Azerbaijan: Multiculturalism as a state policy

Flame Towers, Baku, Azerbaijan


When you hear/read the word “multiculturalism”, Azerbaijan may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet the South Caucasus nation on the border of the Caspian Sea has become one of the few countries to embrace multiculturalism as a governmental policy.

The Republic of Azerbaijan lays between Russia to the north, Iran to the south, Armenia to the west and Georgia to the northwest. In 1918, it was declared the first democratic Muslim state. And, since proclaiming its independence during the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, it has achieved a high level of human development among Eastern European nations. During the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held between May 2-3 in Baku, Azerbaijan has officialized its stance on promoting multiculturalism.

The 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue

As globalization transforms our world, it is crucial for us to welcome multiculturalism and embrace our differences. Such was the stance of the Etibar Najafov, the head of Azerbaijan’s department of inter-ethnic issues of multiculturalism and religion. Najafov has highlighted the importance that cultural and ethnic diversity represents in the modern world, and accentuated the value these differences bring to society.

The 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, partnered with UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilisations and the Council of Europe to name a few, champions the motto “Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict.” Paired with local art exhibitions and musical performances, this endeavour links over 105 countries and 35 international organizations in an effort to improve intercultural relations.

Hopefully, more nations around the world will find themselves inspired by this initiative because, in the era of globalization, there is nothing more important than understanding one another.


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(Photo of the event by



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