On October 11, 2016, the Biola University – one of the oldest universities of Los Angeles – hosted an event dedicated to Azerbaijan’s model of interfaith harmony and peace. At the invitation of the University’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev delivered remarks at the event.
Speaking in the beginning, the Dean of the School of Intercultural Studies Dr. Bulus Galadima, the Associate Dean Dr. Richard Starcher and the Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies Dr. Moussa Bongoyok noted the importance of inter-religious tolerance in these troubled times for the world peace and expressed their gratitude for the bright example Azerbaijan is providing in this regard.
In his remarks, Consul General Aghayev spoke about the historical and cultural roots of Azerbaijan’s strong traditions of multi-faith tolerance and multiculturalism, as well as elaborated on the current atmosphere of brotherhood reigning between various religions and ethnicities in the country. Aghayev mentioned that despite all the challenges Azerbaijan has faced and continues to face, being located in a complicated geography, the country has been able to build a successful model of tolerance and positive multiculturalism, which allows for Muslims, Christians, Jews and representatives of other faiths to live in peace, harmony and dignity. The Consul General noted that thanks to the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, this environment of multi-faith and multicultural harmony and tolerance is becoming stronger and stronger every day. He stressed in this regard that the year 2016 had been proclaimed by the President to be the “Year of Multiculturalism” in Azerbaijan.
Highlighting the brutal military occupation and ethnic cleansing of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia, the Consul General said that despite all the crimes and injustices committed against the Azerbaijani people by the invader, Azerbaijan has not allowed the conflict to hamper its exemplary model of multi-faith harmony, tolerance and acceptance, and divert the country from its path of positive multiculturalism. He noted in this regard the meticulous preservation of an Armenian cathedral with its over 5,000 books, in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. Against this backdrop, Aghayev said, almost all Azerbaijani mosques in the occupied areas have been destroyed by Armenia.
At the event, Kristina Conrad, a junior education major, beautifully performed “Sari Gelin”, a traditional Azerbaijani song, on clarinet to a great acclaim.
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