2016 declared Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan

2016 declared Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree on declaring 2016 the Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the results of socio-economic development in 2015 and objectives for the future in order to maintain, further develop and popularize the traditions of multiculturalism.

The Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers was instructed to prepare an action plan within a month and submit it to the President, given the proposals of the Baku International Multiculturalism Center, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations and the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani President said that the country brings an important contribution to the traditions of tolerance and intercultural as well as inter-civilization dialogue, Trend reports.

Professor of the Western University, political scientist Fikret Sadykhov told Vestnik Kavkaza that the issues of multiculturalism and tolerance have always been important for Azerbaijani society, adding that it means a tolerant attitude towards people of other nations, ethnic groups and religions. "Now multiculturalism has received a political and legal basis, and it is being based on many pieces of legislation. Moreover, many of those who come to the country to participate in various activities express such an opinion," he said.

The expert stressed that multiculturalism is, in fact, the brand of Azerbaijan, and the fact that President Ilham Aliyev declared 2016 the Year of Multiculturalism is not an accident. "The representatives of virtually all religions are presented in Azerbaijan now, and it improves the dynamics of inter-ethnic relations in the country. It is no coincidence that the 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations will be held in Baku in 2016. It is a recognition of our contribution to these issues and recognition of the fact that Azerbaijan aims at further deepening of the issues associated with multiculturalism and a tolerant attitude to the representatives of other nations and representatives of different religions living in Azerbaijan," Sadykhov said.

The Professor of the Western University suggested that events dedicated to multiculturalism will take place throughout the whole year. "In addition, I think that Azerbaijan will be visited by representatives of other confessions, who will learn about issues of tolerance already on the territory of our country," the expert concluded.

Milli Majlis deputy and political scientist Aydin Mirzazade also stressed that Azerbaijan is open to the whole world. "Azerbaijan has always been the residence of different peoples, a place of free use of different religions, as well as respect for each nation and national culture. That's why today Azerbaijan is a multinational state. Different religious temples are opened here. The head of state is personally involved in the celebration of the religious holidays. In addition, there are schools in different languages in Azerbaijan. Students learn more than 20 languages," he said.

"I think that this decree and the announcement of 2016 as the Year of Multiculturalism once again proves that Azerbaijan respects cultures, religions and peoples of different approaches and it will continue to adhere to this position," the analyst noted.

He explained that, according to the decree of Ilham Aliyev, a series of activities to strengthen friendship with neighboring countries and other peoples will be held this year, so Azerbaijan's policy will set an example to the world of how the cultures of other peoples should be respected. "Specific instructions will be given, the ministries will prepare their plans. There will be a variety of activities: conferences, international meetings. I think that Azerbaijan has something to show the world in this regard," Aydin Mirzazade concluded.