Family values are deep-rooted in Azerbaijan, and have been passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial. Care of youngsters, and respect for the elderly are cherished traditions in our country.
The founding meeting of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia (AYOR) took place on 18th April in Moscow.
The event brought together about 300 representatives from eighty-three different Azerbaijani youth clubs and initiative groups from 60 regions from across Russia as well as Azerbaijani guests and Russian officials.
Head of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s Office in Russia Leila Aliyeva addressed the meeting as follows.
I welcome you to the founding meeting of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia (AYOR).
Today nearly 300 representatives of the Russian youth supporting AYOR's objectives and development of our initiative under the aegis of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization that covers almost all regions of the Russian Federation have joined us here in this hall.
A lot of excellent work has been achieved so far.. The organization has youth initiative groups closely together, not only from Moscow, but also from different regions across Russia. Many events, concerts, exhibitions, meetings, direct dialogs, and charity events have taken place in the course of that work.
Azerbaijan youth clubs have been opened today all over Russia. They function well, and represent our country worthily. Many of you here today have contributed extensively to the development of our shared objectives. I can see a lot of familiar faces at this hall, and many of our guests have come from distant regions to take the next responsible step - and make a decision on official establishment of AYOR.
If you don't mind, I'd like to hand over hosting the meeting to Aynur Isparova, who is a founder member of the orghanisation.
The national anthems of Russia and Azerbaijan were played.
Next Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov said that establishing AYOR would greatly contribute to forming and developing the Azerbaijan`s diaspora.
“Azerbaijan`s youth policy – which was initiated by the nation's leader Heydar Aliyev - is being successfully carried out today,” Rahimov said. Touching upon the Azerbaijan-Russia relations, the Minister said reciprocal visits and meetings of the two Presidents sibstantially contributed to developing youth policy in both countries. He also praised the activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s Office in Russia.
Oleg Rozhnov - the Russian Deputy Minister for Sport, Tourism & Youth Policy - said that one of Russia's greatest resources lay in the fact many different peoples live in this country. Russia and Azerbaijan are strategic partners and the youth policy of these countries is successful. He expressed confidence AYOR will establish good relations with Russia`s youth organizations, vowing that his country will support the organization’s initiatives.
Letters of congratulations addressed to AYOR from influential youth organizations of different countries were read out.
Then, the agenda of the meeting was approved, and working bodies were elected.
Speaking on behalf of the organization committee for the establishment of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia, Emin Hajiyev spoke about the achievement made during creation of the organization. Noting that relations between Azerbaijani and Russian young people are based on healthy grounds, he guaranteed that this organization will be involved in significant works to protect the national language, culture and traditions. Russia and Azerbaijan are strategic partner states, and we must represent our homeland honourably here in Russia.
Mr Hajiyev stated one of major goals of the organization’s formation is to achieve active involvement of Azeri youth in the public and political life of Russia. The organization will not limit its activity to Moscowl only, and will cover other regions of Russia.
Azeri young people representing various regions talked about the organization’s duties. Faila Guliyeva, spokeswoman of the organization in Ivanovo Province of Russia, recalled the visit of Leila Aliyeva, Head of the Russia Office of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, to the province - saying that the organization assists in implementing social projects in the province. Creation of the AYOR internet site is an essential project for the coordination of relations among regions.
Adym Gaziyev, a delegate of an initiative group in Vladivostok, said that a strong diaspora organization is operating in the region he represents. This means that despite being far away from the motherland, they remain firmly linked to their origins, he said.
The delegate of the Tomsk initiative group Lamiya Bayramova talked about the projects which had been achieved, and the conference held on the anniversary of national leader Heydar Aliyev. She thanked Leila Aliyeva for her support for Azerbaijani youth in Russia, and presented her with a souvenir.
Kamila Malyshova – a delegate from the initiative group in St Petersburg - said that the union of Azeri youth into one organization in Russia is a historical event and allows young people to create a platform which brings the two countries closer. Thanks to Leila Aliyeva, Azerbaijani clubs have been created at higher schools in St Petersburg, and these allow Azeri young people to show their national culture to their Russian friends and counterparts..
The delegate of the Rostov-on-Don initiative group - Vyacheslav Svitko - expressed confidence the organization will bring together a lot of young people.
Khuraman Elsaimova - a delegate of the Chelyabinsk initiative group – put a high value on the establishment of AYOR, and presented a keepsake to Leila Aliyeva.
The delegate of the initiative group in Bashkortostan - Agha Rustamov – reported that a lot of countrymen live in that republic, and promoting the newly-created organization will play a huge role in strengthening of the relationship between Russia and Azerbaijan.
Voting was then held on the establishment of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia, and the Charter of the organization was adopted.
The candidacy of Leila Aliyeva - Head of the Russian Office of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation - to the Chair of the organization was run, and adopted unanimously.
Members of the organization’s board and inspection committee were elected.
The Chair of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization in Russia, Leila Aliyeva - summed up the meeting as follows -
Dear Guests, Dear Friends!
First of all I congratulate all the participants of this meeting on the establishment of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization in Russia, and express my gratitude to you for supporting us - and the sincere words spoken in your speeches today. I must also thank you sincerely for electing me as Head of the organization. But we all stand together as equals in AYOR. Ranks have no importance in our organization – what is most important is that we are all a part of Azerbaijani youth living outside Azerbaijan, loving its country, respecting its ancient history, rich culture and wishing to be useful for its homeland.
Irrespective of nationality, age, religion and other differences, there is place for everyone in AYOR. I greet all the organization's members, and all the people who are making efforts to uphold the image of Azerbaijan, representing our motherland with distinction.
I deeply respect all organizations that are not connected to AYOR but help the promotion of Azeri culture. I respect their choice and am ready to work with them, cooperate with them, and do my best for them.
I wouldn't be wrong to say that all the youth of Azerbaijan are proud of their homeland. Azerbaijan possesses rich culture, ancient history and great talents. Despite our young age as an independent state, our country has achieved huge results in a very short time. Many of you may know that Azerbaijan has consistently led the world for the last several years consistently in the rate of economic development. Large regional projects are carried out in field of energy and transport in our country. Social problems are solved. Poverty in the country has dropped from 49% to 13 in the past five years. And of course, we are actively working on reducing it still further - poverty must be ended completely. We try for it, and I believe we will achieve it.
Azerbaijan is also making huge investments in education. Some 1700 schools were constructed over last four years. Developing culture is another key priority for Azerbaijan. Excellent work has been done rebuilding old theatres, museums and historical monuments.
It all takes place not only in Azerbaijan's capital, but in all regions as well. In short, development and renovation are going on actively in all spheres of life. Unfortunately, there are unsettled problems in our country. The biggest of these problems is Armenia`s conflict with Azerbaijan over Daghlig Garabagh that has resulted in the occupation of one fifth of Azerbaijan`s territory and left one million Azerbaijanis as refugees and displaced persons. Azerbaijan's leadership has always supported peaceful resolution of the conflict within the country`s territorial integrity. Talks have continued for over 15 years and I am confident the conflict will be solved in near future - Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity will be restored and all refugees and displaced persons will be able return to their homes. I doubt I would be wrong when saying that this is the biggest desire of every Azerbaijani.
Dear Friends! Today we represent our country in Russia. We are linked by a lot – historical and cultural ties, and a common past. There is huge support in Azerbaijan for Russia's rich culture, and the great Russian language. None of the Russian schools were shut down in Azerbaijan during the years since independence -the Baku Slavic University, and the Russian Drama Theatre function. But most important is that there are friendly relations between our peoples. We are grateful to Russia that we feel free here, that we have the opportunity to receive an education - one of the best in the world.
Once again I must express my gratitude to all the participants of this meeting - to everyone who supported us and helped organize the meeting. I believe AYOR will become a working body and all our ideas and initiatives will come true, in projects which bring our young people closer to each other so that the ties of friendship between our peoples will be strengthened.
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An address by the Azerbaijani Youth Organization in Russia to Russian young people was read out at the end.