President of International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation delivers speech at Antalya Diplomacy Forum

Baku, March 14, AZERTAC

President of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation Gunay Afandiyeva has attended the second Antalya Diplomacy Forum. Gunay Afandiyeva addressed the panel conference titled "Preserving cultural heritage in a digital age", which was held as part of the Forum.

In her speech, Gunay Afandiyeva thanked the organizers of the Forum for holding the event at a high level, bringing together leaders and specialists from around the world. The President of the Foundation stressed that the forum has an important impact on the diplomatic and political environment. “Despite the most serious developments in many parts of the world, this platform is seen as an important conduit for the furtherance of diplomatic relations and tackling the most critical issues we face today.”

Noting that culture has been the paramount factor in protecting, nurturing and advancing civilization since ancient times, Gunay Afandiyeva said: “Today, improving general knowledge about the history of world culture, the role of mutual tolerance as a condition for survival, peaceful coexistence, cooperation and sustainable development of mankind is very important. This challenge is especially actualized and brought to the fore in today's rapidly changing reality, when every culture with a unique system of traditions is subject to a spiritual crisis and is undergoing a transformation of values. All people and all nations are now aware of the fragility of our world and wish to preserve the culture and history of mankind for future generations.”

Touching on the importance of digital technologies in this direction, the President of the Foundation said: “Digital technologies represent a chance to preserve and promote human history. Thanks to them, today everyone has access to get acquainted with the cultural heritage of other people. This ability brought to us by technology enables us to take our cultures rapidly beyond borders. Any music, movie, theatre or other media can be shared throughout the whole world within seconds. Special attention is paid to the preservation and transfer of intangible cultural heritage to future generations in the member countries of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation.”

Speaking about the large-scale projects implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in the field of cultural heritage protection, Gunay Afandiyeva spoke about the special activities of the Foundation in connection with digitalization: “The impact of technological advancements can additionally be seen in the activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation headed by First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva, which has made many strides in digitalizing parts of world cultural heritage. An example is the creation of online libraries, virtual museums, where works significant for the world heritage are displayed. One of the most important works at the moment of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is the restoration and the revival of cultural monuments which were subject to destruction and missappropriation for 30 years under occupation in Karabakh, an integral part of Azerbaijan.”

Informing about the activities of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, Gunay Afandiyeva stressed the importance of technological achievements in organizing, holding events, commemorating great personalities of the Turkic world and spreading their heritage around the world: “The COVID-19 pandemic brought serious changes to our everyday life. In a strictly quarantined regime, we had to find new ways of communication and methods of conducting activities. Maybe, the digitalization in this period saved us from particular isolation because education, socializing, work, and life in general went online. In this regard, the Foundation also had to adapt to the changing environment and implement projects using innovative tools and platforms. In order to familiarize schoolchildren with the centuries-old history of our ancestors, the Foundation organized a "Week of Museums of the Turkic World". During this time, schoolchildren from different countries attended virtual tours of museums in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Hungary. We have announced online contests of drawings and essays among children and students on the topic “Let's protect our world: traditions of the Turkic world”. This project demonstrated the huge creative potential of children and youth who responded from a number of different countries, which were not only Turkic-States. Last year, we celebrated the 880th anniversary of the great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi who significantly influenced Turkic and world literature. In the performance of the “Dede Korkut” Chamber orchestra established by the Foundation, concerts of musical performances written based on Nizami's poems were organized, books were published in different countries, and many events were held, such as online conferences discussing the poet's life and creativity. At the same time, at the 7th Baku International Book Fair, we presented the electronic version of the book “Seven Beauties” by Nizami Ganjavi. This enabled a wide audience to familiarize themselves with the content of the book. These are only a small fraction of the projects we are implementing in this sphere.”

Gunay Afandiyeva spoke about the importance of preserving, studying, promoting and passing on cultural heritage to representatives of international organizations, creating the necessary friendly ties between different cultures, interacting with other civilizations, drawing parallels and finding common points of view.

The panel was also attended by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia Jenelly Matundu, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria Simeon Sakskoburggotski, Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of Turkic States Omer Kocaman, President of the World Council of Arameans Johny Messo.

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