Azerbaijan’s First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva

Great woman of modern history of Azerbaijan

By Seymur Mammadov

Recently, on February 21, 2019, it was two years since the appointment of the First Lady of Azerbaijan, the head of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the chairperson of Azerbaijani Culture Friends Foundation, the President of Azerbaijani Gymnastics Federation, and the goodwill ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO Mehriban Aliyeva to the position of First Vice President of the country, whose name is associated with a significant number of important events, international sports events and revolutionary commitments to improve the well-being of citizens. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on this appointment on February 21, 2017, and from that date a new countdown began — the time of major changes in the social and political life of Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva shoulder to shoulder, by joint efforts, make titanic efforts for the prosperity of Azerbaijan, in the name of serving the Azerbaijani people. As a result of ongoing reforms, the well-being of the population rises, wages, pensions, social benefits increase. In parallel with the internal reforms, the married couple also pursues a policy of promoting Azerbaijan abroad, which is a priority direction of the foreign policy of the Azerbaijani state. But in the promotion of Azerbaijani history, culture, music, art abroad, great merit belongs to Mehriban Aliyeva.

The image of Azerbaijan in the international arena in the field of culture and heritage has increased dramatically in recent years. Mehriban Aliyeva is successfully pursuing a policy of popularizing Azerbaijan, its rich history and culture in various countries of the world, for example, especially in Russia, Italy, France and China. A serious event held in Beijing in December 2018 — the Azerbaijani-Chinese Friendship Concert is a clear proof of this. The basis of such a large-scale event is a memorandum of friendship and cooperation between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries signed in November 2017.

Last year, as part of the visits to France and Italy, the Vice-President of Azerbaijan held a number of official meetings. Today, thanks to Mehriban Aliyeva, the French and Italian society is well aware of the rich history of Azerbaijani culture. During the visit of Mehriban Aliyeva to Italy in September 2018, a conference was held in Rome, devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the strategic partnership relations between Azerbaijan and Italy. And in May 2018, with the organizational support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, a scientific conference was held in Paris, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, entitled “The first secular parliamentary republic in the East: values ​​and heritage”.

On the one hand, Mehriban Aliyeva popularizes the history and culture of Azerbaijan abroad, but on the other hand, she pays special attention to the preservation of historical and cultural values ​​of European countries and other regions of the world. For example, architectural monuments, historical buildings and museums are being restored in various countries of the world at the expense of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Recall that in France, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation financed the reconstruction of the cathedral in Strasbourg, some objects at Versailles, restored the catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro, as well as the Hall of Philosophers of Rome’s Capitoline Museum, etc. All her good intentions are perceived by the world community not only as a contribution of a Muslim woman, but also as a contribution of the Muslim world to the preservation of the holy monuments of Christianity.

Mehriban Aliyeva is not only a true defender of the historical and cultural values ​of the Muslim and Christian world, but she and the First Lady of Mercy share nobility, responsiveness, good nature as best qualities. Increasingly, we see Mehriban Aliyeva surrounded by people, especially children, who need help and care. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation organizes events for such children in connection with the New Year, Novruz, Ramazan, Gurban Bayrami and other significant dates. Sometimes Mehriban Aliyeva celebrates her birthday surrounded by children and teenagers from orphanages. Children suffering from serious illnesses (oncology, thalassemia, etc.), large families, poor people, internally displaced persons, forcibly expelled from their homes as a result of Armenian aggression, see Mehriban Aliyeva as a panacea for all ills. The first lady of Azerbaijan uses her powers in the interests of the citizens of Azerbaijan, in the interests of those who need help.

Over the past two months — January and February, Mehriban Aliyeva extended a helping hand to many people, including not only children, but also people who became disabled in the Karabakh war and even those who left the ranks of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in the 90s. In February of this year, on the instructions of Mehriban Aliyeva, in the framework of the program for providing high-tech prostheses to wounded soldiers, the disabled people of the Karabakh war were provided with high-tech prostheses. Mehriban Aliyeva extended a helping hand to the family of the legendary military pilot Alexei Shvarev, who retired from the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in 1995 and currently lives in Ukraine. Alexei’s daughter, Yulia Shvareva, suffers from a serious illness — she has an edendum of the spinal cord. The treatment was expensive, and the family owed a large amount of money to the clinic. There was a question about selling a house to cover the debt. Learning of this, Mehriban Aliyeva ordered immediate financial assistance to the family of a military officer.

But that is not all. In February, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mehriban Aliyeva, instructed the construction of a private house for another disabled person of the Karabakh war, a resident of the village of Garajally of the Ujar region, Shokhrat Gasimov, living in difficult living conditions.

In January, Mehriban Aliyeva gave the appropriate instructions for the treatment of Nazili Musayeva living with her young son under severe conditions in the Barda district suffering from hepatitis B and cancer. All expenses for the operation and further treatment of Nazili Musayeva will be provided by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

It may take a long time to list the beneficence of Mehriban Aliyeva. However, this is only the visible part of the iceberg, and the invisible part of the iceberg is much larger. Mehriban Aliyeva, in her modesty, does not advertise her good deeds, prefers to do everything from a pure heart.

With her kindness and humanism, she elevates the name of Azerbaijan throughout the world, and by her example she demonstrates to the world a modern Azerbaijani woman — beauty, unlimited love for those in need of help and care, tolerance, humanity. Today, representatives of the Azerbaijani women’s community are proud of Mehriban Aliyeva, her authority and love for those in need of help and care, taking her example in matters of charity.

Probably, the whole book is not enough to list all projects successfully implemented on the initiative of the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Azerbaijan and abroad — hundreds of kindergartens, orphanages, parks, schools, sports facilities, religious monuments were built or reconstructed with the support of the Foundation.
I can say that active work is under way in all areas of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s activities — this applies to education, the environment, health care, information and communication technologies, sports, as well as projects regarding “Address of Tolerance — Azerbaijan”, music festivals, restoration of historical monuments and construction of cultural facilities, etc.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), established on May 28, 1918, became the first country in the East to give women the right to vote. Azerbaijani women even outstripped most of their European and American colleagues in this regard.

Today, after 101 years, Azerbaijani women are active participants in the development and progress of the country. Their role is indispensable in all areas and at all levels. It is difficult to overestimate the services to the country of the First Vice President, First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mehriban Aliyeva. She is a major political and public figure and is an example to follow. It is not by chance that in the Western media, the activation of the role of the First Lady Institute in the post-Soviet space is associated precisely with her name.

Seymur Mammadov is director of EurAsiaAz-The International Expert Club, and editor-in-chief of the Azerbaijani news agency Vzglyad.az.