Azerbaijan is one of the unique places where different cultures and civilizations meet at the crossroad between the East and the West, the North and the South. At the same time, being a member of both Islamic and European organizations Azerbaijan absorbs the values of both civilizations, thus enabling it to assume a role of genuine bridge.
Under patronage of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in cooperation with UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN World Tourism Organization, Council of Europe, ISESCO, North-South Center of the Council of Europe 4th WORLD FORUM ON INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE was held on May 5-6 in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. Opening ceremony of the Forum was held on May 5, 2017.
The World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue has taken responsibility for delivering the global agenda on the Dialogue among Civilisations adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (November 2001), the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), the Islamic Declaration on Cultural Diversity, which was adopted by ISESCO in 2004, Declaration and Action Plan of the Third Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member states, the Council of Europe White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (May 2008), as well as the Baku Declaration for the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue.
Placing intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity higher on the international agenda is critical for human security and a prime responsibility of our time. World Forums organized so far have reached remarkable achievements by bringing together head of governments, ministers, heads of various international organizations, senior policy makers, cultural professionals, goodwill ambassadors, experts, journalists, practitioners, prominent intellectuals and activists. The World Forums became an international platform to enable and encourage people, countries and organizations around the globe to take concrete actions to support diversity, dialogue and mutual understanding among nations by raising awareness on the importance of intercultural dialogue worldwide.
Azerbaijan hosted the 1st World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue on 7-9 April, 2011 which was declared by H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (23 September 2010, New-York). Forum addressed challenges of intercultural dialogue in its various aspects regarding conceptual frameworks, governance, policy and practice. It tackled the barriers to dialogue and faced concretely how dialogue can best be pursued in diverse contexts and provided an opportunity for sharing of good practices and the launch of new initiatives within this intercultural platform. 500 representatives from 102 countries from all continents, many international organization, NGOs, media representatives, scholars, experts and etc. participated in the Forum organized under the motto – “United Through Common Values, Enriched by Cultural Diversity”.
2nd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held on 29 May-01 June 2013, Baku, Azerbaijan under the motto “Living together peacefully in a diverse world”. Programme implied several sessions as “How to build the world future together?”, “How to build the popular support for cultural diversity?”, The New Era of Globalization: Hybridity of cultures in changing world, “Supporting Intercultural Actions” encompassing side events prepared and led by partner organizations, including the celebration of “Do one thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, Intercultural Innovation Award ceremony for Central Asia, Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, 1st Alumni Summit of the “Emerging Leaders”, conference of “Global Network Towards a global intercultural cities learning community”, the workshop “Intercultural Dialogue through History Teaching: Best Practices and Challenges”, the sessions of “Tourism as a key driver of mutual understanding and tolerance among cultures”, intercultural dialogue through faith and science” etc.
The 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue on 18-19 May 2015, with main title “Culture and sustainable development in the post 2015 development agenda” focused centrally on human security and sought to place emphasis on the power and importance of sharing our different cultures in open and giving exchange, whilst recognising that sustaining human security must be a fully shared responsibility; a responsibility for neighbours and communities, for educators and faith leaders, for national and regional governments as well as for international organisations: “Sharing Culture for Shared Security”. The theme of the 3rd World Forum reflected the significance of global security in 2015 and the global attention placed on the security of vulnerable people at a time of significant human insecurity.
The 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue on 5-6 May 2017, focused primarily on the topics such as the role of faith, religions, migration, human security, sport, education, art, sustainable development, violent extremism, business in building trust and cooperation among cultures and civilizations. The Forum provided a platform to discuss the way forward to build societies based on genuine respect for everyone’s rights including freedom of belief, equal opportunities, and good governance as well as an inclusive framework of tolerance and respect for diversity. By bringing together heads of governments, ministers, heads of various international organizations, senior policy makers, cultural professionals, goodwill ambassadors, experts, journalists, practitioners, prominent intellectuals and activists, the Forum became an international platform to enable and encourage people, countries and organisations around the globe to take concrete actions to support diversity, dialogue and mutual understanding among nations by raising awareness on the importance of intercultural dialogue worldwide.