On 28 May, Azerbaijani nation celebrates the Republic Day with profound sense of pride and dignity.
On this date in 1918 the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) - the first democratic and secular state with a parliamentary form of government in the entire Muslim world - was founded with the adoption of the Declaration on Independence. The sovereign territory of the ADR was 114,000 square kilometres.
Despite facing grave internal and external challenges and lasting only 23 months, the ADR succeeded in setting up efficient state institutions, upholding basic human rights of all its citizens and earning the trust of the international community. The Parliament enacted more than 200 legal acts during this period, which included among others granting universal suffrage right, including the voting rights for women. The Government was formed on the basis of accountability and separation of powers, and the Azerbaijani parliament was a democratically-elected, multi-party and truly representative legislative body.
The newly formed Republic made education one of its primary targets by founding the Baku State University. Despite the economic and political difficulties that the Republic was facing, it aspired for long-term human capital investment by providing scholarships for hundreds of young students to study in leading European universities.
As stated in the Declaration of Independence, establishment of friendly relations with all nations, especially neighbouring nations and states, was declared one of the foreign policy priorities of the ADR. The founding fathers of the ADR rigorously pursued the goal of gaining international recognition and they ultimately achieved a de facto recognition of the independence of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani mission received an invitation to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference.
Regrettably, the existence of the ADR was short-lived since the Bolshevik invasion of April 1920 put an end to its historical independence. As the successor of the ADR, the Republic of Azerbaijan restored its independence in 1991.
Today, as an independent, sovereign and democratic country, the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev is attached and committed to the ideals of human rights, liberties and justice proclaimed by the founding fathers of the ADR.