The European Azerbaijan Society issues report on 2012 activity

The European Azerbaijan Society issues report on 2012 activity
# 18 January 2013 14:33 (UTC +04:00)

The report sent to APA by TEAS says that within five years the London-based independent non-governmental organization, The European Azerbaijan Society, has become known as an intellectual centre of activity representing Azerbaijan's strategic interests in Europe. Within this period TEAS has structured a broad network in European Union member states, carried out activities towards the promotion of Azerbaijan in the world and for the solution of urgent problems.

2012 was a decisive year in TEAS’s work. Along with offices in the UK, Belgium, Germany and Azerbaijan, TEAS opened a new office in France, where there is a strong Armenian Diaspora.

TEAS did its best to inform the world about Azerbaijan's position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, carried out expedient activities at the European Parliament, the parliaments of the UK, Belgium, Germany and France and organised events to promote Azerbaijan's history, culture and art in Europe. As a result, a number of influential European politicians, academics and cultural figures issued messages urging an end to the occupation of Azerbaijan's territories and the retention of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. Well-known European politicians issued statements on the essence of the political processes in Armenia, especially statements supporting the treatment of Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, whose case produced uproar from Armenian authorities and the Armenian Diaspora. These statements were crucial in counteracting Armenian propaganda. Thus, the under-mentioned priorities and projects may be underlined as resulting from TEAS’s all-round work in 2012.

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh

As its major strategic goal, TEAS continued to inform the world about Azerbaijan's just position in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and to ensure the support of European Union member states in a resolution of the conflict.

Documents on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Resolutions were passed by the International Young Democrat Union and Germany’s biggest youth organization. At its meeting in Beirut the International Young Democrat Union passed a further resolution: “Nagorno Karabakh: 20 Years is too long”.

TEAS Chairman Tale Heydarov addressed the conference of Europe’s biggest political youth organization Junge Union of the Christian Democratic Union / Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), which was also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A document on Nagorno-Karabakh was adopted by the conference, the document supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

Parliamentary questions. With the help of its offices in European countries, and via Nagorno-Karabakh-related questions by parliamentarians in the UK, Germany, Belgium and European parliaments, TEAS helped to promote Azerbaijan’s position in the conflict.

Photographic exhibition: “Five Roads Back Home”. Photojournalist Philipp Rathmer’s exhibition, “Five Roads Back Home” about the plight of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) was held in Berlin.

An event planned at the European Parliament in support of illegal actions against Azerbaijani territory was opposed. As a result of a letter sent by TEAS to the European Parliament and the efforts of Azerbaijan’s friends in the parliament, the attempt was prevented. Chairman of the European Parliament Joseph Daul strongly criticized his counterpart’s initiative.

Safarov statements

One of the main elements of TEAS’s political activity was to take steps to counter the propaganda of Armenian officials and Diaspora, as well as anti-Azerbaijan groupings in Europe, about the extradition of Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov from Hungary and the issue of a pardon. On TEAS’s initiative, British and German public figures issued statements supporting Azerbaijan’s position on this issue.

As a result of the work done to oppose the adoption of an anti-Azerbaijan document at the European Parliament, the Liberal group (ALDE) did not support the resolution and amendments were made to the document in favour of Azerbaijan’s position.

Key European politicians made statements on the issue and these played a significant role in countering the propaganda of Armenians and anti-Azerbaijan groupings.

Events commemorating the Khojaly tragedy

Consistent work was done to inform the world about the truth of the Khojaly tragedy.

Parliamentary petition (EDM). A parliamentary petition signed by 21 members of the House of Commons of the UK Parliament was adopted. The petition demands immediate assistance for settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the prevention of further tragedies like Khojaly.

Commemorative event. A commemorative event was organized in London with the participation of the Orion Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sue Perkins, who was named as Conductor of the Year by the BBC.

Tree planting in memory of the Khojaly victims. 613 trees were planted at the National Park in St. Albans near London to commemorate the Khojaly victims and a special information board was erected.

Khojaly awareness raising. The main Belgium-based diplomatic publications, including Euractiv.com and Diplomatic World published articles on the tragedy.

Photographic exhibition on Khojaly. An exhibition featuring photographs of Khojaly victims, taken by famous French photographer Frederique Lengaigne in Aghdam, 1992 and not previously in the public domain, was held in Baku’s Museum Centre.

Cooperation with European countries

TEAS supported the establishment, enlargement and work of the Azerbaijani friendship groups in the parliaments of European countries and organized visits by influential European politicians to Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group of the UK Parliament was supported with secretarial services and the group was very active. Receptions to promote Azerbaijan were organized at the congresses of the major British political parties.

The European Parliament (EP) Friends of Azerbaijan Group. The reestablishment of The European Parliament (EP) Friends of Azerbaijan Group has proved to be successful. TEAS worked to prevent anti-Azerbaijan events planned at the parliament.

Visits. Members of the Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and former UK defence secretary Liam Fox visited Azerbaijan. Liam Fox was received by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and made a speech at the Centre for Strategic Studies. In his speech, the former defence secretary bluntly named Armenia as the occupier and expressed his appreciation of Azerbaijan’s geopolitical role.

The organization of a visit of a delegation of five Senators from France, where Armenia’s position is strong, was also of great significance. The senators were able to assess for themselves the exceptional importance of Azerbaijan as a producer and exporter of energy.

Business forum

TEAS implemented several projects to promote Azerbaijan’s economic capacity and attract investment.

Report at the British Parliament. Professor Alan Riley of the City University delivered a report “Post-Nabucco? The options for the South Caucasus corridor” at the House of Lords; the event was chaired by Lord Laird.

Business forum. The business forum “Investment opportunities in Azerbaijan and Turkey” (May, 2012) attended by more than 250 guests was also successful. About 40 reports were heard at a forum that brought together politicians, businessmen and experts.

Corporate membership. The attraction of corporate members continued with a view to raising awareness of the development of Azerbaijan’s economy, its investment and business opportunities and to attract foreign investors.

Media

Anti-Azerbaijan groupings make wide use of the media for their operations. Naturally, TEAS pays special attention to cooperation with influential media outlets in Europe.

Journalists’ visits. TEAS organized the visit of media representatives from Britain and France to Azerbaijan; as a result, press and e-media outlets in these countries published articles about Azerbaijan’s tourism and history.

“Le Journal du Parlament” magazine, the official organ of the French Parliament, published for the first time articles about Azerbaijan’s political and economic achievements and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

A British media interview with Paralympics judoka Ilham Zakiyev was organized. This interview focused on the fact that Ilham was wounded "on the line of contact."

Academic events

TEAS also devoted special attention to cooperation with the world’s influential academic circles.

International symposium. A memorandum of cooperation was signed with the Yahad-in Unum (Paris) organization and the international symposium “The Role of Azerbaijan in World War II and as a Refuge in the Caucasus from the Holocaust” was jointly organized in Baku with this organization. The Role of Azerbaijan in World War II and as a Refuge in the Caucasus from the Holocaust was studied as a subject in Azerbaijani history for the first time. It was decided to use the experience of Holocaust studies in studying the Khojaly massacre.

Conference and round table. A conference “BTC and Beyond” in London and a round table “Azerbaijan’s Role in the Energy Security of Europe” in Paris, co-organized by the Institute of International Relations were welcomed by academic circles.

Education and Science

TEAS implemented new projects in education and science

The European Azerbaijan School. A new model European Azerbaijan School was opened in Azerbaijan. World standards are applied to the enrolment of students, teaching process and effective leisure time for students.

Resource Centre at Our Talents – Our Future. The Resource Centre, Our Talents – Our Future established in Sumgayit city to support the education of talented youth continued its work. Currently, 100 pupils receive additional education at the centre.

Centre for Azerbaijani Studies. A special scientific centre was established by TEAS to study issues in Azerbaijan’s history and Azerbaijan-Europe relations, to hold international academic events and to support participation by Azerbaijani academics at prestigious international scientific events. As a result of the organization’s work, a three-volume book, “The Armenian Question in the Caucasus, Russian Archive Documents and Publications” was prepared, studies were conducted on Azerbaijan’s history at the UK’s British Library and National Archive, new documents and materials, as well as maps from the beginning of the 20th century and the period of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic were assembled for the first time. Scientific studies of these materials paved the way for the development of the book “Azerbaijan on Historical Maps”.

Periodicals and books

“Visions of Azerbaijan” magazine. The periodical issue of the magazine, published since 2006, was continued. The English-language magazine, which publishes articles about the history, culture, art and modern life of Azerbaijan, was included in the catalogues of leading libraries and research centres.

Books. Three-volume book “The Armenian Question in the Caucasus”, which was prepared by TEAS on the basis of Russian archive documents and materials, was published in Russian in Baku and St. Petersburg and in English in London. A presentation of the book was held in Westminster with the participation of celebrated historians.

A new edition of the book “Azerbaijan: 100 Questions Answered” was prepared

The book “Khojaly Witness”, written on the basis of British journalists’ interviews with surviving witnesses of the Khojaly tragedy, was prepared for publication. Photographs taken by foreign photographers and special maps were attached.

The plays of prominent Azerbaijani writers Mirza Fatali Akhundzade, Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, Huseyn Javid, Najaf bey Vezirov and Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev were translated into English.

"Azerbaijan in the 7th-9th centuries", a monograph by famous orientalist Ziya Bunyadov, was published in the English language.

Moreover, the publication of European writers’ books about Azerbaijan ("Baku and Beyond" by Patrick Jephson, “Yvonne Botteau” by Shahin Sinara etc.) were also supported.

Culture and art

Projects were also implemented to promote Azerbaijani culture, art, cuisine and ethnography in Europe.

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

TEAS ensured comprehensive representation of Azerbaijan at the celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Participation by Karabakh horses in the show and a special Azerbaijan pavilion were supported. The book “Around the World in 60 Years”, devoted to the activity of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, contained a section on Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan Through the Lens” photography competition and exhibition

The “Azerbaijan Through the Lens” photography competition was organised. More than 170 photographers submitted 750 photos to the contest. An exhibition was organised of 100 of the photographs entered.

Novruz Holiday

An event attended by 600 people was held on the occasion of Azerbaijan's national Novruz holiday in Gibson Hall, London.

Jazz concerts

Jazz concerts by Isfar Sarabski were organized in Belgium and Germany.

Presentation of the film "Hostage"

The Azerbaijani film Hostage, was screened at the festival L’Europe Autour de l’Europe in France.

Doll auction

Tilmann Grawe, the famed Paris-based fashion designer, created the striking Ulduz Buta doll, commissioned by TEAS France. This was auctioned during the tenth UNICEF Les Frimousses de Créateurs event.

Karabakh - Azerbaijan collection

One of the most successful projects in the field of culture and art was the presentation of an exclusive range of handmade men’s accessories – the Karabakh-Azerbaijan Collection by German fashion house EDSOR Berlin.

Visits to final concert of "Eurovision-2012" Song Contest

On the occasion of the "Eurovision-2012" Song Contest in Baku, visits by delegations of well-known British and Belgian politicians to Baku were organised.

Documentaries. Noting the importance and influence of documentaries, TEAS has initiated productions. The shooting of “Yvonne” (a film about Yvonne Botteau who came from France to Azerbaijan having married an Azerbaijani man after World War II and who was only able to visit her motherland after 65 years with the help of TEAS), “Young Voices and Ancient Songs” (a film presented by American musician Jeffrey Werbock about the negative impact of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Karabakh’s musical heritage) and "Azerbaijan Through Foreign Eyes " a three-part film (presented by American Professor Thomas Goltz about the period of Azerbaijan's renewed independence) was completed. Moreover, the shooting of documentaries “Karabakh Horses” and “100 students” (a film about the fate of youth sent to study abroad during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic) has already started.

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