By Shabnam Hasanova
Mehriban Aliyeva is among the most influential women around the world. Her name resonates with a significant number of important charity and cultural events, international sports competitions as well as revolutionary measures to improve the well-being of the Azerbaijani people.
Her appointment as the First-Vice President of Azerbaijan upon the Presidential decree of February 21, 2017, gave a tremendous impetus to social activities throughout the country. Her contribution to the fundamental changes in the social and public life of the Azerbaijan people is commendable. Mehriban Aliyeva is a role model for many modern women who aspire to be actively involved in the country’s political and social life.
As the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mehriban Aliyeva put Azerbaijan on a new upward course, led the country to many victories and supported President Ilham Aliyev in guiding Azerbaijan, a country located at the crossroads of the geopolitical and economic interests of different states. With her passionate and assertive personality, she copes with this mission with dignity. The Azerbaijani people can see the fundamental changes in the social and public life of Azerbaijan being reflected on their day-to-day life. Through their joint efforts, the well-being of the population has been improving; wages, pensions and social benefits have been increasing.
This positive trend can be observed not only in Azerbaijan’s domestic policies but is also clearly visible in the establishment of good relations with other countries. Currently Azerbaijan maintains cordial and friendly relations with various countries in line with its foreign policy interests.
Her active participation and leading role in the field of sports have made a significant contribution to promoting a healthy lifestyle among young people in the country. Holding the position of President of the Gymnastics Federation of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva has set a good example for young people. In the times when many young people across the world have lost their trust in their governments and are protesting in the streets, young people in Azerbaijan are actively involved in the government’s political developments.
Headed by Mehriban Aliyeva, Heydar Aliyev Foundation has hosted exhibitions, cultural and other high-profile events in Paris, Rome, the Vatican, Berlin, London, Warsaw and other world capitals, making invaluable contribution to the promotion of Azerbaijan and its rich traditions.
Mehriban Aliyeva conducts consistent and focused work in the field of culture. In particular, the holding of days of the Azerbaijani culture at the headquarters of the European Parliament, in Athens, in Cannes, the opening of the Center of Azerbaijani Culture in France, and the erection of monuments to outstanding historical personalities of Azerbaijan in various cities of the world, should be mentioned among those activities. Azerbaijan, which has long been in the spotlight of attention, has successfully organized prestigious and reputable events thanks to the high organizational ability of Mehriban Aliyeva. She promotes Azerbaijani culture beyond its borders. The Azerbaijan Culture Foundation was established upon Mehriban Aliyeva’s initiative in 1995. “Fly to Baku. Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan” exhibitions organized in London, Paris and Berlin, as well as photo exhibitions "Azerbaijan - a place of tolerance" organized in various cities around the world - have been of significant importance in terms of promoting Azerbaijan’s modern art throughout the world.
Overall, the Foundation led by Mehriban Aliyeva carries out large-scale projects not only in the country, but also in many countries around the world. For this purpose, she has always enjoyed great love of religious leaders. In recognition of her multifaceted services, she has been awarded many exceptional awards such as Poland`s Grand Commander`s Cross of Order of Merit for her contributions to the development of friendly ties between Azerbaijan and Poland, the “Legion of Honor” Order’s Officer Degree by French President Nicola Sarkozy for promoting cultural diversity, being great friend of France, for the work done in the field of child care, and for contributing to the preservation of world cultural heritage. This is an indication of the high appreciation of the work of First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva and her worldwide activity.
In spite of such hectic schedule, Mehriban Aliyeva dedicates tremendous time to children who are the future of our people. She pays special attention to everyone who needs help and care, especially children with disabilities and diseases, and helps them to solve their problems. Built at the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Baku in 2009, the Thalassemia Center has become a place of hope for children and their parents suffering from this disease. The opening of the Care [Qayğı] Rehabilitation Center for Children with physical disorders with the participation of Mehriban Aliyeva is another example of the care and attention of the First Lady of Azerbaijan to this field.
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva attaches special attention to housing, education and health problems of IDPs and implements important work in this sphere. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has attached particular importance to the cause of informing the international community about the realities of Azerbaijan, the Armenian aggression against the country and the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since it was established. Vice-President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva disseminates the truth about the Khojaly tragedy across the world.
Mehriban Aliyeva’s activity in the public and political life of our country embodies the most beautiful features of the Azerbaijani woman. It is a mission of humanism and nobility. Mehriban Aliyeva is not only a great public and political figure but also a highly humane person.
We live in the world where millions of people are suffering from wars and conflicts. Against this negative background, Azerbaijan resembles an island of stability and security, thanks to the successful domestic and foreign policy conducted under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijan is also an example of genuine tolerance, a broad platform for dialogue between cultures and civilizations.
There is a good saying, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established”. Being a trusted life companion and closest ally and putting national interests above everything else, President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva have dedicated their lives to the prosperity of the country and its citizens, made tremendous efforts for the development of our common home – Azerbaijan. Mehriban Aliyeva is an exemplary political and public figure, a beautiful and caring woman who has gained love of millions of her compatriots with her intelligence, beauty and grace.
There is another saying, “Honor the Past, Create the Future”. By adhering to this saying, Mehriban Aliyeva has been successfully leading the Heydar Aliyev Foundation established to study the rich legacy of Heydar Aliyev, the National Leader of Azerbaijan, and convey his national statehood ideas to future generations. For these reasons and undeniable facts, Mehriban Aliyeva along with President Ilham Aliyev holds an irreplaceable position in the country’s history.
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