A comprehensive report on the Azerbaijani Language and Literature Forum held for the first time in our country
As reported earlier, from September 1 to September 3, the first Azerbaijan Language and Literature Forum took place in our country. The forum was organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Ministry of Culture with the support of the Ministry of Science and Education, the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, and the Shamakhi District Executive Authority as part of the centenary celebrations honoring the national leader Heydar Aliyev.
The forum started on September 1 in Shamakhi, the homeland of poets.
First, the forum attendees paid a visit to the monument of the national leader Heydar Aliyev in Shamakhi and placed flowers in front of it.
Following this, the guests were presented with a literary and artistic program in the open air featuring the personas of Nasimi, Khatai, Natavan, and other outstanding figures of Azerbaijani literature.
The opening ceremony was attended by Farah Aliyeva, head of the Department of Humanitarian Policy, Diaspora, Multiculturalism, and Religious Affairs of the Administration of the President, other officials, members of parliament, figures from the fields of science, literature, and culture, and media representatives.
During his address at the opening ceremony, Minister of Culture Adil Karimli emphasized the significance of the forum. He underscored that it is no coincidence that the opening of the event took place in Shamakhi, as it boasts a rich literary heritage dating back to ancient times. Consequently, there is a desire to uphold this heritage, and, considering its historical and literary legacy, there are plans to submit an application in 2025 to have Shamakhi included in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network under the "City of Literature" category.
The forum was acknowledged as a pioneering event in our country for its scale and the diverse range of participants it has gathered. At the same time, it represents a continuation of the theater and cinema forums organized by the Ministry of Culture earlier this year, reflecting the interconnectedness of these fields. A language with a rich literature is also rich. As the custodian of national codes, language serves as a vehicle for preserving our national identity and passing it on to future generations. It is believed that the more adaptable and progressive the language becomes in response to contemporary needs, encompassing various aspects of life, the more literature strives to align with the language's evolving dynamics. Language serves as a means of safeguarding our national identity.
The minister emphasized that the national leader, Heydar Aliyev, who regarded the mother tongue as the greatest national treasure, consistently prioritized the advancement of the Azerbaijani language and literature. Despite facing numerous challenges, he successfully enshrined the Azerbaijani language as the state language in the Constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1978, laying a foundational stone for our future independent statehood. During his leadership, Azerbaijani literature witnessed a remarkable renaissance. Under the guidance of this great leader, the transition to the Latin alphabet was fully implemented in independent Azerbaijan, marking a pioneering achievement among the former Soviet Turkic republics. In the first Constitution of independent Azerbaijan, adopted on November 12, 1995, the Azerbaijani language was established as the official state language.
It was noted that one of the first orders signed in 2004 by President Ilham Aliyev, who effectively continued the policies initiated by Heydar Aliyev, was the promotion of mass publications in the Azerbaijani language using the Latin script. President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stressed that language is the basis of our culture, art, music, and other traditions that have safeguarded the Azerbaijani identity as a nation over centuries.
Speaking about the commitment of First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva to this area, the minister pointed out that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, led by Mehriban Aliyeva, has executed a multitude of projects and events across several countries aimed at introducing and promoting our language and literature.
Adil Karimli drew attention to the prevalence of certain languages in the era of globalization, driven by the rapid advancement of information technologies. In response to these global challenges, he stressed the need to assess the position of the Azerbaijani language in our society, enhance its status as the primary cultural cornerstone in our thinking and daily lives, and take practical steps. The Minister quoted the national leader Heydar Aliyev: "Every nation is created by its own language. Keeping the language of the people alive, developing it, and elevating it to the level of global culture is possible through the efforts of the nation's leaders and scholars. Heydar Aliyev consistently demonstrated a deep appreciation for Azerbaijan's literary heritage". The international celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the "Kitabi-Dada Gorgud" epic, a fundamental work in the shaping of the Azerbaijani language and national identity, played a pivotal role in promoting the Azerbaijani-All-Turkic literary legacy worldwide. Consequently, today's forum is based on the idea of the interconnectedness of language, and literature, and language and culture. The forum's primary objective is to delineate and guide future development trends in these areas. The more diverse perspectives we have at the forum, the more interesting proposals we can hear. The suggestions put forth during the forum will be compiled and incorporated into the "Culture of Azerbaijan 2040" concept.
Concluding his speech, Adil Karimli expressed his gratitude to everyone who played a role in the organization of the forum and conveyed his best wishes for the successful progress of the event.
Emin Amrullayev, the Minister of Science and Education, delivered a speech in which he shared his insights on the challenges and prospects of the teaching of the Azerbaijani language in secondary schools. He highlighted that Azerbaijani pupils have the opportunity to pursue their education in various languages, yet 90 percent of them opt to study in their mother tongue. Over recent years, considerable efforts have been directed toward enhancing the quality of mother-tongue education in Azerbaijani schools and universities. Additionally, students studying in other languages receive instruction in Azerbaijani, with an increased number of such classes introduced this year. We need to extend efforts beyond Azerbaijan's borders to promote the teaching of our language. Consequently, online Azerbaijani language courses will be launched in the upcoming academic year.
Academician Isa Habibbayli, the president of ANAS, pointed out that while the Azerbaijani language had been declared the state language at various times for a period, its status as the state language couldn't be sustained. It was only after taking office in 1969 that Heydar Aliyev left an indelible mark in history as the savior of our language. It is unequivocal that Heydar Aliyev's consistent language policy in the 1970s and 1980s raised the spirit of national identity, self-awareness, and national freedom in Azerbaijan. The academician also discussed President Ilham Aliyev's dedication and care for our language, characterizing this forum as a continuation of the efforts in this direction.
Chingiz Abdullayev, the People's writer and the first secretary of the Azerbaijan Writers' Union, pointed out that our writers have been the most dedicated protectors of our language for 90 years. He underscored the significant role played by the national leader Heydar Aliyev’s crucial role in the endeavors related to our language and the publication of books, newspapers, and magazines in our native language by the AWU.
After the speeches, a video about the Azerbaijani language was presented.
The forum proceeded with panel discussions.
Panel I: The Impact of Globalization on the Azerbaijani Language and Strategies for Preserving the Authenticity of Our Mother Tongue
The first panel, titled "The Impact of Globalization on the Azerbaijani Language and the Strategies for Preserving its Authenticity", was moderated by Sevinj Aliyeva, director of the Monitoring Center under the State Language Commission. The panel featured discussions on various topics, including "Adapting the Azerbaijani language to contemporary demands and the mechanisms for language development in the age of globalization," Factors influencing the development of the scientific style in language" "The Role of Azerbaijani literature as a guardian of the Azerbaijani language: past, present, and future," "Exploring The possibilities of influence of modern literary texts on speech culture," "The process of word creation: revitalizing the inherent capabilities of the language and granting citizenship to widely used foreign-origin words," "Preserving the Azerbaijani language among Azerbaijani diaspora communities," and "The functional role of the Azerbaijani language in the realm of the Internet."
Academician Kamal Abdulla, the People's writer and Rector of the Azerbaijan University of Languages, emphasized the need to establish a mechanism for expanding the sphere of influence of the Azerbaijani language. He pointed out that interest in Azerbaijani culture, state affairs, and politics fosters an interest in the language. He commended President Ilham Aliyev for his outstanding work in promoting Azerbaijan globally and emphasized the importance of efforts to promote the Azerbaijani language in foreign countries. In this regard, he stressed the crucial role of organizing forums like this.
Academician Nizami Jafarov, a Member of Parliament and Honored Scientist, offered his perspective on the genetic roots of the Azerbaijani language. He pointed out, "It's well known that Azerbaijani is part of the Turkic language family. However, upon closer examination of our language's vocabulary, it becomes evident that the proportion of Turkic words is quite limited. The majority of words integrated into our language have originated from Arabic, Persian, and Western languages.
Professor Nadir Mammadli, the director of the Institute of Linguistics named after Nasimi of ANAS, noted that Azerbaijani has maintained its vitality and continues to interweave with other languages. Integration into societal thought influences the convergence of functional styles. He emphasized the necessity of establishing a scientific basis for words assimilated into our language during this integration process.
Dr. Sayalı Sadigova, the head of the Terminology Department at the Institute of Linguistics and Doctor of Philological Sciences, underlined the significance of language as the spirit of a nation, serving as the primary guardian of its vitality. Language is a concept, necessitating the creation of words to articulate new ideas in accordance with the demands of the era. Additionally, the internal capabilities of the language should be used to preserve its authenticity.
Poet Salim Babullaoghlu, the secretary of AWU, pointed out that there are currently approximately 7,000 languages worldwide, with around 80 percent of them spoken by fewer than 2,500 individuals. Forecasts suggest that by the close of the 21st century, around 4,000 of these languages may vanish. However, he expressed his conviction that the Azerbaijani language would not be among these endangered languages. On the contrary, he anticipates continuous growth and development for our language.
Writer and publicist Agshin Yenisey stressed the need for serious consideration regarding the scientific, philosophical, and technological responsibilities of the Azerbaijani language today. He noted that the Azerbaijani language effectively fulfills its literary responsibilities: "Our language has no problem in the field of literature. However, challenges persist in the scientific, philosophical, and intellectual spheres”. To address these issues, he proposed the translation of foreign scientific literature into our language as a solution.
At the end of the panel, questions were answered on the topics discussed.
Panel II: "Azerbaijani Language and Literature Across Time: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Trends"
In the afternoon of September 1, the forum proceeded with the second panel discussion, focusing on "Azerbaijani Language and Literature Across Time: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Trends"
During the panel session moderated by writer and journalist Azer Gismat, people's poet and Member of Parliament Sabir Rustamkhanli offered his insights regarding the introduction of foreign words and literature to the regions.
Rafael Huseynov, an academician, Member of Parliament, and Director of the National Museum of Azerbaijan Literature named after Nizami Ganjavi, commented on the topics of the forum, emphasizing their cultural, ethical, and political relevance. He stated, "This gathering calls us to embrace our Turkic identity and promote secularism. By uniting to contemplate the future of our language, we can expect to achieve outstanding outcomes in this domain in the years to come”.
Writer and Member of Parliament Agil Abbas underscored the significance of taking steps in the fields of literature and language, particularly concerning the creative work of young writers and integration into contemporary trends, genres, and innovations.
Writer Sharif Aghayar addressed issues concerning book publishing and broadcasting and shared his recommendations.
Sayman Aruz, an adviser to the AWU chairman, addressed the issues concerning language and literature in South Azerbaijan.
Poet Gismat Rustamov spoke about the encouragement of literary creativity, international and national literature awards, and shared his recommendations. Additionally, he highlighted the current necessity for Azerbaijan to participate in international literary conventions.
This panel also ended with discussions and questions on the presented topics.
Panel III: "The Role of Literature in the Development of Theater and Cinema: From Script to Stage, From Stage to Screen"
The III Panel meeting held in Baku on September 2 covered the theme "The Role of Literature in the Development of Theater and Cinema: From Script to Stage, From Stage to Screen"
Before the panel meeting, event participants were introduced to the exhibition titled "From the Golden Fund' of the National Library." This exhibition, organized in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Azerbaijan, displayed rare publications from the library's holdings and included ancient manuscript samples associated with our classical literature.
The panel, moderated by Ilgar Fahmi, a poet, scriptwriter, and secretary of AWU, featured addresses from honored artists and writer-playwrights Ali Amirli and Elchin Huseynbeyli, as well as Azer Turan, the editor-in-chief of "Literature" magazine, and Varis Yolchuyev, a writer and member of the International Writers' Guild, along with literary critic Asad Jahangir.
During the event, speakers shared their thoughts and perspectives on various topics, including "Contemporary Azerbaijani Dramaturgy and Its Challenges," "The Theater and Cinema Landscape within Azerbaijani Literature," "The Media's Role in Shaping Reading and Audience Culture," "Language and Translation Issues in the Art of Filmmaking," and "The Methodology of Disseminating Literature to the Public: Applied Innovations in International Practices". Ilgar Fahmi noted that despite the recent distinction made between cinema and theater as separate entities from literature, screenplays and dramaturgy remain integral parts of literature. He emphasized that it's no secret that in modern times, cinema has drifted away from literature.
Ali Amirli emphasized that the primary goal of literature is to nurture moral values. He stressed that playwrights of today should give careful consideration to the interests of society. Additionally, A. Amirli underscored the significance of documentary drama and supported his viewpoint with a quote from the film director Andrey Tarkovsky, who once said, "The best scripts are penned by writers who comprehend the language of cinema."
Elchin Huseynbeyli underlined the importance of increasing the number of private studios in the fields of theater and cinema. He emphasized that the poor reading habits of directors impact the film industry. Given that theater and cinema are collective art forms, they must work together, and the process should be founded on the writer-director relationship.
Azer Turan stressed the importance of delving into our classical works in the fields of theater and cinema, highlighting the potential for taking them to the international stage.
Asad Jahangir evaluated the grouping of theater theorists around the directors as a negative situation.
Varis Yolchuyev emphasized the need to guide children toward our culture within the home environment and promote literary works in our mother tongue among the younger generation as a means of preserving our cultural wealth.
At the end of the speeches, Ilgar Fahmi drew attention to the matter of writers compromising with directors, emphasizing that writers should grant directors creative freedom, as it is during this process that a high-quality work can come to fruition.
After the reports of the panel meeting, suggestions on the subject matter were presented.
Panel IV: "Promoting Reading Habits among Children and Adolescents. The Status of Azerbaijani Children's Literature."
On September 2, in the second half of the day, the IV panel meeting of the forum took place. In the panel focused on the theme of "Promoting Reading Habits among Children and Adolescents. The Status of Children's Literature in Azerbaijan," the moderator, children's author Gunel Asgarova, highlighted the key areas open for discussion.
Addressing the topic of "The Ideological Essence and Contemporary Challenges of Children's Literature," Vafa Yagubova, the head of the Department of Content, Teaching, and Evaluation at the Ministry of Science and Education, conveyed her thoughts on the significance of engaging young readers and expanding promotional efforts in this field. She underscored the importance of extracurricular reading and the broad introduction of children's literature to a diverse audience.
Children's author and Doctor of Philological Sciences, Zahid Khalil, addressed the modern challenges facing children's literature in his speech. He underscored the necessity for some form of oversight in the production of publications and other resources.
Speaking about the "Role of Mother Tongue and Children's Literature in Education", the head of the Department of Children's Literature of AWU, poet Gasham Najafzade highlighted the shortcomings found in language and literature textbooks.
Writer and honored cultural worker Rafig Yusifoghlu also addressed the challenges of children's literature, emphasizing that this matter should be regarded as an ideological weapon.
Children's writer Reyhan Yusifgızı expressed her views on the unity of the reader, publisher, and author trio in children's literature. She noted that in the era of rapid information, children have diverse interests, leading to a heightened attraction to science-fiction works.
Elnara Akimova, a Doctor of Philological Sciences and the head of the Children's Literature Department at the Nizami Institute of Literature at ANAS, explored "The Role of Children's Literature in Determining Cultural and Literary Sources." She addressed the question and presented her recommendations, highlighting that the literary content in textbooks often falls short of catering to children's preferences and reading interests.
Children's author Sevinj Nurugizi raised the subjects of promoting books among children and teenagers and the importance of a diverse range of literary works.
The panel proceeded with discussions and questions concerning the presented topics.
Panel V: "Values and Codes of Ethical Conduct: The Importance and Role of Books in Personal and Social Life"
On September 3, the last panel meeting of the forum was held in Baku, in the "Gulustan" Palace.
Before the panel entitled "Values and Codes of Ethical Conduct: The Importance and Roles of Books in Personal and Social Life", the People's Poet Ramiz Rovshan emphasized the significance of our native language. He stressed the importance of instilling a love for our mother tongue in children from an early age.
Afterward, a video dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Azerbaijan was presented.
Under the moderation of poet Akbar Goshaly, the panel featured speeches on various topics, including "The Current State and Objectives of the Book Industry in Azerbaijan," "The Influence of Foreign Literature's Entry in Our Country's Book Market on National Values and Thought System," "Innovative Approaches and Credit Mechanisms in the Book Sales System," "Advancements in the Book Industry," "Government Support Mechanisms," and "Responsibilities of the National Library of Azerbaijan in Fulfilling the Literary, Scientific, and Informational Requirements of Citizens."
Professor Karim Tahirov, the Director of the National Library, highlighted that the National Library has undertaken significant efforts to preserve our literary heritage. He also added, "While it's often mentioned that the number of books per capita in Azerbaijan is low, I must disagree. Many young people in our country are avid readers. We need to establish suitable conditions to guide readers toward books."
Shamil Sadig, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Azerbaijan Publishers, spoke about the organization's initiatives. He highlighted that the association has organized numerous book fairs as part of its efforts to promote literature.
Gunel Anargizi, director of the Baku Book Center, emphasized the center's extensive efforts to promote literature. She noted that significant projects in the fields of literature and language have been initiated.
Tural Akhundov, the director of the "Tahsil" publishing house, underscored the importance of preserving traditional books and passing them down to future generations, particularly in this era of rapid advancements in science and technology, notably information technology.
Shahbaz Khuduoglu, director of the "Ganun" publishing house, spoke about the significance of the forum and conveyed his anticipation that the event will yield positive outcomes in the fields of literature and language.
Ahliman Arshadli, Director of "AudioKitab," shared the historical context of audiobooks and noted that the institution has produced around 8,000 books since 2015.
Afterward, a video tribute to Azerbaijani literature was presented, featuring segments that emphasized the national leader's care and attention toward our literary heritage.
Javanshir Feyziyev, a member of Milli Majlis, delivered a speech and commended the forum, emphasizing the significance of conducting this event annually.
At the end of the panel, questions regarding the discussed topics were responded to, and a commemorative photograph was taken.
Thus, the Forum of Azerbaijani Language and Literature, organized in our country on such an extensive scale for the first time, came to an end.