Heydar Aliyev Foundation
|Focus||Arts, charity, education, and science|
|Key people||Mehriban Aliyeva (President)
Leyla Aliyeva (Vice-President)
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation (Azerbaijani: Heydər Əliyev Fondu) is a charitable foundation headed by Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva. The foundation is named in honor of Azerbaijan's former leader, the late Heydar Aliyev, who was the father of Aliyeva's husband, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
Heydar Aliyev died in 2003, and the foundation was created in 2004. The Sunday Times, writing in 2005 about Mehriban Aliyeva's decision to run for the Azerbaijani parliament, described her as already wielding "considerable influence," and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation as "a powerful and wealthy institution set up to safeguard the late president’s legacy and support a number of educational and charitable projects."
The foundation's executive director has described its activities as "broad and multi-sided," with projects that "aim to develop education and health systems, culture, promote our country abroad, protect our cultural heritage and improve the well-being of the people."
According to a 2009 EurasiaNet article "The HAF builds more schools than Azerbaijan's Ministry of Education, more hospitals than the Ministry of Health, and conducts more cultural events than the Ministry of Culture." It funded the Baku Museum of Modern Art, intended as a focus for an "eco-cultural zone" that will also include a white-sand beach, a Frank Gehry skyscraper, and a walkway that projects out over the Caspian Sea.
The foundation has sponsored several projects in France, helping to finance renovations at the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles. The foundation gave 40,000 euros ($55,000) to help renovate stained-glass windows in France's Strasbourg Cathedral. In 2011 the foundation donated 50.000 euros for the reconstruction of the Berlin City Palace.
Other international projects have included rebuilding a school in Pakistan that had been destroyed by an earthquake and organizing events in 2011 in Moscow and St. Petersburg to showcase Azerbaijani art and music.
The foundation takes part in the organization and holding of musical festivals like the "Gabala International Music Festival", the "The World of Mugham Festival", the "Uzeyir Hajibeyov International Music Festival", and the "Mstislav Rostropovich Baku International Festival".
Finances and evalutation
The foundation has according to a 2009 EurasiaNet article received some criticism for not being transparent about the financial sources, criticism the government and the New Azerbaijan Party has called slander.
- Abbasov, Shahin. "Azerbaijan: Foundation Finances Renovations at Versailles, Strasbourg". Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- Franchetti, Mark (6 November 2005). "First lady of oil is power in the land". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Alakbarov, Anar. "Executive Director of Heydar Aliyev Foundation: The Foundation relies on the people’s support and becomes stronger from this confidence". APA. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Abbasov, Shahin. "Azerbaijan: Ex-Guggenheim Director Betting on Bilbao-Style Project for Baku". Eurasia Net. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "Leyla Aliyeva: The Heydar Aliyev Foundation will be holding similar events all around the world to expose people to Azerbaijani culture". APA. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- Zamejc, Anna. "Azerbaijani First Lady Given Prestigious French Award". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 3 July 2011.