In the modern period Azerbaijan has turned into one of the main centres of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is the Azerbaijani people’s lifestyle and state policy. The formation of multiculturalism as a state policy in our country is associated with the National Leader Heydar Aliyev. At present this policy is being successfully pursued by the Head of our state Ilham ALiyev. These views were expressed at the presentation ceremony of the book “The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the Azerbaijani Model of Multiculturalism” in Shaki on 23 May.

The presentation and public discussions were attended by the representatives of the districts of Balakan, Zagatala, Gakh, Shaki, Oghuz and Gabala.

The participants of the event, first of all, commemorated the National Leader Heydar Aliyev by laying bouquets of flowers before his monument erected in front of the building of the city executive power. The book published in Azerbaijani, Russian and English encompasses President Ilham Aliyev’s valuable ideas on the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism expressed by him in his interviews and speeches since 2003. Also, the publication deals with the projects implemented in the development of multiculturalism by our country at the initiative of and guided by the Head of our state as well as the intercultural and inter-religious dialogues, and the achievements gained both on the national and international scale.

The ideational author of the book is the leader of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev, its consultant is  the Assistant of the Azerbaijani President in Social and Political Affairs, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Ali Hasanov, the designers are the Head of the Department of Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, Professor Etibar Najafov, the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism, Academician Kamal Abdulla, the Editor-in-Chief of AZERTAC, PhD in Political Sciences Javid Badalov and the Head of the Department at Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism Sarkhanbey Khudiyev.

The Head of Shaki City Executive Power Elkhan Usubov spoke at the event and stated that today Azerbaijan is recognized as one of the main centres of multiculturalism in the world. The policy of tolerance pursued by the Azerbaijani state lays grounds for the further consolidation of friendship and fraternity among the ethnic and religious communities residing in the country. All these are the result of the policy which was founded by the National Leader Heydar Aliyev and is being continued and developed by President Ilham ALiyev now.

The Head of the Analytics Department at Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism Rashad Ilyasov gave thorough information about the activities of the Centre and the projects it implements. It was noted that the policy of multiculturalism pursued under the guidance of President Ilham Aliyev accelerates the integration processes within the country. Internationally, this policy has a strong impact on the development of the intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. The declaration of 2016 as “The Year of Multiculturalism” and 2017 as “The Year of Islamic Solidarity” at President Ilham Aliyev’s initiative is the bright example of the importance attached to the policy of multiculturalism by the state.

It was stated that in our country multiculturalism has already turned into a lifestyle without any alternative. In Azerbaijan, which has earned an image of a multicultural country in the world today, the existence of traditional friendly and fraternal relations, tolerance among different nationalities is our historic achievement. The democratic conditions provided for different nationalities living in our country to maintain their national spiritual values, faith, customs and traditions, develop their languages and cultures have turned Azerbaijan into an example of tolerance for the world countries.

The Director of the Institute of Architecture and Art of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, the Corresponding member of the NASA Artegin Salamzadeh spoke of the achievements of the Azerbaijani state in the policy of multiculturalism. It was stated that this policy is recognized and highly appraised by the world states and the guests of our country. The growing interest in Azerbaijan’s experience in multiculturalism and tolerance throughout the world has resulted in our country’s earning the image of a state exporting tolerance alongside with its oil and natural gas, as is expressed by some foreign politicians. Artegin Salamzadeh said, “The publication of the book, which we have gathered to present, is an urgent, historic event in Azerbaijan’s political and cultural life. In the speeches and interviews of the Head of our state multiculturalism stands as a necessary factor in the formation of the Azerbaijani people, as a lifestyle of the Azerbaijani society. Multiculturalism is the worldview of the internal and external policy of our state, its philosophical basis. Multiculturalism, its Azerbaijani model is an unparalleled social experience in need of deep analysis and an example for many countries of the world”.

Speaking at the event, the Acting Head of Shaki Department of the State Committee for the Work with Religious Organizations Taleh Abdullayev and the History teacher of the secondary school of Dashuz village of the district of Shaki Sevinj Isagova dealt with the importance of the book as well as the advocacy and promotion of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan as a state policy.

It should be noted that the citations included in the book intended for politicians, scholars in country studies, cultural studies, historians and wide readership are taken from the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s speeches, presentations and interviews disseminated by AZERTAC.