An international scientific conference opened at AUL

19 september, 2023

Azerbaijan University of Languages is hosting an international scientific conference on the theme: "Heritage and culture of the Jews of North and East Caucasus", a joint project of the International Charitable Foundation of Mountain Jews "STMEGI", the Dahan Center at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism (BICM).

Before the conference, a meeting was held between Shimon Ohayon, director of the Dahan Center at Bar-Ilan University,  Kamal Abdulla, academician, rector of Azerbaijan University of Languages, Ravan Hasanov, executive director of Baku International Center for Multiculturalism, Shimon Sharvit, rector of Ashkelon Academic College, Agil Shirinov, rector of Azerbaijan Institute of Theology, and Zevavit Gross, dean of the Faculty of Education at Bar-Ilan University.

Rector Kamal Abdulla, talking about the Azerbaijan University of Languages, noted that today about 20 languages are taught at the University, not only European languages, but also the Center for Israel and Middle East Studies, where Hebrew is studied, is actively functioning. "In parallel, we are trying to spread the Azerbaijani language in other countries. To this end, there are also Azerbaijani language centers in some countries. We will be happy if such centers are established in Israel."

He added that the university is ranked 300th in modern languages.  We occupy this place among 1600 universities. Kamal Abdulla brought to the attention of the guests that Azerbaijan has good relations with representatives of the Jewish people. In general, relations between all religions are a harmonious situation. The policy carried out in our country is one of the factors regulating that all confessions are treated equally.

As a result of this state policy, multiculturalism is flourishing in Azerbaijan. The rector informed the guests about the March 1918 genocide and noted that not only Azerbaijanis were killed during the crimes committed by Armenians. Many Jews were among them. These historical facts are brought to the students in AUL classes.

 Executive Director of Baku International Center for Multiculturalism Ravan Hasanov informed the guests about the Center's activities. He told that holding events related to multiculturalism has become a tradition in our country. At the end of the meeting the guests were presented gifts.

The conference started with singing the national anthems of Azerbaijan and Israel.

Director of the Dahan Center of Bar-Ilan University Shimon Ohayon, speaking at the international scientific conference "Heritage and Culture of Jews of North and East Caucasus", said international cooperation will be established between Azerbaijan University of Languages and Bar-Ilan University.

He provided information about Mountain, European and Georgian Jews and noted that through this conference the foundation of academic and cultural cooperation is being laid, the results of which we will see in the future.

Rector of Azerbaijan University of Languages academician Kamal Abdulla noted that today's conference is of great importance due to its scientific aspect. Today is a special day for relations between Azerbaijan and Israel. Because the conference is important due to its scientific, cultural and political nature. He emphasized that Jews have lived in our country throughout history. For this reason, there are similarities in the history and culture of the two countries. "With the Israeli guests we discussed the establishment of the Center for Azerbaijani Language and Culture in Israel. We believe it will happen in the near future," Kamal Abdullah noted.

Executive Director of Baku International Center for Multiculturalism Ravan Hasanov said during his speech at the conference that the Jewish community has been living in Azerbaijan for a thousand years. We preserve Jewish heritage and culture in our country. Noting that there is no discrimination against the Jewish community in Azerbaijan, the executive director said a conference of rabbis will be held for the first time in November this year.

Rector of Azerbaijan Theological Institute Agil Shirinov noted that Azerbaijan is among the states where Jews settled after exile. This shows that our country is a safe country for representatives of all nationalities and religions.  He noted that lectures on Judaism are organized at the Azerbaijan Theological Institute. There are also close ties with the Jewish community, which will be developed at the academic level.

It should be noted that more than 60 researchers-scientists from Azerbaijan, Israel, Russia, USA, France and other countries take part in the conference held at the Azerbaijan University of Languages.

 The conference is organized jointly by Baku International Center for Multiculturalism, Azerbaijan University of Languages, Azerbaijan Institute of Theology, Dahan Center (Israel), Ashkelon Academic College (Israel), International Charitable Foundation of Mountain Jews "STMEGI" at Bar-Ilan University.

A gala event showcasing the music and dances of Azerbaijan is planned as part of the international conference.

The 13 panel sessions of the two-day international conference include extensive discussions on the following topics: "Customs and traditions", "Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan and the Jewish community", "National and ethnic identity", "Zionist activities and immigration from the Caucasus", "Azerbaijani-Israeli relations", "The Jewish community in Baku: history and society", "Language and identity","Caucasian Jews in the Modern Period", "Mountain Jews during World War II", "Culture and Art", "Jews in Azerbaijan", and "Sources of the Study of Caucasian Jews".