The Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO, Anar Karimov, in his opening speech informed the guests that, 2016 was declared “Year of Multiculturalism” in Azerbaijan according to the decree of the President of Azerbaijan H.E Mr. Ilham Aliyev. A.Karimov noted that, Azerbaijan since centuries was a place where different ethnicities and confessions lived in peace, mutual understanding and dialogue and declared that, multiculturalism is a lifestyle in Azerbaijan.
He emphasized that, the visit of Pope Francis to Azerbaijan was not accidental and declared that “Baku process” promotes intercultural dialogue. Azerbaijan says “No” to radicalism and extremism with determination and gives a big attention to the promotion of peacefulness and tolerance in the society. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan faced military occupation and ethnic cleansing from Armenia since the first days of independence, Azerbaijan still believes in dialogue and promotes peace among different nations and religions.
A.Karimov stressed that, the organization of the event at UNESCO headquarters is not accidental. This Organization also gives great importance to encouragement of peace, dialogue, mutual understanding and tolerance, he said.
It was noted that, the book “La Vie Rêvée d’Yvonne Botto” of Shain Sinaria deals with life of French Yvonne. 17-year-old Yvonne Botto, who loved Azerbaijani soldier Shammad, left her native land during World War II and came to Azerbaijan - completely different country from standpoint of culture, language and religion.
He said that, Yvonne Botto, who embodies dialogue and multiculturalism, is human bridge among people and cultures. A.Karimov expressed his regret for her absence in the event related to the health and appreciated the role of TEAS in reuniting her with family and thanked the members of the organization.
Dendev Badarch, Director of the Division of Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue of UNESCO, spoke and emphasized the great value of the book “La Vie Rêvée d’Yvonne Botto”. He thanked the Azerbaijani government for support given to the project “Development of e-learning sources to promote intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding”. He said that, IV World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue to which UNESCO is the main partner, will be held in Azerbaijan in May, 2017. He declared that, this book devoted to the life of Yvonne Botto will be the source of inspiration for each of us from standpoint of charity and believe in humanity.
Marie–Laetitia Gourdin, the director of French office of TEAS, spoke about the history of her acquaintance with Yvonne Botto and her family.
She noted that, François Hollande, the President of France, met with Yvonne Botto during his official travel to Azerbaijan in May, 2014 and appreciated her as the best sample of friendship between two countries.
Then, Marsel Botto, the cousin of Yvonne Botto gave the detailed information about her family and her youth.
The event followed with concert program performed by the national artist Anvar Sadigov and honored artist, jazzman Emil Afrasiyab.