Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

The 4th Baku International Humanitarian Forum

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Waheed Hussain

The 4th Baku International Humanitarian Forum (BIHF) ended on 3rd of October, 2014 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The forum provided a platform to different intellectuals and humanitarian organizations to systematically hold conferences, discussions and round tables with the aim of holding a dialogue of cultures and creating an atmosphere of tolerance.

Baku International Humanitarian Forum is yearly event of renowned representatives of political, scientific and economic intellectuals. It also includes famous statesmen, Nobel Prize’s winners in the different fields of science. The leaders of persuasive international organizations and cultural elite of the world community also participate in this forum. Assembly of the representatives of all spheres of human activity leads to the optimal solution of vital problems, which disturb all humanity.

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the two-day forum. In his address to the 500 guests from over 60 countries the President said that a multi-faith, multi-ethnic society has been formed in Azerbaijan throughout the centuries, it still exists, and in the years of independence, these positive tendencies have enhanced even more.

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Azerbaijani president expressed confidence that discussions, exchange of views, which are to be held during the forum, will serve to deepening of humanitarian cooperation. “It is no coincidence that this forum is being held exactly in Azerbaijan. I can note that the forum has a unique role today in discussing and analyzing the world’s humanitarian problems.” The president also said the interest towards the forum is constantly growing and it has already turned into an important format on the international arena.

He noted all people in Azerbaijan live in friendship and good neighborliness, as one family. President Aliyev went on to add that Azerbaijan has always paid special attention to the humanitarian cooperation, solution of humanitarian issues, but the country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. “Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity has been violated and aggressive policy is pursued against the country,” Aliyev said. Armenia has occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory and over a million of Azerbaijani citizens have become IDPs as a result of the occupation. “Ethnic cleansing policy was conducted against us. Khojaly genocide committed against us claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people,” the president said, adding that Khojaly genocide has been officially recognized by over 10 countries.

The head of state went on noting that all influential international organizations have adopted decisions and resolutions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding the unconditional withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories and expressed regret that these resolutions haven’t been implemented so far. OSCE, European Parliament, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other international organizations have also adopted decisions and resolutions supporting Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

“OSCE’s fact-finding missions have been sent to the occupied territories twice, and upon return they reported that our mosques, tombs of our ancestors, historical monuments were destroyed and museums were looted,” the president said adding that it is a huge humanitarian tragedy.

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“Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the biggest threat to the region. The speedy settlement of this conflict in accordance with the international law will bring peace and greater development to this region and create new opportunities for the regional cooperation,” President Aliyev said.

Later, Chairperson of the Russian Council of the Federation Valentina Matviyenko read out a message addressed by President Vladimir Putin to the participants of the forum.

The message said the fourth Baku International Humanitarian Forum will work out new ideas and proposals aimed at building confidence, mutual understanding among peoples, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in this important humanitarian sphere.

In her remarks, Matviyenko noted the authority of this forum is growing every year and “It is informally called the ‘intellectual Davos’,” she said. “This forum is also as important as big and significant economic international events especially in the current international conditions.”

UN Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark also made a speech at the forum, noting that the Forum provides an important opportunity for exchange of ideas on a wide range of issues.

In her video message Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova thanked the government of Azerbaijan for hosting the fourth Baku International Humanitarian Forum, and said conducting of the forum is a timely initiative.

ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri also delivered a speech at the forum. He said a number of international forums and conferences held in Baku have attracted the world’s attention to Azerbaijan. “A dozen of international conferences on the mission of dialogue, mutual understanding, tolerance and collaboration were held in Baku,” he said. “Some of them were so successful that ISESCO is honored to be participating in organizing some of those forums and meetings.” “For such events Baku has admirably captured the attention of the world with its long traditions and deservingly established itself as an ideal platform for this human project of so great importance toward peace,” he added.

The former Presidents of Estonia Arnold Ruutelin, Croatia Stepan Mesichin, Latvia Valdis Zatlers, Lithuania Vitautas Landsbergis, the former President of Ministerial Council of Italy Enriko Lettanın and other prominent figures also spoke in the Forum.

The 14 Nobel laureates such as Ervin Neher, Keri Benks Mullis, Jorc Ficerald, Smutt Deyvid Jonathan, Gross Kurt Vutrix, Ariye Varşel, Teodor Volfqanq Henş, Piter Artur Daymond and others made presentations during the plenary session chaired by president of Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan Akif Alizade.

The round tables with the aim to discuss and exchange views on widespread global issues were organized on the sidelines of the Forum. The topics of the round tables were “Media Transformation in the Digital Age: New Development Trends”, “The Role of Interdisciplinary Integration in Innovative Development”, “Sustainable Development and Ecological Civilization”, “Challenges of Globalization: between Tradition and Transformation”, “Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the 21st Century: Theory, Practice, Prospects”, “Converging Technologies and Outlines of the Future: Landmark Challenges of the 21st Century”, “Humanism as a Basic Value in the Postmodern Era”, “Comparative analysis of multiculturalisam: from theory to humanistic practice”, ”Media transformation in digital era: new tendencies of development” “Sustainable development and environmental civilization”, “Molecular biology and biotechnologies” and etc.

The Declaration of the 4th Baku International Humanitarian Forum was adopted at the end of the event. The declaration welcomed the creation of the Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism.

Within the framework of the forum, on October4-5 the participants of BIHF made tours to Azerbaijan’s regions, particularly to Nakhchivan, Lankaran, Guba and Gabala.

The Writer is Deputy Editor DNA and Centreline and a TV anchor.