On 8 August an event was held marking the accomplishment of 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.

In his speech the Acting Executive Director of BICM Ravan Hasanov spoke of the activities of the Centre. He stated that 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 International Winter and Summer Schools of Multiculturalism, which have turned into a tradition and organized regularly twice a year, are one of the significant projects of the Centre.

R.Hasanov said, “About 40 young people from over 30 countries have been participating in this project. Some students from the Azerbaijani Universities have also joined the project. The Summer School has functioned in the districts of Oghuz, Shaki, Gabala and Ismayilli, along with the city of Baku. The participants have met with the local people, religious communities and religious figures, familiarized themselves with the historical monuments. The youth have consolidated in practice the theoretical knowledge they learnt in classrooms, got more profound information on Azerbaijani multiculturalism. Extensive lectures were read to the project participants who attended classes of foreign and local scholars.”

The Chair of the Board of Trustees of BICM, Academician Kamal Abdullayev noted that owing to this project the youth from different countries of the world come together, consolidate their knowledge on Azerbaijan, get closely acquainted with the multicultural, tolerant ambiance in our country and interact with their peers. K.Abdullayev, who pointed out that BICM has affiliates in 8 countries, said that Azerbaijan is a country with ancient and rich history, traditions of multiculturalism; here multiculturalism has turned into a state policy today. He noted that the Azerbaijani people are peace-loving, and many minorities co-exist under friendly conditions in our country.

At the event the Head of the Department of Intercultural Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration Etibar Najafov stated that multiculturalism plays an important part in the regulation of relations among the ethnic, religious, racial, cultural diversities in society. Speaking of 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 make over 90 per cent of Azerbaijan’s population, representatives of different religions co-exist here in peace. The state renders the necessary assistance including financial aids to all the religions,” stressed the official of the Presidential Administration.

The Member of the Milli Majlis Musa Gasimli and the Deputy Chair of the State Committee for the Work with Religious Organizations Sayavush Heydarov stated in their speeches that Azerbaijan is a country where historically different nationalities have co-existed, and national and religious tolerance has been established. Here there is an equal attitude to the representative of each people and nation. That is why, all, who are considered Azerbaijani citizens, have been united round the idea of Azerbaijanianism.

The event went on with a non-official part, and the participants of the Summer School were given certificates.

Further President Ilham Aliyev was addressed on behalf of the Summer School participants.

It should be noted that the project of the International Winter and Summer Schools of Multiculturalism is the logical continuation of the project “Teaching the Course ‘Azerbaijani Multiculturalism’ at Foreign and National Universities”. The International Winter and Summer Schools of Multiculturalism organized for the students learning the course ‘Azerbaijani Multiculturalism’ at 19 prestigious universities of the world and 38 leading universities of Azerbaijan are aimed to enable the youth 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, Serbia, Portugal, Slovakia, Estonia, Tajikistan, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, Palestine, Mexico, China, Columbia, Ecuador and Indonesia have participated in the VII International Summer School of Multiculturalism.