Baku Process was initiated by the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008 to establish an effective and efficient dialogue between cultures and civilizations. Based on the fact of existence of communities with historically different religious backgrounds, national-ethnic groups and rich cultural diversity in its territory, Azerbaijan has acted as the initiator of such a global movement.
10 Islamic countries were invited for the first time at the initiative of Azerbaijan to the conference of culture ministers of the Council of Europe member states held on December 2–3, 2008. Conference of ministers of culture with the participation of Islamic states has been transformed into a new format.“Baku Declaration on the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue” was adopted at this conference, where high-level representatives from 48 countries, 8 international organizations and several international non-governmental organizations from Europe and neighboring regions participated in the conference. “Baku Process”, which promotes dialogue between civilizations and the “Artists for Dialogue” project, aimed at the development of this process were founded by means of the “Baku Declaration”. More than 10 European countries participated at the VI Conference of Ministers of Culture of Islamic Countries held in order to ensure the continuation of “Baku Process” in Baku on October 13–15, 2009. A joint communique on intercultural dialogue between member states of the Council of Europe and member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference was accepted within the conference.
Transformation of the Baku Process into a Global Movement
Since 2010 Baku Process started to become a global movement. On September 23, 2010, at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan declared the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue to be held in Baku.
I World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
On April 7–9, 2011, 1st World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held in Baku with the support of UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, Council of Europe, North-South Council of the Council of Europe and ISESCO. Participants of the forum: Official representatives from 102 countries
Leading people from more than 10 international organizations
Ministers of 20 countries
Representatives of famous media outlets
Nearly 500 foreign representatives from countries in all continents of the world
Events held within the forum
Sessions: “Intercultural understanding and cultural diversity to achieve peace and dialogue”
“Intercultural dialogue: culture, art and heritage”
“Women as important contributors to intercultural dialogue”
“Influence of technology, social media and journalism on intercultural relations”
“Intercultural dialogue among world religions”
“New initiatives and projects on intercultural dialogue and cooperation development”
An international conference on the philosophy of dialogue and cultural diversity in the modern world (organized by the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences).
Seminar of mayors and representatives of member cities of “Intercultural Cities” project (organized by the Council of Europe)
“Traditions and Perspectives of Intercultural Dialogue in the CIS: Culture, Education, Communication” (organized by the Republic of Azerbaijan)
The First Congress of the Global Youth Movement for Civilization
“Jews, Christians and Muslims: Intercultural Dialogue in Medieval Manuscripts” (co-organized by Azerbaijan and Austria).
“The Wind Tales” (by Azerbaijani and Lithuanian artists within the framework of the “Dialogue of Culture Capitals” project).
Foundation of “5 A – Intercultural Cooperation Platform”
The “5 A – Intercultural Cooperation Platform” was established on the initiative of Azerbaijan to develop cross-cultural cooperation within the framework of the 1st World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue. Given that the names of the continents of Europe, Asia, America, Africa, Australia starting with “A” in Azerbaijani, the symbolic name of the new platform was identified as “5 A”.
The publication of the forum
I Intercultural Dialogue Forum has been broadcast by Euronews 20 times in 10 languages a week.
Coordinating Board for Forum
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been determined as coordinating board for forum by the Decree No. 432 of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated May 27, 2011.
II World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
The Second World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held in Baku on 29 May – 1 June 2013 under the slogan “Living together in a multicultural world”. UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, Council of Europe, North-South Council of the Council of Europe and ISESCO, as well as the UN World Tourism Organization, were the main partners in the organizing of the forum. The summit of the “Global Campaign: Do something for Cultural Diversity” was held in Baku on May 29, 2013 jointly organized by Azerbaijan and the UN Alliance of Civilizations dedicated to the “21 May World Day of Cultural Diversity”, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. The presentation of the project from each continent promoting cultural diversity within the framework of the 5 A – Intercultural Cooperation Platform was held with participation of representatives of cultural and tourism ministers, experts and other international organizations, including the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, as well as representatives from various continents.
Official opening and recitation chair
The official opening ceremony of the II Forum took place at the Heydar Aliyev Center on May 30, 2013. The president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova and Director-General of ISESCO Abdulaziz Othman al-Tuveyr attended the opening ceremony.
Participants of II World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
Official representatives from 115 countries
International organizations – UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, World Tourism Organization, ISESCO, IRSICA, Council of Europe North-South, NATO, TURKSOY, CST, Arab League, ASEAN, Organization of American States
More than 70 reputable Non-Governmental Organizations
Over 100 famous scholars, professors and experts
About 600 international representatives
Events held within the II World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
Sessions: “Cultural corridors in South East Europe, the Black Sea and the Caucasus region – common heritage, common tasks, sustainable future”
“New Age of Globalization: Hybridization in Culture in a Changing World”
“Intercultural Dialogue through History Teaching: Best Practices and Challenges”
“Building Intercultural Skills for the 21st Century”
“How to build public support for cultural diversity”
“Western-Muslim Relations: From Conflict to Co-operation”
“Tourism – as the main presenter of mutual understanding and tolerance between people and cultures”
“21st Century urbanization policy for diversity: intercultural urban paradigm”
“Strengthening the role of civil society in promoting intercultural dialogue, diversity and representation”
“Global Citizenship: Towards Intercultural Activities” “Intercultural Dialogue: Faith and Science” “The role of the corporate sector in promoting intercultural dialogue and diversity” “How to build public support for cultural diversity”
For the first time the conference of culture and tourism ministers took place. At the end of the conference communique was adopted.
Displaying of films about traditional and ethnic music of the world’s people
“Multicultural music sharing” composition
“Colors of Life” exhibition by German artist Inga Schmidt
The performance of Japanese Butoh dance master Ko Murobushinin
Dance performance in “Yanar Dag” State Historical-Architectural and Natural Reserve
III World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
III World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was organized under the slogan of “sharing culture for shared safety” with the partnerships of UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN World Tourism Organization, the Council of Europe and UNESCO in Baku on May 18–19, 2015. The letters of invitation to the 3rd Forum were signed by UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the heads of the UN World Tourism Organization.
The presentation of Baku Process and III World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
The presentation of the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue and “Baku Process” were held in January 2015 in the UN Headquarters in New York City. The presentation of the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue and “Baku Process” were held within the framework of Executive Board of UNESCO.
The opening ceremony of “Peace Tree”
The Peace Tree was established within the framework of the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue near the National Flag Square, in the territory of new boulevard. The opening ceremony of The Peace Tree was held On May 17, 2015. The opening of the monument was made by the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova and the author of The Peace Tree Hedva Ser. The author of The Peace Tree is Hedra Ser UNESCO “Artist for Peace”. The monument depicts love inspired by nature and hands reaching into the sky with full of hope. The Peace Tree is regarded as a symbol of mutual understanding among people, it promotes spreading peace and resolving conflicts in the world . The Peace Tree is considered as a symbol of peace, as well as UNESCO’s tolerance.
The official opening and the sound of solidarity
May 18, 2015, the official opening of the Third World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held in the Heydar Aliyev Center. In the ceremony President of the Republic of Azerbaijan – Ilham Aliyev, Director-General of UNESCO – Irina Bokova, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations – Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Former Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation- Iyad bin Amin Madani, Director-General of ISESCO – Abdulaziz Othman Altwairji, Advisor to the UNWTO Secretary-General on Tourism and Peace and UNWTO Re- gional Director for the Middle East – Amr Abdel-Ghaffar were the speakers. At the same time, regional director for the Middle East of UNWTO read the congratulatory letter written by Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. There was only challenge in the nature of statements – culture is the most important factor for providing human solidarity in all aspects. During the forum with cooperation of UNESCO and the British “Tudor Rose” publishing house the international decade book dedicated to the Rapprochement of Cultures was published.
At the same time, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova presented the document confirming the inclusion of the art of Azerbaijani kerchief to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to the First Lady of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva.
The events held within the framework of the Third Forum
The first day of the forum
- Multiculturalism: Promising Realities
- The Silk Roads, Pioneer Routes of Dialogue and Exchanges: “The Silk Roads Initiative and its Potential for today’s Intercultural dialogue”
- Harnessing Tourism’s power as an agent for promoting tolerance, understanding and dialogue between peoples, cultures and civilizations
- Learning to live together through Education: from policy to practice
The second day of the Forum
- The role art and heritage in cross-cultural relations
- Model of Competences for Democratic Culture
- Engaging youth in intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity
- Youth as agents of social change: contributors to peace and dialogue processes”
- Partnering with the Community and Religious Leaders for Intercultural Dialogue
- Younger people as future influencers: Responsible and Constructive Use of Social Media
- Promoting youth mobility to enhance intercultural understanding: the successful experience of the Youth Card
“Light returns” choreographic spectacle
“Light returns” the choreographic performance reflecting the philosophy of the intercultural dialogue was demonstrated on May 18, 2015, in the Heydar Aliyev Palace for the participants of the forum.
II Ministerial meeting
On the second day of the forum, the second meeting of the Ministers of Culture and Tourism was held.
During the forum, the academic meeting by the heads of UNESCO intercultural and interreligious dialogue from more than 40 countries was held. The closing ceremony was organized at the ADA university.
IV World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
The 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held on May 5–6, 2017 in Baku under the motto “Advancing Intercultural Dialogue: New Avenues for Human Security, Peace and Sustainable Development”. The Forum was co-organized by UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN World Tourism Organization, Council of Europe, ISESCO, and North-South Center of the Council of Europe. The Forum included 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. Nearly 120 officials from foreign countries, representatives of 39 international organizations and more than 50 non-governmental organizations, heads of governments, ministers, senior policy makers, cultural professionals, goodwill ambassadors, experts, journalists, practitioners, prominent intellectuals and activists attended the Forum and took active parts in all events held within the Forum.
Opening and closing ceremonies of IV World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, events and plenary sessions
Opening Ceremony of the WFID was held on May 5, 2017 in Heydar Aliyev Center. The 1st Plenary Session titled “Promoting Dialogue, Building Bridges and Universal Values as Tools for Alternatives to Violent Extremism” organized by UNAOC, Azerbaijan, Partner organizations and The 1st High Level Meeting of International Organizations (roundtable) co-organized by Azerbaijan, UNESCO, UNAOC,UNWTO, UNFAO, C0E, ISESCO were held on the same day.
On May 6, 2017 World Forum Ministerial Meeting consisting of 2 sessions (“How to build sustainable and inclusive societies? Sharing responsibilities for human security: focusing on SDG 2030” and “Building Synergy with Economic and Financial Institutions: Challenges and opportunities”), the 2nd Plenary Session titled “Intercultural dialogue, food security and community resilience: Essential elements in achieving sustainable development and peace”, and closing ceremony of WFID were held.
Side events held within 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
May 4, 2017
- The 2nd Academic Forum of UNESCO Chairs on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue
- The 3rd Meeting of the International Network for UNESCO Silk Roads Online Platform
- Press Conference
The first day of 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue (May 5, 2017)
- The Cultural Dimensions of Countering in Cyberspace: the Radicalisation of Youth leading to Violence including presentation of ICT caravan project
- Using the transformative power of tourism in building a better future: A shared responsibility
- Promoting Innovative Approaches to Foster Intercultural Dialogue
- The Emergence of New Nationalism: Rising Populism and Polarization,
- The Role of Media and Language in Countering Xenophobia and Fostering Inclusive Societies
- The role of formal and informal education in addressing violent extremism including ASPnet aspect
- “Migrants and refugees: the integration as a challenge and opportunity”
The second day of 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue (May 6, 2017)
- Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility – progressive companies setting good examples for positive action
- Faith, government and civil society: What works for inclusive Dialogue in an age of polarization?
- “Role of the Cities’ Policies in Promoting Dialogue among Cultures”
- Training for effective intercultural dialogue and global citizenship: what works?
V World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue
V World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue took place on May 2–3, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The forum was organized by the Government of Azerbaijan together with UNESCO, UNAOC, UNWTO, the Council of Europe and ISESCO under the motto of “Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality, and violent conflict”. V World Forum was dedicated to the crucial role of Intercultural Dialogue as an effective strategy for forming human solidarity and helping localities to deal with the violence and discrimination in various communities. Examining more comprehensive engagement with Intercultural Dialogue, underling the importance of local governance structures and individual actors were the major focus of attention of the forum. The participants included heads of governments, ministers, heads of various international organizations, senior policy makers, cultural professionals, goodwill ambassadors, experts, journalists, practitioners, prominent intellectuals and activists from 100 countries and 30 international organizations. Azerbaijani, English, French, and Russian were the most used languages during the event. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO Nada Al-Nashif, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef Bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, and Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri and other speakers attended the opening of the forum. The event has been broadcast by the UN on its official website.
Furthermore, during the forum 2nd High Level Panel of the Heads of International Organizations and the Ministerial Panel took place for the purpose of establishing and maintaining collaboration among various political, economic, financial, military, humanitarian and social organizations along with other stakeholders to design a general strategy in order to facilitate the works of public and private organizations for establishment of sustainable societies where intercultural dialogue and human dignity will be promoted.
Topics of the Forum
- “Managing diversity: multi-level and multi – sectoral collaboration”
- “Global Citizenship Education: Nurturing a Culture of Peace”
- “The Role of Great Silk Road in building dialogue among Turkic speaking countries”
- “Multilateralism and diplomacy for peace”.
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Ofer Abarbanel is a 25 year securities lending broker and expert who has advised many Israeli regulators, among them the Israel Tax Authority, with respect to stock loans, repurchase agreements and credit derivatives. Founder TBIL.co STATX Fund.