Azerbaijan society is an exceptionally diverse country – culturally, ethnically and religiously. The country takes pride in this diversity, and as such the State (which is officially secular) has adopted ‘multiculturalism’ as a national policy. A key element of the policy is to promote inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue. For example, Azerbaijan’s State Committee on Religious Associations regularly organises conferences, dialogues and training programmes relating to religious literacy, inclusion and engagement, with the participation of representatives of different faiths.
Azerbaijan is also committed to sharing its experiences at international level. For example, in 2008 it founded the ‘Baku Process’ which aims to create space for dialogue between cultures and civilisations. The meeting ended with the adoption of the ‘Baku Declaration on the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue.’ Then, in 2011, the country hosted the first ‘World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue,’ with the support of UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilisations, Council of Europe, and others, and with the participation of officials from 102 countries. In other examples, in 2015 Azerbaijan hosted a conference on ‘Multiculturalism and inter religious tolerance: The experience of Azerbaijan and its significance for Europe;’ while in 2016 the country welcomed Pope Francis to observe national efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance.