The VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism “Baku Process 10 Years: as a Contribution to the Development of Intercultural Dialogue” realized by the organizational support of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism is over.
The International Winter and Summer Schools of Multiculturalism organized for the students learning the course “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” are aimed to enable those young people to see all that they learnt theoretically with their own eyes in our country where multicultural and tolerant values are maintained. Thirty five students from the leading universities of such countries as Azerbaijan and Georgia, India, Latvia, Israel, Moldova, Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Romania, Germany, Belorussia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Columbia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Serbia, Portugal, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Montenegro, Czechia, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, Palestine, Mexico, China, Estonia have participated in the Summer School. The participants of the VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism, which has functioned in the districts of Oghuz, Shaki, Gabala and Ismayilli, along with the city of Baku, listened to the lectures on the multicultural state, tolerant mood, ethnic and religious diversity in Azerbaijan, the peaceful co-existence of the representatives of different nationalities and distinct confessions in our country. As a result of the Summer and Winter Schools of Multiculturalism, which have turned into a tradition, in the example of Azerbaijan’s young friends and their close circle a communication platform and powerful lobby have been formed consisting of intellectual young people supporting the due course of law in our country. This process going on intensively proves that the targets defined by President Ilham Aliyev to present Azerbaijan in the world are being successfully realized.
THE INTERNATIONAL WINTER AND SUMMER SCHOOLS OF MULTICULTURALISM ARE THE LOGICAL CONTINUATION OF THE PROJECT “TEACHING THE COURSE ‘AZERBAIJANI MULTICULTURALISM’ AT FOREIGN UNIVERSITIES”
According to the Acting Executive Director of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism Ravan Hasanov, since its establishment Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism has been realizing important projects associated with the presentation of Azerbaijani multiculturalism to the world, its advocacy and promotion on the international arena as targeted by President Ilham Aliyev. The organization of teaching the course “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” at foreign universities was one of the important projects implemented in this line. Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism is advocating the model of Azerbaijani multiculturalism in academic circles as well. The Centre has a project of teaching the course of multiculturalism.
This project covers both the Azerbaijani and foreign universities, “When this educational project was launched in 2015, we found it difficult to explain its essence to foreign universities. Nevertheless, the negotiations yielded their positive result, and we succeeded in teaching the course “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” in a number of foreign universities. At present this course is being taught at 19 prestigious universities in the world such as Lusofona University (Portugal), Poltava University (Ukraine), Ural Federal University (Russia), Minsk State University (Belorussia), the Universities of Augsburg and Wurzburg (Germany), Wroclaw University (Poland), Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia), Erciyez University (Turkey), Fribourg University (Switzerland), the Pedagogical University (Lithuania), Sofia University (Bulgaria), Carlow University (the Czech Republic), Tbilisi State University (Georgia), La Sapienza University (Italy), Hokkaido University (Japan), Malmo University (Switzerland) and Sri Sri University (India). The number of these universities is increasing year by year. Also, 38 Azerbaijani universities are teaching this course. This is received by quite a wide audience, and the young people show interest in it. The students, who attend the course “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” in the lecture halls, get theoretical knowledge. They are given thorough information on Azerbaijan’s ethnic-cultural geography, history, literature, as well as everyday lifestyle. Thus, the theoretical knowledge is consolidated with practical knowledge through the participation in summer and winter schools.”
THE PRESIDENT’S IMPORTANT DECISION ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF WINTER AND SUMMER SCHOOLS
R.Hasanov said that the I International Summer School of Multiculturalism was launched by the organizational support of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism in 2015. The Summer School was attended by 49 foreign and 19 local students of 24 universities from 12 countries as a whole. The participants visited the Azerbaijani territories such as Baku, Guba, Gusar, Khachmaz, Khudat, met the local people, religious communities and religious figures, familiarized themselves with historical monuments, “The First Summer School turned out to be very effective and yielded positive results. The Head of the country also welcomed it with special respect, and the outcomes were appraised positively. As a result, by President Ilham Aliyev’s instruction it was recommended to hold winter schools, along with summer schools. All this time the project of Summer and Winter Schools organized by Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism has been joined and supported by the international organizations like UNESCO, Aladdin Project, Erasmus+ and the prestigious institutions of our country. Certainly, the first among the main reasons for the high level of the Summer and Winter Schools is President Ilham Aliyev’s attention to and support of this project. For informational purposes, I would like to state that the II International Winter School of Multiculturalism was arranged on 8-15 February 2016. The Winter School was attended by 43 foreign and 12 local students from 15 countries as a whole. During the Winter School the participants visited Baku, Guba, Gusar and Khachmaz. The III International Summer School of Multiculturalism was held on 18-27 July 2016. It was attended by 31 foreign students from 16 prestigious universities of 15 foreign countries and 19 students from 12 leading universities of Azerbaijan. In the frames of the Summer School the students visited the territories of Azerbaijan including Ismayilli, Gabala, Oghuz, Shaki, Gakh and Baku. The IV International Winter School of Multiculturalism was arranged on 13-20 February 2017, and 29 foreign students from 17 foreign countries and 6 Azerbaijani students from Azerbaijani universities participated in it, which took place in Azerbaijani territories such as Gabala, Oghuz, Shaki, Gakh and Baku. And the V International Summer School of Multiculturalism took place on 22-31 July 2017 in Gabala, Ismayilli, Shaki, Gakh and Baku jointly with the UNESCO, Aladdin Project and Erasmus+ program and was attended by 45 foreign students from 26 countries and 5 Azerbaijani students”. While the VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism titled “Baku Process 10 Years: as a Contribution to the Development of Intercultural Dialogue” covered the districts of Oghuz, Shaki, Gabala and Ismayilli along with the city of Baku.
It should be noted that the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism, Academician Kamal Abdulla has had inimitable merits in the realization of the project of the International Summer and Winter Schools of Multiculturalism. K.Abdulla has never grudged his academic supervision in the realization of the project. Also, different state organizations of the country – the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the State Committee for the Work with Religious Organizations, the Caucasian Muslims’ Office, the local executive powers, and mass media have supported us closely.”
THE NUMBER OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN SUMMER AND WINTER SCHOOLS INCREASES YEAR BY YEAR
The number of the young people appealing to participate in the Summer and Winter Schools is increasing year by year. About thousand essays-applications were submitted for the participation in the most recent summer school. Only 35 best out of them have been selected. According to the rule, the students willing to participate in the school are requested to write an essay and send it electronically to the Centre. The submitted essays are checked by the staff members of BICM and the invited specialists in the appropriate subjects, professional scholars. During the process of checking the essays, the specialists try to select the most interesting, research-based essays that do not copy the internet data. Further the authors of the essays, which get the specialists’ positive opinion, are interviewed through Skype to find out their interests and ideas. The young people, who pass both the stages successfully, are invited to Baku to participate in the Summer and Winter Schools. The participants of the Summer and Winter Schools cover the entire world, “Hundreds of young people appeal to us to participate in the International Summer and Winter Schools. The increasing interest in Azerbaijan’s model of multiculturalism proves that we are capable to advocate the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism not only within the country but also beyond its borders aptly.”
THE RANKS OF THE CLUB OF AZERBAIJAN’S YOUNG FRIENDS ADVOCATING AZERBAIJAN’S POLICY OF MULTICULTURALISM IN THE WORLD IS WIDENING
R.Hasanov emphasized that twice a year about 30-40 young people from foreign countries come to Azerbaijan to participate in the Summer and Winter Schools. Each of them wants to get more profound information about Azerbaijani multiculturalism. And they get this chance in the frames of the school. Extensive lectures on the theme are read to the project participants, who also attend classes of foreign and local scholars. This project is mainly implemented in the districts; and each time in a different district. Meetings are arranged between these young people and the youth and community in the regions. Thus, the theory they heard in lecture halls is consolidated in practice. The young people from different countries of the world get together through the given project, consolidate their knowledge about Azerbaijan, get closely acquainted with the multicultural and tolerant ambiance in our country and interact with their peers. They witness that Azerbaijan is a country with ancient and rich history, traditions of multiculturalism, where multiculturalism has turned into a state policy. These young people, who participate in the Summer and Winter Schools as well as believe in the ideology and policy of multiculturalism, try to advocate Azerbaijan’s model of multiculturalism after their return to their Motherland. So, actually, Azerbaijan’s young multiculturalists begin to get shaped abroad.”
The Club of Azerbaijan’s Young Friends was established at the joint initiative of the young people from Greece and Lithuania, who participated in the International Summer School of Multiculturalism in 2015. Since then the students attending the course “Azerbaijani Multiculturalism” have begun to join this platform, “At present the Club of Azerbaijan’s Young Friends has over 300 members. Jointly with us, they are involved in the advocacy of Azerbaijani multiculturalism, the policy of multiculturalism in general in the world. Thus, the logical circle is accomplished. Coming to our country, the students, who attend that course, get practical knowledge related to Azerbaijan. The students attending this course further maintain the relations with Azerbaijan in one form or another. If you have a look, today you’ll notice there is a start of the process of formation of young people among them, who write quite sufficiently about Azerbaijan, care about and love our country, advocate in their countries the extensive knowledge on the learning, education, work environment, politics in Azerbaijan, and support Azerbaijan’s embassies abroad. Actually it has turned also into an activity of lobbying whether we want it or not. I think these activities will further increase and turn into a great wave.”
THERE HAVE BEEN MEETINGS WITH THE OUTSTANDING SOCIO-POLITICAL FIGURES OF THE COUNTRY IN THE FRAMES OF THE SUMMER SCHOOL
According to R. Hasanov, at the Summer and Winter Schools students are not confined to listening to academic lectures only. They also meet the outstanding socio-political figures of the country. 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” had meetings with the Chair of the Board of Trustees of BICM, Academician Kamal Abdulla, the Head of the Department on Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Professor Etibar Najafov, the officials of the State Committee for the Work with Religious Organizations and the Caucasian Muslims’ Office, the heads and members of the diplomatic missions to Azerbaijan. The students had organized trips to the Martyrs’ Alley and the Alley of Honours, Gobustan, Atashgah (the Fire-worshippers’ Temple), Icheri Shahar (the Inner City), as well as the Synagogues of Yukhari ve Ashaghi (Upper and Lower) Quarters, the Forest of Khalkhal in Oghuz, Caravanserai and the complex of Khan’s Palace in Shaki, the Nizh Settlement resided by the Udis, the Alban-Udi Christian Church, the “Tufandagh” summer and winter tourism resort complex in Gabala, the village of Ivanovka resided by the Malakans in the district of Ismayilli, “In the frames of the Summer School the participants were provided with profound information on the multicultural state, tolerant mood, ethnic-religious diversity in Azerbaijan, the peaceful co-existence of the representatives of different nationalities and distinct confessions in our country. It was stated that the historical position of Azerbaijan at the juncture of cultures has laid foundations for the formation and development of both the multicultural values and freedom of religious expression, tolerance. Azerbaijan is a country with a unique culture. For long centuries there has been a natural and historical integration of the most leading cultural systems of the world in this land. Here cultures forming fire-worshipping, Turkic, Iranian, Caucasian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Eastern, Western, Slavic, socialism and other modern world civilization have historically intermingled and shaped the model of multiculturalism which can be an example to the development of the world.
In the frames of the Summer School there have been presentations on “The AIDA and Its Activities” of the International Agency of Development and on the tenth anniversary of Baku Process of the Ministry of Culture.
THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE SUMMER SCHOOL ADDRESSED THE PRESIDENT
R.Hasanov stated that as it has been at the end of summer and winter schools every year, as a recapitulation of the VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism “Baku Process 10 Years: as a Contribution to the Development of Intercultural Dialogue” the participants addressed President Ilham Aliyev. The young people addressed the President pointing out the effectiveness of the schools, the attention attached to them, the scene they witnessed in Azerbaijan, and expressed their gratitude, thus displayed their support of the policy of multiculturalism pursued by the Republic of Azerbaijan.
THE SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME
R.Hasanov noted that the young people sharing their impressions of the Summer School say that their experience in Azerbaijan has evoked great interest in them and left an inerasable trace in their memories. The participants pointed out their desire to return to our country. They highly appreciate the multicultural and tolerant ambiance in Azerbaijan. The activities of BICM aimed to maintain and provide the tolerance and cultural, religious, linguistic diversity as well as introduce Azerbaijan to the world as the centre of multiculturalism, and also study and promote the existing multicultural models, are in the focus of the participants’ attention. They highly appreciate the projects implemented by Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism to study the cultural, social, political essence of the realities of Azerbaijan, which have turned into a lifestyle, conduct the scientific analysis of the tolerant bases of the ethnic and cultural, religious diversity and determine the ways of their maintenance. Among these young people the number of those who advocate and support the activities of BICM in their countries of residence, desire to participate in other projects implemented by the Centre is not small either. This rejoices us a lot.”