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    ICESCO International Forum “By Youth For Youth” Kicks off in Shusha

    26 June 2024

    The International Forum “By Youth For Youth,” organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan and Heydar Aliyev Foundation, kicked off in Shusha on Tuesday, 25 June 2024.

    The four-day Forum is part of celebrating Shusha as Culture Capital in the Islamic World and ICESCO’s Year of Youth activities. It aims to provide a platform for young people to express their views, share best practices in peacebuilding, humanitarian work, and sustainable development, and devise concrete ideas to empower youth to lead positive change in their communities.

    The Forum witnessed the attendance of high-level officials and representatives from Azerbaijani institutions and bodies, as well as public figures. It includes the participation of 90 young people representing 43 countries from the Islamic world and beyond. The agenda features various panel sessions, intellectual dialogues and cultural and artistic activities.

    In his opening speech, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director-General (DG) of ICESCO, expressed gratitude to His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, for his diligent efforts to promote civilizational dialogue on peace and sustainable development, as well as to the First Vice President and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and all Azerbaijani entities for their significant efforts in ensuring the success of this event and their steadfast support in bringing this initiative into being for the Islamic world.

    Following, Dr. AlMalik welcomed the young participants in the Forum, particularly ICESCO Peace Ambassadors, noting that the youth population in Islamic countries is projected to reach 29% by 2030. This demographic trend has prompted ICESCO to strongly focus on youth participation as future leaders. Dr. AlMalik pointed out that youth represent 42% of ICESCO’s staff and highlighted the Organization’s key initiatives and programs in collaboration with international partners.

    Moreover, Dr. AlMalik emphasized that the Forum serves as a space for youth to build a brighter future by harnessing their potential to address global challenges and transform them into opportunities for peace and development. Dr. AlMalik also underscored the importance of deepening partnerships with the Republic of Azerbaijan.

    For his part, Aydin Karimov, the Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Shusha District, welcomed the Forum’s participants, expressing his sincere thanks to the organizing partners for their efforts in making the event successful and commending the participation of ICESCO’s young ambassadors from various countries.

    Furthermore, Mr. Farid Gayibov, Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan, highlighted the Forum’s importance as it will feature significant intellectual discussions to develop youth skills and contribute to peacebuilding and sustainable development globally. Mr. Gayibov pointed out that the majority of the Azerbaijani population are youth, necessitating the launch of various initiatives and activities to empower them and discuss innovative solutions to challenges.

    Mr. Elvin Aslanov, Head of the Humanitarian Affairs Department at Heydar Aliyev Foundation, welcomed the strategic partnership between ICESCO and the Foundation, noting the importance of organizing this Forum in Shusha as the city reflects the rich and unique history and heritage of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

    The Forum’s working sessions followed, featuring discussions and dialogues among youth and inspiring leaders from different countries to exchange experiences and ideas.

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