Azerbaijan`s first lady receives Crans Montana Forum`s Gold Medal (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan`s first lady receives Crans Montana Forum`s Gold Medal (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan`s first lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva has been awarded the Crans Montana Forum` Gold Medal.

Prior to the award-giving ceremony, the Azerbaijani first lady hosted a lunch in honor of the Forum`s participants.

The Medal is awarded by the Crans Montana Forum on exceptional occasions and by special decision in recognition of successful achievements in favor of a more Humane World.

The ceremony was opened by Chairman of the Crans Montana Forum Jean-Paul Carteron, who said the Azerbaijani first lady was honored for her tremendous and valuable contribution to building a more humane world. Carteron thanked Mehriban Aliyeva for accepting the medal.

ISESCO Director General Abdelaziz Altwaijri praised the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s educational, cultural and social projects. He said the Foundation played an important role in bringing up the new generation in Azerbaijan. Altwaijri also hailed the Azerbaijani first lady for placing a special importance on organizing ISESCO events in her country.

"In this regard Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva`s activity is the focus of international attention. The Azerbaijani first lady also greatly contributes to establishing intercultural and intercivilization dialogue."

The ISESCO Director General presented the Crans Montana Forum` Gold Medal to Mehriban Aliyeva.

The Azerbaijani first lady made a speech at the ceremony.

"Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for this high award - Gold Medal of the Crans Montana Forum. Thank you for the kind words about my country and for the high appreciation of the activity of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation."

She spoke of Azerbaijan`s history, saying "although the country was part of several empires, the people of Azerbaijan managed to have preserved their history, language, culture and national peculiarities".

The first lady highlighted the achievements of Azerbaijan.

"Despite all the difficulties facing Azerbaijan our country is today developing at a rapid pace. Successful economic reforms have made Azerbaijan a strong a leading country of the region. We pursue an open policy, a policy of Euroatlantic integration."

She said: "Today Azerbaijan is considered a reliable partner of the European Union from the point of view of energy security, and Azerbaijan is ready to play its role in gas supply of Europe."

The first lady highlighted the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s activity.

"The Heydar Aliyev Foundation managed to have done a lot since its founding in 2004. The priorities of the Foundation`s activity include supporting education, healthcare and culture, preserving and developing cultural heritage. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation realized a large number of projects in the field of education. Hundreds of schools were built and reconstructed in Baku and regions of Azerbaijan. Currently the Foundation provides great support to children in boarding schools and orphanages, including the children from socially needy families, in particular families of refugees and IDPs, and children with special needs."

"The "Azerbaijan - home to tolerance" project occupies a particular place in the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s activity. Traditions of tolerance and cultural diversity have formed in Azerbaijan during many centuries. These traditions are a highlight of the activity of the Foundation, which supports reconstruction of mosques, synagogues and orthodox churches. An educational center for Jewish children was established in Azerbaijan.

The Foundation reconstructed a girls school in Pakistan, which was destroyed by a quake. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation contributed to restoration of stained-glass windows of Strasbourg Cathedral, architectural monuments of Versailles," said Mrs. Aliyeva.

"Supporting culture, developing and preserving cultural heritage is another priority in the Foundation`s activity. An International festival of mugham, a traditional branch of Azerbaijan`s music, which was incorporated into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is regularly held in Baku. An international music festival in Gabala, which brings together the world`s leading orchestras and performers, international Rostropovich festival have already become a good tradition.

The Museum of modern art, which was created with the contribution from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, holds particular interest for art connoisseurs. Recently an exhibition of the museum`s works have been a great success in Paris."

"The Heydar Aliyev Foundation fruitfully cooperates with many respected international organizations including UNESCO, ISESCO, UNDP and UNICEF. Quite a few significant international forums were held in Baku at the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. In particular, an international conference "Youth for Alliance of Civilizations" was held with participation of the OIC Youth Forum "For dialogue and cooperation", and a forum "Expanding the role of women in cross-cultural dialogue" was organized in association with UNESCO and ISESCO in Azerbaijan`s capital, arousing a great interest of the international community and culminating with the adoption of the Baku declaration," added the Azerbaijani first lady.

"The Heydar Aliyev Foundation implements plenty of different projects. They aim to preserve historical heritage, support education, develop healthcare and strengthen the atmosphere of tolerance and dialogue in the society. They are all built on one idea - to do good. I thing it is in harmony with the motto of the Crans Montana Forum - "Committed to a more Humane World". After all, notwithstanding all accomplishments of the science, technologies, economy, people first and foremost need kindness and mercy."

"In conclusion, I would like to once more thank you for the high award. I am sure that we can achieve much through joint efforts," Mrs. Aliyeva concluded.

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