Forum magazine: Azerbaijan: Land of Hope, Diversity, Tolerance and Opportunity

Washington, November 6, AZERTAC

The renowned Forum magazine of the National Association of Foreign Consuls in the U.S. has published an article by Azerbaijan's Los Angeles Consul General Nasimi Aghayev in its fall 2017 issue.

Titled "Azerbaijan: Land of Hope, Diversity, Tolerance and Opportunity," the article highlights the long-standing traditions of multiculturalism and interfaith tolerance in Azerbaijan, the peaceful co-existence, acceptance and harmony among not only the Muslims, Christians and Jews, but also the Shiites and Sunnis in the country.

Pointing out Azerbaijan's ancient cultural heritage, Nasimi Aghayev notes that Azerbaijan is internationally known as a birthplace of the first opera (1908), operetta (1913) and ballet (1940) in the Muslim world. On Azerbaijani national dances and music, Consul General says: "Folk songs and dances have a special place in Azerbaijani musical heritage, which has developed along with literature since ancient times. Bringing together past and the present, Azerbaijani musicians have developed a unique fusion of jazz."

In his article Consul General Aghayev also hails Mugham, the Azerbaijani national music, which is a highly complex art form that weds classical poetry and musical improvisation in specific local modes. "A record of Azerbaijani Mugham played in balaban, the national wind instrument, was included by NASA in 1977 in the Golden Record attached to the Voyager spacecraft as part of a small and exclusive collection of musical compositions representing the Earth's musical heritage."

Stressing the importance of building bridges between the people of Azerbaijan and U.S. through art and culture, Nasimi Aghayev writes: "In early May of 2017, we invited some of the most talented of Azerbaijani musicians to participate in concerts in California. From Mugham singers, to opera singers, to dancers, to instrumentalists, Los Angeles and San Diego were treated to a concert that exhibited the finest of Azerbaijani performing arts. This rich cultural legacy was shared with over 3,500 Californians who spent an evening immersed in Azerbaijani music. It was an event that transported the audience from California to the alpine peaks and deep canyons of the Caucasus mountains and to the shores of the Caspian Sea."

"Now more than ever, the story that a country shares with foreign audiences has become increasingly more important. In such divisive times, a country that is working to promote peace and mutual understanding—especially in a tumultuous region such as the Caucasus, is a fresh and welcomed perspective. Azerbaijan's brand is complex and far from perfect. However, myself and other Azerbaijanis remain hopeful that the values of tolerance and harmony we so believe in, will be more widely practiced throughout the world," Consul General Aghayev concludes.

Yusif Babanli

Special Correspondent

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