President Ilham Aliyev attended commencement ceremony at ADA University VIDEO

Baku, May 26, AZERTAC

A commencement ceremony has today been held at ADA University.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and family members attended the event.

President Ilham Aliyev addressed the commencement ceremony.

Speech of President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear friends, it is a commencement day at ADA University today. I sincerely congratulate all graduates on this occasion and wish them success in their future activities.

A new period begins for the graduates. I am sure that the knowledge you have received at the university will help you take a worthy place in life. ADA University is one of the leading universities in Azerbaijan. The level of education at this university is very high. The university has gained great respect both in the country and abroad, and as it was mentioned here today, the university provides education to students from 41 countries. This is an indicator in itself. He shows that ADA has indeed won a great deal of authority in a short time and become one of the leading higher educational institutions of our country.

I am sure that the students of ADA will continue to play an active role in the life of our country and contribute to its all-round development. Several years ago, I initiated the adoption of programs on educating Azerbaijani students abroad. Funds were allocated and our young people were sent to leading universities of the world. These programs proved very useful, as thousands of Azerbaijani youths have received excellent education abroad, returned to their homeland and are now playing an active role in the development of our country. Of course, our main goal should be to improve the level of education in Azerbaijan and align it with international standards. The establishment of ADA University pursues this very goal. We can say with full confidence today that the knowledge students receive here and the level of education meets the highest standards. I would like to express my gratitude to all the teachers of ADA and the university’s managers for the work they are doing, and wish them further success in their future activities.

Education means the future of any country. These words have repeatedly been spoken from various platforms, probably because they are true. It really is the case. If we look at the history and the current dynamics of developed countries, we can see that the main driving force is education, science, technology and innovation. Not natural resources, but knowledge. Therefore, we are trying and must continue to strive to further improve the level of education in Azerbaijan. We must make sure that the level of education meets the highest international standards. If we can achieve this, and I believe we can, then the long-term and sustainable development of our country will be secured. Our young people must be educated, professional and patriotic. A synthesis of these factors will facilitate the further successful development of our country. I am convinced that our youth will continue their activities in this direction. I know that the absolute majority of our young people fully meet these criteria.

The level of literacy in our country is about 100 per cent. At the same time, the reforms and innovations in the field of education are yielding results, and this will certainly continue to be the case. This will take some time, but we are on the right track, and I am sure that our strong human resources will ensure the successful development of our country. This is the main goal, and we can see this being the case in ADA and other leading Azerbaijani universities. Education in Azerbaijan must keep pace with the dynamic development of our country. The attention being paid to education is also reflected in our budget expenditure. The main part of our budget expenditure is related to education and defense potential, which is natural because we are at war and defense spending should be a priority, of course. The Azerbaijani army is among top 50 strongest armies on a global scale today. I do hope that the level of our education also comes close to this goal.

As you know, ADA was established as the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, which is reflected in its name. Of course, curricula on other disciplines were prepared here and material and technical infrastructure of the university strengthened afterwards. A wonderful campus has been created in this beautiful part of Baku. On the way here, I was informed about the construction of new buildings. I am very glad that there is such a modern campus in our city. I also approve of the program for the further expansion of ADA. Of course, the Azerbaijani state will continue to pay attention to the solution of these issues and the necessary funds will be allocated for this work to be continued.

But if we take into account the fact that the main goal of ADA University is to train personnel majoring in foreign policy, I would like to say a few words about our foreign policy. Azerbaijan's foreign policy is principled and independent. I believe that this is why we enjoy a good reputation on the international arena and Azerbaijan is recognized as a very reliable partner and a worthy state on a global scale. Other countries reckon with us, the number of countries interested in cooperating with us is gradually increasing, and Azerbaijan defends its national interests from all international platforms. Our foreign policy complements the domestic policy and aims to enhance the international reputation of the country and secure its economic interests.

It is not so easy to pursue an independent policy, especially in our region and in the present conditions. But it has always been our position that we should pursue an independent course and secure the interests of the people. The interests of the Azerbaijani people are above everything for us. That is why I think we have managed to earn great respect, which is evidenced by the election of Azerbaijan to the UN Security Council. A total of 155 countries showed confidence in Azerbaijan and elected us a member of the Security Council, the world's most influential organization. This is a clear example of our international authority. A few years have passed since that day. I am absolutely sure that Azerbaijan is a country worthy of solid foundations and respect on the international arena.

The key issue of our foreign policy is the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We do not back down a step from our principled position. Nagorno-Karabakh is ancient Azerbaijani land, our historical land. The norms of international law also confirm that this territory is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Influential international organizations have adopted numerous decisions and resolutions on this issue. The four resolutions of the UN Security Council and the resolutions and decisions of other influential international organizations further strengthen our international standing and create a legal framework for the settlement of the conflict. The Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, ECO and other organizations have recently adopted resolutions on this issue. This issue must be resolved exclusively within the territorial integrity of our country. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan recognized by the international community must be restored unconditionally and the resolutions of the UN Security Council must be fulfilled unconditionally and immediately.

We will continue to pursue a principled policy on this issue. However, we are also well aware that international law does not always work in today's world. In fact, it does not work at all recently. This is a reality. We live in a real world and, of course, should bring our policies in line with the real situation in the world. Therefore, we must certainly continue to build up our power in the economic sphere, in the field of army building and in other spheres in order to bring the conflict settlement closer.

The force factor comes to the forefront in the world today. We see this practically every day. Of course, we have taken and will continue to take steps in this direction. The attention we have been paying to army building in recent years and the funds invested in that show again that we are on the right track and we will continue to follow it.

Azerbaijan works very actively in the regional cooperation format. We wanted to create formats of regional cooperation and it is possible to say that we have succeeded in that. We have initiated four three-and four-sided formats of regional cooperation in the region now. We are the initiators of these formats of cooperation. They are of great practical importance. This cooperation is useful for all countries participating in these formats. We will continue that. We live in this region and, of course, peace and stability in the region depend, among other things, on international cooperation. Except for the occupier-Armenia, we have no problems with any country. On the contrary, our relations with all countries are developing. These are equal ties, ties formed on the basis of mutual respect and noninterference in each other's affairs. We have never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries. Of course, we expect the same approach from all countries, and we are achieving that. Therefore, cooperation in the regional frames, of course, is built on bilateral relations. We have transformed these relations from bilateral into multilateral.

The successful implementation of the giant energy and transport projects we have initiated depends, among other things, on the regional situation. We are changing this situation ourselves – we are changing in a positive direction. A special place in our foreign policy concept is occupied by mutually beneficial cooperation. We believe that neighboring countries should help each other, understand each other's problems and work together to solve them.

We are conducting a very successful energy diplomacy. Our giant energy projects have largely become possible through diplomatic efforts. Of course, several factors play a role here – an excellent investment environment in Azerbaijan from an economic point of view, stability, calm, international cooperation and our diplomatic efforts. Our energy projects can be realized only together with our neighbors and friendly countries. We do not have access to the world ocean. Therefore, any energy project requires international cooperation. Our energy diplomacy has been very successful, and the whole world recognizes that today. We have redrawn the energy map not only of the region, but also of Eurasia. The Southern Gas Corridor, the official opening of which will take place in a few days, is our historic achievement, a historic victory.

We are successfully implementing our transport diplomacy. It would be safe to say that the transport routes, developing along the route of energy corridors, have become possible as a result of very serious diplomatic efforts. We have also redrawn the transport map of Eurasia and achieved success in that. I can say that all our initiatives, all the steps related to energy and transport diplomacy have been successful. They bring huge dividends both to us and to the countries working with us. We still expect large profits. The projects being implemented today will contribute to the strength of our country and its sustainable development in a long-term format. A major role in the implementation of these projects, of course, is played by diplomatic efforts.

Of course, by rationally using natural resources, we are developing and strengthening our country. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the most stable countries on a global scale. A lot of creative work is under way in Azerbaijan. I am aware that ADA University pays great attention to subjects related to business and economic disciplines. I believe that we have also achieved impressive results in this sphere. The economy of Azerbaijan today is fully built on internal resources. It does not depend on any external financial institution or foreign country. Our external public debt accounts for only 20 per cent of the gross domestic product. Our foreign exchange reserves exceed the external debt four to five times. We can repay all debts at any time.

Having created an excellent investment environment, we have been able to attract investments to our country amounting to 230 billion dollars in the last 15 years. The steps related to the reduction of poverty and unemployment are highly regarded by the world community. We are a young independent state. However, in terms of competitiveness, we are in 35th place in the world. We are in third place among developing countries in terms of inclusive development. In other words, all these figures are a clear illustration of my words.

I am quite sure that our country will successfully meet the goals because we have a powerful economic potential and a positive international authority. We have a very dynamic society, active youth, knowledgeable citizens and a strong political will. The key task is to ensure a long-term sustainable development of our country. And that depends on our youth, those who are here today and those conducting a similar event in other universities. I want to say again that youth is our future. In the future, the fate, independence and happiness of our country will depend on the youth. Therefore, young people should always love their Motherland, be professional, possess the knowledge and be attached to the Motherland. I am sure that our youth will always meet these high criteria.

Dear young people, I want to congratulate you on the commencement day once again. I want to say that all roads are open before you. You live in a beautiful and powerful country. You have received an excellent education. You speak foreign languages. I am sure that as all-round professionals you can work in any field. I want to wish you only success. I want you not to miss this wonderful opportunity, take a worthy place in your life and make a valuable contribution to the development of our country. I congratulate you again and wish you success. Thank you.

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A video highlighting ADA graduates was screened at the event.

Other speakers included graduate of the university Azer Aliyev and ADA Vice Rector of Academic Affairs Vafa Kazdal.

Rector of ADA University, Deputy Foreign Minister Hafiz Pashayev thanked President Ilham Aliyev for his meaningful speech at the ceremony.

Then the ceremony to present diplomas began.

President Ilham Aliyev handed diplomas to a group of graduates.

In this academic year, 530 students graduated from ADA University in 11 majors.

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