A National Leader Who Created History


Former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev. Photo: Azerbaijani government

By MAMMAD TALIBOV, Azerbaijani ambassador to Mexico

“The leader who creates history is the one who has a vision, a plan and the
determination to see it through, no matter what obstacles may arise.”

…source unknown

Wednesday, May 10, marks the centennial of the birth of Heydar Aliyev, the national leader of the Azerbaijani people, and the architect and founder of modern Azerbaijan.

Aliyev was a prominent statesman with a commanding personality and an innate talent for leadership with an iron will. He played an invaluable role in the formation and development of an independent Azerbaijan, and he left a significant and indelible mark on the history of the modern world.

The people of Azerbaijan will always remember him as their savior – “Grandpa Heydar,” as he was affectionately called by a nation that entrusted their hopes on him to pick up the strings of the country in his hands and free them from abject poverty, total political failure, economic ruins and foreign invasion.

It was Aliyev’s unflinching political will and invaluable diplomatic accomplishments that enabled Azerbaijan to overcome these difficulties and emerge as a leader for the entire region.

Azerbaijan’s economic miracle, that transformed the country during the oil boom with an average growth of more than 15 percent annually, instilled social stability and security within a framework of, as Pope Francis once stated, “a model of religious tolerance.”

During his 10 years as president, Heydar Aliyev carried out substantial institutional reforms and spearheaded the adoption of a new constitution in which the modern democratic foundations of the republic were established.

The 1994 signing of the “contract of the century” – a major agreement with international oil consortia to build the pipeline that now connects the Caucasus region with the
Mediterranean – was another of his great achievements, allowing the south Caucasus region to be opened to foreign investment for the first time in history.

Azerbaijan managed to deliver on global-scale projects that have changed the energy
and transport maps of Eurasia, proving once again that Aliyev’s now-decades-old vision is still relevant in the current world context.

Today, Azerbaijan plays an increasingly important role in Europe’s energy security, and provides a new connection between Asia and Europe via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, the shortest route between the two continents.

Heydar Aliyev’s socioeconomic programs and projects, which are also successfully continued and developed by the country’s current government, have yielded solid, tangible results, including the fostering of new talented generations of professionals, the unprecedented reduction of the national poverty rate from more than 50 percent to just 4 percent over the span of two decades, and, most importantly, the recent liberation of national territories from illegal Armenian occupation.

It is this extraordinary leadership and commitment to development that has helped to reinforce the Azerbaijani identity and its ancient culture and traditions.

Due to its multi-vector foreign policy, Azerbaijan has become an important and respected member of the international community, with successful performances within different multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a nonpermanent member in 2012 and 2013, and its current Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chairmanship, where it has given a new impetus to the activities of the second-largest organization of nations in the world.

Heydar Aliyev was and still is a figure of infinite inspiration and unconditional respect for Azerbaijanis.

This year, which has been proclaimed as the “Year of Heydar Aliyev,” the Azerbaijani people celebrate the centennial of the birth of their great leader, who dedicated his entire life to serving his beloved homeland.

His venerated memory and genius personality will live forever in the hearts of millions of Azerbaijani citizens at home and around the world.

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