Our Analytics 9 december — 14:46

What did Ilham Aliyev want to say to generation Z? (Following President's statements)

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BY ELNUR ASLANOV, FORMER DEPARTMENT HEAD AT AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION, EXCLUSIVELY FOR AZERI DAILY

The world is changing rapidly. A different format of interaction between the authorities and society is being built. Social networks are changing the media. YouТube dominates the determination of the new generation agenda, education goes online. The accessibility of top officials is becoming generally accepted, replacing the decades-long prevailing limited information on heads of state. There is a constant monitoring of power. All this eliminates the hitherto tangible boundaries between power and society that existed throughout the world. These transformations change the requirements and expectations of those who will vote in a couple of months and years, since the image of a new citizen is already being formed.

What are they, the new citizens of the country, the so-called generation Z? What unique features are characteristic of them, born in the 2000s and raised in Azerbaijan?

For generation Z, modern Azerbaijan is a given

In 2011, completing the first international biography of President Ilham Aliyev, the author of the book, Graeme Wilson, noted the following fact: young people see only brand new, luxury Azerbaijan, a country that is alien to the queues for bread, ruined infrastructure, high inflation, and thousands of unemployed people. However, without looking back at what happened 15 years ago, it is difficult to draw parallels between where from and where to the country managed to come.

Summarising everything that is being done in the political, economic and social life of the country, on the 100th anniversary of Baku State University, President Ilham Aliyev clearly defined the format of work with those who will further develop, strengthen the country and act as the main engine of its progress. The president made it clear: work with young people in the context of the development of their worldview should include correlation, the interconnectedness of the past and the present.

In the same speech, the president briefly mentioned what obstacles the country is experiencing every day: what difficulties were there during the election of Azerbaijan as a member of the UN Security Council or during the construction of TANAP. Domestic and foreign policy barriers are a daily political routine, overcoming which sometimes seems incredibly difficult. Young people must see and be aware of what the state goes through at different periods of its development. Therefore, in the new format of interaction between the authorities and society, the president and the first vice-president give a special place to youth. They take this factor into the basis of their political rhetoric, for it is more than clear that the generation Z is completely new people with a different type of thinking and attitudes.

They do not need ornate reasoning, they are waiting for specifics

The new generation needs to be clearly shown how the country is developing, what successes it has, what problems it faces and how it plans to solve them. It is important to report on the titanic work that is being done to achieve a particular task, while all communication is actively going into digital format. In the era of social media, interaction with young people is possible only online and with extreme specificity. They do not respond to hype, they grew up on it. They will not read long articles on the topic of politics. Give them clear data, as an option, infographics, and they will quickly process the information and draw their conclusions: often unique, unexpected ones, those that can become an impetus to the development of something new.

Key parameter is education

The president often emphasises that Azerbaijani youth both in the country and abroad should receive a better education. Using the example of the ADA University, we were able to show that we can create a higher educational institution with high-quality education, which students from other countries seek to enrol in.

The new economic strategy and reforms of the president are aimed at moving away from the archaic system that exists in most universities, where every year hundreds of philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, librarians, philologists, diplomats, etc. are stamped. The time is coming when Azerbaijan should act as a hub for outsourcing technology services. Education must be competitive and the task is to train personnel who will compete in the international arena. Every well-educated citizen is a plus in the treasury of the country's economic and political development.

They are waiting for new opportunities

In two months, parliamentary elections will be held in the country, which - being the first early ones - will open up new opportunities for a dozen young people, full of initiative and ready to implement the innovations.

The president urges young people to be active in the elections, as he is confident that young parliamentarians will work daily with their constituents to study and solve their problems, becoming an important connecting factor between the government and society. They will have to work actively, making maximum efforts for the development of the regions, thus transforming the legislative body into an active element of the president's modernisation policy. At the same time, modernisation will be a natural evolutionary step, in which the need for change is indicated by progressive thinking.

They are open to dialogue 100% and are waiting for it

The president and first vice-president advocate an open and straightforward dialogue. They personally communicate with citizens, listen to them and solve their problems. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of such a strong position for the generation Z.

It is in this context that the president is revising the format of the dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, taking into account the new pace of development of the country and society. Of course, the authorities are not going to instil in society a format of oppositional thought, moreover, to determine who should be the opposition and who will not. Opposition in any country in the world is not a particularly favourite topic of discussion for the authorities. Opposition is always a competitor and antagonist. But the opposition has tasks, and they include both protecting the interests of their constituents, proposing alternative solutions to the ones proposed by the government, and monitoring and supervising government actions, as well as promoting greater stability, legitimacy, accountability and transparency of political processes. The government wants to see such an opposition as its opponent.

The maturity of democracy in Azerbaijan is determined not only by the maturity of government, but also by the viability of the opposition and its methods of countering government, which can no longer and should not be considered in the context of vulgar actions and attacks. Being in opposition does not always mean being against the government. The opposition can support the ruling faction: on an ongoing basis or on specific issues. Therefore, the representation of a rational political opposition in political life in itself is important for stable and legitimate democracy.

What's next?

The way any country copes with difficulties in the face of the global financial crisis is the best indicator of strength. Does it block rational stimuli, or does it open up to changes and chart a new course? There will be difficulties in this way, but for the strong, there is nothing insuperable.

President Ilham Aliyev is improving the social contract, which is based on the personal approach of the head of state, his personal analysis, backed up by awareness and coordination with society. Ilham Aliyev organically fits a new direction of development into the system of political and economic structure, which has been developing for decades.

Perhaps in all actions political and economic profit and loss are still present. But only by moving Azerbaijan is improving, and as a result, all measures should lead to net profit in the face of an economically modernised state with a constant open dialogue between a political state and civil society.

In 8-12 years, the civil society will mainly consist of generation Z. Therefore, the president's course towards youth development, the format of maximum openness, awareness of the steps taken, the formation of initiative and patriotic young people is the foundation of the future of the whole country.

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