Milan, July 9, AZERTAC
A "National day" has been organized at the Azerbaijan`s pavilion in the "Expo Milano 2015" international exhibition.
An official presentation ceremony of the Azerbaijan`s pavilion was held as part of the "National day".
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva attended the ceremony.
The event also brought together representatives of the Italian government, public figures, representatives of diplomatic corps in the country and other influential guests.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his spouse, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and his daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived in the territory of the "Expo Milano 2015" exhibition.
The foundation of the Azerbaijan`s national pavilion in the "Expo Milano 2015" was laid in July, 2014. The preparatory and construction work lasted for 18 months. The organizational work over the Azerbaijan`s national pavilion was conducted by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Heydar Aliyev Center. According to the motto of this year`s exhibition, the 4-storey national pavilion, which covers 1800 square meters, glorifies Azerbaijan`s history and cultural heritage, rich environmental potential, richness of flora and fauna and rare biodiversity. 300-man working group, consisting of local and foreign experts was created for the preparation of the project.
A "Mirroring Baku" – direct connection with Baku was created in the national pavilion of Azerbaijan, which became the novelty among participant states. At the entrance of the national pavilion, a mirror-shaped monitor, with the dimension of human was installed and supplied with wavy chair.
Such monitor is also installed in Baku – in front of the Heydar Aliyev Center. These monitors create unity and are connected to each other. The visitors of the pavilion can stand in front of the monitor, see the place where the second monitor was installed in Baku and can speak to the people. This also gives Baku residents and tourists opportunity to get familiar with the Azerbaijan`s pavilion and its visitors. The project "Mirroring Baku" creates condition for thousands of participants of the exhibition to have connection with Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan which plays a role of bridge between the East and the West.
A video connection was first established with Baku at the Azerbaijan`s pavilion. Employee of the Heydar Aliyev Center Mahabbat Mehdiyeva greeted President Ilham Aliyev.
It is planned to organize various presentations during the next 6 months at the pavilion, which was designed in a special conception. Following the end of the "Expo Milano 2015", the Azerbaijan`s pavilion will be disassembled and will be installed in Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva were informed about the conception of the Azerbaijan`s national pavilion.
The 3 biospheres are embodying Azerbaijan, which is always able to keep and protect its environment and ancient culture in a harmony. The wavy wooden walls of the pavilion are a symbol of a wind, specific for Azerbaijan and a cultural and creative stream, which always circulates here. A pavilion "Azerbaijan. A treasury of biodiversity", which was created for the "Expo Milano 2015" reflects the unique natural and cultural treasury of this land, which plays a role of bridge between the North and the South, the East and the West.
The biosphere "Cross of the cultures" takes the visitors to very important historic and cultural places of the country. The second biosphere – "Biodiversity" is dedicated to the country`s natural biodiversity and cultural heritage. The construction in the center of the biosphere embodies a tree of pomegranate, which is a symbol of richness of Azerbaijan. The next biosphere is called "Innovation and tradition". There is a figure of a tree, the roots of which are directed to the sky. This symbolically demonstrates the loyalty of Azerbaijani people to traditions, and at the same time, that it is the innovative country, directed to the future.
The first floor of the pavilion is called a "Symphony of voices", and presents information about Azerbaijan`s history, culture and geography. The second floor – a "Symphony of colors" features climate, landscape and biological diversity. The third floor, which is called a "Symphony of tastes" presents information and examples of national cuisine and organic foods. This floor also has sections "Discover Baku" and "Personalities of Azerbaijan", which give opportunity to get interactively familiar with the country and its personalities from photos, maps and portraits of Azerbaijanis representing various spheres. The national pavilion also reflects the existence of 9 climate zones, and that the international organizations show Azerbaijan as one of the 25 spaces of biodiversity in the world. The monitors of the pavilion also demonstrate various information about pearls of Azerbaijani music and cinematography, traditions and art.
There is a restaurant on the terrace – 4th floor of the pavilion, which presents national cuisine and different concert programs.
An IDEA – Biodiversity Park, created in the yard of the national pavilion features information about the activity of the IDEA - International Dialogue for Environmental Action, various environmental projects and programs of entertainment.
The internal design of the pavilion reflects the work done in Azerbaijan towards protection of biodiversity and solution of ecological problems, provide and protection of restoration of national natural resources, implementation of local and international ecological projects. Various scenarios were prepared up to now for shooting of short films on foresaid directions. The scenarios as usual cover food, agriculture, ecological resources, natural landscape, social development, export and infrastructure, culture, art, protection of environment and actions to stop spreading out the genetically modified foods. These videos will be presented in the Azerbaijan`s pavilion until the end of the exhibition, and will provide visitors with visual presentation about the country.
On the eve of the "Expo Milano 2015", photos and videos of rich with biodiversity, existing in Azerbaijan`s various regions, rare landscape, natural resources and historic monuments in different regions were taken and shoot. On this purpose, a number of visits to Baku, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Lankaran, Yardimli, Shamkir, Shaki, Gabala, Shabran, Guba, Khizi, Siyazan, Shirvan, Absheron and other cities and regions were organized in April, 2014.
Then, a photo was taken.
According to the opinion of the "Expo Milano 2015" Organizing Committee, Azerbaijan is among those countries, who first implemented the demands, put in front of the participating state at the initial level of preparation and installation process, and presentation about the context and design of the pavilion. Foreign press and leading Italian media hailed Azerbaijan as a leader for finishing the construction and design work of the pavilion. Official delegations of various countries and the leadership of the exhibition noted that the design of the Azerbaijan`s pavilion was much differed from others, and was suitable to the chosen theme. Because of the success of Azerbaijan, Armenia refused to attend the "Expo Milano 2015".
Later, President Ilham Aliyev attended the flag raising ceremony within the "Expo Milano 2015" international exhibition. Anthems of Italy and Azerbaijan were played, and state flags were raised.
Commissioner General for "Expo Milano 2015" Bruno Antonio Pasquino addressed the event.
Then, President Ilham Aliyev made a speech.
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Speech by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Dear ladies and gentlemen.
My warm greetings to all of you.
It is the National Day of Azerbaijan at Milan Expo today. I am grateful to you for being with us today. I want to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate the Government of Italy on a high level of organization of Milan Expo.
I should note that Azerbaijan has been taking part in this exhibition since 2000. But this year, we are displaying a national pavilion for the first time. I have just got acquainted with the pavilion. As has been said here, the pavilion pleases the eye in terms of architecture, interior design and decoration. It is at a high level and creates an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with our country.
The pavilion describes the rich history, culture, art, music and carpet art of Azerbaijan, books about our country. All this creates an overall impression about Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is an ancient land. It has a rich culture, history and monuments. However, as an independent country we are only 24 years old. Therefore, various activities are conducted to promote our country in the world and Europe. Milan 2015 occupies a special place among them. At the same time, our pavilion also reflects the current realities of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is a dynamically developing country. It is open to the world. We are situated between East and West. Azerbaijan is a bridge between East and West geographically, politically and culturally. For centuries, representatives of different religions and nationalities have lived in Azerbaijan like one family, in peace and tranquility. Today, multiculturalism in Azerbaijan is a state policy and a way of life. One of the themes of Milan Expo is precisely multiculturalism.
Other topics are also of great importance. Among them, food security is now one of the major issues on the global agenda. I can say that Azerbaijan has taken very important steps in this direction. Azerbaijan’s successes have been recognized in a report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Azerbaijan is one of the countries where famine has been completely eliminated. According to the FAO report, Azerbaijan is one of the 29 countries where famine has reduced by more than half. This great evil has been liquidated in Azerbaijan.
Our international positions are fairly strong. A few years ago, with the support of 155 countries, we were elected a member of the UN Security Council. This demonstrates the international authority of our country. The economic reforms conducted in our country allow us the opportunity to have a diversified economy. As a result of the work done in recent years, the rate of unemployment and poverty has significantly reduced. Today, unemployment and poverty in Azerbaijan are at the level of 5 per cent. Over the last 10 years more than 1 million jobs have been created. Our financial position is quite stable. Our external debt accounts for only 10 per cent of the gross domestic product. According to the calculations of the Davos World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan is in 38th place globally for economic competitiveness. That is a high figure for a young independent state.
Of course, there are issues facing the country. We are trying to resolve them. But the steps we have taken in recent years and our achievements allow us to say that these issues will be successfully addressed. In short, Azerbaijan is open to the world, a modern and dynamic country with strong economic foundations.
While in Italy today, I would like to say a few words about Italian-Azerbaijani relations. These ties are at the highest level today. Italy is very friendly to us, it is a partner country. Various aspects of Italian-Azerbaijani relations, especially political ones, are developing. Exactly one year ago, in July, during my official visit to Italy, a joint declaration on strategic partnership between the two countries was adopted. In other words, strategic partnership is the highest peak in the relations between countries. Today, this is how we see these relations, our political ties are strengthening.
Today, I am leaving here for Rome, where I will hold meetings with the Italian leadership. Of course, political ties have a positive impact on all other areas. It should also be noted that Italy is Azerbaijan's trade partner number one. It is also very significant. It pleases us because Italy is very close to our country, and the people of Azerbaijan treat Italy with great love and affection. Italian companies operating in Azerbaijan or tourists visiting Azerbaijan certainly feel that.
Our economic cooperation is deepening. Today, Azerbaijan is home to more than 60 Italian companies. Of course, most of our economic relations are related to energy. Today, Azerbaijan and Italy are busy with the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is very important for our countries, regions and Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor starts in Baku, Azerbaijan, and ends in Italy. This gas pipeline more than 3,000 kilometers in length will play a positive role in ensuring the energy security of Europe in the future. The current high level of relations between Italy and Azerbaijan will enable us to implement the Southern Gas Corridor in time. Thus, Italy and Azerbaijan will be even more closely related to each other, including the energy policy, for many years and decades. In short, our bilateral relations are developing rapidly. There are great opportunities for the development of these relations.
Over the course of two months more than a million visitors have familiarized themselves with our country through the pavilion of Azerbaijan. This in itself is an indicator that our country enjoys a great interest, and this interest is mutual.
It was noted here that the first European Games, which were held in Azerbaijan, ended a few days ago. Unlike other continents, European games had never been conducted before. I should also note that the decision to hold the Games was made precisely in Italy. In December 2012, the European Olympic Committee in Rome made the decision, and this honorable mission was entrusted to us. Azerbaijan organized and hosted the Games at the highest level. It really was a great celebration of sport and friendship. The Italian team has achieved very good results in competitions. I want to congratulate you on these victories.
It should also be noted that in two years we will also host Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, and this confirms my words, because Azerbaijan, on the one hand, is a country close to Europe, a member of European institutions and works in these organizations, but at the same time, we are a part of the Muslim world. By pursuing this policy we try to strengthen the dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures. I believe that the work carried out by Italy and Azerbaijan in this field is reassuring, and we will continue to intensify our efforts.
In this exhibition, Azerbaijan has tried to demonstrate its capabilities. As I said, our pavilion has been reviewed by more than a million people. But the best familiarization, of course, is to see Azerbaijan. I invite you, our friends, to Azerbaijan. Come to our country, and you will see the sympathy the people of Azerbaijan have for the Italians.
Dear friends, thank you very much again for being with us. I wish the Italian people new successes, victories and happiness. Thank you.
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Following the speeches, the President and his spouse familiarized themselves with the Italian national pavilion at the exhibition.
"Expo Milano 2015" international exhibition is underway since May 1. This year`s exhibition, which is being organized under motto "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" brings together 145 countries. Only 54 of them, including Azerbaijan are being represented by national pavilions. Other countries have just stands. The exhibition will end on October 31.
The world "Expo" exhibition is famous for the number of visitors and its scale. More than 11 million tickets were sold until May 1 - the start of this year`s exhibition, which organized in Milan. Since May 1, more than a million guests have visited Azerbaijan`s national pavilion.
President Ilham Aliyev signed the guest book of the Italian national pavilion.
The World "Expo" exhibition was first organized in 1851. The exhibition ranks third after the Olympic Games and World Football Championships for the number of visitors.