President Ilham Aliyev attends ceremony to mark 100th anniversary of Baku State University

Tue 26 Nov 2019 08:16 GMT | 12:16 Local Time

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A ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Baku State University has got underway at the Convention Center.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the ceremony.

The head of state made a speech at the event.

Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
-Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Dear teachers, students!

I sincerely congratulate you and all the people of Azerbaijan on the 100th anniversary of Baku State University. I wish the whole university team continued success.

Baku State University was established by a decree of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. This decision is further evidence of the great contributions the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic has made to the Azerbaijani people. The founding fathers of the Democratic Republic understood perfectly well that it was impossible to build a strong and independent state in an illiterate society. Although the young republic was faced with great difficulties and could not fully control the territory of the country, this decision reflects the intentions of the republic and the policies of its founders again. For 100 years, Baku State University has been making an immense contribution to the comprehensive development of Azerbaijan.

The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan did not last long. This once again shows that it is easier to gain independence than to preserve it. The preservation, protection and strengthening of independence require deep political knowledge and great courage.

After the fall of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, Baku State University continued its activities in a new public and political period. Over 100 years, about 200,000 graduates of the university demonstrated their knowledge and skills in various fields of life in Azerbaijan. University graduates include outstanding personalities, scientists, public figures, politicians and specialists. Many of them have made a valuable contribution to the comprehensive development of Azerbaijan.

National leader of the Azerbaijani people and founder of modern Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev also graduated from Baku State University. Heydar Aliyev made an invaluable contribution to the people and state during the Soviet period, on the eve of independence and during the years of independence. It was under his leadership that Azerbaijan rose from being the most backward republic to the most advanced one among Union republics. At that time – young people don’t know this of course – there were several marks of distinction among the republics. Among them there was a transferrable Red Banner. In other words, the republics that achieved great success in industry, agriculture and all other areas were awarded the Red Banner. Under Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan received this Red Banner every year for 13 years. This was further evidence that Azerbaijan had covered a long and successful path under his leadership. When Heydar Aliyev began to lead Azerbaijan, we were among most backward republics. He led Azerbaijan along a path of great development and made it one of the most advanced republics. Only two republics of the Soviet Union were donors, and Azerbaijan was one of them.

Heydar Aliyev paid great attention to the sphere of education and held extensive meetings every year. At the same time, he made great efforts to send Azerbaijani youth to leading universities of the Soviet Union, and this was also unique because there was no such practice in the Soviet Union. Every year, about 800 Azerbaijanis, having passed exams in Baku, were sent to leading higher educational institutions of Moscow, Leningrad and other cities. Thus, a powerful personnel potential was created for the future of Azerbaijan. It is precisely this personnel potential that facilitates the successful development of our country and independent state today. The people who received excellent education in those years represent Azerbaijan with dignity today.

On Heydar Aliyev’s decision, the Military School named after Jamshid Nakhchivansky was established in the early 1970s. This is also evidence of the great leader’s vision. At that time, Azerbaijanis were inadequately represented in the Soviet army. Heydar Aliyev wanted Azerbaijani military personnel to be trained. He seemed to know that some time Azerbaijan would become an independent state and we would need these personnel.

In a word, the attention paid to education, all other spheres, his dedicated work and the wisdom of the Azerbaijani people allowed Heydar Aliyev the opportunity to fulfill his saving mission in the most difficult days for Azerbaijan. If the work he did in the 1970s had not been met with approval and great love of the people – in the early 1990s, Azerbaijan was facing a great catastrophe – then the Azerbaijani people would not have turned to him. It was the work done in those years that kept the feeling of faith in him in the hearts of the Azerbaijani people.

Both in the period before the independence and in the years of independence, Heydar Aliyev was always close to the people, and public service was his main mission. After the 20 January tragedy, he raised his voice, went to Azerbaijan’s permanent mission in Moscow, held a press conference there, blamed the Soviet leadership and the leadership of the Communist Party, condemned this bloody tragedy and communicated the truth to the whole world because he enjoyed great authority, and the words of truth spoken from his mouth reverberated throughout the world. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union was still two years away. No-one could have ever imagined that the Soviet Union would fall apart. This courageous step testifies to how much Heydar Aliyev was attached to his people.

After that, he left the ranks of the Communist Party which he had served for many years. This was also a great danger. I must also note that after the tragedy of 20 January, those who were represented on the leadership of Azerbaijan remained tight-lipped as if they had taken water in their mouths, none of them condemned the bloody tragedy, no-one raised his voice. This showed again that the then leaders were anti-national. The PFPA-Musavat tandem that replaced them by illegally seizing power remained in power for more than a year. Over the year it failed to give a political and legal assessment of the 20 January tragedy. Power was in their hands. Why didn’t they do it? Why did they remain indifferent to this tragedy, this bleeding wound of the people? It's true. It was Heydar Aliyev who, after returning to power, gave a political and legal assessment to the tragedy of 20 January, the crime committed against the Azerbaijani people, and this is history. This shows again how much the great leader was attached to the people.

The path leading to independence is also associated with Heydar Aliyev’s name. It was on his decision that the tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was approved as the state flag and other similar decisions were made at a session of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan. At that time, a referendum was held on the preservation of the Soviet Union, and in Azerbaijan it was rigged. It said that the population of Azerbaijan had allegedly voted to preserve the Soviet Union. However, this was not the case. No referendum was held in Nakhchivan. The words “Soviet Socialist” were excluded from the name of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. It was a path leading to independence. The New Azerbaijan Party was established, thus forming a political system in Azerbaijan, because there was no political system or parties in Azerbaijan before the creation of the party. Separate armed groups called themselves a party and fought with each other, while the lands were under occupation. If Heydar Aliyev had led Azerbaijan from the very beginning of independence, our lands would never have been occupied. All the leaders of Azerbaijan before Heydar Aliyev had deserted, left the people and country in a difficult situation and fled: two to Moscow and one to Kalaki. This is desertion, betrayal and treason. The duty of a leader is to protect the state and be with the people. In the most difficult and challenging moments, the leader should be at the forefront, like Heydar Aliyev. He is an example for all of us. The young people in the audience today should also know this history. I have repeatedly said this. We, the people who lived through this history, will never forget it, of course. We will always appreciate our successful development today. Young people did not see this. It seems to them that it has always been like that. It seems to them that Azerbaijan has always been such a prosperous and thriving state. This is not the case. We remember those days too well. During the period of the corrupt Popular Front-Musavat tandem, tens of thousands of people spent hours in lines trying to buy bread. Armed bandits committed atrocities, tortured people in our cities, abducted them, tortured and beat journalists. It is the government of the Popular Front-Musavat – the elements that called themselves democrats – that introduced censorship in Azerbaijan. Having come to power, Heydar Aliyev abolished censorship. Young people should know this history. Teachers should communicate this history to them so that they know the truth and so that Azerbaijan never finds itself in such a difficult situation again in the future. So that Azerbaijan never feels guilty to anyone, does not depend on the will of others, does not bow to other states. During the PFPA-Musavat tandem, foreign ambassadors kicked the doors to the president’s office and told him what to do. And he obediently followed those instructions. This is why he found himself in such situation. Does anyone love us more than we love ourselves? Sometimes we hear from some external circles that they want to help Azerbaijan, they want to see Azerbaijan a developed country. All this is a lie. I am saying this quite sincerely. In the most difficult days for us, the treasury was empty, the Popular Front-Musavat tandem plundered it, plundered the jewelry fund. People gave their last jewelry to help our army. At that time, the president, the secretary of state and the prime minister plundered the jewelry fund. There was no trace left of it. At that time, when the treasury was empty, we applied for loans, but no-one gave them to us. Okay, if you love Azerbaijan so much, then why didn't you help us at that time?! Why didn’t you help the country in a difficult situation?! Today, those interested in giving us a loan are lining up. We do not accept them. We give loans ourselves. Our external debt accounts for 17 percent of the gross domestic product. According to this indicator, we are in ninth place in the world. We can get any amount, even $10 billion, right now, tomorrow. But we don’t do that. I do not allow this to happen. I am reducing the debt further. So when someone says that they wish Azerbaijan well, don’t believe them. Don’t let the youth believe that either. No-one will ever love us more than we love ourselves.

The history of our people is full of tragedies. Why did we live as a colony for many years, for centuries? Why were we part of other states? Why is the history of our statehood very limited? At that time, even the possibilities of independent states were limited. Let’s take the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, for example. It could not run the country. Heads of foreign military missions made decisions. Even our first national flag adopted at the time was changed by a foreign military missionary. An ultimatum was made – historians are well aware of this. The leadership of the independent state was given an ultimatum: you must change this flag, and it did. After that, the current tricolor flag was established. So even in those days, independence was half-hearted and incomplete.

We live in true independence today because we determine our future ourselves. We make decisions on our own today. Today, the will of the people dominates in Azerbaijan. Today, Azerbaijan is a modern country true to its history and traditions, a rapidly developing state on a global scale. We are not dependent on anyone and should try never to depend on anyone. Therefore, we must be strong and patriotic, our economy must be even stronger, we must have political will. All this is present in the current government, and everyone sees that no-one can interfere with our affairs. No matter how hard they try, no matter how much lies and slander they spread, all this does not bother us because the people support us, as is evidenced by recent opinion polls. The vast majority of the population supports our policy. The vast majority of the population does not see an alternative to us. And who can such an alternative be after all? Even their patrons have already turned their backs on them. We know this for certain. In fact, I can even share some operational data with this audience, with the Azerbaijani people today. Today, the anti-Azerbaijani circles, foreign circles are already saying quite openly that there is no traditional opposition here, there are separate corrupt groups whose book is already closed, and they can’t be relied on. Therefore, they have reduced their funding, which is why they are rushing around.

The youth is seen as the main target. They have chosen young people as the main target, they want to confuse them, poison their minds, raise them against the people, the Motherland and traditional values. This can’t and won’t work because the Azerbaijani youth is patriotic, it loves its homeland and is attached to it. But there is such an intention, and we must know about it. Teachers must also know that. Teachers should not only give students knowledge, but also educate them. In general, educational work in Azerbaijan should rise to a new level. We must revise ideological work, there are weaknesses and gaps there. Those who do not love us, including the structures financed by the Armenian lobby, are taking advantage of these gaps, especially today when there is free Internet. More than 80 percent of our population are Internet users. A free and democratic society has formed in Azerbaijan. There are free media. Therefore, it is possible to conjure up any lie. After that, discussions are organized around this lie, this lie is already portrayed as a real fact and attempts are made to poison the minds of young people. We cannot allow this to happen. Young people must know history well. If they know history well, they will be convinced that never in our history has any outside power, any circle alien to us wished us well. On the contrary, they tried to oppress us, subjugate us, rob our wealth and humiliate us. Otherwise, a significant part of our centuries-old history would not be colonial. I want to say again: in the history of Azerbaijani people, the periods of our independence have been very limited – precisely because we were deceived and oppressed. This cannot be allowed to happen, and we will not allow it to happen. We stand firmly on our feet. No-one can interfere with our affairs. No outside force can influence our will. They may denigrate, spread lies and conjectures, but it does not bother us. The main thing is to live with dignity, to live as worthy and courageous people attached to the Motherland, to build, to repulse all foreign forces and to continue our development path.

Azerbaijan is developing exactly like that today. Therefore, we are treated with increasing sympathy in the world. It is no coincidence that the countries that make up the absolute majority of the world community vote for us. This was the case eight years ago when 155 countries voted to elect us a member of the UN Security Council. And this is how we were elected. Diplomats will know it quite well that voting usually takes place within one day and new members are elected very quickly. In our case it lasted three days. Three days and 16 rounds. Why? Because the country competing with us did not withdraw its candidacy. In each round, we won with a huge margin but could not get the required number of votes. Usually in situations when there is a big difference in votes, the losing side withdraws its candidacy. But it didn’t. And it was a friendly country. I was surprised: what's the matter? We found out later that it did not have the opportunity to do so. Some large states did not provide this opportunity and wanted to prevent our membership. I am going back to this issue again. If representatives of these countries tell you that “we love Azerbaijan, we want its development”, don’t believe them. If they did, they would provide opportunities. I don’t feel like naming them now; those interested can find out. For 16 rounds and three days, they tried to hinder our membership. But then what? They asked our representatives to withdraw Azerbaijan’s candidacy. They said that they would help us next year and wanted us to withdraw now. For these three days, I was in direct contact with New York. I said no way, we will participate in the vote until the end even if it takes a whole year. But if it lasts a whole year, then we can paralyze the work of the Security Council. Only after that was the competing country instructed to withdraw its candidacy. How did this happen? Most countries are fed up with this system, they are tired of it. Those who voted for us used to be colonies just like us, they were also oppressed, ravaged and robbed. Their patience has also run out.

Recently, by the decision of 120 countries, we began to chair the Non-Aligned Movement. I must tell you – and the Summit held in Baku confirmed this again – that there are many disagreements between these countries. There are countries that are at war with each other. There are countries that do not maintain diplomatic relations. But all of them, all 119 voted for us. This is a unique situation. None of them abstained or voted against us. Why? For the reason I just mentioned. They believe us, they know us, they know that our words do not diverge from our deeds. They know that we do not bow our heads to anyone even if we find ourselves face to face with the most difficult ordeals, the most severe provocations. Over this period, there have been many such provocations. Let’s recall 2003. An attempted coup after the presidential election in Azerbaijan. It is no secret that I won a landslide victory in the presidential election because people voted for the policy of Heydar Aliyev. Disturbances were committed. 2005. Azerbaijan was already being mentioned as the next place in the series of revolutions. Even T-shirts saying “Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan” were produced. In other words, we were supposed to become the fourth country in this series and be followed by others still. We stopped this plague, this disease, this evil. The whole world can see today that these revolutions brought only misfortune to these countries, that they have been left face to face with their problems and the unrest there is showing no signs of abating. Because these poisonous seeds of revolution were sown there. Just like the Popular Front-Musavat tandem stayed in power for one year like a poisonous weed. They contaminated everything around them so badly that the effect of this poison is still felt in some places. Therefore, we should have been the next stop, they even brought in orange T-shirts, but the elements calling themselves the opposition showed their stupidity yet again. They should have thought that parliamentary elections were to be held in November, and November is cold. Therefore, they didn’t know how to wear these shirts. Some even wore them over their jackets. So it was a very funny picture. And it didn’t work out. Why?! The people did not want it! The people said: enough, we have seen you rob, beat, insult, kill, bomb Ganja, unleash a civil war, sell Karabakh, sell Shusha, sell Lachin for the sake of struggle for power. And then you fled like deserters: the president to Kalaki, the secretary of state to Kalaki, and others froze their posts. What kind of a government is this? How can one be such a coward? Even an ordinary person who does not consider himself a leader can’t allow such a disgrace. They are not ashamed of anything. We all observed the same picture again recently. This is a disgrace. Are they sick, crazy? I can’t even find the right words, for God’s sake. This is why there is emptiness in the opposition camp today, and our ill-wishers are trying to use the youth to raise it against the people. There must be a healthy opposition, loyal to the statehood, attached to the people, making proposals, criticizing the authorities but introducing constructive suggestions and showing the way. We will only be glad if there is such opposition. That would really help our work. We have taken up everything. Perhaps there is an alternative approach or a position that can help. But this is not the case now and is unlikely to appear in the near future.

Our foreign policy successes are not limited to this chairmanship alone although this is a very important issue. Look at the important events that have happened only in two months – in October-November. At the invitation of President Putin, I took part in the Valdai Discussion Club. Only three heads of state were invited there, including Azerbaijan. This once again testifies to the great importance Russia and its president attach to Azerbaijan, their respect for us. There I said my word there in a live format. I could have said this in Baku, in some district. But who would have heard that? Only our people. In other words, we are not saying this for ourselves, we are saying this for the whole world to know. And I said there live: “Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and an exclamation mark.” The whole world saw again that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, the whole world once again learned this truth.

After that, at the CIS Summit which took place a few days after Valdai, I noted that we were on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We cannot allow monuments to fascists to be erected in the CIS. I said that a 6-meter monument was erected to fascist Garegin Nzhdeh in Armenia, that it should be demolished and that this is unacceptable. I said that he was arrested and then rotted in prison. I also want to note that the organization that carried out his arrest was called SMERSH. For those who do not know, I want to inform you that this abbreviation stands for “Death to the Spies”. So he was arrested as a spy, he was imprisoned for 25 years, which essentially meant a death sentence, and he died in a Vladimir prison. Notice what the prime minister of Armenia answered. He said that Solzhenitsyn too was in a camp, that dissidents were in prison as well. So this person compares Solzhenitsyn and other people arrested for freedom of speech and subsequently rehabilitated with fascist Nzhdeh. This suggests that the government in Armenia may change, but the fascist essence of this country doesn’t. I gave them a chance. In my remarks, I said that it had been erected by the previous government. If the current government calls itself democratic, then let it demolish it, knock it down. Let this stain be washed off. Let them get rid of at least one spot. But not, look at what their fascist essence has come to, they claim that he fought against the Turks. So this is the main thing for them. They are bringing up children in the spirit of hatred towards us, Turkey and Muslims.

I have repeatedly appealed to Muslim countries. I openly addressed them saying: how do you hug Armenia? How do you invite their leaders? Can't you see that they have razed our mosques to the ground? Can’t you see that they have desecrated our mosques? Take a look, there are pictures! What have they done to the Agdam mosque, Shusha mosques and mosques in other occupied lands? After all, these mosques belong not only to us, but to the entire Muslim world. How can you turn a blind eye to that? How can one be so hypocritical?

We have repeatedly held events related to Islamic solidarity and made our position clear. We will continue this, and the monument to fascist Nzhdeh is on the agenda. Let the certain Muslim countries that have established relations with this criminal state at least imagine these ruined mosques when they open their arms to the Nazis and ask themselves: who am I hugging?!

Therefore, our policy in this direction will be continued. But the matter does not end there. The prime minister of Armenia made a big mistake at the Ashgabat Summit by comparing Solzhenitsyn with a fascist. But he should have made the right conclusion after that because in the media, Russian and other, he was ridiculed: what is he saying, what is he talking about, what is this? But notice what he said afterwards. At a meeting with Russian journalists, he said: Nzhdeh met with Hitler, so what? Molotov also met with Hitler. No comment, you know. Molotov was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, he met with Hitler in 1939 to eliminate the likelihood of war. He did not serve Hitler. He was one of the leading figures of the Soviet Union who led the anti-Hitler coalition. Is it possible to identify him with Nzhdeh?! I am giving these examples also because young people should well, not find themselves in such ridiculous situations in the future and know history well. But this is said by the leader of their country. So what can be expected from them? This is a rhetorical question.

Other important events related to our foreign policy also took place in the past two months. In October, we took over chairmanship of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states and held a Summit in Baku. We took over the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement. We will chair this organization for three years. This is the second biggest organization in the world after the UN. In fact, it is the first because the UN is currently in such a state that there are more and more countries every day that would like to change it. This is first. Secondly, the UN does not have a leader. No country leads the UN, while leadership of the Security Council is carried out on a rotational basis, including us. This is temporary leadership. But we are chairing the biggest organization after the UN, and our position will be crucial now. We form the agenda, we will submit questions for discussion. Of course, we will raise our questions and questions of the oppressed countries facing injustice, and we will defend them.

The Second Summit of Religious Leaders of the World was held in Baku in November. Religious leaders of 70 countries came to Baku. There is no other such assembly in the world. During these meetings, I noticed people sitting next to each other who would have perhaps spoken differently if they had met elsewhere. But they sit, listen to each other, greet each other. We want this because the world is moving in a different direction. It is said that multiculturalism is dead, it is not there. The cradles of democracy keep Muslim migrants in cells, say “Stop Islam”. They say that we can accept migrants, I mean European countries, but not Muslim migrants. Multiculturalism is said to have suffered a fiasco. But we are showing that this is not the case. It depends on the political will, opinions, on what you want, what kind of policy you are pursuing. We are pursuing this policy. This is the only correct policy. Otherwise, wars in the future are inevitable, including, possibly, on religious grounds. Therefore, the holding of the Summit of religious leaders at such a level and with such representation demonstrates our respect and our role again. Today we have become a very important country not only within our own state, but also on a global scale.

As for domestic issues, they are also being addressed. The economy of Azerbaijan is developing. I do not foresee any economic problems in the future. The manat rate has been stable for three years. I am sure that this will be continued. Our foreign exchange reserves are growing, which already exceed the gross domestic product. Our external debt is reducing and will continue to reduce further. I have given the instruction – it should drop to about 10 percent, it accounts for 17 percent of the gross domestic product now and should be reduced to 10 percent. Industry is growing. This year, our non-oil industry grew by 15 and agriculture by 7 percent. The Davos World Economic Forum has honored us with very high places, including the area of reform. According to the aspiration for reform and confidence in the leadership, we are in top 10 in the world. And it is not us saying this, but Davos. What does the World Bank say? It says that Azerbaijan is among top 20 most reforming countries.

Reforms are our conscious choice. Can one guess what these reforms are for? After all, everything is going well, the country is developing, new enterprises are opening, there is improvement. No, structural reforms, political reforms and economic reforms are needed. Take a look – as a result of economic reforms, we have collected over 850 million manats in the budget in just 10 months of this year. We are channeling these funds into the social sphere. But these are only the first steps of the next stage of reform. Even bigger steps will be taken afterwards. This allows us the opportunity to pay great attention to the social sphere. More than 4.2 million people have benefited from this. This year, the minimum wage has doubled, the minimum pension has increased by 70 percent, benefits have doubled, scholarships have risen by 50 percent, benefits for the IDPs have increased by 50 percent. Due to what? It didn’t fall from the sky, we are achieving this through reforms, and we should.

Personnel reforms are under way, this is also a necessity. We cannot create stagnation, we have not forgotten the stagnation of the Soviet era. Therefore, personnel reforms must be carried out, but in an evolutionary and natural manner, no excesses should be allowed here. After I had expressed my thoughts on this issue several times, some started calculating other people’s age, saying that someone is 70 years old and should retire. This must not be the case. Then I said that I would not allow a campaign. Experience, knowledge and dynamism, the innovation of youth, its desire for renewal and reforms – there is such a synthesis in Azerbaijan. It is available both in society and in the government. We are building our state on traditional values, there are older and younger people. We must preserve this. Let the youth hear me and always pay attention to the issue of the older and the younger. Some countries are not paying attention to this now. No distinctions are being made between men and women any longer. But we live and must live in a traditional society. We must respect women, protect them: we must protect them, not women should protect us. There is gender equality and we accept it. But we cannot live beyond traditional thinking, let the younger generation know this too. Seniors must be respected for their age. Some people are trying to exclude the word "elder" from our vocabulary, as is the case in some countries. You look at them and feel horrified. And then we are advised to integrate. I once asked when Europe was gripped by an economic crisis: where should we integrate, into a crisis? Where should we integrate, into a society saying “Stop Islam”? Where should we integrate, into a society of those who do not see the difference between men and women? I don't want to go into detail. We will not integrate there – by no means! Therefore, the elderly and young generations need to be together in Azerbaijan, like in higher schools. Look, there are thousands of young people and teachers at Baku State University today. Teachers share their knowledge, young people study and will take their place tomorrow. That is how we should develop. Of course, personnel reforms should be continued but this should not turn into a campaign.

As for the activities of teachers, I appreciate them a lot. This is a very honorable, responsible and difficult profession. Teachers must always demonstrate their knowledge to students. Students see and know everything nowadays. Therefore, teachers need to always improve their knowledge. I have to say that we can no longer live with old baggage at the present stage because we live in the age of the Internet and can get any information. Teachers should always get acquainted with innovations, processes occurring in their profession, processes taking place in the world and technological development in order to give students quality knowledge. Therefore, the profession of a teacher is honorable and respected, but teachers should always work on themselves.

I was also a teacher. Upon graduation, I was assigned to work in a foreign country, but I refused. I did not want to go abroad. I stayed at the institute, entered the graduate school, defended my thesis and at the age of 23 began to teach – in fact, at Moscow State Institute of International Relations. At 23 and for five years. Therefore, the profession of a teacher is not alien to me. I was also a teacher and greet you as a teacher.

I recommend that students master knowledge. It is no longer to study by relying on good connections. In Soviet times, there was a word "tapsh" [instruction]. It was said that someone entered the institute "on tapsh". In Soviet times, the main thing was to get a diploma. When matchmakers were sent out before marriage, it was asked whether a diploma was available. If there was, then the brand grew bigger. A diploma is nothing – you should know this. If there is no knowledge and competence, this is a meaningless thing in the modern world. There must be knowledge because now new professions are emerging. Many former professions are disappearing. Some professions that existed 20 years ago are no longer there and are not coming back. This process will be continued. We are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution. It is already known what professions will not available in five years. But we are a country with a growing population. It has grown from 7 million in Soviet times to 10 million now. Therefore, we need to learn new professions. We should create opportunities for people to master these professions. Therefore, teachers face a huge task in this area, students should always work hard. Knowledge and competence – this is what will determine their successful and secure future. They must be patriots. Without this, our country will not have a future. Without this, we can one day fall under the influence of someone else and only dream of independence. Therefore, young people should have strong patriotic feelings. Young people should be educated in a national spirit, in the spirit of patriotism, on the basis of traditional values. It is such youth that will confidently lead our country into the future. I believe that the vast majority of today's youth meets these criteria, they are competent, educated, attached to their homeland, patriotic and open to the world. We should strengthen the state independence of Azerbaijan.

In 1920, we lost our independence. There are objective and subjective reasons for that. But it is a reality. Whatever reason you cite today, it is all useless because independence was lost. Why weren’t we strong enough? There are various reasons for that, but the fact is that we weren’t strong enough. Therefore, we must always remember this bitter history.

Independence could have been lost in 1993 if Heydar Aliyev had not come to power. He preserved, defended and strengthened our independence and put us on the right path. We are following his path, strengthening and will continue to strengthen our independence.

Our independence is the main goal. Azerbaijan is an independent state, a proud state and a state that is very optimistic of the future. I congratulate you again and wish you good health and success. Thank you!

x x x

Speakers at the event included Rector of Baku State University Elchin Babayev and professor, Doctor of Law Firuza Abbasova.

The event then featured the performance by pianist Etibar Asadli.

A second-year student in the Faculty of Journalism of Baku State University Rashad Imanov then addressed the event.

The presentation of digital graphics covering the field of science in 16 faculties of the university was held.

The ceremony concluded with the performance of the anthem of Baku State University.

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