President Aliyev stresses importance of youth forum (UPDATE 2)

Details added (first version posted on 12:20)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 29

By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:

The first youth forum in Azerbaijan is a very important event and a big honour for the country, President Ilham Aliyev said Oct. 29 while addressing the First Global Forum on Youth Policies ongoing in Baku.

"Of course, there will be many more forums in the future, but this forum will remain in history," the president said.

"We are grateful to the organizers that Azerbaijan was selected as a host country. We consider it as recognition of the efforts of our government in sports policy, youth policy, and policy related to active development of the country," President Aliyev added.

He went on to say that one of the important priorities for Azerbaijan is education, and the country is proud that almost 100-percent literacy is provided in Azerbaijan.

The president noted that Azerbaijan has a very solid legislation base in the area of youth policy.

President Aliyev said there is a law on youth policy and two state programs, called the "Azerbaijani Youth", adding that they have been adopted and successfully implemented.

"Relatively recently we created a youth fund, and the funds channelled from the state budget to that fund help young people to present themselves to the society," he said. "They work on different projects related to culture, education, social activity, and political reforms."

The president said the fund helps the younger generation to explore their talents and to present them to the society and therefore, contribute to the development of Azerbaijan.

"I mentioned education and literacy, and I would also like to say that education in general is one of the government's priorities, because we are absolutely sure that only educated people, people with knowledge in different fields can help the country, and help themselves to develop," he said.

"And if you look at the performance and achievements of the developed countries in the world, you will see that education, science, technological innovations are the main tools of successful development...not energy resources, not minerals, not oil and gas, but education, knowledge and technology," the president stressed.

"This is a driving force for the whole mankind," he added.

The president expressed hope that with close interaction with international educational centers, Azerbaijan can achieve even more.

He said the Azerbaijani government has been for many years funding educational programs for the younger generation in the leading universities in the world.

President Aliyev added that about 40 million euros have been spent this year to train the young people abroad.

"We also want to have more international communication between our universities with the leading universities in the world," the president said. "And we see the benefits of this policy, because today the younger generation of Azerbaijan is actively participating in creation of new, modern, and independent country."

The president went on to say that one of the priorities of the Azerbaijani government is the development of sports. He said the Azerbaijani athletes represent the country at international competitions, world and European championships, and Olympic Games.

President Aliyev added that at the last Olympic Games in London in 2012, Azerbaijan got the highest result of all the previous participations in Summer Olympics.

He said the Azerbaijani team was the 30th among over 200 countries.

President Aliyev added that the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games also was very remarkable for Azerbaijan, as the Azerbaijani team was in the top-10 among other countries' teams.

"This shows that the policy of development of Olympic movement, sport, creation of modern sports facilities, bring the results," President Aliyev said.

He went on to add that at the same time, sports became an integral part of life in Azerbaijani society.

"State programs, stimulation and active involvement of younger generation in sport facilities and activities are not only important for the country's prestige at international competitions, but it also shows that the younger generation is on the way to success," the president said.

"It shows that physical health is something that will help them throughout their lives, and that also helps to stay away from bad habits - alcohol, tobacco, drugs and etc. Therefore it is an important social segment of our policy," he added.

"We are proud that Azerbaijan became the host country for numerous European and world championships, and next year we will host the First European Games in Azerbaijan, which will also be a historic event," President Aliyev said.

He added that the European Games have never been held before, unlike the Panamerican, Asian, and African games.

"This is the first time they will be held here, we will have more than 6,000 athletes, and we plan to hold these games at the level of Summer Olympic Games," the president said.

He said that in 2016, Azerbaijan will hold the World Chess Olympiad, adding that the country is also proud of the national chess team's achievements.

"All of the team's members are representatives of the younger generation. And in 2017, we will have Islamic Solidarity Games. So, in a short period of time we will have European and Islamic games, and this actually shows very clearly the role of Azerbaijan in the international affairs," the president added.

He said Azerbaijan is one of the very few countries that are members to the Council of Europe, where Azerbaijan is now chairing the Committee of Ministers, adding that the country is also a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The president further said Azerbaijan was the initiator of the "Baku Process" in 2008 when the country invited representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Council of Europe culture ministers meeting.

"For the first time, we had a session of more than 100 countries representing Europe and the Muslim world," he added.

President Aliyev said Azerbaijan had similar events in the coming years.

"These efforts lead to more understanding among civilizations, between peoples, and between countries," the Azerbaijani president added.

He said one of the main achievements of Azerbaijan is the unique atmosphere of cultural diversity, ethnic and religious tolerance.

"Azerbaijan is a multinational, multiconfessional country, and all of our citizens live in peace and dignity, and we contribute to the dialogue of civilizations," the president added.

"We had two times an international dialogue of culture forum, four times the Baku international humanitarian forum, where we mainly addressed the issues of cultural diversity, multiculturalism, and how people from different parts of the world can work together, cooperate and be interactive."

The Azerbaijani president further said that one of the big threats is the alienation between civilizations.

"We try to contribute to the course of cooperation, more understanding, more support, and I think it will bring good results," he added.

"Today, here in Baku we have representatives from all over the world. Your younger generation represents the active segment of your societies and you have a great future in your countries."

The president said he believes that therefore, knowing each other, acting together, understanding each others' problems, and trying to help each other will be very important.

"So, I hope that this first global forum will also be very important from this point of view," President Aliyev said.

The president added that the Azerbaijani younger generation is actively involved in issues related to innovation.

He said Azerbaijan is developing very rapidly in the areas of information and communication technologies, and the country now has its own satellite.

The president went on to add that less than two years ago, Azerbaijan introduced a new system of public services called ASAN, which means 'easy' in English.

He said ASAN is a one stop shop under one roof rendering about 30 public services, and absolute majority of employees and volunteers in ASAN system are representatives of the younger generation.

"Today, in many areas of business activity we have young managers, well trained, educated, patriotic, and closely committed to development of Azerbaijan. I am sure, in the coming years this trend will be even stronger," he said.

"So, these are the main areas of importance for us," the president added.

The president further said Azerbaijan is a young country with only 23 years of independence; its population is young, dynamic, and very active.

"Our active state policy engages our younger generation in every sector of our economic and political life," President Aliyev said.

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