AZERBAIJAN — UNESCO
After gaining independence, the Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates with UNESCO, an Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization of the UN. For this purpose, in 1994, according to the decree of the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the National Commission of Azerbaijan under UNESCO was established.
In 1996, a Memorandum of cooperation was signed between Azerbaijan and UNESCO.
Azerbaijan’s first vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva has an invaluable role in the development of Azerbaijan — UNESCO relations, the revival, and strengthening of these relations. His activity in the field of protection of the material and intangible cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, culture, science, education, and other fields, personal authority in the organization, and attachment to UNESCO’s humanistic ideas form the basis of these relations.
In 2004, Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the title of goodwill ambassador of this organization in the field of oral traditions and musical traditions for her contribution to the development of traditional music, literature, and poetry, her services in the field of music education and exchange of world cultures, and her loyalty to UNESCO’s ideas.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the Gold Medal of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in March 2006 for her contribution to the protection of cultural and moral values.
In 2010, Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the “Golden Mozart” Medal of UNESCO for her care and attention to the world culture, as well as for her contribution to the preservation of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan.
The National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, cooperating on all the priority areas of the organizations, is implementing numerous projects together with local government agencies and institutions, as well as national commissions for UNESCO of other states. Over the years, the Historical and Architectural Reserve of Icherisheher, the Shirvanshahs Palace, the Maiden Tower, the Gobustan State Historical and Art reserve have been included in the UNESCO World Material and Cultural Heritage List, 11 examples of intangible cultural heritage — Azerbaijani mugham, Azerbaijani Ashug art, Novruz holiday, Azerbaijani Ashug art, Azerbaijani Tarot performing art, the Karabakh tradition horse riding — Chovkan, Azerbaijani art of kelaghai, Lahij Copper art, lavash, Azerbaijani dolma, and kamancha are included in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
At the same time, in 2017, the Azerbaijani city of Sheki was included in the list of UNESCO’s “network of Creative Cities”.
One of the memorable and important moments in the development of Azerbaijan—UNESCO relations was the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Mohammed Fuzuli in 1996 at the 1300th anniversary of the epos “Kitabi Dede Gorgud” in 2000 in Paris — at the organizations’ headquarters.
Dozens of anniversary events were celebrated at the international level within the framework of UNESCO’s Jubilees program. Among them were 800 (2001) great scientist Nasiraddin Tusi, 200 (2002) Orientalist Mirza Kazimbey, 100 (2005) outstanding scientists, academician Yusif Mammadaliyev, 100 (2006) famous artist, carpet master Latif Karimov, 100 (2008) first performance of “Leyli and Majnun” opera by great composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli, 100 (2008) of the outstanding writer Mir Jalal Pashayev, 100 (2009) of the great artist Sattar Bahlulzade, 100 (2009) of the famous scientist, academician Musa Aliyev, 900 (2013) of the works of the famous poet and scientist of the Middle Ages Mahsati Ganjavi, 100 (2013) of the great composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli’s musical comedy “Arshin mal alan”, the 550th anniversary (2013) of the death of philosopher, scientist Sayid Yahya Bakuvi, the 100th anniversary of the great composer Gara Garayev, etc, anniversary events can be called. The Republic of Azerbaijan, which plays the role of a bridge where cultures converge, has hosted a number of international events with the support of UNESCO.
The World Forum of Intercultural Dialogue, organized with the support of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the North-South Center of the Council of Europe, and ISESCO, is one of the events carried out in our republic as part of the continuation of the “Baku process”, involving the development of intercultural dialogue between different cultures and civilizations, initiated by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in the 2008 year.
One of the most important activities of Azerbaijan with UNESCO is to inform the world community about rare pearls of culture destroyed by Armenian invaders, as well as the restoration of these monuments, cultural centers, and the return of artworks that were robbed and taken out of the Republic.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the UNESCO “Golden Mozart” Medal for her services in strengthening intercultural dialogue. On July 2010, at the opening of the II Gabala International Music Festival, the “Golden Mozart” Medal was presented to Mehriban Aliyeva.
On the basis of the treaty signed with UNESCO in 2011, our country also participated in the restoration of the cultural heritage of Haiti, which suffered from the earthquake. The charity activities aimed at the presentation and restoration of the world cultural heritage of Azerbaijan covered many countries such as Berlin Castle in Germany, ancient monuments, in Versailles, the church and Louvre Museum in Lower Normandy in France, ancient manuscripts and Catacombs of Saint Marcellinus and Pietro, catacombs in San Sebastian in the Vatican, philosophers Hall in Capitol Museum in Italy, Trapezitsa Museum in Bulgaria and others.
On July 18, 2013, A framework Agreement on cooperation in the field of Education, Science, Culture, and communication was signed between UNESCO and the government of Azerbaijan at the headquarters of the organization in Paris on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s membership in UNESCO. Taking part in the event, First Lady of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva expressed confidence that this step will “contribute to the promotion of UNESCO’s ideals and principles in the world by supporting priority programs and initiatives launched at the international level”.
In 2015, within the framework of the “Days of Azerbaijani Culture” organized at UNESCO with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, an exhibition dedicated to the game of chess of Azerbaijan, was included in the UNESCO list of intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent protection, was organized, a presentation of the book “Karabakh horses” by French writer Jean-Louis Gouraud was held. At the same time, the exhibition “Azerbaijan: from tradition to modernity” was opened and a concert by the group” new generation of jazz” was organized.
In May 2015, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the “tree of peace” within the framework of the Third World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku. They attended the opening ceremony of the forum. Within the framework of the Forum, Irina Bokova, the main director of UNESCO, presented to Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva a document confirming the inclusion of the Kelaghayi art of Azerbaijan in the representative list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In November 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO Charter, the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference Leaders forum was held at the organization’s headquarters in Paris. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva attended the Forum.
In 2017, within the framework of the IV World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku, a “round table” was organized on the theme of “combating violent extremism through education of girls “with the participation of the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva.
In May 2018, a conference was held in Paris on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the former UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura. Azerbaijan’s first vice-president, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva attended the conference. First vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the conference.
During the visit, Mehriban Aliyeva met with the director-general of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Director-General Audrey Azoulay noted that after her election to this post she has studied the rich history of relations between Azerbaijan and UNESCO and bilateral relations are developing at a high level, he said he would contribute to the development of bilateral relations during his activity.
First vice-president of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva spoke about the “Baku process” initiated by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and stressed that this year marks the 10th anniversary of this process.
Noting that the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 2018 was celebrated during the meeting, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva said Azerbaijan has achieved many achievements over the past 100 years. The most important of these is granting women the right to elect and be elected, which is in line with UNESCO’s goals and objectives, and mandate.
On June 2019, 30, the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee was held in Baku at a high level. The event, attended by about 180 representatives from 3 countries of the world, is a confirmation of the high authority of our republic in the international arena, as well as an important opportunity to demonstrate the history and modern development of Azerbaijan, its rich culture and art to the world.
At the next meeting of the session, the nomination “historical center of Sheki together with the Khan’s Palace” was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
On the occasion of World Cities Day on October 2019, 31, UNESCO included 48 cities from 66 countries in the “Creative Cities Network”.
As a result of the efforts of the ministries of culture and Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO, Baku has been included in the network’s “design” list.