Date: 2014 June 02

Speech by the Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov at the VII Youth Forum of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Dear forum participants!
Dear guests!
Dear young people!
Today we gathered for the next higher meeting of youth of independent Azerbaijan. I congratulate all the forum participants and Azerbaijani youth on the occasion of the beginning of the 7th Youth Forum.
You all know very well that the first Forum of Azerbaijani youth was held in 1996 at the initiative and with the participation of national leader Heydar Aliyev. At that time, the great leader attentively listening to the young people who gathered in the hall and giving great importance to every their problem, opinion and suggestion, hereby indicated the place and role of youth policy pursued in the country. His speech showed the future of Azerbaijan and set targets and objectives of the youth policy. Today, I have to say with pride that those indicated directions of development are topical not only for the period of last 20 years, but also for today.
The XXI century is distinguished by great speed of change of all phenomena, priorities and international situation. However, the state youth policy ongoing under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev is very adequate for these challenges, and I would say, gives anticipative responses. This policy is consistent, continuous, and is carried out in a planned manner. Currently, the "Azerbaijani youth in 2011-2015" State Program is being successfully implemented. There are 4 main reasons for this:
Firstly, it is the political support and will of the country’s President.
Secondly, theProgram is based on the works performed earlier and the results obtained. We all together may be said to build no longer the foundation, and the next floor of the building.
Thirdly, the young people themselves are actively involved in both the development and implementation of the Program. Just enough to tell that in 2012-2013, 5 grant competitions were announced for the youth NGOs to carry out the relevant paragraphs of the State Program, and 327 projects were funded for a total amount of 11,257,124 manats.
And finally, fourthly. The Government of Azerbaijan provided the financial support for the implementation of the 5-year "Azerbaijani youth" State Program - 80 million manats were allocated in this regard.
Thus, the basic formula of work has been successfully applied: "to rely on experience – to ensure the participation of stakeholders - to provide financial support."
During the last 31 months from the VI forum, 343 events had been held in various spheres of youth policy, of which 254 were national, and 89 international events. Every year, more than 200 young people took part in them on average. During this period, more than 6 thousand young people have taken part in the international exchange. These figures reflect only the activities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Taking into account the events held by NGOs with our support, more than 300 events held throughout the year on average may be noted.
As a result of implementation of the State Program over the past period, the regulatory and legal basis of the youth policy has been improved. In December 2011, by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev the Youth Foundation was founded. Establishment of the Foundation had a special role in the increase in social initiatives of young people. For a short period, a clear, transparent and efficient management and evaluation system has been created in the Youth Foundation to hold grant competitions.
The "Presidential Award for Youth" was founded by the Decree signed by the President on July 2, 2013, and by the Order dated February 1, 2014 six Awards in the amount of 10 thousand manats each were granted to the first laureates for special achievements in the field of science, education, culture and social activities.
To ensure the active participation of youth in governance, the "Regulations on information bank on the personnel potential of youth" were approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated  June 20, 2012. Information on 283 people was included by the relevant government authorities in the information bank prepared by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
To increase the efficiency of the state care of the talented and creative young people, the "Regulations for favorable use of state-owned creative workshops and exhibition halls by creative youth" were approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated  November 18, 2013.
In connection with the implementation of the "Azerbaijani youth in 2011-2015" and the "Socio-economic development of Baku and its settlements in 2011-2013" State Programs, the "Youth homes" were built in Mingachevir and Nakhchivan cities, Sabunchu, Surakhani and Khazar districts of Baku. These organizations which perform informing the young people, development and organizing their leisure time, rendering social support, and other activities are the new type of enterprises specializing in the provision of social services. 28 such social service facilities were put into operation in the whole country.
To effectively organize work with youth, it is important to learn their situation, needs, expectations and behavior. During the period since the last Forum, a number of sociological surveys have been conducted at the request of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Among them, the "Civic and patriotic education of youth", "Studying the socio-cultural behavior of the Azerbaijani youth", "Studying the occupational mobility of youth" and jointly with the UNICEF the "Survey on the situation of teenagers and young people" have been conducted.
Dear Forum participants!
Today's Azerbaijani young people are age-mates of our independence. The new generation’s horizon, objectives, interests, social activity, level of education reflect their upbringing in an independent country. Contemporary young people are distinguished by high social activity, pragmatism, as well as educational and occupational mobility. They easier accept the globalization-related changes and are more prompt in acquisition and sharing information. Civic and patriotic education of all these young people should be considered.
During the period since the VI Forum, more than 1,550 various events have been held at places in connection with the topical issues of civic and patriotic education. To widely promote the national leader Heydar Aliyev's idea of Azerbaijanism among youth, up to 65 thousand young people took part in the promotional campaign held in 18 country’s regions cities. About 130 thousand young people have been involved in the "Falcon", "The Braves" and "Border" military-sports games traditionally conducted every year. In 2012, "The young rescuer and firefighter" competition was added to these games. Currently, we improve the rules of these military games, apply special clothing, attributes and distinguishing badges, and other means to make them more disciplined, interesting and attractive at all stages.
Various events have been organized for the purpose of studying the Azerbaijan’s history and traditions of statehood, increase the young people’s respect to state symbols. In 2013, in the "Flag Festival" devoted to the Flag Day, more than 6,000 young people took part in a spectacular flash mob only in Baku. The "I am Azerbaijani" knowledge contest, "Modern Azerbaijani Youth", "If Motherland calls" and other TV projects supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports covered hundreds of thousands of young people.
Our young people continuously bring the truth about Azerbaijan to the international community using the "Virtual Garabagh" Information and Communication Technology Center and modern communication opportunities.
To create virtual opportunities for teenagers and young people to study certain period of history of Azerbaijan, the "Under occupation", "Under occupation - Aghdam" and "Land of Fire" computer games have been developed.
To develope the young people's knowledge of regional ethnography and effectively organize their leisure, in 2012-2013, more than 5,000 young people participated in the "Azerbaijan is my motherland " patriotic summer recreation camps organized in the country's 7 regions and cities (the cities of Lankaran and Shaki, and in Guba, Ismayilli, Gakh, Goygol and Khachmaz regions).
Targeted and effective state support for talented and creative young people in the country has increased. During the reporting period, different events have been held in the field of culture and arts, such as the exchanges of creative achievements of young people, master classes, art reviews. The "II National Meeting of talented and creative youth"  was one of the most successful projects in that respect. During the meeting which lasted for a week, the meetings in various creative fields, master classes with the participation of local and foreign experts in the field of theater, cinema, literature, photography, fashion, dance and music, the "Young talent" fine arts contest, the "Start" International Film Festival, evenings with young singers, and other events had been held.
The creative young people sent to foreign countries during the last 3 years, honorably represented our country in the international events such as the "Eastern Bazaar" international TV Music Contest (2013, Sudak), "San Remo Junior" IV International Music Contest (2013, San Remo), "Citta di Piove di Sacco” VII International Music Contest ( 2014, Padova), and the first Open European Youth Delphic Games (2014, Volgograd), and returned back with a victory.
 As it is known, having rendered assistance to the Club of the Funny and Inventive (KVN), we again set a goal to enter the Higher League of this club. The "Baku team" successfully performed in the "Start" Central Voronezh KVN League (2014, Voronezh) and won the title of champion of this league. In 2013, the competition for the President's Cup of the Republic of Azerbaijan was held in Baku and since then, the Baku League had been founded. TV projects demonstrating the talents of young people and meeting their interests have been broadcasted via TV channels. Among them, the "Big Stage" song contest and the "Fort Boyard" entertaining competitions.
This is good news that the number of fans of intellectual games increases. It has become a movement. Of them, the Championships of Azerbaijan in "Khamsa" National Intellectual Game among schoolchildren and young people, the first World Cup in "Khamsa", the "Caspian Cup" Baku International tournaments in intellectual games, and the international tournament in "Brain Ring" intellectual game for the Azerbaijani President's Cup were held. In addition, the "e-Khamsa" virtual simulation version of the "Khamsa" National Intellectual Game was developed, and thereby the game was promoted among the wider youth audience.
Another important target of the future is to increase the young people's interest and participation in science, revelation of opportunities of young scientists and promotion of scientific activity. In 2013, as a result of the works performed the "New Challenges in Europe: International Baku Forum of Young Scientists" competition dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the national leader Heydar Aliyev was held in Baku. Just a few days ago for the first time the International Forum of Young Scientists was held in Baku. 400 young scientists and PhD candidates from 95 countries took part in the Forum.
To ensure the implementation of the "Grants for projects involving young scientists" paragraph of the State Program,  the grant competitions have been organized by the Science Development Foundation. During the reporting period, the 1st and 2nd grant competitions among young scientists and specialists have been held. 50 scientific projects were supported as a result of these competitions for a total amount of 996 thousand manats.
 To increase the interest of the new generation in exact and natural sciences, to create a wide competitive environment among them in this field and to provide targeted support for talented people, the Ministry started implementation of the "Talents Preparation Laboratory" project. In 2013, 1,500 students from across the country were involved in this project using ICT and other modern forms - online Olympiads, distant lectures, etc.
Good results have been achieved in the field of social activity of youth. Over the last 3 years, more than 50 new youth organizations were registered. Youth NGOs have been particularly active in representation in international organizations and expanding the international exchanges. Most of the projects being implemented focus on the fulfillment of the relevant provisions of the "Azerbaijani youth in 2011-2105 State Program’s" Action Plan.
The most significant event in the field of work with youth organizations was the participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in the IV exhibition of Youth Organizations. In the exhibition, the head of state got acquainted with the activities of youth organizations and gave recommendations.
Briefly, the results of these years can be evaluated as follows: firstly, along with the Baku capital, the youth organizations gave preference to wide range of activities in the regions as well. Secondly, along with the functioning of the nationwide scale organizations in the regions, a noticeable increase was observed in the establishment of local organizations. Thirdly, certain expertise and, accordingly, professionalism of the youth organizations increased.
Dear young people!
To promote a healthy lifestyle among the younger generation, new and more effective methods have been applied: theater performances have been prepared, the promotional works through mass physical culture and sports have strengthened. The role of Olympic Complexes in this work increased.
To strengthen the environmental thinking in our country and around the world, to increase the responsibility of young people for the environment and ecological balance, the Ministry has supported the "IDEA" initiative under the leadership of the Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva. In addition, in October-November 2012, the Youth Green Festival and in 2013, an environmental camp and the "We learn from each other!" international environmental forum were held by the Ministry.
During the period since the VI Forum, the participation of limited health youth in the international events has been supported, festivities have been held for them throughout the year, summer vacation has been organized for youth with special needs. The International "East Faity Tale" Festival of youth with disabilities held in Baku in 2013, has become an event remembered by all the participants and spectators.
To enhance the role of youth in strengthening the economic potential of Azerbaijan, the Ministry holds the "Graduate" job fair and an intellectual competition in entrepreneurial activities - "Students In Free Entrepreneurship (SIFE)" on an annual basis. In 2006-2014, about 5 thousand vacancies were offered in the "Graduate" fairs, of them 1,500 people were engaged in permanent, and 500 people in seasonal jobs and salaried placements.
Under modern conditions, the ICT sector and, in particular, mobile technologies are of the fastest growing areas. On April 29-30, 2013 the "World Youth Forum on Mobile Technologies" was held in Baku with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
To develop the skills of young people in career building, the "Career Day" event was held. In 2013, vocational training courses have been organized for 150 young people from mountainous and border regions. This is good news that some of the graduates obtained jobs in the field of their education, and some of them were engaged in self-employment.
To support the employment of youth and their initiatives especially in areas that require innovative thinking, establishment of business incubators started in Azerbaijan. To ensure the rapid development of this area in the coming years, the relevant normative and legal documents are being prepared.
During the period since the VI Forum, attention was paid first to increasing the social activity of student youth. The Azerbaijan Student Youth Organizations’ Union founded in 2009, currently comprises 109 student youth organizations. Thereby, the student youth organizations have entered a new stage of their development. The ASYOU’s activity had become a large-scale, hundreds of young people in the ranks of these organizations could demonstrate their ideas, knowledge and skills in various projects. The organization has become a power which brings advanced ideas and values to the community, puts forward topical initiatives and always keeps up-to-date.
To provide social support for students, as envisaged in the “Azerbaijani youth in 2011-2015" State Program, the "Azerbaijan student card" has been developed and distributed free of charge among students of the country’s higher and secondary vocational education institutions. The "Azerbaijani student card" gives the right of privileged use of more than 80,000 service and trade objects in more than 30 European countries including Azerbaijan.
Dear Forum participants!
The young people are actively involved in the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the world nations, and the intercultural dialogue. During the reporting period, in the field of work with youth the new partnership intergovernmental bilateral relations with 7 countries - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Iraq, Albania, Croatia, Iran and Kuwait have been established. Thus, the Ministry carries out youth exchanges with up to 70 countries. For the first time the partnership relations in the field of youth were established with Latin American countries and the African Union.
To expand awareness about Azerbaijan among the foreign students, to encourage young scientists to closely study Azerbaijan, and to establish relations with new young researchers who are studying and promoting Azerbaijan, in 2012-2013, the "What I know about Azerbaijan?" competitions among the youth of Egypt, Morocco, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Germany Albania, Lithuania, Croatia, South Africa and the Netherlands were held and the familiarizing visits of the winners to Azerbaijan organized.
 After the last forum, the Azerbaijani youth organizations have been accepted as members to 10 international organizations - the World Youth Assembly, the European Union’s Young Entrepreneurs Association, the International Peace Youth Group, the Organization of Young European Federalists, the International Youth Chamber, the International Federation of Translators, the European Youth Parliament, the European Students' Union for Industrial Engineering and Management, the "Great Silk Way" International Youth Union, and the European Mobility Youth Network.
On the initiative of the Azerbaijani youth the new youth platforms named as the "Great Silk Way" International Youth Union and the European Mobility Youth Network were established in Baku.
In 2013, the Ganja city was nominated for the "European Youth Capital 2016" contest, and in the tense fight atmosphere Ganja was elected the European Youth Capital 2016. In 2016, the organization of the Europe's most prestigious international youth events is expected in Ganja.
For the first time in Azerbaijan in 2013, within the "UN Security Council model" project the "World cybersecurity" hearings were held with the participation of 14 countries. Considering the importance of the event, the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon sent a video greeting to the event participants.
The success of the implementation of the state youth policy in Azerbaijan, the state's continuous attention to this area were highly appreciated by the UN Development Programme and other international organizations. As a result, in early 2014, the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the UNDP, the UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth, the UNESCO and the Council of Europe came to agreement to hold the Ist Global Forum on Youth Policy in Baku in October 2014.
In the end of my speech, I would like to sound the opinion of the President of Azerbaijan about the country’s youth: "innovative thinking peculiar to the youth growing in the environment of modernity and creativity, high quality education and business can change the character of civilization as a whole. I believe that a lot of problems we currently face in the modern world will be resolved exactly thanks to the youth’s inexhaustible energy and determination. "
Thank you for your attention.