Leaders of 11 coordinating councils that bring together tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis in 27 European countries, more than 50 diaspora organizations, diaspora members active in science, culture, sports, media and business, officials from the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgium, Deputy Chairmen of the State Committee on Work with Diaspora Vagif Seyidbeyov and Elshad Aliyev took part in the congress.
The ceremony opened with the national anthem of Azerbaijan. A minute of silence was observed to honor the memory of martyrs, who had given their lives for the territorial integrity of our country.
In his opening speech, President of the Congress Sahil Gasimov welcomed the delegates and guests.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee on Work with Diaspora Vagif Seyidbeyov said that since beginning its activity on April 12, 2004, the CEA had been contributing greatly to the promotion of the Azerbaijani language and culture and raising awareness of the European public about the Azerbaijani realities. He commended the CEA members for their efforts.
It was emphasized that following the strategy outlined in the 5th Congress of World Azerbaijanis in Shusha, important steps are to be taken towards expansion of diaspora and lobbying activities in Europe. For this purpose, there is a need for structural changes in the CAE and for a unified form of management. The coordinating councils established in most European countries to steer the activities of various diaspora organizations were cited as an example. “The work done so far once again proves that the activities of the coordinating councils are commendable. We have witnessed this during the Tovuz events, the Patriotic War, the evacuation of our compatriots during the pandemic, as well as in the current events in Ukraine,” the deputy chairman added.
According to the representative of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Belgium, it is reassuring that Azerbaijan’s foreign policy is developing upwards in parallel with the diaspora activities in Western countries, including Belgium, the political center of Europe: “This is indicative of the successful foreign and diaspora policy of our country, the result of hard work of the State Committee on Work with Diaspora in this area. And, most importantly, it also speaks to the selfless efforts of our esteemed compatriots.”
The event proceeded with the demonstration of a video about the activities of the Azerbaijani diaspora prepared by the State Committee on Work with the Diaspora.
Then the summary report of the Congress of European Azerbaijanis was presented. Chair of the Azeri-Turk Women’s Association Tanzila Rustamkhanli, Secretary General of the CEA, Co-Chair of the Finland-Azerbaijan Association Arzu Ogtay, Honorary President of the CEA Bashar Komur, Chair of the Council of Azerbaijanis of Brabant Province Ofelia Babayeva, Chairman of the Veten Society in Denmark Safar Sadigi, Chairman of the Azeri Azerbaijan Cultural Association in Italy, professor at Milan Conservatory Mais Nuriyev, head of the Azerbaijan House in Paris, Secretary General of the Association of Friends of Azerbaijan in France Mirvari Fataliyeva, and Chairman of the Azerbaijani-Turkish Cultural Association in the Netherlands Ilkhan Ashkin participated in the debates on the report. The speakers shared their views on the activities of the CEA, one of the largest organizations in the history of Azerbaijani diaspora, and voiced their approval of the structural changes. They made their suggestions on the matter and wished success to the new staff to be elected.
The Congress decided to amend the Charter of the CEA with regard to the new form of management in accordance with current requirements. Furthermore, new areas of strategic actions of the CEA were outlined in order to coordinate the activities of diaspora organizations and Azerbaijanis living in Europe from a single center.
New members of the Board of the CEA were elected by voting.