Mehriban Aliyeva's cultural diplomacy: What she did for Azerbaijan and the world
An important political event happened in the life of Azerbaijan today - the country now has its first vice-president, the second person after president. Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev chose the first lady, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Milli Majlis deputy Mehriban Aliyeva.
Mehriban Aliyeva is well known around the world as protector of Azerbaijani culture and heritage, a philanthropist, who makes every possible effort to restore and rescue cultural monuments in many countries. She is loved for her work with children and those in need, valued for educating Azerbaijani youth in the spirit of national leader Heydar Aliyev.
Heydar Aliyev Foundation works on all of these directions. Mehriban Aliyeva became its president on May 10, 2004. Fund helps orphans, builds and repairs schools and kindergartens.
Implementation and support of various cultural and educational projects have always been important areas of Heydar Aliyev Foundation's work. Among those projects - publication of records of famous Azerbaijani artists, including "Azerbaijani Mugham" collection, republication of Nasreddin Tusi's "Ehlagi-Nasiri" in modern alphabet, opening of Baku Museum of Modern Art, participation and subsequent victory of the republic in Eurovision song contest in 2011, as well as hosting of the finals.
Heydar Aliyev Foundation also helped to restore several historical monuments abroad, including monuments in the Palace of Versailles, stained glass windows of the Strasbourg Cathedral, "Hall of Philosophers" in the Capitoline Museums, Roman catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, statue of Zeus and Sistine Hall in the Vatican Museum and manuscripts of the Vatican Apostolic Library. Moreover, Azerbaijan is the only Muslim country to carry out major project on restoration of one of the most valuable Christian relics - Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter in Vatican.
Photo exhibition in Paris "Azerbaijan - Land of Tolerance"
Photo exhibition of the world famous photographer Reza Deghati "Azerbaijan - Land of Tolerance", organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation, was very popular among residents and visitors of Paris. The same can be said about concert program "Ethno-Jazz Music of Azerbaijan in the Heart of Paris", which was even more special thanks to the fact that performances were accompanied by Azerbaijani national musical instrument - tar.
Mehriban Aliyeva's image formed on the positive background of West's interest in Azerbaijan. Thanks to her, world learns the truth about peaceful policy of the country and its ancient culture every year. Aliyeva always says that thousand-years history left its mark in the cultural diversity of Azerbaijan. For thousands of years the country was populated by people of different nationalities, different religions, and they always lived in peace and friendship.
Openning of “Azerbaijani Village” in Paris
Mehriban Aliyeva managed to convince the international community that there is an atmosphere of tolerance, mutual respect and love for the cultural diversity in her country. In order to promote the principles of cultural diversity, tolerance and mutual respect, Heydar Aliyev Foundation carried out projects to support world's cultural heritage and organized exhibitions in New York, Paris, Strasbourg and, of course, in Moscow.
One of the most recent projects in Russia is “Stars of Absheron. Azerbaijani Artists of 1960-1980s” exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery, which was brought to Moscow with the support of Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Marjani Foundation. It was covered not only by cultural publications, but also by glamor magazines, which wrote: "during the opening ceremony, guests wanted to see not only paintings, but also host of the evening, Mehriban Aliyeva. It was impossible to look away from her."
Aliyeva also worked on very serious projects, aimed at telling international community the truth about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Heydar Aliyev Foundation published collections of booklets "Karabakh Realities", books "War and Our Historical and Cultural Monuments" and "War Against Azerbaijan: Targeting Cultural Heritage", hosted exhibitions and conferences about the Khojaly genocide.
Presentation of the first European Games "Baku-2015" in Rome
In addition, Mehriban Aliyeva was appointed chairman of the Organizing Committee for the first European Games, held in Baku in 2015, which have been recognized by the European Olympic Committee as "gold standard" for continental competitions. Right now she heads the Organizing Committee of the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games, which will be held in Baku in May. As president of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation, Mehriban Aliyeva constantly works on popularization of sports. Baku hosted many World Cups in different gymnastic disciplines. Several days ago the capital of Azerbaijan hosted the World Cup in Trampoline Gymnastics and Tumbling, the first World Cup of the Olympic cycle.
It's impossible to list all the activities, organized with the support of Mehriban Aliyeva, since many of them, especially those concerning children, aren't publicized and often go unnoticed. As Vice-President she will have even more opportunities to help people and promote Azerbaijan in the world.