Establishment of Cultural Centres of Azerbaijan abroad
The Cultural Centres of Azerbaijan have been legally established in 2010 by the relevant decrees of the President and following months of joint work between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overall objective of such centres is to support bilateral and multilateral foreign cultural policy of Azerbaijan, as well as to promote the culture and language of Azerbaijan in hosting countries and create the atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation among the peoples of Azerbaijan and the hosting states. Such centres have been created so far within the embassies of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Paris (France) and Vienna (Austria).
The specific objectives of the Azerbaijani Cultural Centres are the following: 1) to raise awareness of the general public of the hosting state about the internal and external policy, culture, history, social, economic development, scientific and technical and tourism potential of the Republic of Azerbaijan; 2) to provide access to books, newspapers, magazines and multimedia, as well as cultural, scientific and technical documents of Azerbaijan to the general public of the hosting country; 3) to initiative and reinforce teaching and promotion of the Azerbaijani language in the hosting state; 4) to participate in establishing and maintaining contacts with the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan studying in the hosting state, as well as with students and graduates of the hosting state studying in the Republic of Azerbaijan; and finally 5) to establish relationships with the Azerbaijanis living in the hosting state and strengthen, within the limits of its authority, the development of bilateral cooperation.
The centres perform the following functions within their competencies: 1) holding conferences, colloquiums, meetings, performances, concerts, presentations, exhibitions and other events on domestic and foreign policy, culture, history, social, economic development, scientific and technical and tourism potential of Azerbaijan; 2) promoting the establishment and development of relations and co-operation between Azerbaijan and the institutions of the hosting state working in the field of culture and tourism, science, education, as well as non-governmental organizations (public associations and foundations); 3) participation in the development and implementation of cooperation programs in the field of culture, science, education, tourism, information and communication; 4) carrying out exchange of information and promotional materials in the fields of culture, science, education and tourism; 5) organizing presentation and promotion of films and audiovisual documents; 6) creating conditions for establishment of clubs and associations of citizens of Azerbaijan studying in the hosting state, as well as clubs and associations of students and graduates of the hosting state studying in Azerbaijan; 7) creating conditions for teaching of the Azerbaijani language at higher educational institutions of the hosting state, as well as in the Cultural Centres themselves; and 8) promoting the establishment and development of friendly and fraternal relations between the cities and regions of Azerbaijan and the hosting country.
According to the established guidelines the centres have the rights to initiative and develop cultural cooperation, through: 1) establishing and maintaining relations with the official or non-formal cultural and tourist organizations of the hosting state and media; 2) establishing and collaborating with the cultural centers of the third countries; 3) holding conferences, colloquiums, meetings, performances, concerts, presentations, exhibitions on Azerbaijan's culture, history, social, economic development, scientific and technical and tourism potential.
Though the implementation of the measure is unbalanced due different contexts of functioning of cultural centres, it has already proved to be a valuable source of promoting the knowledge about culture and creativity of Azerbaijan. If the number of tourism arrivals from the countries hosting the cultural centres tripled since 2010 and totaled 27500 arrivals from France, Uzbekistan and Austria in 2016.
The measure is further expected to continue developing the implementation of cooperation programs in the field of culture, science, education, tourism, information and communication, as well as carry out exchange of information and promotional materials in these fields. The Cultural centres now host and lead language courses offering Azerbaijani language teaching to local audience, both diaspora and foreigners.
Apart from the results achieved so far, the Cultural centres are expected to further contribute to exchanges among Azerbaijani and host countries’ artists, policy-makers and cultural workers that can potentially enhance and reinforce intercultural links, investments in field of culture, further boost tourism and promote respect for cultural diversity.
350 000 USD per year