The Round table on “Different models of multiculturalism: From theory to humanitarian practice” within the framework of V Baku International Humanitarian Forum was held at Fairmont Baku on September 30.
Kamal Abdullayev, the State Counsellor on inter-ethnic, multicultural and religious affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Full member of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) (Azerbaijan), Anatoly Torkunov, Rector of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia) and Vincenzo Scotti, President of Link Campus University (Italy) headed the Round table.
Kamal Abdullayev, the State Counsellor on inter-ethnic, multicultural and religious affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Full member of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) (Azerbaijan), has stated in his opening speech that the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism is accepted and studied all over the world despite the pessimistic attitude towards multiculturalism in most European countries.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazade, Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office, has noted in his speech that today, as a historically multi-confessional and tolerant country, Azerbaijan plays the role of bridge between civilizations.
Anatoly Torkunov, Rector of Moscow State Institute of International Relations, spoke about the role of multiculturalism in post – industrial society based on the examples of Russia and Azerbaijan in his speech.
Jannah Scott, Deputy Director of the Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships at US Department of Homeland Security and Abraham Cooper, Associate dean of the USA – Simon Wiesenthal Center, noted the uniqueness of the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism and highly appreciated the works on the promotion of the idea of multiculturalism and intercultural dialogue implemented in the republic.
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, has stated in his speech mentioning that rationalism and humanism form the basis of tolerance.
Fattah Heydarov, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, making a speech at plenary session, noted National Leader Heydar Aliyev’s role in Azerbaijan as a founder of multicultural society, as well as, the importance of the continuation of this policy so far.
Chairman, Synodal Department for Relations between the Church, Society and the Mass Media of Moscow Patriarchate, Editor in Chief of the Orthodox journal “Foma”, Vladimir Legoyda and Sue Cheng, the President of Buddhist Association of China touched upon the religious values and the place of religion in the society and interreligious dialogue.
Moderators of the first session of the round table entitled “Modern mass migration and pluralist cultural paradigm as the basis of multiculturalism policy” were Etibar Najafov (Azerbaijan), the chief advisor of the Office of the State Counsellor on inter-ethnic, multicultural and religious affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Michael Worbs (UNESCO), Chairperson, Executive Board of UNESCO and Annamaria Cossiga, Professor, Link Campus University and Marconi Telematic University.
Michael Worbs (UNESCO), Chairperson, Executive Board of UNESCO touched upon the problems faced in any multicultural society, as well as, the urgent problems of refugees and internally displaced persons in his speech. In this context, the role of UNESCO on the promotion of the ethnic diversity of states as well as the importance of promoting manifestations of multiculturalism was noted.
Gunay Efendiyeva, President of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, stating multicultural features of Turkish people, on the basis of historical examples and modern realities presented a full picture of the Azerbaijani multiculturalism.
Annamaria Cossiga, Professor, Link Campus University and Marconi Telematic University noted that her participation in the forum enabled her to comment on the themes of diaspora and multiculturalism in a broader sense. She noted the survival of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan which is a Muslim country, up to date is an important example.
Nicoletta Varani, Professor, University of Genoa and Alexander Vladychenko, Human rights expert, political scientist gave information on migration processes and adaptation policy in modern Europe, especially, Balkans and the Mediterranean region.
Oleg Kuznetsov, World Charitable Foundation “Aviation for children”, Deputy Head of the Department of Legal Support, spoke about the existence of historical relations between Russia and Azerbaijan towards the intercultural dialogue as two countries belonging to Eurasian civilization in his speech. It was noted, that these relations should be widely promoted in intellectual and academic fields as in literary and artistic field.
Ilham Mammadzade, Director of the Institute of Philosophy of ANAS, continued the topic referring to the report of Oleg Kuznetsov and particularly, noted the importance of the synthesis of science and culture for the development of any country. He, in turn, noted the universality of philosophy which contains significant changes to the scientific mentality characterized by a new approach on pluralistic cultural paradigm.
The second round table was held on “The Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism as a result of centuries of tolerant coexistence of different cultural and religious practices”. Moderators of the session were Ayten Gahraman, counsellor, Baku International Multiculturalism Center, Sieglinde Hartmann, professor, University of Würzburg, Teresa Do Rosario Do Damasio, Director, International Relations Department at the Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies and Alexander Nesterov, Head of the Department of European Studies, Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Ural Federal University, Executive Director of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism branch in Yekaterinburg.
Natalya Krasovskaya, Director, Centre for Russia-Azerbaijan Friendship of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Executive Director of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism branch in Moscow and Alexander Nesterov, Head of the Department of European Studies, Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Ural Federal University, Executive Director of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism branch in Yekaterinburg mentioned the features of the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism and intercultural dialogue on the basis of analysis of multiculturalism models.
Eva-Maria Auch, Chair of the Department of History of Azerbaijan, Humboldt University, Berlin, highly appreciated the practice of Azerbaijani multiculturalism and stated the contribution of Azerbaijani – German community for the formation of this model in her speech.
Aurelia Grigoriu, Executive Director of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism branch in Moldova and Sudaba Zeynalova, Senior Advisor of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration touched upon the historical and legal aspects of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan.
Ayten Gahraman, counsellor, Baku International Multiculturalism Center, Birgit Weissgerber, Executive Director of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism branch in Dresden, Sandro Teti, Executive Director of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism branch in Moldova and Teresa Do Rosario Do Damasio, Director, International Relations Department at the Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies gave information about the activity of the Baku International Center and its branches in Germany, Italy and Portugal.
The Round table continued its activity on “The historical role of world religions in shaping a policy of tolerant coexistence of different cultural practices and in implementation of the ideas of multiculturalism”. Moderators of the session were Mubariz Gurbanli, Chairman of the State Committee on Religious Associations of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Juan Carlos Mendez, Bishop of Christian Lutheran Church of the US, State of California and Ramazan Korkmaz, President of Caucasian University Association.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Juan Carlos Mendez, Bishop of Christian Lutheran Church of the US, State of California and President of Charitable Foundation “Churches in Action” spoke about the historical role of world religions.
Pedro Bohomoletz de Abreu Dallari, Director of the Institute of International Relations of the University of Sao Paulo spoke about the role of international law in the politically divided world in his speech.
Making speech in the round table Ramazan Korkmaz, President of Caucasian University Association stated that the policy implemented by the leadership of Azerbaijan, as well as, Humanitarian Forums gradually turned Baku into the capital of multiculturalism.
Alexander Ishein, Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Baku and Azerbaijan eparchy noted in his report that the success of the Azerbaijani multiculturalism was successfully combined in the internal context of its state policy and the mentality of Azerbaijani people.
Rabbi Shneor Segal, the Israeli-born rabbi of The Jewish Community of European Jews in Baku and Vladimir Fekete, the Apostolic Prefecture in Azerbaijan of the Roman Catholic Church, making speech in the round table, highly appreciated religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, as well as, relations between state and religion.
Dmitriy Safonov, Secretary for Interreligious Affairs, Department for External Church Relations, Moscow Patriarchate, noting the importance of inter-religious dialogue to find answers to modern challenges, stated the provision of peace and cooperation of the representatives of different religions and cultures, especially, the significance of peacekeeping efforts of the religious leaders in the solution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Abig Charukhchev, Chair of the religious community of the Georgian Jews in Azerbaijan noted the activity of representatives of Georgian Jewish community in the formation of a multicultural society in Azerbaijan.
Amina Zalmia Rasul Bernardo, the President of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, touching upon the history of inter–religious dialogue of Philippines in his speech, informed the participants of the round table about the conditions and life of Muslims as a religious minority in the country.
Zikrur Rahman, Director, India Islamic Cultural Centre, spoke about Indian model of multiculturalism and model of inter-religious dialogue.
In the end, the Forum Declaration was adopted unanimously.