Magic On The Bank of Caspian Sea By Liaqat Toor
Moring was rising outside the window of my room in soft winter of early October with golden rays of the Sun from the east slowly dissipating layer of darkness and haze over the city of Baku and treasured Caspian Sea. Water was washing the coastal line of the golden city and breeze with a little chill was flowing through the neat and tidy streets and roads where traffic had already started picking up. With the first light of the day, Baku was unfolding its magic and beauty.
This ancient city was not a strange place for me as I had touched and felt it three times before, first in 1995. But, this time a deep sense of new feeling with aesthetic appeal poured down into my soul and heart. The expanding city with its new housing units, high-rise buildings, towers, shopping malls, boulevards wards and flyovers all around transformed it into a jewel of the Caspian Sea. At night, the illuminating housing units and buildings looked like shining stars descended over the city. Their reflections in the waters of Caspian Sea gave a pleasing and festive look. A stage was set to hold second Baku International Humanitarian Forum organised by the Government of Azerbaijan led by its enlightened leader President Ilham Aliyev.
Over seven hundred former Presidents/ Prime Ministers, Noble laureates, educationists, human rights activists, intellectuals and mediamen from sixty countries converged for a brain- storming session as to how to make this world a peaceful abode for about seven billion population. President Ilham Aliyev, who was the moving spirit behind this high profile gathering, wants to see his country in the leading role of addressing humanitarian issues in the world. He has already succeeded in converting Baku into a great hub of cultural, art and literary activities.
With a plan to convert black gold into human capital before the oil resources are depleted in the Caspian Sea, President Ilham Aliyev moving on fast track, made his country an active member of international community after attaining independence from Soviet Union some twenty years back. Heydar Aliyev Centre was the venue of opening session of the two-day well organised Forum on October 4. The centre was a newly constructed building with modern architecture and facilities.
The jam packed hall and galleries with international luminaries were to become a voice to be listened all over the world. In his inaugural address President Ilham Aliyev said dialogue, multiculturalism, tolerance and peace initiatives can make world safer. Unity is the need of hours and honouring of human values in all spheres of human activities can achieve this goal. His country is committed to peace, economic development, and human dignity. Media, politicians, civil society and opinion leaders can play an important in promoting human values and to tackle humanitarian issues confronting the people of the world.
Referring to the issue of Nagorno Karabakh confronting his country and genocide committed by Armenians against innocent people, he said this humanitarian issue is inviting world attention. Four resolutions by the United Nations Security Council, resolutions from OIC and other world organizations have called for withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied land. But, those resolutions have not been implemented so far. More than one million refugees and displaced persons are looking towards the world to mitigate their sufferings. Azerbaijan wants to resolve all issues peacefully through dialogue. It does not believe in confrontation and conflict, he said.
The experience and results gained from Forum 2011 and this current Forum will go a long way to promote human dignity, Ilham Aliyev said. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was the Co-Chairperson of the Forum along with President Ilham Aliyev in his message to the Forum, said this important gathering is a positive development and it will help to promote peace and dialogue. During the first plenary session, presided over by Elmar Mammadyarov, Foreign Minister Azerbaijan, former Presidents of different countries including Romania and Balgaria threw light over the humanitarian issues. High- profile representatives of world bodies also highlighted the issues and their solutions. During the second plenary session presided over by Mahmud Karimov, President of Azerbaijan National Academy of Science, Noble laureates from all over the world delivered their thought provoking speeches.
The second day was devoted to the round table conferences on different topics held in different hotels. The topics included human aspects of economic development, converging technologies and outlines of future, modern mass media and new challenges, traditional system of values in a post-modernist culture, new methodological approaches to the processes of globalization in the XX1 century and technologies, changing a view on modern medicine and molecular biology. The scholars read their papers and threadbare discussions were held on these topics.
At the end of brain-storming sessions, a Baku Declaration was adopted calling upon international structures and different humanitarian organisatio ns to initiate forums, conferences, discussions and round tables to achieve genuine intercultural dialogue between states, civil societies and faith groups, destined to cultivate the creation of an atmosphere of tolerance and to prevent conflicts between civilisations. It urged creation of special centre for research into problems of multiculturalism.
The declaration considered it necessary to note the great effectiveness of the discussions at the Forum on whole range of humanitarian problems, caused by globalization, the development of science and technology and affirmation of the rights of the information society. The Forum think that modern processes, promoting cooperation and mutual understanding, alongside the growing trends of resistance in different parts of the world, should be the focus of academic work in universities, academics of science and the relevant foundations. Different groups of the delegates were taken to different regions of Azerbaijan including Ganja, Lankaran, Gabala and Nakhchivan for an overnight stay to see the country progressing in economic and cultural fields. At the Forum, Pakistan was represented by a strong delegation of educationists, businessmen, opinion leaders and mediamen.
Its strong presence was appreciated by the participants of the forum. Dashgin Shikarov, ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan, who has been giving his hundred percent in bringing Pakistan and his country closer to each other was an affective instrument in providing full support to members of Pakistan delegation to the Forum. His relentless efforts also contributed to the success of this international Forum.
First published in Pakistan Observer on October 20, 2012
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