On August 7 the participants of the VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism held under the title “Baku Process 10 Years: As a Contribution to the Development of Intercultural Dialogue” visited Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism.

The participants of the Summer School had a meeting with the Head of the Department on Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues, Professor Etibar Najafov.

The Acting Executive Director of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism Ravan Hasanov said that the participants of the VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism have received profound information on Azerbaijan’s ancient history, culture, politics, and familiarized themselves closely with the multicultural ambiance in our country within the last few days. The participants of the project have been to the State Committee for the Work with Religious Organizations, and the Caucasian Muslims’ Office.

The Head of the Department on Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues, Professor Etibar Najafov expressed his certainty of the pleasant impressions of the trips to the city of Baku, the districts of Gabala, Ismayilli, Oghuz and Shaki on the participants of the Summer School. He stated that in these areas, which are considered among the most wonderful regions of Azerbaijan, the representatives of different nationalities and ethnic groups co-exist in peace.

E.Najafov, who pointed out the important role of multiculturalism in the regulation of the relations among the ethnic, religious, racial, cultural diversities in society, gave the participants information on Azerbaijan’s model of multiculturalism. He stated that during their stay here the participants got acquainted with interesting people, gained knowledge on the traditions of multiculturalism in our country.

Dealing with the history of multiculturalism E.Najafov said that Azerbaijan is among very few countries declaring multiculturalism as part of its state policy. “When speaking of multiculturalism as part of the state policy in Azerbaijan two issues should be pointed out. First, multiculturalism is an indivisible part of Azerbaijan’s internal state policy. Second, multiculturalism is Azerbaijan’s successful foreign policy. When speaking of the role of multiculturalism in the internal policy it should be mentioned that this model is an important factor in the regulation of religious relations in the country. Azerbaijan has achieved great success in this field. In Azerbaijan religious freedom has been completely guaranteed. Although Muslims comprise over 90 per cent of Azerbaijan’s population, representatives of different religions peacefully co-exist here. The state renders the necessary assistance including financial aids to all the religions,” stressed the official of the Presidential Administration.

E.Najafov also informed the guests on “Baku Process” and stated, “The idea of ‘Baku Process’ was first initiated by the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the Conference of the Cultural Ministers of Europe and its Neighbouring Regions held in Baku on 2-3 December 2008 on the theme “Intercultural Dialogue as a Basis for Peace and Sustainable Development in Europe and Its Neighbouring Regions”. With the participation of 10 Muslim countries, this conference was the first to lay foundations for a new format. The conference attended by high-ranking representatives of, as a whole, 48 countries, 8 international organizations and a number of international NGOs was first to adopt “Baku Declaration on the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue” at Azerbaijan’s initiative. Thus, foundations were laid for “Baku Process” intended to develop dialogue between civilizations and “Artists for Dialogue” suggested by Azerbaijan to successfully develop this process.

It was mentioned that to provide the sustainability of “Baku Process” the representatives of over 10 European states along with the Islamic countries, were invited, at Azerbaijan’s initiative, to the VI Conference of the Cultural Ministers of Islamic countries in Baku in 2009. A roundtable on “Intercultural Dialogue” was held in the frames of the Conference with the participation of the member countries to the Council of Europe and Islamic Conference, and Joint Communique was adopted.

E.Najafov pointed out that the subsequent stage of “Baku Process” is associated with its transfer from the regional initiative to a global movement. This stage of development is also connected with President Ilham Aliyev’s name. During his speech at the 65th Session of the UN Assembly General in 2010 the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham ALiyev declared the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue to be held in Baku in the forthcoming year. By President Ilham Aliyev’s appropriate Decree, the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue is held every two years.

It was underlined that among the other important events held in the frames of “Baku Process” one can cite the Summit of the World Religious Leaders on 26-27 April 2010, five International Humanitarian Forums held from 2011 up to now and the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations held on 25-27 April 2016 in our country.

Further the participants of the Summer School got answers to their questions.