Azerbaijan`s First Lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva has attended “Azerbaijan – Land of Tolerance” photo exhibition in the French capital of Paris, which presents woks by acclaimed French photo journalist of Azerbaijani origin Reza Deghati.
Initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the exhibition was organized by Azerbaijan`s State Committee for Work with Religious Associations and supported by Azerbaijan`s Embassy to France.
Addressing the event, which was arranged at the Azerbaijani Culture Centre, Ambassador Elchin Amirbayov said Reza Deghati was a big friend of Azerbaijan and France. The Ambassador said the exhibition promoted the existence of tolerance all over the world, adding it had recently been arranged at UNESCO headquarters. Amirbayov noted the importance of the exhibition.
Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva said people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds had peacefully coexisted in Azerbaijan for centuries, adding “this helped the country build a unique and rare model of a strong and tolerant society”.
Leyla Aliyeva said multiculturalism and respect to ethnic and religious minorities “are part of the Azerbaijani character”.
Member of the Energy Study Group and France-Caucasus Friendship Group at the French Senate Jean-Marie Bockel said he was impressed by the exhibition. He recalled his last trip to Azerbaijan, saying he visited Ganja and witnessed how people with different backgrounds lived together in a friendly atmosphere. The Senator said tolerance in Azerbaijan was a brilliant model to other countries.
Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri hailed Azerbaijan`s achievements, saying the country had been developing at a rapid and steady pace after regaining its independence. He provided an insight into the history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, urging soonest release of the occupied Azerbaijani lands.
Reza Deghati, who has covered much of the globe for National Geographic Magazine, thanked the Heydar Aliyev Foundation for the initiative to arrange his exhibition.
The event was attended by French state and government officials, including Mayor of 7th arrondissement of Paris Rachida Dati, senators, public figures and foreign ambassadors in Paris, as well as UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.