Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the presentation of his thumbnail Book "Oath of devotion to the Native Land, State and Nation" held in Mirza Fatali Akhundov National Library of Azerbaijan, June 3, 1995

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends!

Today we came to one of the centers of culture, to Mirza Fatali Akhundov National Library of Azerbaijan. Library is a holy temple and a source of knowledge for people and community. Therefore, esteem for the library is an indicator displaying the culture of our nation.

I have been in this library many times before. But I feel great respect and esteem while crossing the threshold of this library today. I would like to express my respect to the employees of this lib. It is a significant event. The exhibition of the thumbnail books is taking place here today. I guess that we witness such an exhibition in Azerbaijan for the first time.

The history of book-printing in Azerbaijan is old. The Republic of Azerbaijan celebrated the 400th anniversary of book-printing recently. Very interesting and fine books have been printed in past years differing in their forms and contents. These editions represent and give information about Azerbaijan in many countries of the world. But the history of printing of thumbnail books in Azerbaijan is very short. I am very pleased that we could witness the edition of thumbnail books of the writers, poets and social and political figures of Azerbaijan. It goes without saying that it is a very significant and great achievement for our culture and book-printing. I would like to congratulate the organizers of this event, the Association of "Book" in Azerbaijan, and people gathered here on this occasion, and I am confident that this initiative will continue in future as well.

The thumbnail book of my inauguration ceremony is also being demonstrated here. I have been presented this Book today. Indeed, I make my speeches, but do not expect them to be publish ed. I suppose they are being edited somewhere. But this initiative is taken today.

I hope the book dedicated to my inauguration ceremony which is significant for our country, republic and me. It is a significant event for me. I would like to express my gratitude first of all to the Association of "Book" and its chief Ms. Zarifa Salahova and also to people who published this Book. At the same time, I appreciate the activity and initiative of the company "Stark Enterprise" in this work and would like to express my gratitude to them.

Ms. Salahova expressed her wonderful feelings and wishes here. I suppose these are the common wishes and we must try to realize these wishes, to develop the publication of books in Azerbaijan and enlarge the collection of thumbnail books. The most gladdening thing in the speech of our compatriot Mr. Nisanov is that the Azerbaijani citizens who had grown and lived here do not forget Azerbaijan, help and maintain relations with Azerbaijan even they are abroad now.

The Nisanovs family is a well-known family in Baku. I remember some of their generations. I suppose you are the member of Nisanovs family. I am aware of the history of this family. I know that a member of the Nisanovs lives in the USA, help and establish economic and other relations with Azerbaijan with the help of his own company. I appreciate this initiative and hope that it will continue, so that the people grown in Azerbaijan but living abroad at present will not forget Azerbaijan, but widen the relations with it.

It is very important for us. We opened our doors to the world and we opened our territory, economy and intellectual potential to world more widely. In our economic and trade relations we promote the openness and will try to widen these relations. Though the steps taken by us are not so big, but they help us to join the world states, economy and culture and develop relations with them. Therefore, I appreciate this initiative and hope it will continue in future as well.

The publication of a book occupies a special place in culture and in the spiritual and social live of each nation and country. Each of us got our education from books and tried to live and grow on it. Therefore, we owe that books. To write and publish books are one of our main duties. We must do our best for this purpose. As the president of this country it is one of my main duties.

Indeed, publication of books faces different difficulties connected with the complications in economy of the republic during the socio-economic crisis existing in the world. It is natural. But we must find new ways to avoid these difficulties. Everything changes, including life. We are within the process of these changes. The publication of books was administered and financed by the government in the past, this field was very much developed in Azerbaijan. Now, the power of the state is limited, we are in Azerbaijan living in a conditions of market economy and creating great opportunities for private sectors, we shall try to use their resources to develop and enlarge the publication issue. Other countries, including Russia, are experienced in it. As for example, many companies and firms sponsor and take the responsibility of publishing books for children, youth and schoolchildren in Russia. I got acquainted with some examples and I can say that they publish better books now than they did before. The charity activity is developing in Azerbaijan. I want the businessmen and the entrepreneurs be generous in the field of publishing and editing books as they do it in other fields.

I think that it would be a great work in the field of charity. I call all the businessmen to this activity. It goes without saying that the opportunities of the state must be utilized by the productive way. As I mentioned, we change the forms of the ownership, pursue the road of market economy and create great opportunities for the private sector and we shall do it further on. Therefore, all this should be mobilized for the publication of books is of great national significance. I hope it will be like that.

The miniature editions of the distinguished writers, poets and scientists of Azerbaijan are being demonstrated here now. I would like to mention that it is a significant event. Our writers, poets and scientists own great potentials. The works done by them have a great role in the development of our science and culture and in the education of our people. Our nation must benefit from the intellectual potential of science and culture more. Therefore, we must try to help this people to continue their activities.

At the same time, we must care of the books which have already been published. I know that there are people who write and want to write. These people - the scientists, writers and men-of-culture cannot publish most of their works. We must understand this difficulty. But we must not satisfy with it. We must search and find ways to solve this problem. Our administration will use its power in this issue. Different societies, organizations, businessmen must join this activity as well. I hope this advice will lead to practical results.

I congratulate you all on the occasion of this ceremony. I suppose that this ceremony is devoted not only to the presentation of my thumbnail Book but also to the exhibition of the thumbnail books in Azerbaijan. I would like to get acquainted with this exhibition with great pleasure. I have presented many books to this lib. I hope these books will be placed in the fund. These books devoted to different themes are very useful for our society. They have different authors and I hope they will find their places in the treasury of the lib. I guess that, this initiative will continue in future and rich people will present different books in order to enrich our lib. I know that our library owns a big fund. The head of the library informed me about this. Library is a place the fund of which should be enlarged constantly. The world is changing and the new works and books are being written. They educate and bring information to people. Therefore, our library must be supplied with the new publications. We were doing it systematically once. There was a state plan and we enriched the libraries without disturbing anyone and it is functioning now as well. But now, everyone must contribute to this lib. I invite the Azerbaijani community to this benevolent activity.

I will not demonstrate the books I have contributed. But I would like to present the book which is holy for us. As you know I was on an official visit in Saudi Arabia. We visited the sacred places of the Islamic world and were very pleased of it. At the center of the Islamic religion, Mecca I was presented the copies of the Koran. I contribute one of them to the library, it is finely published.

I express my deep respect and esteem you all once more. I am very pleased to meet the delegation and the ambassadors of foreign countries here.

Thank you very much.

Historical backgrounds