Multiculturalism as strategic tool of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy - OPINION

  07 November 2016    Read: 2708
Multiculturalism as strategic tool of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy - OPINION
Multiculturalism is a state policy of Azerbaijan and it has become a way of life of the republic ensuring mutual understanding and respect for all identities, Alessio Stilo, research associate at Institute of High Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG), Rome, Italy, wrote in his article on the Modern Diplomacy website.
Azerbaijan brings an important contribution to the traditions of tolerance and intercivilization dialogue, Stilo, who is also a Ph.D. researcher at University of Padova, Italy, said.

Its peculiar location between Eastern Europe and Western Asia and its sociopolitical context – where people of various religions and ethnicities have lived together in mutual respect – have allowed Azerbaijan to adopt a multicultural-led agenda as a strategic tool of foreign policy, the author wrote.

Baku has made an effort to create and foster the necessary political and social conditions for developing and strengthening the country’s traditions of multiculturalism and tolerance, according to the article.

Development of multiculturalism and tolerance at the level of state policy in Azerbaijan is based on ancient history of statehood of the country and on development of these traditions, Stilo wrote.

“Nowadays, thanks to efforts of the government, this political behavior has acquired a form of ideology of statehood and political practice (state policy), whereas the political bases of these concepts have found their reflection in relevant clauses of articles of the Constitution, legal acts, decrees and orders,” said the article.

“Regarding one of the facets of this conception – religious freedom – it is also worth noting that article 48 of Azerbaijani Constitution ensures the liberty of worship, to choose any faith, or to not practice any religion, and to express one`s view on the religion,” the article noted.

As a consequence of this public support, expressed through material and financial assistance from the budget of Azerbaijan and presidential foundation, there are dozens of national-cultural centers functioning at present, according to the article.

“With the same purpose, in 2014 was established the Baku International Multiculturalism Center, aimed to preserve ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of the country,” the author wrote in his article.

“It has also been created to introduce Azerbaijan as a center of multiculturalism to the world, and carried out research into and promoted existing multicultural models of the world,” the article said.

In a recent visit to Baku (October 2016), Pope Francis praised Azerbaijan as a place of religious tolerance, according to the article.

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