rector of AUL and the deputy of Azerbaijan National Assembly, discussed the role of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue as a cornerstone of international development and cooperation. He also expressed his gratitude to Mr. Broek for participating in the event, as well as for the efforts of good-will across Azerbaijan. 

The event continued with performances prepared by members of Children's Brass Band, Jazz Trio, Drama Club and other groups within IRC AUL, who, donning the national dress of different countries including Serbia, Ukraine and India, displayed different cultural icons and enacted national dances and songs. 

The event concluded with students singing Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s “We are the World”, a song which calls nations to act together in solidarity to help fight problems around the world. 

Bringing Different Communities together to Reveal the Essence of Mother Language Day

21 February 2014

In observance of International Mother Language Day, UNO Baku, in collaboration with AGAT - Integration of Azerbaijani Youth to Europe Organization, organized a cultural festival on the 21 February at the “Caucasus Point” Hotel in Baku. The event brought together various representatives of governmental bodies, embassies, youth organizations, and ethnic minority communities to pay tribute to the importance of the day. 

Representatives of Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, India, Israel, Qatar, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Tatarstan presented their cuisines, national costumes, and other symbols of their cultures at the festival.  

UNO Baku’s representative, was given the privilege of opening the official part of the event, where he emphasized the history and vitality of the day and read aloud the Secretary-General’s message on the occasion. 

“Different ethnic and religious groups live in a friendly environment in Azerbaijan, and our society is well known for its tolerance towards multiculturalism,” said Elman Abdullayev, a Press Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, expressing his gratitude to organizers for the realization of the festival.  

Following the formalities of the opening ceremony, guests were treated to music and dance performances representing cultures of different communities, which created an internationally diverse, friendly and tolerant atmosphere that demonstrated a magnificent picture of cultural diversity. 

“The UNO Baku partnership in this event, brought an international dimension of broadmindedness that always adds the all too often missing rationale of universal hospitality ” said Gulsel Safarova, head of AGAT, who also thanked the UNO team for taking initiative and helping to organize such a successful event. 

Second World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue

18 June 2013

The Baku World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held between 29 May and 1 June, addressed challenges of intercultural dialogue in its various aspects regarding conceptual frameworks, governance, policy, and practice. The speakers on hand tackled the barriers to dialogue and explored how dialogue may best be pursued in diverse contexts. The Forum provided an excellent opportunity for sharing good practices and for launching new initiatives within this intercultural platform. 500 representatives from 102 countries across the planet, representing international organizations, NGOs, media channels, together with scholars, experts, etc. participated in the Forum, organized under the motto “United through Common Values, Enriched by Cultural Diversity.”

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser participated in the 2nd World Forum as a speaker at the official opening ceremony. On May 29th, Mr. Al-Nasser inaugurated, together with UNESCO and ISESCO, The National Tolerance Center. The Center aims to serve as a hub for promoting inter-religious tolerance and mutual respect, another aspect of the intercultural dialogue promoted by the forum.

Intercultural dialogue is one of the most pressing and intriguing challenges of the contemporary world and, indeed, one that increasingly manifests itself on a global scale. In this regard we should open our eyes to the reality that global development must be based on the diversity and richness of cultures, a basic code of human understanding. Our acceptance will contribute to an open, progressive repository of wisdom, experience, knowledge, exchange, and solidarity, and will create new ways of living together by widening the range of options open to everyone.

Azerbaijan is one of the unique places in the world where so many different cultures and civilizations, have historically met and still meet under present circumstances. Situated at the crossroads between East and West, North and South, Azerbaijan has been shaped and transformed through time by its cultural exchanges, and has evolved in the process into a setting that expresses itself open to the reality of intercultural dialogue.

In Mr. Al-Nasser’s address to the forum, entitled “Living Together Peacefully in a Diverse World”, the High Representative outlined his vision and priorities for the UN Alliance of Civilizations and defined the role the Alliance can play amid the challenges that our world is facing today, and will continue to face in the future. He reminded listeners of persistent intolerance between nations in some parts of the world, and of the challenges that need to be overcome, linking also sustainable development to cultural understanding as interconnected global ambitions.

Azerbaijan Celebrates World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

11 June 2013

To enhance students’ understanding of the values of cultural diversity, and to mobilize them to ‘Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion’, UNO Baku – Department of Public Information (UNDPI) teamed up with the Information Resource Complex of the Azerbaijan University of Languages (AUL IRC) on 21 May for an educational and cultural festival which was rich with vivid colours, dances, and national costumes, as well as traditional foods, songs, and poems laced with vibrant history.

“Today I am delighted to see so many talented and enthusiastic Azerbaijani young people raising their voices for cultural diversity,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Antonius Broek, in his speech. “Beyond the well-known tolerance of the Azerbaijani people, Azerbaijani society can set an example with its strong belief in multiculturalism and diversity,” he added.

The festival brought together representatives of the Azerbaijani Parliament, heads of diplomatic missions, local authorities, civil society activists, linguists, and other prominent personalities, with the purpose of highlighting the value of cultural diversity – both as a means of communication and as an expression of identity in a tolerant society.

“I am really honoured that the Azerbaijan University of Languages is hosting this wonderful festival to further encourage everybody – families, co-workers, neighbours - to ‘Do One Thing’ to support diversity and inclusion in the pursuit of constructive and vigilant dialogue. We are really proud to live in a unique country like Azerbaijan, where different cultures and civilizations meet at the crossroads between East and West, North and South,” said Samed Seyidov, the rector of AUL. 

“We are really happy to be part of this world campaign”, said Firuza Aliyeva, one of the AUL students dressed up in a Japanese kimono. “Our university may, for one day only, flourish with the spirit of diverse cultures, but we will remember this for a long time”. Commenting on the day’s events, the students’ language tutor Aynur Amirova noted that, “the eye-catching costumes, astonishing performances, vibrant monologues, great artistic skills and all-around ambience were results of long preparation and training from students ready to utter their love and respect for this language.”

The head of the Information Resource Complex, Ms. Shahla Khudiyeva summed up the festival. “Today we carried the message to the heart of our society, so that cultural diversity may become a shared wealth. I would like to express our collective gratitude to all our partners and to the UNDPI office in Baku in particular, for their continued support and long-term cooperation within the United Nations Academic Impact initiative.”