November 23, 2017 - Santa Monica College – one of the oldest colleges in California – hosted an event dedicated to Azerbaijan on November 14, 2017. At the invitation of the College, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev delivered a lecture at the event.
In his remarks, Consul General Aghayev spoke about the historical and cultural roots of Azerbaijan’s strong traditions of multi-faith tolerance and multiculturalism, as well as elaborated on the current atmosphere of brotherhood reigning between various religions and ethnicities in the country. Aghayev mentioned that despite all the challenges Azerbaijan has faced and continues to face, being located in a complicated geography, the country has been able to build a successful model of tolerance and positive multiculturalism, which allows for Muslims, Christians, Jews and representatives of other faiths to live in peace, harmony and dignity. The Consul General noted that thanks to the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, this environment of multi-faith and multicultural harmony and tolerance is becoming stronger and stronger every day.
Highlighting the brutal military occupation and ethnic cleansing of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia, the Consul General said that despite all the crimes and injustices committed against the Azerbaijani people by the invader, Azerbaijan has not allowed the conflict to hamper its exemplary model of multi-faith harmony, tolerance and acceptance, and divert the country from its path of positive multiculturalism. He noted in this regard the meticulous preservation of an Armenian cathedral with its over 5,000 Armenian books, in downtown Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. Against this backdrop, Aghayev said, almost all Azerbaijani mosques in Armenia and the occupied areas of Azerbaijan have been destroyed by Armenia.
The Consul General also mentioned that despite the occupation and ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia against Azerbaijan, over 20,000 Armenians continue to peacefully live in Baku. He said that this fact alone is a strong reflection of the Azerbaijani people’s unwavering commitment to tolerance and multiculturalism. “Against this background, all Azerbaijanis - around 250,000 of them - were expelled from their ancestral lands and homes in Armenia in 1988-91. That shows vividly the difference between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Aghayev added.
The presentation was followed by a Q&A session, during which Consul General Aghayev responded to various questions from the students.