Mehriban Aliyeva, the First Lady of Azerbaijan and President of the Foundation Heydar Aliyev, was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Oral and Musical Traditions in September 2004 in recognition of her action to promote traditional music, literature and poetry, her role in the promotion of musical education and international cultural exchanges, and her dedication to the Organization’s ideals.
A qualified physician, Mehriban Aliyeva is actively engaged in the areas of culture, education and sport. Since 1995, through her charitable foundation Friends of Azerbaijan Culture, she has helped to increase knowledge of her country’s cultural wealth, while working to ensure its conservation at national and regional levels through such manifestations as festivals, exhibitions, cultural events and concerts. Mrs Aliyeva has initiated the establishment of a Mugham Centre in Baku in order to promote the traditional classical music of Azerbaijan at the international level.
Mrs Aliyeva is also concerned by the problems of early childhood. Her commitment and charitable works in this domain include the renovation and modernization of an orphanage in Azerbaijan as well as the opening of a music school and the provision of treatment for children suffering from diabetes. In her role as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs Aliyeva supports the Organization’s activities for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, especially oral traditions and expressions, performing arts and traditional craftsmanship.