The III Baku In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian Fo­rum (A Re­port)

The Diplomatic Insight - - The Iii Baku International Humanitarian Forum -

*Pro­fes­sor Aftab Kazi, PhD (Pitts­burgh) he pres­ti­gious III In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian Fo­rum (Oc­to­ber 31 – November 2, 2013) was suc­cess­fully con­vened in Baku, Azer­bai­jan by its own tra­di­tional ways. Ap­prox­i­mately, 800 par­tic­i­pants from 70 coun­tries from all con­ti­nents, in­clud­ing aca­demi­cians, jour­nal­ists, di­plo­mats, hu­man rights ac­tivists, and busi­ness­men, seven for­mer pres­i­dents from East­ern Europe and Baltic in­clud­ing Hon­or­able Su­lay­man Demirel of Turkey, and thir­teen No­bel and other eru­dite elite of Azer­bai­jan. Ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev, Pres­i­dent of Azer­bai­jan in the com­pany of the First Lady in­au­gu­rated the event, while the mes­sages from Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin of Rus­sia also the co-chair of the Fo­rum, UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Bank Ki Moon and UNESCO Head Ms. Irina Bokova sup­port­ing the fo­rum. The idea of the Baku Fo­rum, to my knowl­edge was con­ceived by late Pres­i­dent Hey­der Aliyev of Azer­bai­jan, who ex­pressed the need of such meet­ings in the post-Cold War sce­nario, where the es­sen­tial is­sues haunt­ing the hu­mane com­mu­nity could be dis­cussed openly by the con­cerned world elite. Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliev im­ple­mented the idea by host­ing such apo­lit­i­cally ori­ented dis­courses invit­ing largest groups of in­tel­lec­tu­als world­wide. Baku prides as one of the most tol­er­ant mul­ti­cul­tural cities and in­deed has be­come the podium to dis­cuss hu­man­ity is­sues for over the last three years. Wel­com­ing the guests, pres­i­dent em­pha­sized upon world peace and tran­quil­ity and im­por­tance of eco­nomic and a va­ri­ety of hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues as a nec­es­sary con­di­tion. Re­fer­ring to the im­pres­sive eco­nomic growth at nearly four times, poverty re­duc­tion rate from 49 to 5.5 per­cent and ex­ter­nal debt ra­tio of 7-8 per­cent of Gross Na­tional Prod­uct, he ex­plained how Azer­bai­jan has over­come var­i­ous hu­man dis­as­ters in the af­ter­math of Soviet Union through eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal re­form, yet 20 per­cent of na­tional territory re­mains oc­cu­pied. State­ments by in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions and world com­mu­nity re­main as paper with­out re­solv­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian tragedy as Az­eri cit­i­zens need to re­turn and re­stored to their le­git­i­mate home­lands. Cit­ing the hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues and im­pact in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies, the rise of ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism, eco­nomic and ed­u­ca­tional poverty, the pres­i­dent ac­cen­tu­ated that in or­der to over­come these is­sues, world needs a con­cep­tual ap­proach hu­man­i­tar­ian pol­i­tics. The in­au­gu­ral speech was fol­lowed by two ses­sions ad­dressed by the for­mer pres­i­dents who ex­plained their ex­pe­ri­ences sit­u­a­tion of their coun­tries, each one an­a­lyzed na­tional iden­ti­ties from their own per­spec­tives. Some thought home­land is iden­tity, while oth­ers felt that the im­bal­anced mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties can be a ma­jor prob­lem in 21st cen­tury and such is­sues need be care­fully tack­led. The No­bel Lau­re­ates were kind enough to ac­cept that they are nor­mal per­sons and pro­fes­sion­als; it is just that some of their work has been rec­og­nized. Ev­ery lau­re­ate ex­plained var­i­ous de­vel­op­ments in their re­spec­tive re­search f hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues rang­ing from bi­ol­ogy and chem­istry to eco­nomics, medicine, physics and in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies. The en­tire day dis­courses were widely ap­plauded. The sec­ond day, eight round­tables were ar­ranged to dis­cuss var­i­ous hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues at length. Each round-ta­ble was par­tic­i­pated by ap­prox­i­mately 15 del­e­gates both for­eign and Azer­bai­jani. It was not easy to par­tic­i­pate in ev­ery panel and this writer will only high­light de­lib­er­a­tion of the ob­served Aliyeva, young daugh­ter of pres­i­dent took per­sonal in­ter­est in presided by both for­eign and Az­eri del­e­gates. These in­cluded: Con­verg­ing Tech­nolo­gies and Out­lines of the Fu­ture: Land­mark Chal­lenges of the 21st Cen­tury Hu­man­i­tar­ian As­pects of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and Orig­i­nal­ity: in Search of Value Con­sen­sus in Society Na­tional Iden­tity in the Post­mod­ern Era Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and Eco­log­i­cal Civ­i­liza­tion Achieve­ments in Molec­u­lar Bi­ol­ogy and Biotech­nol­ogy: from The­ory to Prac­tice The Top­i­cal Is­sues of Mass Me­dia in the Glob­al­iz­ing In­for­ma­tion Net­work large num­ber of aca­demi­cians/schol­ars, jour­nal­ists, pol­i­cy­mak­ers and other pro­fes­sion­als to dis­cuss thorny is­sues and world hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­or­der, and for the new con­scious­ness that the fo­rum pro­ceed­ing can bring out on the world stage. I hope that the fu­ture Baku fo­rums will also high­light at the rel­a­tively ad­vanced lev­els the is­sues re­lated to Com­pound Iden­tity and is­sues and strate­gies re­lated to eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal so­cial­iza­tion as new norms of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Value Ed­u­ca­tion in the world society. *The writer is Se­nior Fel­low, Cen­tral Asia-Cau­ca­sus In­sti­tute & Silk Road Stud­ies Pro­gram at SAIS, Johns Hop­kins

Univer­sity, Wash­ing­ton, DC

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