Mehriban Aliyeva awarded Order of Merit on behalf of the whole team of Baku-2015

Yesterday in Lausanne, where the IOC Headquarters and the central offices of many international sporting federations are situated, became the Olympic capital of the world. The Director of Olympic Solidarity, Pere Miró, stressed the special importance of the events in Lausanne: “The meeting is the culmination of the First European Games, which have already gained great success. The whole world has recognized the importance of the Games and the holding of them by Azerbaijan at a high level.”

At the meeting of the Executive Committee of European Olympic Committees, EOC President Patrick Hickey awarded the EOC Order of Merit to the Chairwoman of the Organizing Committee for the inaugural European Games Baku 2015, Mehriban Aliyeva, in recognition of her work in development of sports in Europe.

President Patrick Hickey recalled that, as Chair of the National Gymnastics Federation, Mehriban Aliyeva was responsible for holding many sporting events at the European and world levels. She manages many grand projects and has higher world awards. Today the First Lady of Azerbaijan is the Chairwoman of the Organizing Committee of the Islamic Solidarity Games, which will be held in Baku in 2017.

After being awarded the Order of Merit, Mehriban Aliyeva pointed out that she received it on behalf of the whole team of Baku 2015. She stated that the idea of the Games belonged to Mr. Patrick Hickey. However, the inaugural European Games became historic for European sports and Azerbaijan. “We had only two and a half years to prepare the Games. However, the citizens of Azerbaijan, the participants of the Games and all the guests believe the Games were successful. We managed to create an atmosphere of friendship and solidarity for more than six thousand athletes and thousands of guests. Over the course of 17 days we were a family. And I am sure the Games will go down in history not only as the inaugural European Games, but also as an international forum of friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding. Such an atmosphere makes ties, relations and mutual respect between peoples and nations stronger. I am sure that the world needs this,” Mehriban Aliyeva said.

According to her, the Games let the country demonstrate the development of modern Azerbaijan, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the restoration of independence. According to Aliyeva, “the years of independence became years of development and progress, achievements in many spheres of our life. The participation of our athletes, who won 56 medals, including 21 gold, taking second place among 50 countries, was an illustrative example of the development.”

Today Azerbaijan is well-known in the world as one of global centers of multiculturalism. People who belong to different ethnic groups and religions have been living in Azerbaijan in peace for centuries. “Today we are doing our best to preserve and improve traditions. This year we are holding the 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. In 2017 our capital will host the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games. Therefore, Baku will become the city which hosted both the European and Islamic Games in two years, uniting more than 100 countries. This is our contribution to strengthening international relations, mutual respect, understanding, and tolerance,” Mehriban Aliyeva said.

Patrick Hickey stated: “The beauty of Baku bewildered my European colleagues. They were delighted by the hospitability of the Azerbaijani people and the wonderful organization of the Games. They still recall this with admiration. In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to a very respected person. He is your husband, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. He is a farsighted and great person. It wouldn’t have happened without him. I know he is in Davos today, I would like to ask you to wish him all the best.”

A film about the First European Games was screened after Patrick Hickey spoke.

Vestnik Kavkaza also suggests that our readers recall the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games. 

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