Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
The authority of Baku International Humanitarian Forum held on the initiative and under the patronage of Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan is indisputably growing from year to year. It is already being unofficially called “the intellectual Davos”. I think that the value of the humanitarian forum, especially in the current international situation, is of no lesser significance than the value of some greater and more important economic forums. This result has a consistent character. It reflects a true humanistic, unifying nature of the forum and a unanimous endeavor of its participants to deepen the close cooperation in the sphere of science, education, culture and art.
It is worth emphasizing that humanism that emerged in the ancient times still remains a basic value of our time as well. It embodies the desire to affirm human dignity, strengthen moral values in the everyday life, as well as in politics. Man is the measure of all things. This classic maxim of the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras was and still remains urgent at all times. Beginning from the epoch of Renaissance humanism has been indispensable from great creators, men of letter and art. Francesca Petrarch said: “A truly noble person is not born with the great soul; he makes himself great by his deeds”.
Anyway, the humanistic belief is not only the result of the efforts of the geniuses of antiquity and Renaissance, as well as the following epochs, rather, it is a life experience of many generations of common people belonging to various cultures and various religions.
Sometimes our era is called the postmodern epoch and humanism is believed to be changing, namely, targeting exclusively at the strengthening and elevation of every person’s dignity. Without denying such an approach, however I see our common goal in the idea that in the pursuit of the supermodern form of humanism in the era of globalization, we, so to say, shall not throw the infant away with water and not sacrifice our traditional national values.
It is important to preserve and to multiply our basic fundamental values of humanism, shape it in compliance with the challenges of modern time. Modern humanism stands out, first of all by its social orientation. Its content is indispensably linked with the solution of major problems of humanity, fulfillment of its physical and spiritual capacities. Such humanism reflects the interests of all strata of society striving to social justice.
Along with it, rooting of ideas of humanism into the life of earthly society is a complicated and far from being a gradually rising process. History is a witness of various forms and scales of dehumanization recurrence strengthening at different times and under different conditions. It was and is generated by the lack of social well-being, crises, and ambitious claims of ruling circles which aspire not only to affect the course of history, but also to subjugate it. As a rule, it leads to the loss of spiritual and moral guidelines, to marginalization of society and other destructive processes. Once more, the events happening in various regions of the planet prove it.
On the other hand, it is quite obvious that in places where humanism reigns, concordance and mutual understanding also reign; there is no place for conflicts and wars. The Summit of Caspian states which was held in Astrakhan served a convincing and fresh example in this sense. Basing on the ideals of peace, mutual trust, observing the interests of each other, after many years of complicated negotiations, the heads of five countries came to agreement on the key issues of cooperation in the Caspian Sea.
Five documents have been signed, the central of which being the political statement fixing the major principles of operation in the sea, including the regulation on the water basin delimitation, as well as on the ban of the presence of military forces of the non-regional powers. As the result, a direct way to the conclusion of the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea already next year opens up.
According to the unanimous evaluation of the participants of the Summit, it is a real breakthrough which became possible due to the fact that the situation in the region is stable and free from conflicts. The level of trust and mutual understanding is high. All these factors collectively enabled the consensus in solution of the very difficult matters. If you will, it is humanism in action as the concordance reached there meets the inspirations and expectations of the peoples.
Dear participants of the Forum, the humanistic values and ideals throughout many centuries have acquired an insurmountable force. They have become an integral part of peoples’ life and have naturally fused with the international relations. In the international space the tools for their fulfillment have qualitatively expanded. The emergence of such authoritative institutes as UNO and UNESCO good will envoys, the organizations of refugees protection, provision of human rights and others –they all have been generated in our era and have been dictated by the inner logic of humanism development, one of the main vehicles of social development. It is noteworthy that many of the world-known scholars, figures of culture, education and art are among such envoys of humanism.
In this light, I see the major task of today’s forum in the discussion of new opportunities of humanitarian collaboration in the capacity of the values of real humanism realization. I believe that the peculiarities of up-to-date situation in this sphere will be comprehensively discussed by the participants of the forum – the outstanding scholars. In a word, the highest level of the participants of the forum is the guarantee of its success.
The Russian-Azerbaijani relations serve as a remarkable example of the long-standing and broad humanitarian interaction.
Today this cooperation already has a steady legislative basis as well. The dialogue of the governments of Russia and Azerbaijan is the key factor of its dynamic development. The Presidents of our states has made their great personal contribution into the cause of strengthening relations between our countries.
Thus, during Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s visit to Baku last August the program of cooperation in humanitarian sphere between Russia and Azerbaijan was signed. Traditionally, friendly relations have been formed between the Federal Assembly of Russian federation and Milli Mejlis of Republic of Azerbaijan. Over 10 years, since 2003 the joint inter-Parliamentary Commission has been operating. It pays constant attention to the most urgent issues of the interaction between our Parliaments on the issues of development of the legislative-contractual basis in the humanitarian sphere.
The inter-regional Forums “Russia-Azerbaijan” make significant contribution into the dynamic development of humanitarian relations. Let me remind that the V-th Russian-Azerbaijani Forum “Inter-Regional Cooperation: New Opportunities of Growth” was successfully held in the town of Gabala in June this year. The prospective trends of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere was one of the central themes of the Forum.
The Russian-Azerbaijani relations in the sphere of education and culture are also developing progressively. We appreciate it highly. A great interest to obtaining higher education in Russia remains in Azerbaijan.
Possessing Russian diploma is considered prestigious in the Republic; likewise it is a good perspective for a young specialist. The Azerbaijanis readily go to study in Russia not only on the budget line but also at their own account. Today about 13 thousand students from Azerbaijan are studying at the universities of Russia.
We highly appreciate such an extremely positive fact: there are wide opportunities to get a comprehensive secondary and higher education in the Russian language in Azerbaijan. One of the prestigious universities of Azerbaijan is the Baku branch of Moscow State University named after Lomonosov which has been functioning since 2008. Nowadays over 400 students are obtaining education in five departments of the branch, and the leading professors and teachers of Moscow State University teach them. Our countries are actively cooperating for the purpose of supporting the Russian language in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani language in Russia.
It’s noteworthy that in 2014 which is announced “The Year of Culture” in Russia, the memorial plate dedicated to the great Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev was solemnly opened in Moscow. It is not only a proof of strong friendship between our nations but also a remarkable event for the world musical culture, for everyone who knows and loves the creative activity of this outstanding composer.
Dear friends! Life proves that deepening of cooperation in humanitarian sphere can become the best and the most constructive response to many challenges of modern era.
The wise Azerbaijani proverb says: the one who has a soul has a concern as well. Let’s strive to the situation when our common concerns are directed to the implementation of the essence of humanism in life. The study, in the center of which there is the idea of a man as the highest value.
I heartily wish all the participants of Baku Forum successful work. I am sure that our and your new ideas and initiatives will find their practical realization in the real deeds and projects, will enable the consolidation of trust, mutual understanding and good neighborly relations between our nations.
Thank you for attention.