The Baku Summit brings together leaders from politics, business, government, academia and the not-for-profit sector from across Europe and the world, in order to shape the debate on our shared future.
From keynote speeches to topic-driven panel discussions, The Baku Summit will provide participants with valuable insights into the ideas that are shaping the world.
OUR THEME – Building a Shared Future – is of global importance and has an impact on every individual, on every society, in every country. Building a shared future is our collective responsibility, it is the sum of our creativity and knowledge, our talent and experience, our ingenuity and promise. Building a shared future is essential for boosting productivity, pivotal for economic growth and vital to the resilience of our economies. The Baku Summit will be an exploration of how connectivity, in all its forms, can be best applied across all aspects of society for the benefit of everyone.
The programme of this event reflects on major challenges including:
The event will be held in English and Azerbaijani, with live translation.
Why Baku? Why now?
No location could be more fitting for this forum than Azerbaijan and its capital Baku. For centuries, Azerbaijan has been at the crossroads of continents and civilizations, bringing together people from all backgrounds. Just days after Azerbaijan celebrates the centennial of its independence, we are hosting our Summit, bringing together the leaderships of ACRE’s Member Parties – from both inside and outside the EU – as well as high-level representatives from businesses, media and other thought leaders. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Its UNESCO-listed Old City is ringed by burgeoning new skyscrapers yet, barely a few hours’ drive away, timeless rural villages are backed by the soaring Caucasus mountains.
Eclectic architecture – combining historical heritage of the east and west with iconic contemporary buildings – makes Baku one of the most beautiful cities in the world. International hotels, exclusive shopping and excellent restaurants make it an attractive destination. Baku has also firmly established itself as a key city on the world stage. Open and tolerant, it is a global centre for intercultural dialogue and cooperation, regularly bringing together political, cultural and religious leaders from around the world. Baku has hosted landmark international events, such as the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, the first-ever European Games in 2015, the Islamic Solidarity Games and Women’s European Volleyball Championship in 2017. Looking ahead, Baku will host the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019, and European Karate Championship and European Championship football matches in 2020, and the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which was first staged in 2016 will continue to be organized annually through to 2025. Hosting The Baku Summit is a natural continuation of Baku’s proven track record in delivering large-scale international events.
Azerbaijan, with its rapidly growing economy, has tripled its GDP and reduced poverty and unemployment levels down to 5% in a decade. In 2015, the country won a global South-South Award 2015 for achievements in implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals. Today, Azerbaijan is ranked 35 among 138 economies (number one in the Commonwealth of Independent States) in the World Economic Forum’s 2017-18 Global Competitive Index. We believe Azerbaijan is now ripe for our free market ideas that can turn the country into a beacon of economic resilience and sustainability across Europe and Asia. This high-level gathering is being organised by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists (ACRE) in partnership with our local Member Party in Azerbaijan, the Popular Front Party of the Whole of Azerbaijan.
Hotel Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers
Baroness Nosheena Mobarik, MEP
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
President of Bolivia (2001-2002),
Gudrat Hasanguliyev MP
President of the Popular Front Party of Whole Azerbaijan
Former U.K. Government Minister
Member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, European Parliament
Secretary General of the ECR Group in the European Committee of the Regions
Professor Hannes Gissurarson
Professor at the University of Iceland
Azzan Al Busaidi
DG of Planning & Studies, The Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development
Barbara Kappel MEP
Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
Matteo Bianchi MP
Mayor of Morazzone and Member of Parliament, Italy
Political Consultant Specialising in Decentralisation and Democratic Engagement
Vice-President of Shor party, Mayor of the Commune Jora de Mijloc, and former President of the Moldovan Tennis Federation
Nikolay Barekov MEP
Founder of the Bulgarian political party Reload BG
Director, Ministry of National Education, International Cooperation Department, Poland
Amjad Bashir MEP
Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament
Sahib Mammadov MP
Deputy Minister of the Economy, Azerbaijan
Ogtay Asadov MP
Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan
Nino Goguadze MP
Member of the Parliament, Georgia
Political commentator, blogger, publisher and broadcaster
Resident Fellow, Dr. Michael A. Walker Chair in Economic Freedom, Fraser Institute
Telecoms regulation and consumer protection analyst at Cullen International
Juraj Droba MP
Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Chairman of the Bratislava Self-governing Region
Director of International Trade and Competition Unit, Institute of Economic Affairs
Professor Gerard Pogorel
Professor of Economics and Management at Telecom ParisTech, international expert in telecommunications and the digital economy
Executive Director, Morgan Stanley, Former Chairman of the International Young Democrat Union and the European Young Conservatives.
Member of ACRE Board and Director of New Direction Italy
Senior Advisor, European Parliament
Dr. Nasir Awan DL
Chief Executive Officer, Awan Marketing Plc
Mayor, Ganja city, Azerbaijan
Professor Javanshir Feyziyev
Co-chair of the EU-Azerbaijani Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, Azerbaijan
Partner at Shakespeare Martineau
Simon Elo MP
Founder and Leader of Finnish Parliamentary Party Blue Reform
Senior Manager - Public Affairs, Samsung Electronics
Dr. Firudin Gurbanov
Deputy Minister of Education, Azerbaijan
Professor Andrea Giuricin
CEO TRA Consulting
Alberto de Sanctis
Political Analyst, UTOPIA
Mayor of the Tees Valley
Executive Director, New Direction Foundation
Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies, Azerbaijan
ECR Party Executive Director
ACRE Managing Director
Jonathan de Leyser
Director of IFT
Ahmed Shiyam MP
Founder, Maldives Development Alliance; Founder and CEO of Sun Travel Group
Dr. Abdulla Khaleel MP
Secretary-General, Progressive Party of the Maldives
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Azerbaijan
Professor Asif Ahmed
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health, Aston University
Chair of the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom
Chief of Marketing and Business Development at the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR)
Ziyafat Asgarov MP
First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan
Member of Tbilisi City Assembly
CEO, Awan Consulting
General Counsel, Cubism Law
Opening Video and introduction by Master Of Ceremonies, Iain Dale
Message from the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, delivered by Ali Hasanov, aide to President Aliyev
Keynote Speech by Ziyafat Asgarov, First Deputy Speaker of the Milli Majlis (National Assembly of the Republic of Azerbaijan)
Keynote Speech by Gudrat Hasanguliyev MP, Popular Front Party of the Whole of Azerbaijan
Keynote Speech by Jan Zahradil MEP, President of ACRE
Keynote Speech by Jorge Quiroga, President of Bolivia (2001-2002)
Panel Discussion on Energy Security
MODERATOR: James Wharton, former U.K. Government Minister
Energy sustainability is paramount for the functioning of any modern economy. Much of Europe’s energy comes through the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, meaning Azerbaijan is of great strategic importance, especially considering the aggression of Russia, and the instability of the Middle-East. This panel will discuss both the importance of energy security, and viable options to increase Azerbaijani-European co-operation.
Keynote Speech by Sahib Mammadov, Deputy Minister of Economy
Panel Discussion on Economic Freedom
MODERATOR: Olympios Raptis, European Parliament
Azerbaijan has, for the past few decades, been evolving into a modern global economy. Modern as it is counting more and more on the capacity for innovation and efficiency of its people, a philosophy that has brought wealth and raised happiness levels all over the nation. Our panel of distinguished experts on market reforms shall discuss current trends and best practices across the world, with particular emphasis in the wider region of Azerbaijan, as well as in Europe and the Middle East.
Panel Discussion on Digital Economy
MODERATOR: Daniele Cappezonne, ACRE Board Member and Director of New Direction Italy
Encouraging easy access to technologies of the digital economy renders the access to international platforms, possible where people and organizations devise strategies, interact, communicate and collaborate more efficiently, and more profitably. The government of Azerbaijan has been making successful efforts to attract more entrepreneurs and innovators following its “Declaration on the Digital Economy”. This panel aims to shape the debate for foreign direct investments in the digital economy, by analysing best practices, transferable solutions and successful case studies that could improve Azerbaijani digital footprint.
Keynote Speech by Javanshir Feyziyev, Co-chair of the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
Fireside Chat – Iain Dale interviews six members of the European Parliament on the future of Europe and of the European Union
MODERATOR: Iain Dale, Political commentator, blogger, publisher and broadcaster
Live performance of Azerbaijani music
Keynote Speech by Elmir Valizada, Deputy Minister of Transport, Communication and IT
Panel Discussion on Transportation and Connectivity
MODERATOR: Tim Dier, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley
Turning its back on years of forced isolationism, Azerbaijan is once again at the crossroad of Europe, the Middle-East and Asia. This achievement is owed to international investors and the Azeri government, that have sponsored numerous large-scale infrastructure projects; in the last ten years, Azerbaijan has built more than 6,000 miles of road and 300 bridges. More, however, needs to be done to achieve a truly global integration, and we will discuss the forms of transportation that are of major importance in today’s and tomorrow’s world, as well as the most efficient transport strategies to connect Azerbaijan to the global market.
Keynote Speech by Firudin Gurbanov, Deputy Minister of Education
Panel Discussion on Education Transformation
MODERATOR: Eric Roux, Chair of the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom
In 2015 President Aliyev announced that “foreign investors are more interested in investing into oil and gas sector, however, we will also invite them to invest in other sectors”. The maximisation of the human capital is aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education, and that includes equity of access. This panel will discuss the advantages of this transition; as well as the progress that has been made and future possibilities for rebuilding Azerbaijan’s human capital.
Panel Discussion on Governance and Localism
MODERATOR: Neva Sadikoglu-Novaky, Secretary General of the ECR Group, European Committee of the Regions
Localism is the idea that in governance, decisions should be taken at the lowest possible level. Local government is one of the cornerstones of Azerbaijan's constitutional system. Under President Aliyev, Azerbaijan has also made strong steps to decentralise including referenda in 2009 and 2016 that voted to increase local governance through the introduction, and then empowerment, of municipalities. This panel will discuss the advantages of local governance and will also look at the kind of local action required by current global issues and challenges.
Baku Expo 2025 Video and Presentation by Elnur Sultanov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Closing Address by Richard Milsom, Chief Executive of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists of Europe and Naweed Khan, Executive Director of New Direction