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. 

Honors Students from Azerbaijan State Economic University visit the UN House in Azerbaijan

14 May 2014

Students at the event

On 14 May, a group of 2nd year honors students from Azerbaijan State Economic University, specializing in political economy and finance, visited for the first time the UN House in Baku. Co-organized by UNO Baku and the UN Resident Coordinator’s (UNRC) Office in Azerbaijan, the information session was opened by UNRC, Mr. Antonius Broek. “I am glad to see so many young people who are driven by their interest in the UN’s work globally and in Azerbaijan. Today’s introduction may eventually stimulate your interest in the unique role played by the UN in development. We will gladly meet you again to provide you the opportunity to receive more detailed information from UN specialized agencies about specific UN development activities.” Mr. Broek said.

An introductory video on the goals and responsibilities of the United Nations was followed by a presentation, ‘The UN at a Glance,’ made by Ms. Irada Ahmedova from the UNRC’s Office, who provided insight into the guiding principles of the UN and its work in international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights and humanitarian action. The students were also informed about the priorities of the UN system in Azerbaijan and were motivated to further broaden their knowledge and understanding of the UN’s ongoing global efforts, especially in shaping a new development framework beyond 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The interactive presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.

UNDP/UN Communications Officer, Mr. Ruslan Ismayil-zada, briefed the students about MY World survey, a UN–backed global survey, the idea of which is to provide a route for people’s voices to reach directly into the heart of international decision making in choosing new global priorities to replace the MDGs by the Sustainable Development Goals and chart a course for global progress after 2015. He pointed out that some governments are using My World data to inform their national priorities, and advocacy groups are using it as a source of influence. A growing number of academic analyses use the data to explore how priorities vary between countries, groups and individuals. The survey has yielded intuitive responses – people want decent jobs, better health and a good education.

While concluding the information session, the students participated in the My World poll through paper ballots and were given hash-tag signs for ranking top 6 development priority issues of the 16 proposed to guide the UN policymakers and country governments in the formulation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda over the next two years

The session was well received by the participants. As described by Nihad Abbasov, the honors students were appreciative of ‘a very useful, enlightening and motivating discussion’. ‘We have learned so many new and interesting facts about the UN and its efforts to make a difference and real improvement in peoples’ lives,’ he said.

UNO Baku Encourages Students to Have Their Say in "MY World" Global Survey

05 May 2014

MY World Survey participant

Giving a voice to Azerbaijani and international students in their desires for a better world, UNO Baku, in cooperation with UNDP, conducted the “My World” Global Survey  at ADA University on 5 May. Encouraging students to take part in shaping the future global development agenda, the UNO Baku team placed a stand in the Student Center of the university, to capture people's voices, priorities and views, in defining a new development agenda for the world after 2015.

The stand included informative posters, hard copies of the survey in Azerbaijani and English and other relevant materials, which attracted student attention.  “Started in 2013, the global survey is designed for participants to select six options from a list of sixteen areas of human development and human rights as being most important for themselves, their families and their communities”, explained Malahat Ibrahimova one of the DPI team members, while informing students on the significance of their votes.  

Students were eager to take part in the survey and most of the students identified their priorities with more creative methods. On top of the survey, interested students had the opportunity to participate in a media project of the UNO Baku’s design, which involved the students choosing an area of development important for them, writing it next to a hash-sign and posing with the sign in a photo. The message highlighted the fact that though we are from different countries and backgrounds, as people, we all want to see improvement in the world. 

Voicing his surprise at the enthusiasm of the students who participated in the survey, UNO Baku’s Zaka Guluyev said, “Today we were very successful in getting people to participate. But it wasn’t just our efforts alone –– the students seemed to spur each other on, and that in turn got many other people involved.” The UNO Baku team also extended its gratitude to ADA University and expressed its interest in future areas of cooperation. 

UNO Baku joins International English Language Day Celebrations

23 April 2014

Students at the event

UNO Baku celebrated English Language Day at Baku’s School No.6 on 23 April, with the aim of entertaining and informing students of the history, culture and achievements associated with the English language. The agenda of the event included a trivia contest, which was conducted in English so as to highlight the importance of the Day and improve the language skills of the high school students that attended the event. 

The UNO Baku team informed students that English is one of the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat along with French, and that it is also one of the organization’s six official languages. “English is a bridge language, in other words, English is a global language used by millions of non-native speaking people of different continents and countries to communicate amongst each other in the modern era”, said Malahat Ibrahimova, from UNO Baku.  

Students were then asked to divide themselves into four groups in preparation for a trivia contest, which gave them a chance to show off their knowledge of the English language, play some common English-language puzzles and riddles, as well as display their own creativity with English as a medium of expression. 

“Your session was very interesting for our students and they learned many new things. Also, it was a good chance for them to practice their English with you,” said Kaddy Beck, a senior English teacher at the School No 6. Enthusiastic to learn more about the activity of the UNO Office in Azerbaijan, a number of the students inquired about existing volunteer opportunities within the Organization, and how they could get involved with further events and activities.