by Mehreen Gul
The migration of Azerbaijanis to the foreign countries was more intensive in the early 20th century as the atrocities of Armenia and Bolsheviks were compelling them, especially in world war II that has increased the number of migrants to the foreign countries. After the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, several efforts were made for the Azerbaijani who were living in the host countries. In this regard, the first effort was made in 1949 by establishing the Azerbaijan culture circle in Ankara.
H.E Heydar Aliyev strived hard for the applicable foreign policy and this strategy benefitted the Azerbaijani Diaspora too. Concerning to Azerbaijani youth diaspora, this article aims to highlight the programs and exclusive initiatives for diaspora youth. Undoubtedly, the Youth diaspora represents an immense richness for host societies since they bridge different countries, cultures, and identities, fostering intercultural dialogue, supporting interregional cooperation, and promoting social cohesion.
Approximately in more than 70 countries, Azerbaijanis are strengthening the ties by providing unity and solidarity. On 23rd May 2001, Heydar Aliyev inaugurated the first congress of the world Azerbaijanis. This congress expressed the unification and common ideology of the nation. The congress discusses the youth’s contribution to building diaspora, awareness-raising about Azerbaijan, integration of youth into foreign societies, and other matters annually.
State Committee on Work with Diaspora of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the central body that is implementing the social, cultural, academic, and historic identification among the world’s Azerbaijanis. The committee is following the Presidential decrees and laws by the Cabinet of Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan. A large number of Azeri youths are living abroad and representing the rich and historic culture of their origin. The committee has started several programs and activities for the youth. Azerbaijani youth diaspora summer camp is an annual activity for the youngsters who represent different organizations and councils. With the collaboration of funds for support to Azerbaijani diaspora. The camp provides an opportunity for the youth to acquaint with their roots and historical perspectives of the country. By the attempts of the committee youth from all over the world expanding their networking for various constructive ventures. The first vice-president of Azerbaijan Her Excellency Ms. Mehriban is running Heydar Aliyev Foundation successfully to promote Azerbaijan’s language, history, and culture and this foundation is also working in Switzerland, France, Sweden, and Poland. These initiatives will be a good strategic move for Azerbaijan as the youth abroad will be well familiarized with their history and culture.
In this COVID-19 period, the committee is arranging video conferences to reach out to the Azerbaijani diaspora worldwide to keep the sole purpose of the committee active. Moreover, winter school has also similar goals for the creation of a positive image of a country as these camps are being attended by the representatives of many organizations.
First Youth summer camp was comprised of almost 140 representatives of 50 million Azerbaijani all over the world, now the number is increasing and these representatives represent their host country. The State Committee is preparing for another large-scale project – a third summer camp for Azerbaijani Diaspora Youth “Volunteers-2020”.
Another initiative taken by Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva is the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Lithuania. It was established in 2012 to bridge between Azerbaijani and Lithuanian youth. Primarily working on Academic enhancement through scholarship programs and to promote educational activities. Also, the same efforts are continuing in Georgia, Germany, France, the USA, Russia, and other countries. Azerbaijan has made remarkable steps to sustain its economy, people and independence, state committee for diaspora is a great example also Azerbaijan’s foreign policy is no exception. official visits have been made to the United States, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, and Israel. During the official trips, meetings were made with compatriots, to learn about their problems and called for the solidarity of the national moral values. Besides, at the initiative of the compatriots, 11 Coordination Councils, which covers 27 European countries, were established. The purpose of these councils is to increase the efficiency of Azerbaijani diaspora organizations and to achieve greater success in coordinated activities.
Azerbaijani youth has launched a diaspora organization in Germany this organization aims to amalgamate Azerbaijani youth living in Germany to strengthen friendly ties in terms of academic conferences, research, and other projects. This union has its campuses in various cities in Germany.
The committee is jointly working with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and many organizations to preserve the heritage, culture, and true image of the country and to address the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh.
To conclude, the struggle of the Azerbaijan government is conspicuous. Pakistan has the 7th largest diaspora in almost 150 countries. And Pakistan is also taking workable measures for Pakistani diaspora. It is high time for both countries to join their efforts. Pakistan Overseas Foundation under the supervision of Imran Khan is also playing an integral part for the youth. Azerbaijan and Pakistan have a similar conflict in the shape of Kashmir and Armenia. By revisiting the policies for diaspora both countries can raise their voice on international forums to resolve this grave issue.
Mehreen Gul is a Director, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad & Eurasian Expert.
The original article was published on the occasion of Azerbaijan’ Republic Day (28th May 2020), CGSS has published an article titled, “Azerbaijani Youth Diaspora World Wide” by Ms. Mehreen Gul, Director, CGSS & Eurasian Expert.
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