Baku, Azerbaijan, May 4
The European Youth Capital is a very important international project implemented by the European Youth Forum since 2009 and Azerbaijan is proud that its Ganja city was awarded the 'European Youth Capital 2016' title, said Ali Hasanov, the Azerbaijani president's aide for public and political affairs.
He made the remarks May 4 addressing the opening ceremony of the 'Ganja European Youth Capital 2016' project in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Ganja.
It is the first time that a non-EU country - Azerbaijan - has been awarded the title of the 'European Youth Capital', according to the top official.
"Perhaps, therefore, today, the Azerbaijani people, the Azerbaijani youth have every right to feel proud," he said. "We are a partner of Europe, we have partnership relations with Europe, we develop and promote the European culture and civilization in all the spheres in Azerbaijan, and we contribute to the world civilization by adding the national and spiritual values, culture and mentality of the East to it."
Hasanov also touched upon the youth policy.
"Azerbaijan works out a state program on youth policy every five years," he said. "Comprehensive measures are being implemented as part of the 2012-2025 Azerbaijani Youth Development Strategy in all the spheres related to cultural, moral and physical development of the Azerbaijani youth."
Hasanov noted that the state structures and non-governmental organizations implementing youth policy in Azerbaijan have managed to establish a close and constructive cooperation with the European structures.
As a result, today, Azerbaijan is represented in all the youth events held in Europe and in the world, he said.
"The Azerbaijani youth are in the forefront of the world youth," said the top official, adding that therefore an Azerbaijani city has gained the 'European Youth Capital' status.
Hasanov also noted that today, the young people aged between 14 and 29 account for 28 percent of the total world population.
"In Europe this figure is 21 percent, while in Azerbaijan it is nearly 29 percent," he said, adding that Ganja, where this figure stands at 30 percent, is among the leaders in Azerbaijan in this regard.
"The statistics also confirms that Ganja is one of the Azerbaijani cities deserving the 'European Youth Capital' status," he added.
Hasanov pointed out that over the last 20 years Azerbaijan has become a multicultural center of South Caucasus.
"Azerbaijan has hosted international events of various nominations and this process continues," he said.
"This year Ganja will be in the limelight as Europe's youth capital," said the top official, adding that it is planned to hold over 250 events in 2016 in that city alone.