On April 11-12, 2016, Dr. Mukhtar Hajizada, Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Khazar University, participated in an international conference entitled “On Caring for our Common Home: USA and Vatican Participation in Global Issues” held at the Vatican. Conference participants included ambassadors to the Vatican, representatives of the diplomatic body, leaders of various faith groups and representatives of international news agencies.
The objective of the conference was to hold a discussion on challenges issues in the encyclical letter sent by Pope Francis on May 24, 2015 to the entire episcopate of the Roman Catholic Church “On Caring for Our Common Home.” The encyclical letter expressed the Pope’s deep concerns over the environment, climate change, decrease in biodiversity, low quality of human life, global equality, shortages of drinking water and other current problems.
The conference was held in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican under the chairmanship of Cardinal Peter Turkson. At the conference, Dr. Hajizada made a presentation entitled “Interfaith Tolerance and Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan” in which he spoke about the importance of multiculturalism in light of the current global situation. He also noted the rights of various religious groups and ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan as well as their contributions to the country’s environment of tolerance. He explained that Azerbaijan is a secular government, explaining its objective approach toward race and religion by citing examples from its legislation.
During discussion after the presentation, Dr. Hajizada also shared his thoughts about the events of early April including Armenian violation of the ceasefire along the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces; peace talks that have not yet yielded progress; the current plight of Azerbaijani internally displaced peoples and refugees after Armenia forcefully removed its citizens of Azerbaijani descent; and the dilemma of using force.