The Organization of Islamic Cooperation

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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation
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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is the second largest inter-governmental organization in the world after the United Nations. It was founded by a charter in 1969, following decades of deliberation by Muslim scholars and statesmen around the idea of forming a global Islamic organization. Today the OIC comprises 57 member states whose populations amount to near two-billion people combined.

The OIC partners with international mechanisms, governments, and civil society organizations to address issues of concern to its member states and Muslims worldwide. In 2005, the OIC adopted a ten-year plan to address issues including terrorism, Islamophobia, poor governance, and economic inequality. The OIC has also become active in humanitarian assistance, and in 2008 established the Islamic Cooperation Humanitarian Affairs Department to coordinate the activities of humanitarian organizations. In response to a devastating famine in Somalia in 2011, for instance, the OIC organized efforts by more than 40 Islamic aid organizations and other CSOs to provide relief supplies throughout the country.

In 2018, OIC countries met in Istanbul, Turkey to establish a network between their Red Crescent and Red Cross national societies in a bid to respond to humanitarian problems and reduce human suffering in the most efficient way across member states. Notwithstanding the intense divisions among majority Muslim countries, the OIC has had an impact through activities and assistance related to long-term development projects as well as health, education, and agriculture initiatives.

In 1991, Azerbaijan joined the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and started to build relations with the organization. As a result, the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia was given a mandate of permanent representative of Azerbaijan to the General Secretariat of the OIC in May 1994.

Former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev met with the OIC Secretary General in Baku in 1994. Furthermore, Heydar Aliyev attended the 7th Summit of Heads of States and Governments of the OIC member countries in Casablanca and made a speech in that year.

In 2005, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended the 3rd Extraordinary Summit of the OIC in Mecca. In 2015, Aliyev met with the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad bin Amin Madani.

Baku hosted the 33rd OIC Foreign Ministers Conference on 19–21 June 2006. Mehriban Aliyeva, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation initiated the International Forum on "Expanding the Role of Women in Cross-Cultural Dialogue" in Baku on June 10–11, 2008.

On 22–23 November 2011, the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation, Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijani government organized the Founding Convention of the OIC Countries Young Entrepreneurs Network in Baku. ICYEN is a collaborative initiative to create a platform for young Muslim entrepreneurs.

In 2017, the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games were held in Azerbaijan. An official opening ceremony was organized in Baku on May 12, 2017.

Azerbaijan has achieved cooperation with other bodies of the OIC. In this regard, Mehriban Aliyeva's activities must be noted which contributed to the development of ties between Azerbaijan and the OIC. On 26 November 2006, Abdulaziz Othman al-Twaijri, Director General of ISESCO made Aliyeva a goodwill ambassador of ISESCO for her efforts to bring civilizations closer to each other. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoghlu made her a special envoy of the OIC on humanitarian affairs for her activities in the humanitarian field while attending the International Forum on "Expanding the Role of Women in Cross-Cultural Dialogue" which was held in Baku on 10–11 June 2008.

On 3 May 2017, a delegation led by Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yousef Al-Othaimeen met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The meeting involved the discussions over the solidarity and cooperation between Muslim countries, Azerbaijan's membership to the OIC and tourism potentials.

Azerbaijan was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at two summits of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, held on November 12–13, 2000 in Doha and on 16–17 November 2003 in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The position of Azerbaijan was defended, and documents were adopted, which required the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, respect for the territorial integrity of the country, as well as compliance with four UN resolutions at that summits.

The founding meeting of the Youth forum of the Organization of the Islamic Conference was held in 2004 in Azerbaijan.
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