EurActiv: East finally meets West in Azerbaijan

Baku, March 28, AZERTAC

EurActiv news portal, an independent European media platform dealing with European news and European-centric topics, has published an article by Vadim Gusmanis headlined “East finally meets West in Azerbaijan”.

“Safety and gender equality cement Azerbaijan’s place as the shining example of a modern Muslim democracy," writes Vadim Gusmanis.

“This spring thousands of Jews from Israel and at least as many Christians from Europe will arrive in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, to spend a week celebrating the Passover or Easter holidays. This year’s popular destination is peculiar because Azerbaijan is a predominantly Shiite Muslim country. With its proud tradition of tolerance and secularity, Azerbaijan is home to a small but energetic Jewish community and several larger Christian congregations. All have lived side by side with their Muslim neighbors for generations. Anyone on the streets of Baku will be delighted to tell you about their beloved city’s cosmopolitan essence of multiculturalism and multi-confessionalism dating back centuries,” the article says.

Gusmanis mentions that Azerbaijan’s geographic location at the crossroads of the Great Silk Way has long established it as the place where cultures met and prospered together.

He draws the readers` attention to the fact that at the end of the 19th century came the oil boom, bringing investors and workers from all over the world to Azerbaijan to help develop the world’s new most precious resource.

The article also hails the active role of women in the socio-political life of the country, saying that women are well-represented in politics, both in the executive branch on the ministerial level and in the legislative branch as members of the Parliament.

“Azerbaijan’s political traditions trace their roots to the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-1920. First democracy of the East, the ADR enshrined in law much of what makes up modern Azerbaijan’s Constitution, most importantly its citizen’s civil rights and freedoms. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was one of the world’s pioneers of universal suffrage, granting women full voting rights in 1918. Its cultural legacy, such as the first opera house in the Muslim world is proudly carried on in modern Azerbaijan,” Gusmanis says.

He mentions that the sweeping political and economic reforms implemented over the past years in the country led to rapid improvements in productivity and governance, adding that new investments of capital and technology poured into Azerbaijan. He also hails the fact that the GDP in Azerbaijan has seen an astonishing six-fold increase.

The article also underlines that bureaucratic red tape has been greatly reduced with the introduction of ASAN Service Centers. “These all-in-one state agencies virtually overnight transformed many government services making them quick and accessible. In 2015 ASAN Service Centers earned the prestigious United Nations Public Service Award. Safe, affordable and hospitable Azerbaijan has become a popular tourist destination and an attractive place to invest and do business,” the article says.

“Today Azerbaijan proudly wears the mantle of the great bridge between the East and West, the proverbial melting pot of cultures, confessions and ideas,” Gusmanis concludes.

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