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Meeting With Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev - KCCD/FACE
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Meeting With Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev
  • codiepie
  • 11, January

Meeting With Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev

Los Angeles, CA – On Monday, January 11, 2016, Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD) held a Meet and Greet Luncheon with the Consul General of Azerbaijan, Nasimi Aghayev for a historic gathering bringing together Korean and Asian American faith and community leaders to strengthen the friendship between the two communities as part of KCCD’s Donor Advisory Board program. This special gathering highlighted the interfaith programs and initiatives Azerbaijan is implementing to work towards peace and harmony. Azerbaijan is a secular nation with 95% Muslim population yet fosters a positive relationship with the Christian and Jewish believers. Azerbaijan’s borders are connected by surrounding countries including Iran, Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia as well as the Caspian sea.


Hyepin Im, KCCD President and CEO, opened by stating. “I am very grateful to Consul General Nasimi Aghayev for this historic invitation and the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships between our communities. In light of today’s time in which religious factions and wars are so prominent in our world as well as racial differences and conflicts, Azerbaijan is a shining example of leadership in promoting interfaith relationships, while investing your oil resources into building your country and the next generation and bringing your poverty rate from 49% to less than 5.5% in the last 15 years, as well as being a key partner in the economic and political stability in the region. Azerbaijan holds the key in many ways to peace in the world. I am so honored and impressed. It is a beginning of a wonderful friendship and we look forward to many opportunities to work together.”


Consul General Nasimi Aghayev also thanked President Hyepin Im and KCCD. “I was extremely honored and delighted to have met Hyepin Im at the Consulate a few months ago and so grateful and appreciate her effort in coordinating this beautiful meeting today. We are very happy to be a part of this historic milestone.”


The Consul General mentioned South Korea as one of Azerbaijan’s strongest allies and partners in Asia and considered one of the leading trading partners. Consul General Aghayev emphasized that “Korea is a very important partner for Azerbaijan…Currently, forty Korean companies are operating Azerbaijan, actively participating in large local, state, and private projects. … The cultural links between the Azerbaijani and Korean people are very strong. Our languages are members of the same language family (Altaic). So we consider Koreans to be our brothers and sisters. Azerbaijan has also opened up its very first restaurant in Seoul, South Korea called Baku.


In regards to religion, the Consul General explained that Azerbaijan is a secular national with a majority Muslim population (95%) but has a strong Christian community, with over 450,000 residents, along with a strong Jewish community, with over 30,000. “The principle of interfaith harmony and tolerance is very important to us. In Azerbaijan it is possible for Muslims, Christians, and Jews to live together in peace and dignity, respect each other and even admire each other.” He also mentioned the unique harmony the Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims enjoy in Azerbaijan as well as the country’s government fund that has helped to build and rebuild Christian churches as well as temples of other religions.


The Consul General also shared the history of Azerbaijan – From its independence in 1918 as the first Muslim-majority democratic and secular republic to being incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 until 1991 when Azerbaijan regained their independence. He spoke about how Azerbaijan is a key country of oil and natural gas resources, with oil revenues put into a state oil fund to reinvest into future generations. One of the key projects financed by the state oil fund is its study abroad program – Thousands of young Azerbaijanis are sent to the best universities in the world and are fully funded for their education. Korean universities is one of the popular choices. In addition, Azerbaijan also has strategic relationships with the United States, from energy to the fight against international terrorism. Azerbaijan is an important key link to transport and alternative energy resource for the region and America’s allies in Europe. Also Azerbaijan provides around 50% of Israel’s oil imports thus fueling one of every two cars in Israel.


After the Consul General’s presentation, KCCD Board Co-Chairs Rev. John Jongdai Park and Rev. Woogie Kim gave remarks. Rev. Park was grateful to “see a country that has created a space for all religions.” He spoke about the commonalities Azerbaijan and the Republic of Korea shared including being attacked by foreign countries so many times.


Rev. Woogie Kim also praised the country of Azerbaijan. “I feel like I came and found a hidden jewel that I never realized.” In a past visit to South Korea, Rev. Woogie Kim shared how Azerbaijan is known to Koreans, who are “very excited” in seeing future partnerships. He also emphasized how Azerbaijan can be a role model for Islamic countries, with the ability to be a “beacon of light of your faith.” The meeting concluded with a brief question and answer session and lunch.


KCCD would like to thank the Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev and his staff for this historic gathering, along with graciously providing the luncheon.

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