The Heydar Aliyev Centre was the venue for the Awards Ceremony which took place on 10th December, in which prizes were given to the winners and finalists of the Eco-Artist's Diary 2013 Competition – held for Azerbaijani schoolchildren for the first time this year.
The contest was the brainchild of the Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, and her social project initiative IDEA – the International Dialogue for Environmental Action. This project has the patronage of UNESCO and enjoys the sponsorship of both the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and of Panasonic Marketing SNG (PMCIS).
The Director of IDEA, Anara Ismailova - along with Professor Vugar Mamedov, the Director of the Humanitarian & Social Projects Centre at the Heydar Aliyev Centre - gave an address to the attendees about the significance of this contest.
“The idea of this project, which has been running since 2008, and which covers more than 50 countries, is encouraging young people to form and develop their love for nature – including bolstering environmental campaign work, and enlisting schoolchildren in efforts to protect the environment.
In total, 2403 eco-diaries were submitted for entry to the competition from 314 schools in Baku; 629 eco-diaries from 49 schools in Gyanja. An overall total of 3032 eco-diaries were sent in, which had been specially made for the competition and completed with all their entries. This number of eco-diaries from Azerbaijan was the highest total amongst all 51 countries whose children sent entries to the competition. 1299 primary-school children (aged 6-11) entered the competition, along with 1733 upper-school children (aged 12-15).
During the period of the competition, participants kept special eco-diaries, which included their own drawings of subjects and ideas which reflected the topic of global environmental issues and the value of protecting the natural environment. Children also wrote their own text to accompany their illustrations.
The overall winner of the Azerbaijan national round of the competition was a pupil from the Baku European Lyceum, 11-year-old Fuad Soltanov.
There was a video presentation during the prize-giving ceremony, which gave further details and information about the competition and those who had entered.
His Excellency Tsuguo Takahashi, the Japanese Ambassador, and the Director of PCMIS, Mr Koji Tarajima, discussed the importance of this competition, and placed great value on this new approach to environmental awareness amongst children of school age.
Following the Japanese Ambassador's address, the prizes were awarded to Fuad Soltanov and nineteen other finalist prize-winners – who received certificates, and some valuable prizes.
Among the finalists were students of the Z.Aliyeva Lyceum, The Ankara School-Lyceum, The Higher School of Arts and Secondary Schools number #59, #99, #262, #271, #276, #290, #28, #98, #132-134, #301, and #304 in the City of Baku, and pupils of secondary schools No. #4, #28, #11, #25 in Gyanja.
After the prize awards, the winners and finalists of the Azerbaijan national round of the competition were shown around the Heydar Aliyev Centre.