Baku Network experts discuss model of multiculturalism (PHOTO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 5
The issues related to history, cultural traditions and protection of the rights of ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan on the example of the Udin ethnic group were discussed within the conference organized by Expert Council of the Baku Network and The Council on State Support to NGOs under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the press-center of Trend News Agency
Head of the Expert Council of the Baku Network, Deputy Director General of Trend News Agency Ph.D. Elkhan Alasgarov and Deputy Director General of Trend News Agency Arzu Naghiyev were the moderators of the event.
While delivering a report entitled “Protection of the historical heritage of Caucasian Albania as an important part of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan”, first speaker of the conference, Ph.D. in History Ulviyya Hajiyeva drew the attention of the conference participants to the centuries-old traditions of tolerance in the region, which is located at the intersection of important geopolitical, migration, and trade ways that have given rise to ethno-cultural and confessional contacts.
She stressed that the most important part of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan is the protection of the historical heritage of Caucasian Albania, a state with the 1,000-year history, the borders of which, according to the ancient sources, stretched from Derbent to Araz in the south, and from the Caspian Sea to Hunarakert fortress in the west, on the border with Iberia.
“The Azerbaijani as Turkic Muslim ethnic group has become dominant in the region,” Hajiyeva added. “However, part of the Udin Christians survived in Karabakh and Sheki. The Udins were adherents of the Albanian church from the 4th century until 1836, until its abolition upon the decree of Tsar Nicholas I. The protection of the Albanian historical heritage of Caucasian Albania is important today not only for the prosperity of the national minorities represented by the Udin community, but also for the protection of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.”
Then, Chairman of the Alban-Udin Christian community of Azerbaijan Robert Mobili delivered speech.
He stressed that modern Azerbaijan is the center of not only intercultural and confessional discourse, but also an interreligious dialogue. “Azerbaijan is a multinational and multi-religious country,” Mobili said. “Many nations and national minorities live in Azerbaijan who have moved there during the oil boom.”
“Azerbaijan is the successor of the Albanian kingdom, while the Udin ethnic group is directly connected with the Albanian church,” he added. “These are two very important historical facts and it is pointless to dispute them.”
While discussing the topic of multiculturalism within the conference, advisor at the Baku International Multiculturalism Center, political analyst Tofiq Abbasov said that the trend of developing multiculturalism is natural for Azerbaijani realities as this model has become a way of life in Azerbaijan for a long time.
He stressed that there is the principle of open doors in the Baku International Multiculturalism Center.
“We act as regulators of many processes that are in demand now in light of the growing acute challenges and risks on an ethno-religious basis,” Abbasov noted. “Our task is to stop the provocations of our enemies and help those who respond to them by their actions. The open-door policy of our center indicates that the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism is being actively studied in the world. Scientists from Italy and Bulgaria came to us to study our methodology. The Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism is recognizable in the world, and this is consequence of the fact that the state made it one of the important elements of its policy.”
Moderator of the conference, Deputy Director General of Trend News Agency Arzu Naghiyev, joining the discussions, expressed the view that a multicultural society is a dynamically developing, renewing and successful society oriented towards the future.
“Our country contributes to the development of multiculturalism and tolerance at the global level,” Naghiyev said. “Multiculturalism and tolerance in Azerbaijan are elevated to the level of state policy. Promoting this policy is very important for the future Azerbaijani society. Against the background of the refusal of Germany, France, the UK from the idea of multiculturalism, Azerbaijan presented a new model of this concept to the world. Society and the authorities are doing everything they can for it.”
In turn, former diplomat, well-known political analyst Fikret Sadikhov noted in his speech that the creation of the Center for Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan in 2014 was a very timely and well thought-out step on the part of the state. The political analyst noted that the concept of multiculturalism and tolerance in Azerbaijan is part of the state policy.
“Azerbaijan is home to representatives of various nations, regardless of ethnicity and religion, and is characterized by a strong national ideology, which is accepted and supported by all ethnic groups,” Sadikhov concluded.
The conference moderator, Director of the Baku Network Expert Council Elkhan Alasgarov, continuing the conference topic, stressed the high importance of globalization processes, and expansion of communication networks, media and urbanization.
“The multicultural policy pursued by the Azerbaijani government in relation to national minorities and religious groups is studied by states of the world with great interest,” he said. “As a member of the Council of Europe and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Azerbaijan once again proves that it can rightly be called one of the tolerant states.”
As part of the conference, Professor, Doctor of Law Namiq Aliyev; President of the Dede Gorgud Foundation Eldar Ismayilov; Head of the Baku State University’s Department Kamil Salimov; human rights activist Murad Sadeddinov; Doctor of Historical Sciences Mahabbat Pashayeva and political scientist Rizvan Huseynov also shared their opinions.
The speakers noted the importance of Azerbaijan’s state policy, based on adherence to the ideas of multiculturalism, preservation of the cultural heritage, traditions and customs of national minorities and ethnic groups inhabiting the country.