By Laman Ismayilova
An event dedicated to the poetry of prominent Azerbaijani poet Imadaddin Nasimi has been held at the UCLA Library in Los Angeles.
The evening was co-organized by the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles and the UCLA Library.
The event brought together the Library leadership and staff, UCLA faculty and students, representatives of culture and science and other guests.
In his speech, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and International Collaborations, Dr. Sharon Farb expressed his satisfaction in co-hosting a celebration in honor of Azerbaijani poet Nasimi.
Speaking afterwards, Librarian for Slavic, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies Dr. Alena Aissing stressed the successful partnership between Azerbaijan and the UCLA Library.
The Memorandum of Understanding between Azerbaijan National Library and the UCLA Library signed in 2018. The document allows to exchange experience of the two libraries on a regular basis.
Dr. Alena Aissing also shared her impressions of Azerbaijan following her visit there last September to attend the 6th Baku International Book Fair.
In his remarks, Azerbaijan’s Consul General Nasimi Aghayev emphasized that Nasimi is considered one of the greatest Sufi poets of the late 14th and early 15th centuries and one of the most prominent early representatives of Azerbaijani and Turkic literature.
"In his works, Nasimi promoted the ideas of unity, peace and tolerance among all people, without attaching any importance to differences between religions or ethnicities. In general, Azerbaijan was historically one of the major centers of Sufi movement that preached the same ideals of interfaith and intercultural understanding and peace," said Aghayev.
"It is no coincidence therefore that for thousands of years different religions, cultures and civilizations have enjoyed peaceful coexistence in Azerbaijan. Today Azerbaijan which is a 95 percent majority-Muslim nation, is home to over half a million Christians of various denominations, 30,000 Jews, thousands of Bahai’s, Hare Krishnas and many others, who continue to live together with their Muslim brothers and sisters in harmony and mutual respect," he added.
Consul General mentioned that last year Nasimi’s 650th birthday was celebrated all around the world, and that the year of 2019 was declared as Nasimi Year in Azerbaijan by the Order of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
Following the speeches, Nasimi's poems were recited by renown American actors Lisa Cirincione and Satiar Pourvasei, wearing Azerbaijani traditional costumes. The actors were accompanied by renowned musicians Burak Besir and Dimitris Mahlis, who performed spiritual Sufi music.
Moreover, "Nasimi" music piece by the world-famous British musician of Azerbaijani descent Sami Yusuf first performed in Baku last year was presented to the guests. The event was highly appreciated by the audience.
The role of Nasimi was played by the young soloist of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, Taleh Yakhyayev, who brilliantly demonstrated his vocal range. The performance totally captivated the audience.
Seyyid Imadeddin Nasimi was a great Azerbaijani poet and eminent figure in the poetry and philosophical thought of the Orient. He was the founder of the school of philosophical poetry in the Azerbaijani language.
The poet created myriads of works in Azerbaijani, Persian and Arabic. The poet wrote about 300 poems, including ghazals, gasidas ("lyrics"), and rubais (quatrains). Nasimi’s Turkic Divan is considered his most important work, which contains 250-300 ghazals and more than 150 rubais.
His poetry is rooted in the social, political and cultural development of the countries of the Near and Middle East, and especially of his homeland, Azerbaijan.
After his death, Nasimi's works continued to exercise a great influence on many Turkic language poets such as Fuzuli (1483–1556), Khatai (1487–1524).
In connection with the 650th anniversary of the great Azerbaijani poet, President Ilham Aliyev declared 2019 the Year of Nasimi. Numerous scientific institutions, cultural centers, institutions and organizations are holding a series of events dedicated to the poet.
The Nasimi Festival of Poetry, Arts, and Spirituality was held for the second time from September 28 to October 1, 2019 in the country. The festival was organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Culture.
World-famous scholars and poets, philosophers, artists, music, dance and theater groups took part in the festival.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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