By Laman Ismayilova
The 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan's membership of UNESCO was marked in Baku on December 19.
State and government officials, members of the Parliament, scientists, culture workers attended the event at the Mugham Club. The participants viewed an exhibition highlighting Azerbaijan’s cultural monuments inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Speaking at the event, member of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, Asgar Alakbarov, said 25 years ago Azerbaijan and UNESCO established very successful ties of cooperation.
Established in 1945, UNESCO is responsible for international cooperation in the fields of science, education, culture and communication. The organization has 195 Member States and 11 Associate Members.
Alakbarov pointed out that Azerbaijan joined UNESCO on June 3, 1992, and the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO was established on February 21,1994, following the decree signed by the national leader Heydar Aliyev.
He stressed that during 25 years, Azerbaijan has been cooperating with UNESCO in the fields of science, education, culture, communication, gender issues, sports and youth. The successful policy pursued by the country's leadership boosted further expansion of UNESCO-Azerbaijan ties.
Alakbarov said that preservation of the cultural heritage is a priority for the Azerbaijani state. "Azerbaijani mugam", "Ashug art", "Novruz holiday", "Azerbaijani traditional arts of carpet weaving", "Tar and performing arts", "Traditional Karabakh equestrian game chovgan in Azerbaijan", "Traditional art and symbolism of kelegai, making and using women's silk headdresses", "Copper craft of Lahij", “Preparation and culture of serving fine bread: lavash, katyram, zhukka, yufka", "Traditions of cooking and filing dolma, which is an indicator of cultural identity", "String musical instrument kyamancha, its production and performing arts" were included in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The Maiden Tower, Icherisheher, Shirvanshahs Palace and Gobustan State Historical and Artistic Reserve were also included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Moreover, the jubilees of Azerbaijan's prominent figures have been celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters.
In his speech, Chairman of the National Commission of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov stressed that Azerbaijan is committed to UNESCO values. He noted that Azerbaijan has established close relations with UNESCO in the field of education, science and culture and, as a result, it has become a reputable member and a donor country of UNESCO.
Touching upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the minister said that 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory was occupied by Armenian armed forces, as a result of which, historical and cultural monuments of Azerbaijan, schools and libraries, as well as mosques and tombs were deliberately destroyed. The minister pointed out the fact that these abusive acts committed against Azerbaijan by Armenia have been constantly raised before UNESCO.
Further, Deputy Chairman of the National Commission, Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev, President of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan Akif Alizade, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade and Acting Minister of Education Jeyhun Bayramov addressed the event.
In 2003, Azerbaijan and UNESCO signed the framework agreement on cooperation in the areas of culture, science, education and communication, which allowed Azerbaijan to become one of the donors of UNESCO.
In May, the organization marked the 600th anniversary of the death of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Imadaddin Nasimi.
Moreover, this year UNESCO also celebrated the 200th anniversary of the first settlement of Germans in Azerbaijan. In 2013, with the support of UNESCO the 900th anniversary of Azerbaijani poetess Mahsati Ganjavi was celebrated in Paris.
UNESCO, aiming to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting international collaboration, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of prominent national composer Gara Garayev and the Baku State University.
The proposals were put forward alongside with other 48 in the list of anniversaries for 2018-2019 submitted by the UNESCO Executive Board, within the 39th session of General Conference held in Paris.
At the Conference it was adopted to celebrate the jubilee of the outstanding composer in 2018 and the year later to mark the anniversary of establishment of the first national university – the Baku State University.
In addition, Azerbaijan has joined the proposal put forward by the Islamic Republic of Iran to hold the 850th anniversary of the creativity of the great Eastern poet, born in Azerbaijan, Shikhabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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