AZERBAIJAN AND UNESCO

UNESCO-Azerbaijan cooperation

Brief information about the organization.A specialized agency of the UN, UNESCO is the world’s largest intergovernmental forum in the fields of education, science, culture, information and communication. The Constitution of the Organization was signed on 16 November, 1945, in London. On November 4, 1946, UNESCO officially came into force with 20 member states.

Currently UNESCO comprises of 195 Member States and ten Associate Member States. It closely cooperates with the UN and other specialized agencies. UNESCO also works in partnership with other leading intergovernmental organizations (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OSCE, the African Union, the League of Arab States, ISESCO, TURKSOY, and others). At the same time, UNESCO actively cooperates with hundreds of leading international and non-governmental organizations.

Three principal bodies of UNESCO are the General Conference, the Executive Board and the Secretariat.

The General Conference is UNESCO’s supreme governing body. Its ordinary sessions are held every two years. Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget. The General Conference determines strategic directions of UNESCO’s activities.

The Executive Board ensures the overall management of UNESCO. It prepares work of the General Conference and controls that its decisions are properly carried out. Functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived primarily from the Constitution and rules or guidelines issued by the General Conference. The Executive Board of 58 members are elected by the General Conference. This choice is largely a matter of geography and diversity of cultures represented by UNESCO member states. The Executive Board meets twice a year.

The Secretariat is a permanent executive body of UNESCO. It is based in Paris, France. The Secretariat employs civil servants from 170 UNESCO Member States.

Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 15 November 2009.

UNESCO,along with its Headquarters in Paris operates a worldwide network of regional bureaus, institutes and centers.

Cooperation during the Soviet era. As part of the USSR, Azerbaijan has taken an active part in the activities of UNESCO in the 60’s of the 20th century. In 1967, UNESCO released comedies by M.F.Akhundov in French in the “Literature of the peoples of the Caucasus” series, then two recording discs and two audio cassettes of Azerbaijani mugham in the “Music of the peoples of the World” series.

The National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev greatly contributed to the development of relations between Azerbaijan and UNESCO during the Soviet period. He actively participated in Azerbaijani cultural events arranged by UNESCO. In 1983, at the First International Symposium dedicated to the “Art of the Oriental Carpet”, he met with the Special Adviser to the Director-General of UNESCO Mr. Frederico Mayor. That meeting had a salutary effect on already friendly relations between Azerbaijan and UNESCO, and laid the foundation for successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNESCO when Azerbaijan reestablished its independence.

Exhibitions dedicated to  “Azerbaijani carpets” (1981), “Azerbaijani manuscripts” (1985) held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, and that depicting “the Architecture of Baku” held later in London, were consecutively arranged under the auspices of UNESCO. In November 1984, the Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble performed at UNESCO Headquarters.

UNESCO provided financial assistance to Azerbaijan in holding “A Language and a City” (1981), and  “the Oriental Carpet Art” (1983), conferences. In 1983 the image of Memar Ajami Nakhchivani portrayed in a carpet by Azerbaijani painter and carpet-maker Latif Karimov was presented to UNESCO by the government of Azerbaijan during a visit of the Director-General of UNESCO Mr. Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow to Baku.

Cooperation with the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan became member of UNESCO on 3 June 1992, after restoration of its independence. In December 1993, during his official visit to France, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev met with UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor.

According to Article 7 of the Constitution of UNESCO, each Member State shall form a National Commission to represent link between educational, scientific and cultural institutions of Azerbaijan and UNESCO. Thus, all the necessary steps were taken in that direction and the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO was established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on 21 February 1994,.By the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s 1006 Decree of 15 September 2005, the phrase “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was replaced by “the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, and the composition of the National Commission was determined. Under the10 March 2015 Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, composition of the National Commission was modified (the Decree is enclosed). The Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov is the Chairman of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.

By the 29 September 2004 Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO was established, and Eleanora Huseynova was appointed Permanent Delegate (2004-2014). Currently Mr. Anar Karimov holds a position of Permanent Delegate. He assumed office on 23 May, 2014.

According to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev’s  20 April 1997 Decree on celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the “Book of Dede Korkut”, State Commission on the 1300 anniversary of the “Kitabi Dede Korkut” epos was established. On 21 February 1999, a Decree on the action plan of the State Commission on the 1300 anniversary of Dede Korkut was signed. On 9 April, 2000, festivities dedicated to the 1300 anniversary of “Kitabi Dede Korkut” were held with  participation of the authorities of the Azerbaijan Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Turkey, and the Director-General of UNESCO K.Matsuura.

Chronology of visits of UNESCO Directors-General to Azerbaijan

November 18, 1996 –official visit of UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor to Azerbaijan. A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between UNESCO and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The  Memorandum aimed at rendering support to Azerbaijan in scientific, cultural and other spheres. Moreover, assistance in preservation and restoration of cultural monuments of Azerbaijan were also reflected in the document.

April 9, 2000 – UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, at the invitation of the President Heydar Aliyev, participated at the Summit of Heads of the Turkic Speaking Countries dedicated to the 1300 anniversary of “Kitabi Dede-Korkut”, which marked his first visit to Baku.

August 24, 2005 – the Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura took part in the International Conference “UNESCO-Azerbaijan – Bridge to the Future”.  At the end of the Conference, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between UNESCO and the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of education. During the visit, Mr.Matsuura was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

May 14, 2008 – UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura visited Baku to attend the “Addressing Literacy Challenges in Europe with a sub-regional focus: Building Partnerships and Promoting Innovative Approaches” Conference organized jointly by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the visit, Mr. Matsuura was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

March 18-25, 2009 – UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura attended the opening ceremony of the First International Mugham Festival organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between UNESCO and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation within the framework of the visit. After the signing ceremony, Director-General presented Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, the President ofthe  Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, a silver medal. During his visit, Mr. Matsuura was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Also Mr. Matsuura participated at the opening ceremony of the Museum of Modern Art, attended Novruz festivity held in front of the Old City gates, and a meeting organized by the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.

July 28-31, 2010 – UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visited Azerbaijan at the invitation of the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva. During her visit, Director-General met with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, visited the Museum of Modern Art, Mugham Center, and the Old City thathad been inserted to the World Heritage List. On July 29, 2010, Irina Bokova met with members of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO. On July 30, 2010, Mrs. Bokova took part in the opening ceremony of the second Gabala Mugham Festival during which Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, was awarded with the Golden Mozart Medal. Mrs. Bokova also visited the city of Shaki.

May 29-31, 2013 – UNESCO Director-General Mrs. Irina Bokova visited Azerbaijan to attend the 2nd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue. Mrs. Bokova was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva. She also held meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov and the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mr. Abulfas Garayev.

May 16-18, 2015 – UNESCO Director-General Mrs. Irina Bokova visited Azerbaijan to participate at the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue. During her visit, Mrs. Bokova met with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev and the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva. Mrs. Bokova attended the opening ceremony of the “Tree of Peace” monument, visited the Old City and the Carpet Museum.

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva

The President of the Heydar Aliyev FoundationMrs. Mehriban Aliyeva’s great efforts to enhance relationships between Azerbaijan and UNESCO are indispensable. She has been popularizing and promoting Azerbaijani culture in the world through the “Friends of the Azerbaijani Culture” Foundation since 1995. In September 2004,Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva was designated as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Oral and Musical Traditions inrecognition for her contribution to the promotion of traditional azeri music, literature and poetry and her commitment to ideas of UNESCO.At present, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation led by Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva has broadened this mission to include the development of other areas like science, education and culture. At the same time, the Foundation continues its services in support of the international sustainable development and peace-building activities. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has made tremendous contributions to the preservation of cultural and intangible cultural heritage, restoration of historical, religious and cultural monuments in Azerbaijan and abroad, as well as the establishment of new schools, kinder gardens, health centers and other scientific, cultural and social centers. As a result of the efforts of Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, elements of cultural and intangible cultural heritage of Azerbaijan were inscribed on the relevant UNESCO lists.

In recognition of her selfless activities to the world culture and contributions to the preservation of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva was consecutively awarded with the Commemorative Medal by former UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura( 2008 )  and with the Golden Mozart Medal by Director-General Irina Bokova(2010) .

Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva has attended annual meetings of the Goodwill Ambassadors at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and has held numerous meetingsbetween 2004-2012. At the same time, various events dedicated to Azerbaijan were organized at UNESCO Headquarters with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

On December 15, 2004, the First Lady of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva attended a UNESCO regional seminar on the protection of the intangible cultural heritage, which was held in the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan.

On May 13, 2005, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva received UNESCO experts Mr. Christophe Casaubon and Mr. Dendev Badarch during their visit to Azerbaijan.

On September 13, 2005, a solemn event dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the renowned Azerbaijani scientist Yusif Mammadaliyev was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva attended the event.

On October 21, 2006, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva participated at a fest dedicated to the 60th anniversary of UNESCO “Azerbaijan: at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations” organized in the framework of the week of “Dialogue among Civilizations”.

On May 20, 2008, in the framework of the annual meeting of the Goodwill Ambassadors, a concert “Goodwill Angels of Azerbaijan” was givenunder the auspices of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation at the headquarters of UNESCO.

On November 10, 2008, an event devoted to the 100th anniversary of the prominent Azerbaijani scientist, writer and pedagogue Mir Jalal Pashayev was held at UNESCO headquarters. Mehriban Aliyeva also attended the event.

On April 28, 2010, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva met with the newly-elected UNESCO Director-General, Mrs. Irina Bokova at the Headquarters of UNESCO.

On December 14, 2010, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva attended the event dedicated to the 65th anniversary of UNESCO at its Headquarters.

On April 19, 2011, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s independence, a gala performance entitled “Young Talents of Azerbaijan” was organized at UNESCO headquarters. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, the President of  the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova attended the concert. Following the event a reception was given by Mehriban Aliyeva. At the same time, on 19-29 April, 2011, an exhibition of Azerbaijani carpets was showcased at UNESCO headquarters. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

On September 12, 2011, in the framework of the 11th annual meeting of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation presented publications on Azerbaijan.

On October 26, 2011, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva participated at the “How does UNESCO contribute to building a culture of peace and to sustainable development?” Forum of Leaders held in the frames of the 36th session of the General Conference. In her speech, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva spoke about financial crisis and discrimination based on race, ethnicity and religion, and its harmful effect on tens of millions of people around the world. She also pointed out the fact that the new world order wasstill to be built and that this process would go through challenges before finding its end to final solution. She highlighted the importance of the humanitarian aspect of globalization and possibility of overcoming all obstacles through open dialogue and good will.

On July 18, 2013, Mehriban Aliyeva participated at an event held at UNESCO headquarters on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s accession to the Organization. On the same occasion, the Government of Azerbaijan organized an exhibition of stone monuments in UNESCO’s garden. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition. Participants of the event were presented with books on stone art history of Azerbaijan.

On October 22, 2013, on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations,  a “Seyid Yahya Bakuvi: Expression of Tolerance” international symposium dedicated to great Azerbaijani thinker Seyid Yahya Bakuvi was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The same day,  an opening ceremony  of the “Azerbaijan - Land of Tolerance” photo exhibition was organized at UNESCO headquarters by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and  the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations. The exhibition showcased works of the famous photographer Reza Deghati who has visited Azerbaijan on many occasions in the framework of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s project “Azerbaijan: Land of Tolerance”.

On May 29, 2014, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva met with the President of the General Conference Dr. Hao Ping, who visited Azerbaijan to participate at an International Forum dedicated to “New Challenges in the World Science: Joint Approaches of Young Scientists”.

On June 2, 2014, a week of Azerbaijani cuisine dedicated to “Traditional Dishes Preserved for Centuries”, was held under auspices of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation at UNESCO headquarters.

From 15 to 18 September, 2014, a “Gobustan Week” fest was held by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCOat UNESCO headquarters. The “Shadows of Gobustan” ballet by Faraj Garayev and the inauguration of Gobustan petroglyphs were successfully held at UNESCO as well.

From 6 to 13 May, 2015, a series of events related to Azerbaijani Culture were held at UNESCO Headquarters with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, namely an exhibition dedicated to Azerbaijani national chovgan game, which was included to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding; the presentation of a book called “Karabakh Horses”, written by Jean-Louis Gouraud,  a French writer and historian; anexhibition “Azerbaijan: From Tradition to Modernity” and, finally,  a concert of the “New Jazz Generation” group.  

Besides, UNESCO Directors-General met with the First Lady of Azerbaijan Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva within the frame of their official visits to Azerbaijan.

Agreements signed within the framework of cooperation between UNESCO and  theHeydar Aliyev Foundation

On 18 June, 2007, UNESCO, the Government of Azerbaijan and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation signed the ActionPlan on development of a professional education in Azerbaijan.

On 19 March, 2009, Cooperation Agreement on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage was signed between UNESCO and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

On 27 October, 2011, an agreement on financial support to restore the cultural sector of earthquake damaged Haiti was signed between Azerbaijan and UNESCO. According to the agreement, financial support in the amount of 50,000USD was meant to be spend to restore the sites of cultural importance in the historical part of Haitian Jackmel city.

On 18 July 2013, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova and the Minister for Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr Abulfas Qarayev, signed a Framework Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication between UNESCO and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The objective of the Framework Agreement is to strengthen, promote, develop and enhance cooperation in the aforementioned fields on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It was agreed to establish the Azerbaijan/UNESCO Trust Fund (US $5 Million )  enabling the Government to make its financial contributions in support of UNESCO projects and, at the same time, to provide permanent jobs for Azerbaijani experts in order to protect interests of Azerbaijan in the organization.

International events hosted by Azerbaijan

On 24 August, 2005, an international conference on the theme of “UNESCO-Azerbaijan: Bridge to the Future” was held in Baku.

On 10-11 June, 2008, an International Forum entitled “Expanding the Role of Women in Cross-cultural Dialogue” was held in Baku. This Forum, organized on the initiative of the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, and with support of ISESCO and UNESCO, gathered an international audience of over 300 representatives, including First Ladies of several countries, the Director-General of ISESCO, as well as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors.

On March 18-25, 2009, the first International Mugham Festival was held in Baku on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Union of Writers. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the First Lady of Azerbaijan Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, and many other guests from 17 countries attended the Festival. Scientific symposia, an international competition of mugham performers and miscellaneous concerts were held in the framework of the Festival.

Since 2009, the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, jointly with the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has been organizing International Baku Conferences of Ombudsmen on human rights related themes.

Since 2011, Azerbaijan has been hosting World Forums on Intercultural Dialogue in cooperation with the UN Alliance of Civilizations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and ISESCO. Hans D’Orville, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Strategic Planning, participated at the 2011 Forum. Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, attended the 2013 and 2015 Forums consecutively.

From 31 May to 2 June, 2011, the 18th session of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO was held in Baku. It was organized by UNESCO, the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO and the ANAS (The Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences) at the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Government of Azerbaijan. It gathered 80 guests, including Ms. Pilar Alvarez-Laso, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, experts of the International Bioethics Committee, as well as UNESCO representatives. Speaking toan audience at the opening ceremony, Mr. Anar Alakbarov, Executive Director of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, read a letter addressed by the First Lady of Azerbaijan, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva. A video message of Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, was also demonstrated to the participants. 

The Baku International Humanitarian Forum, held annually since 2009, brings together statesmen, Nobel Prize Laureates in various fields of science, heads of prominent international organizations, as well as world elite representatives of culture, science, politics and other fields to discuss critical issues, share views and opinions on global problems. UNESCO was represented at the highest level at four Forums organized between 2011 and 2014.

On November 5-9, 2012, the 7th Internet Governance Forum was organized jointly by the Government of Azerbaijan, the Council of Europe, the European Broadcasting Union, OSCE, and UNESCO. Ambassador Janis Karklins, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General of Information and Communication attended the event.

On March 13-15, 2013, an extraordinary session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport was held in Baku. Ms. Pilar Alvarez-Laso, the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences also participated in the event.

On 14 June, 2013, the 4th Congress of Azerbaijani Women, organized by the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, was held under the slogan “Unity for Development”. Close to 2000 people participated at the event. Mrs. Gunay Afandiyeva, The First Secretary of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, delivered Irina Bokova’s message to the Congress. 

On December 2-8, 2013, the 8th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took place in Baku. 611 guests from 116 countries participated at the session chaired by the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Abulfas Garayev. Mr. Elchin Afandiyev, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, delivered the message of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, to the participants. UNESCO Director-General Ms. Irina Bokova’s video message was also screened during the session. 

On May 27-29, 2014, an International Baku Forum entitled “New Challenges in the World Science: Joint Approaches of Young Scientists” was held jointly by the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, the AR Ministry of Youth and Sport, the ANAS and other institutions. President of the UNESCO General Conference Hao Ping participated at the Forum. During his visit to Baku, Mr. Hao Ping met with the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Abulfas Garayev, the Minister of Youth and Sport, Mr. Azad Rahimov, and the Minister of Education, Mr. Mikayil Jabbarov.

On November 17-18, 2014, an international conference on strengthening religious tolerance, co-organized by OSCE Project Coordinator in Baku, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Board of Muslims of the Caucasus and the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO took place in Baku. Mrs. Gunay Afandiyeva, the First Secretary of the National Commission delivered the message of Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, to the participants.

On December 18-19, 2014, the 5th Meeting of National Commissions, Committees for UNESCO and TURKSOY Member States, organized by the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, was held in Baku. Representatives of national commissions and committees for UNESCO, 120 guests, including 65 representatives of foreign institutions participated in the meeting. The event was chaired by Azerbaijan. Coordinating the activities of the national commission was also delegated to the latter until the next meeting.

On 19 May, 2015, the First Academic Forum of UNESCO Chairs on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue on the occasion of the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held. It was organized by UNESCO, in partnership with the KAICIID Centre for Dialogue and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, took part in the Forum.

Agreements signed between UNESCO and Azerbaijan in 2013-2014

On 18 July 2013, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova and the Minister for Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr Abulfas Qarayev, signed a Framework Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication between UNESCO and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The objective of the Framework Agreement is to strengthen, promote, develop and enhance cooperation with UNESCO in the aforementioned fields on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It was agreed to establish the Azerbaijan/UNESCO Trust Fund ( 5(five)million USD ) enabling the Government to make financial contributions in support of UNESCO projects and, at the same time, to provide permanent jobs for Azerbaijani experts in order to protect interests of Azerbaijan in the organization.

On 24 January, 2014, Agreement on the establishment of the UNESCO Junior Professional Programme (JPO) between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNESCO was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov and UNESCO Director-General Ms. Irina Bokova. In accordance with the agreement, two young specialists from Azerbaijan were offered jobs within the Organization. This agreement expands bilateral cooperation, strengthens the position of Azerbaijan in the Organization, and allows more active participation in the decision-making.

Specialized committees in Azerbaijan in the fields of competence of UNESCO

  1. ICOM- the International Council of Museums
  2. MOST –  the Management of Social Transformations Programme
  3. IHP – the International Hydrological Programme
  4. MAB – the Man and the Biosphere Programme
  5. IBC – the International Bioethics Committee
  6. IFA – the Information for All

Azerbaijan is party to the following UNESCO Conventions:

  1. May 14, 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1993); The first Protocol (1993); The second Protocol (2000).
  2. November 16, 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Heritage and Natural Heritage (1993).
  3. December 21, 1979 Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States belonging to the Europe region (1994).
  4. December 16, 1983 Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific (1995).
  5. September 6, 1952 Universal Copyright Convention (1997).
  6. Convention on the Recognition of Qualification in the European Region (1998).
  7. November 14, 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1997).
  8. February 2, 1971 Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (2001).
  9. October 29, 1971 Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms (2001).
  10.  1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (2003).
  11. October 17, 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2006).
  12. October 19, 2005 International Convention against Doping in Sport (2007).
  13. October 20, 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2010).

Azerbaijan’s participation in UNESCO’s subsidiary bodies

Azerbaijan was a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO and many of its miscellaneous committeeswithin the period of 2005-2009.

UNESCO Committees Azerbaijan was party to during 2011-2015:

  1. The Intergovernmental Committee  on the International Hydrological Programme (2011-2015);
  2. The Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (2011-2015);
  3. The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (2011-2015);
  4. The Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (2011-2015);
  5. The Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (2011-2015). On December 21, 2012, at the 7th session of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,a decision was made to protect cultural propertyin occupied territories. Following this decision an aggressor state should accept liabilities for the protection of cultural heritage in occupied territories, to report on efforts made to fulfill these liabilities and to provide access to UNESCO special missions for assessment. The document adopted by the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict during its 8th session held in Paris on December 18-19, 2013, analyzes the legal framework and implementation mechanisms of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, stresses the importance of sending UNESCO assessment missions to monitor the situation in the occupied territories and, further, draw the attention of the United Nations Security Council and its General Assembly to the problem of protection of cultural properties in occupied territories.

Azerbaijan is currently member of the following UNESCO subsidiary bodies:

  1. The Man and the Biosphere Programme (2015-2019)
  2. The Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (2015-2019)
  3. The World Heritage Committee (2015-2019)
  4. The Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (2015-2019)

Cooperation with UNESCO

Azerbaijan cooperates with UNESCO in all areas of interest that are included into the list of the Organization’s prioriries.

Cooperation in the field of culture

Two elements of Azerbaijan’s culture have been inscribed on the World Heritage List.

  1. “Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower” was inscribed on the World Heritage List at the World Heritage Committee’s 24th session held in Cairns, Australia on 27 November - 2 December 2000. These monuments damagedbyan earthquake were later inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the 27th session of the World Heritage Committee held on 4 July, 2003. Following relevant orders and decrees of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev, efforts to protect and preserve the Walled City and the surrounding historical and architectural monuments were intensified. A long-term strategy on architecture and historic preservation was adopted.Immediate andsuccessfulmeasures taken to protect and preserve the Walled City of Baku and the surrounding monuments made it possible to remove the Walled City of Baku and the surrounding monuments from the List of World Heritage in Danger and restore previous status of those historical monuments at  the World Heritage Committee’s 33rd session held in Seville, Spain, on 22-30 July, 2009.
  2. “Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape” was inscribed on the World Heritage List at the World Heritage Committee’s 31st session held in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 23 June-2 July, 2007.

Note:  On December 18-19, 2008, in Paris, both elements of cultural heritage of Azerbaijan were granted “enhanced protection” status at the 8th session of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Cultural properties submitted on the Tentative List:

  1. Surakhany, Atashgah (1998)
  2. The mausoleum of Nakhichivan (1998)
  3. Hyrkan State Reservation (1998)
  4. “Binegadi” 4th Period Fauna and Flora Deposit (1998)
  5. “Lok-Batan” Mud Cone (1998)
  6. “Baku Stage” Mountain (1998)
  7. The Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions (2001)
  8. Shusha historical and architectural reserve (2001)
  9. Ordubad historical and architectural reserve (2001)
  10. Sheki, the Khan’s Palace (2001)

Seven elements of intangible cultural heritage from Azerbaijan have been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and one element has been entered to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

  1. “Azerbaijani mugham”. On 7 November, 2003, UNESCO recognized mugham as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In 2008, mugham was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  2. “The Art of Azerbaijani Ashiq” was inscribed on the Representative List ofthe Intangible Cultural Heritage following a decision taken at the 4th session (September 28-October 2, 2009, in Abu Dhabi, UAE) of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  3. “Novruz” (2009) (jointly with India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Turkey) was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage following a decision taken at the 4th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held on September 28-October 2, 2009, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  4. “Traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving in the Republic of Azerbaijan” was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the 5th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (15-19 November, 2010,  Nairobi, Kenya).
  5. “Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument” was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the 7th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (3-7 December, 2012, Paris, France).
  6. “Chovqan, a traditional Karabakh horse-riding game in the Republic of Azerbaijan” was inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding at the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2-8 December, 2013,  Baku, Azerbaijan).
  7. “Traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi, making and wearing women’s silk headscarves” was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the 9th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage( 24-28 November, 2014, Paris, France).
  8. “Copper craftsmanship of Lahij” was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the 10th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage ( 30 November-4 December, 2015,  Namibia).

The list of anniversaries celebrated in the framework of the UNESCO programme on anniversaries of great personalities and historic events

1994 – Centenary of the deciphering of the Orthon Gol and Yenisey inscriptions;

1996 – The 500th anniversary of the birth of Mahammad Fizuli;

2000 – The One thousand three hundredth anniversary of the epic Azerbaijani legend Kitab-I Dede Qorqud;

2001 – The eight hundredth anniversary of the birth of Nasiraddin Toosi;

2002 –The 200th anniversary of the birth of Mirza Kazem-Bey; 

2005 – The 100th anniversary of the birth of Yusif Mammadaliyev;

2006 – The 100th anniversary of the birth of Latif Kerimov, carpet-maker artist;

2008 – The 100th anniversary of “Leyli and Majnun”, opera by Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibayli;

2008 – The 100th anniversary of the birth of Mir Jalal Pashayev, writer;

2009 – The 100th anniversary of the birth of Sattar Bahlulzade, artist;

2009 – The 100th anniversary of Academician Musa Aliyev, geologist;

2013 – The 550th anniversary of the death of Seyid Yahya Bakuvi (Shirvani), philosopher and poet;

2013 – The 900th anniversary of achievements of Mahsati Ganjavi, poetess;

2013 – The 100th anniversary of the musical comedy Arshin Mal Alan of Uzeyir Hajibeyli;

2014 – The 100th anniversary of the birth of Ilyas Afandiyev, writer and playwright;

2014 – The 1100th anniversary of the death of Ahmad AI-Bardiji, philosopher and scholar;

2015 – The 200th anniversary of the German translation of Kitabi Dede Qorqud and its publication (co-organized with the national commissions for UNESCO and permanent missions of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and with the support of the International Turkic Academy).

During its 38th session held in 2015, the General Conference adopted a decision to celebrate three anniversaries in 2016-2017.

  1. The 600th anniversary of the death of Nasimi;
  2. The 300th anniversary of the birth of Molla Panah Vagif;
  3. The 200th anniversary of German settlements in the South Caucasus Region (migration of the Schwab Germans to Azerbaijan and Georgia).

In addition to the abovementioned, Days of Azerbaijani Culture were held at UNESCO:

v  On October 19, 2006, in the context of the 60th anniversary of UNESCO held under the theme “Dialogue among Civilizations”, Azerbaijani Day titled “Azerbaijan – crossroads of civilizations and cultures” was organized at UNESCO headquarters.

v  On November 17, 2009, a conference titled “Azerbaijan woman: yesterday, today and tomorrow” was held at UNESCO headquarters in the framework of Azerbaijani days.

UNESCO award recipients from Azerbaijan:

Alim Gasimov was awarded the International Music Council-UNESCO Music Prize in 1999.

Firanghiz Ali-zadeh was nominated UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2008.

Tahir Salahov was awarded UNESCO Gold medal of “Picasso” for his contributions to the world cultural heritage. The award was presented to him by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura on March 19, 2009.

Cooperation in the field of education

On 24 August, 2005, in the context of the Conference “UNESCO-Azerbaijan: Bridge to the Future”, Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of education was signed between the Organization and Azerbaijan. This Memorandum envisages equal access to education and information technologies, update of a curriculum at all levels of education, enhancement of teachers’ professional qualifications, overall improvement of quality of education, establishment of an international network of cooperation and other priority areas.

An international conference dedicated to the completion of the“Development of Inclusive Education in Azerbaijan” projectwas organized by the Ministry of Education with financial support of UNESCO on June 12-13, 2006. The main goal of this project, which lasted for a year, was to enablehandicapped children to go to  regular schools and preschools. At the end of the project, 22 handicapped children were enrolled to Kindergarden N.80 in Baku, School N.43, as well as Kindergarden N.66 and School N.4 in Sumgayit.

On December 18-21, 2006, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with financial support of UNESCO, held an international seminar dedicated to the “Development of the Vocational Training in Azerbaijan”, and a national seminar on the “Implementation of the Credit System in universities and colleges of  Azerbaijan”.

On June 18, 2007, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNESCO signed an agreement on implementation of the project on development of vocational education in Azerbaijan.

On 14-16 May, 2008, “Addressing Literacy Challenges in Europe with a Sub-regional Focus: Building Partnerships and Promoting Innovative Approaches” Conference was held in Baku by the Ministry of Education at the initiative of the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, education ministers and experts from several countries, representatives of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and foreign ambassadors in Baku also participated at the Conference.

UNESCO Chairs established at the Universities in Azerbaijan

 UNESCO Chair on Human Rights, Democracy and Peace, established at the Baku Institute of Public Administration and Political Sciences (1997);

 UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Information Law, Baku State University (2015).

Associated Schools: 19 (1 nursery/pre-school, 1 primary, 2 primary and secondary, 13 secondary, 1 vocational and technical and 1 teacher training institutions). Azerbaijan joined the ASP Network in 1985.

Cooperation in the field of science

In 2005, medieval manuscripts on medicine and pharmacy were inscribed on the Memory of the World Register.

On November 28-29, 2008, on the initiative of the National Commission for UNESCO, UNESCO International Centre for Central Asian Studies and ASAS, an International Conference entitled “The Strabo Route as Part of the Great Silk Road” was organized.

On November 24, 2010, a contract was signed between the President of ASAS M.Karimov and UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Science on the Action Plan on the project of Japan’s Trust Fund to strengthen human resources. Following the contract, 100.000 USD were allocated to the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan to support the establishment of technology parks and the preparation of science and technology strategy.

At the same time, the Trust Fund established under the Framework Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNESCO on Cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication envisages a project on biosphere reserves in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

UNESCO headquarters has two different locations in Paris.

7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France 

1, rueMiollis , 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France 

Tel: +33 1 45 68 10 00

Faks: +33 1 45 67 16 90

Website: www.unesco.org

Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO

1, rue Miollis, 75015 Paris

Tel:   + 33 1 45 68 28 77;  + 33 1 45 68 28 78

E-mail: unesco@mission.mfa.gov.az

National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Sh.Gurbanov Str.4, Baku, AZ-1009

Tel: +(99412) 596 93 22

E-mail:   unesco@mfa.gov.az 

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