The opening ceremony of the Ganja-European Youth Capital project has been held at Heydar Aliyev Center in Ganja.
The event participants included the Azerbaijani President`s Assistance for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov, heads of central executive authorities, representatives of the European Youth Forum, members of the Network of European Youth Capitals, as well as representatives of international organizations.
Prior to the opening ceremony the event participants paid tribute to national leader Heydar Aliyev and laid flowers at his monument. Head of Ganja Executive Authority Elmar Veliyev declared the event open.
Presidential Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov read out President Ilham Aliyev's message to the participants of the opening ceremony.
Ali Hasanov then addressed the meeting, and highlighting Azerbaijan's achievements and experience in youth policy. He noted that a successful model of youth policy had been established in the country during the years of independence.
"Youth organizations in Azerbaijan are closely cooperating with international youth platforms. Azerbaijan is one of the few countries in Europe that apart from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has a Youth Foundation. Both youth organizations and individual projects are supported by the government," Mr Hasanov said.
"Some 3226 projects have been funded by the Youth Foundation over four years of its activity."
The Presidential Assistant noted that interesting projects would be implemented in the city of Ganja within a year, expressing his confidence that Azerbaijan would excellently host this international event.
Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov stressed the importance of Ganja's election as European Youth Capital.
Board Member of the European Youth Forum Lora Lyubenova, Executive Director of the Network of the European Youth Capital Andras Farkas drew the audience's attention to the fact that Ganja's election would give the city a greater chance to improve relations with Europe. "It also creates extra opportunities for young people. Throughout a year they will be able to establish close contacts with their European peers," they said.
Governor of Turkey`s Eskisehir province Azim Tuna Güngör hailed the importance of Ganja's election as a European youth capital.
The opening ceremony was attended by delegates from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Greece, Bulgaria and other countries, as well as representatives of a variety of local and international organizations, youth, sports and culture departments.