The world marks the Day of UNESCO Foundation on November 16.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established on this day, back in 1945. Its Charter signed by 37 states was adopted at a Conference in London. According to their plan, the new organization was designed to promote the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and thereby prevent the outbreak of a new world war.
Azerbaijan joined this UN unit on June 3, 1992. For more than 27 years, the existing ties between UNESCO and Azerbaijan are expanding more and more and cover various fields of activity.
Azerbaijan has joined many UNESCO conventions in the field of education, culture, nature protection and sports.
The cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNESCO has become even more active with the assignment of the title of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador to Mehriban Aliyeva, the first vice-president of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Under the guidance and close attention of Mehriban Aliyeva, the most important work is being done to protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Azerbaijan and abroad, as well as to promote Azerbaijani culture in the world.
Thanks to the efforts of the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, at the 4th session of the UNESCO Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in the capital of the United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi, according to the final decision of the structure, Ashug art of Azerbaijan was included into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
In addition, the Novruz holiday was also included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the session. Considering that this holiday is celebrated in a number of states, on the recommendation of the organization, it was presented to UNESCO as an example of international intangible cultural heritage.
The historical center of Sheki along with the Khan Palace was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List during the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku.
Another important area of Mehriban Aliyeva’s activity in the cultural field is the internationally popularization of outstanding personalities of Azerbaijani culture, science and art.
So, in 2005, on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Baku and Paris hosted an event dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the great Azerbaijani composer Uzeir Hajibeyli, the 100th anniversary of the outstanding scientist-chemist, academician Yusif Mammadaliyev was celebrated in Paris as well as an album and CDs dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the collaboration of the world-famous musician Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, singer Galina Vishnevskaya.
In 2005, the presentation of the Karabakh Hanende music album released by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
At the same time, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is also implementing very important humanitarian and cultural projects aimed at preserving cultural monuments in Azerbaijan and beyond.
In 2007, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation restored two monuments on the World Heritage List, exhibited in the park of the Palace of Versailles in Paris. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation also played a significant role in the creation of new halls dedicated to Islamic art, in the Louvre Museum in Paris. In 2012, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, as well as French President Francois Hollande, attended the opening ceremony of the new Louvre halls, which feature works of architecture, painting and other cultural works of Islamic civilization.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has assisted in the restoration of a number of French churches dating back to the 10-12th centuries in the settlements of Saint-Hilaire, Fresnaye-au-Sauvage, Saint-Hilaire-la-Gérard, Tanville Courgeoût, Réveillon and Mâle settlements of Orne Department, France, as well as part of the stained-glass windows of the Strasbourg cathedral dating back to the 14th century.
The Foundation also implemented a number of projects to preserve historical and cultural sites in Italy and the Vatican. In 2016, it launched the restoration work on the catacombs of St. Sebastian in the Vatican. Two years later, the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the catacombs, which have important cultural and historical significance.
Earlier, in 2016, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation restored the catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro, as well as the “Hall of the Philosophers” in the Capitoline Museum.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation also joined the initiative to restore the Berlin Castle, which was destroyed and burned during the Second World War.
On September 29, 2011, Mehriban Aliyeva, as part of a campaign to collect donations for the restoration of the Berlin Castle, presented a cash check worth EUR 50,000 to the castle management as a contribution from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The construction of the Berlin Castle is expected to be completed in 2019.
The architectural and museum reserve “Trapezitsa”, located in the Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo, was restored with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. On September 22, 2016, the First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice President of the Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the Trapezitsa Architectural and Museum Reserve.
The conservation and restoration work in the reserve, which is one of the centers of historical tourism in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, lasted for 10 months.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation carried out the conservation and restoration of the western wall of the monument with a length of 158 meters, the creation of a tourist alley with a length of 880 meters, the Center for Cultural Heritage, the repair and conservation of 3 medieval churches located in this area.
In addition, the Foundation supported a large number of social projects on education, in particular the construction of schools in Pakistan and Vietnam, social centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.
Thus, the relations between UNESCO and Azerbaijan are expanding more and more and cover different areas of activity.