Azerbaijani First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Good-Will Ambassador and Member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Mehriban Aliyeva, is celebrating her birthday on August 26.
Mehriban Aliyeva was born in Baku, in a famous family in Azerbaijan. Her father, professor Arif Pashayev, is an academic at the National Academy of Sciences and holds a Ph.D. in physics and mathematics. He is the Rector of the National Academy of Aviation in Baku. Her mother, Aida Imanguliyeva, was an orientalist, Ph.D. in philological sciences, professor, and director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences, and a specialist in Arabic literature.
Mehriban Aliyeva graduated from Secondary Public School No. 23 in Baku in 1982, with a gold medal, and later entered the Nariman Narimanov Azerbaijan State Medical University, continuing her studies at the Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, from where she graduated with an honorary diploma in 1988. She worked at the Moscow Scientific Research Institute for Eye Diseases under leadership of academician Krasnov in 1988-1992.
In the mid-90's, Mehriban Aliyeva established the Friends of Azerbaijani Culture Foundation, which she currently heads and which publishes the "Azerbaijan-IRS" (Azerbaijan-Heritage) magazine in three languages (Azerbaijani, English and Russian), to widely promote Azerbaijani culture. Thanks to this publication, Azerbaijan was presented on the international arena not only as a country rich in oil and gas, but also as a nation that has created masterpieces in many areas - in music, architecture, fine and applied arts.
Mehriban Aliyeva heads the Heydar Aliyev Foundation since the very date of its establishment on May 10, 2004. The Foundation's goal is to study the rich heritage of the National Leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, to grow up new generations in the spirit of his ideas of national statehood. The priority directions of the Foundation are education, health, culture and social sphere. It covers assistance to children devoid of parents, recreation and improving logistics base of orphanages and boarding schools.
The status of First Lady and working for the Foundation, allows Mehriban Aliyeva to regulate the work, expand the scale of projects and draw extra resources for their realization.
To popularize and promote Azerbaijani culture, Azerbaijan hosted in July numerous guests from all over the world at the Sixth Gabala International Music Festival upon the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation pays special attention to the publication of music albums of prominent Azerbaijani singers. The Foundation reprinted the "Ekhlagi-Nasir" book of the world-renowned thinker, great scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge, Nasreddin Tusi. Also a photo-book "Azerbaijan" and Azerbaijani and Russian versions of the "Gabusname" publication that is popular in many Turkic countries were prepared, and a multimedia collection "Azerbaijani Mugam" and the "The World of Mugam" publication were released.
Museum of Modern Art was opened in Baku upon Mehriban Aliyeva's initiative.
The Foundation also successfully implements many projects outside of Azerbaijan through its representations in other countries.
The Foundation participates in the restoration of universal cultural monuments. Thus, the Foundation restored two monuments included in the World Heritage List, damaged with time and by climatic conditions, in the park of Versailles Palace in Paris. The Foundation also allotted financial aid to repair stained-glass windows of the Strasbourg Cathedral. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Vatican signed a 'Bilateral agreement on restoration of Roman catacombs' in June 2012.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Vatican Apostolic Library signed on June 2, 2014 an agreement on "Restoration and the digitalization of new manuscripts in 2015-2016". The next day, two agreements were signed on the restoration of the Statue of Zeus and the restoration work in the Sistine Hall of the Vatican museum by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Furthermore, many mosques, synagogues and churches were restored in Azerbaijan.
"Azerbaijan - A Land of Tolerance" photo exhibition was successfully held in September, 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York. The event was jointly organized the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the State Committee of the Azerbaijan Republic for Work with Religious Organizations at the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
The exhibition displayed photos by world-renowned photographer Reza Deghati reflecting religious tolerance in Azerbaijan. A similar exhibition was held in the Azerbaijan cultural center in Paris in November, 2013 and at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow in April, 2014.
With an objective to promote Azerbaijan's culture in Italy's regions, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation embarked on implementation of a new project in October 2013.
The first event under this project was held in the city of Florence, Italy, which is considered one of the cultural centers of the country. Masters of arts once again demonstrated the rich culture of the Land of Fire to the Italian audience.
The same year, the Foundation repaired the Philosophers Room in the Rome Capitoline Museum, whose ceremonial opening was held on October 25, 2013.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation held another event within the framework of the "Promotion of Azerbaijan" project in November 2013. An Evening of Azerbaijan was organized in Stuttgart, with support from the honorary consulate of Azerbaijan in Stuttgart.
An exhibition devoted to the life and creativity of great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi was held at the Rein Palace of Strasbourg in November 2013, with organizational support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and assistance by Azerbaijan's Embassy in France.
A few days later, an exhibition dedicated to the 900th jubilee of Azerbaijani poetess Mahsati Ganjavi was organized in the French city of Reims, with organizational support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and assistance by the country's Embassy in France.
An Evening of Azerbaijan was held in the city of Cologne, Germany on November 20, 2013, with support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The event was organized in the historical Gürzenich Culture Hall of the city and lasted more than three hours.
An Evening of Azerbaijan was also held in Hamburg, one of the largest port cities of Germany, in December 2013, with support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijan's Embassy in Germany. It was the final event in a series of events, organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Germany in 2013.
An exhibition "Azerbaijan: A Land of Traditions and Future" opened in the French city of Cannes on July 10, 2014. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation arranged on July 12 the Charm of Azerbaijan in Modern Fashion Show by Italian designer Renato Balestra featuring Azerbaijani national costumes as part of the days of Azerbaijani culture in Cannes.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation organized an exhibition at the headquarters of the Council of Europe on May 28 under the project "Cultural Treasures of Azerbaijan - the Pearl of the Caucasus". The event was assisted by the Permanent Representative Office of Azerbaijan under the CE.
Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva is committed to use all available opportunities to enhance the efficiency of humanitarian programs, which target benefiting the Azerbaijani people.
One of the priorities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is to inform the international community about the realities of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. With this regard, the Foundation has published a collection of "Karabakh Realities" booklets, reflecting the history of the Armenian aggression, books entitled "War and Our Cultural and Historical Monuments" and "War Against Azerbaijan: Targeting Cultural Heritage", recounting Armenian destruction. At the same time, a number of events and photo and video exhibitions were held in various countries on the Khojaly genocide.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation also supported the creation of the Guba Genocide Memorial Complex, erected in memory of tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis perished as a result of massacres committed in 1918 by Armenian-Bolshevik armed groups. President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the inauguration of the Complex on September 18, 2013.
Mehriban Aliyeva became in August 2004 a designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for promoting national literature and the musical heritage of Azerbaijan. Two years later, she was conferred with the title of ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for extensive and selfless activity in various fields, including inter-cultural dialogue, attention to children in need of special care and support for improving living conditions, great support for education and projects being realized in the Islamic world.
To be an ambassador for such authoritative international organizations is a very honorable and responsible mission. Both UNESCO and ISESCO are non-political institutions, as is written in their charter. And at the same time, this is an international arena on which Mehriban Aliyeva represents her country. This is an opportunity to show modern Azerbaijan and its people with the most profound historical and cultural roots, and to inform the world about the achievements of national culture and literature. Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the Mozart Gold Medal by UNESCO on July 30, 2010.
Mehriban Aliyeva's task as a goodwill ambassador is to show the opportunities of the Islamic world through science, culture, and education and to demonstrate how the West and the East, two very different civilizations, could be interesting and helpful to each other.
On June 9, 2005, the First Lady of Azerbaijan was awarded the order of the "Ruby Cross" from the International Charitable Foundation "Maecenas of the Century" for her public support and charity activities, considerable contribution to the support of educational and cultural institutions and strengthening friendships between the peoples of Russia and Azerbaijan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) awarded Mehriban Aliyeva for her exceptional services in protecting and strengthening the health of mother, child and family. This was made upon a unanimous decision of the 120th session of the WHO executive committee in Geneva on January 29, 2007.
Mehriban Aliyeva was honored with "Gold Heart" International award in 2007 for her charitable activities and the outstanding achievements in services to the highest ideals of humanity.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the title of "Woman of the Year" in 2005 according to the social poll held in Azerbaijan in 2005.
The National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev Foundation and the ANS Group of Companies announced Mehriban Aliyeva the 'Person of the Year 2005' for her services to the development of the country's education system, protection of the national and cultural heritage, preparation and holding of the 27th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship in the country at a high level, as well as broad charitable activity.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the golden medal of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in March 2006 for her contribution to preservation of cultural and moral values.
Based on a survey of "For Service to the Turkic world - 2012", held with initiative of the Turkistan newspaper and support of about 20 organizations, Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the title of "Protector of Turkic culture" for her achievements in preservation and promotion of Turkic culture in February, 2013.
Mehriban Aliyeva was honored with "Martyr Benazir Bhutto Woman Perfection Prize-2013" Award on December 27, 2013. Large-scale projects were implemented at the initiative of and with support from Mehriban Aliyeva in the spheres of education, public health, as well as in the humanitarian field in provinces of Pakistan.
According to the results of the survey jointly conducted by France's Arab Cultural Heritage Centre and Egypt's Nefertiti Media Productions Company, Mehriban Aliyeva was honored with the title of the most influential woman of 2014. She was chosen the winner, taking into account her special merits as UNESCO goodwill ambassador, and due to her promotion of culture and international exchange of culture, contribution to development of science, healthcare, sport, education, technology and environment.
The First Lady's merits also include the establishment of the International Mugham Center in Baku, providing assistance to children deprived of parental care, numerous other charity events.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded an honorary prize of the Turkish-German Friendship Federation on May 12, 2014 for her contributions to dialogue between civilizations, as well as for the services towards promotion of the Turkic world in Germany and development of relations between Azerbaijan and Germany.
The Business Year company named Mehriban Aliyeva the "First Lady of the Year" at the ceremony of presentation of 'The Business Year: Azerbaijan-2014' magazine in Baku on May 14, 2014.
Mehriban Aliyeva was named "First Lady of the Year" for her active participation in the public, social and cultural life of Azerbaijan, significant contribution to the dynamic development of society, inestimable merits in promoting Azerbaijani culture in the world, as well as all-round support for the protection and preservation of the world's cultural heritage and faithfulness to the principles of social justice and humanism.
President of ELPIDA Friendship Association of Children Suffering from Cancer Marianna Vardinoyannis presented the ELPIDA Prize to Mehriban Aliyeva on June 15, 2014. ELPIDA association, which has carried out many successful projects over the past period, possesses an exemplary medical department in the field.
ELPIDA achieved great progress in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, the treatment of various tumors, thalassemia and other child genetic diseases. It opened a specialized children's hospital, and more importantly, greatly contributed to resolving such an important problem as the social isolation of children with cancer.
Duma (parliament) members of the Astrakhan region of Russia supported Governor Alexander Zhilkin's idea on awarding Mehriban Aliyeva with "Astrakhan Oblast Order of Merit" on August 14, 2014. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation implements a number of major social projects in the Astrakhan region under the leadership of Mehriban Aliyeva.
Mehriban Aliyeva also received a high award of the State of Kuwait in August 2014 for extensive promotion of cultural heritage of Islam, noble charitable activity in Azerbaijan and abroad, as well as great contribution to education and healthcare. This comes as the first award presented to a foreign political and public figure on behalf of the women of Kuwait.
Mehriban Aliyeva's broad activity is not limited with the above-mentioned. She was elected the President of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation in 2002, demonstrating herself as an excellent organizer. Her authority played a crucial role in making decisions on holding the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Azerbaijan in 2003 and 2004, the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in 2005 and European Championship in 2007 and 2009.
The 30th Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championship was held at a high level in Baku on June 13-15, 2014. As many as 258 gymnasts from 33 countries participated in the prestigious tournament organized at the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku.
The Azerbaijani national rhythmic gymnastics team has gained international recognition, and Azerbaijani gymnasts take the leading places at international events.
On December 28, 2004, Mehriban Aliyeva was elected a member to the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the 4th General Assembly of the Organization.
Mehriban Aliyeva was re-elected member of the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan at the sixth report-election General Assembly of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan on April 3, 2013.
Azerbaijan's first lady received the Olympic Excellence award of the International Olympic Academy in Athens on June 16, 2014. President of the International Olympic Academy Isidoros Kouvelos handed the award to Mehriban Aliyeva, which honors her contribution to promoting Olympic values.
Further on, Mehriban Aliyeva was appointed as the chairwoman of the Organizing Committee on First European Games in Baku in 2015 under the decree undersigned by President Ilham Aliyev on January 17, 2013.
Mehriban Aliyeva received a PhD in Philosophy in 2005. She was elected a member of Azerbaijani Parliament in 2005 and 2010.
Mehriban Aliyeva was elected as deputy chairperson of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party at the fifth meeting of the party on June 7, 2013.
The Azerbaijani president signed an order on May 5, 2009 to award Mehriban Aliyeva the Heydar Aliyev Prize for the productive activities in the country's socio-political and cultural life.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the Grand Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland on September 14, 2009. She received this Order for her contribution to development of friendly ties between Azerbaijan and Poland.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded with Order of Legion of Honor by French President's order dated February 10, 2010.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the Crans Montana Forum's Gold Medal on June 24, 2011. The Medal is awarded to people who achieved great prestige in the world by their services, and have special merits. This reward is next evidence that her multilateral activities in the field of culture, science, education, health, social and other spheres, are in focus on an international scale.
Mehriban Aliyeva was honored with the title of Honorary Professor of Russian Federation's I.M.Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University on February 13, 2012.
The Humanitarian Cooperation Council (HCC) of CIS member states and the CIS Interstate Humanitarian Cooperation Foundation (IHCF) presented Mehriban Aliyeva the "Stars of the Commonwealth" Interstate Prize on April 13, 2012.
Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the "Prix de la Fondation" Prize of the Crans Montana Forum on June 29, 2012. The forum's highest award -- "Prix de la Fondation" -- is awarded to people who distinguished themselves with their work, and earned sympathy at the international level.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has initiated Azerbaijan's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. Azerbaijan participated in the contest only five times, and the country's representatives have always been among the leaders of the competition. The young singers from Azerbaijan, Eldar and Nigar won Eurovision-2011 in May, 2011
"Our greatest achievement and success is to gain the confidence of the Azerbaijani people," Mehriban Aliyeva said at the ceremony dedicated to the 91st anniversary of Azerbaijani national leader Heydar Aliyev and the 10th anniversary of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
"This is an essential award. We focused on the elimination of the unresolved problems in the country. Proceeding from the centuries-old traditions of philanthropy and charity in Azerbaijan, we tried to be next to each who needs help. As a priority, we always keep the focus on the care of children deprived of parental care, the elderly people, refugees and internally displaced persons, people suffering from various diseases. We tried to morally help them. Caring about such people and assisting these people are one of the main factors of our activity. Full reconstruction of children's homes and boarding schools in the country, forming the family atmosphere there, the creation of normal conditions for the integration of people with disabilities into the society, the construction of residential buildings for the youth leaving orphanages, residential areas for refugees and internally displaced persons confirm this."
The staff of International News Agency Trend congratulates the First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva on the occasion of her birthday, wishes her health, happiness, prosperity, and further success in the multifaceted and important activity for the benefit of Azerbaijani people.