On September 22, a ceremony of presenting the diplomas of an honorary citizen of the city of Veliko Tyrnovo and an honorary doctor of the Veliko Tyrnovo University named after Saints Cyril and Methodius to Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva took place in Bulgaria.
Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony:
- Dear Mister Prime Minister.
Esteemed Mister Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, dear guests.
First of all, I would like to once more thank you from the bottom of my heart on my own behalf and on behalf of our delegation for your sincere reception and hospitality. I congratulate you on your national holiday – the Independence Day, wish you happiness, sound health, and peace. I’m greatly honoured to have become an honorary citizen of the city of Veliko Tyrnovo. I would like to express my gratitude to you for this honorary title, and my infinite esteem towards the city residents.
We, employees of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation – are very much pride of having contributed to the restoration of the Bulgarian people’s national heritage. During a few hours that I’ve been in the city, I’ve witnessed what high esteem and love the country citizens show towards their cultural heritage. Our country too is famous for its rich historical and cultural heritage, and I’m moved by such an approach, as historical and cultural heritage play a great role in the formation of the statehood and every people’s national identity. Moreover, I’m resolutely confident that humanitarian relations, relations in the field of culture, education and art makes humans, people and countries closer, and mutual understanding between nations, countries much more possible.
Therefore, I would like to deeply thank all people who had been involved in this project and participated in its implementation, first of all, you, Mister Prime Minister. I very well know what great attention you have paid to the realization of this project.
I am very happy the relations between our countries have been of friendship nature for centuries, and based on mutual respect and mutual interest. Numerous facts attest that our cultural relations are deeply rooted. Poems of eminent Azerbaijani poet and philosopher Nizami Ganjavi was translated into the Bulgarian language back in the 19th century, and gained fame in your country. Today, classics of the Bulgarian literature such as Ivan Vazov, Hristo Botev, Emilian Stanev etc. are well known in Azerbaijan, and are loved and revered by Azerbaijani readers.
It is very gratifying that dynamic cooperation are witnessed resent years between individual cities and regions of our countries. Azerbaijani city Sheki and Bulgaria’s Gabrovo are fraternized cities. Of course, I would like, with the feeling of deep gratitude, to say that our political relations are on a high level and developed very successfully. Mutual visits by Azerbaijani and Bulgarian presidents, the visit by the Bulgarian prime minister to our country have, of course, served to the strengthening of relations between our counties.
Today, the relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are of strategic nature, and our countries are successfully cooperating in many large projects, including energy projects. But I would like to dwell more on our relations in the humanitarian and cultural spheres. The Bulgarian Language and Culture Centre has been operating at the Baku Slavic University, since 2004. The Bulgarian language, history and culture are taught at this university. In 2013, the Azerbaijani Language and Culture Centre was established at the Sophia University named after Saint Clement Okhridski. At the moment, the subject of Azerbaijani multiculturalism is taught at this university. Altogether, over 20 agreements have been made between our countries. This means an exchange of students, various scientific conferences, and relations between our countries’ scientific societies.
Dear Friends, I would once more like to emphasize that such projects, such cooperation, serve, without a doubt, to the strengthening of our relations, and bringing people closer. These projects are, on the other hand, an example of how relations between countries can be built. We have many common features, and I want to underscore the idea of multiculturalism - very essential in the modern world. People of different nations and faiths are living both in Azerbaijan and in Bulgaria in an environment of solidarity and mutual respect. I am confident our today’s project will serve to making our friendly relations stronger. I hope we’ll continue our cooperation further.
Thank you once more for conferring me on such a high title – the title of an honorary citizen of your ancient and beautiful city. I wish all of you sound health, happiness and tranquillity. Thank you.