F1 Baku City Circuit experience presented in Nice at the ISEFAC business school, followed by charity concert for peace

Press Release, Nice, 18 November 2016: Following an invitation by the Nice branch of the renowned ISEFAC business school, the French office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) organised a landmark conference concerning best practice emanating from experience gained during organisation of the European Grand Prix. This was hosted in Baku for the first time, earlier on 19 June to wide international acclaim. The keynote speaker was Arif Rahimov, Executive Director, Baku City Circuit.

The conference was attended by more than 70 people, including students from the ISEFAC Business School, which has a major dedicated to marketing and sports events, together with a number of academic experts from Nice and the surrounding region. Brigitte Just, Director, ISEFAC, Nice, introduced the conference, followed by Marie-Laetitia Gourdin, Director,

TEAS France, who made a short introduction about TEAS’ activities related to sport and gave a brief overview of the Azerbaijani strategy for sports-related events.

“Sport is a universal language and an excellent tool to promote a country, whilst providing a framework for sustainable development. The case of Azerbaijan is very interesting, having harnessed the European Games in 2015 and the European Grand Prix in 2016 to launch impressive infrastructural projects and to offer myriad opportunities for young people, both Azerbaijanis and from overseas, to develop their skills by participating in the organisational team.”

Mr Rahimov made a very dynamic and comprehensive presentation on the Formula 1 race in Baku, organised in the framework the European Grand Prix. This presentation was supported by an impressive video showcasing timelapse photography of the infrastructure constructed for the circuit, as well as another video illustrating the event itself.

He explained: “Before the Grand Prix, just a small number of fans knew what to expect from Baku and Azerbaijan. But, by the race weekend, the city was showcased as a modern, developed country and the host of a unique and memorable race. Organisation of a city race is a great challenge for a promoter, the city authorities and its residents. However, all challenges were overcome and the event was a resounding success.”

The conference was followed by a cocktail, kindly hosted by ISEFAC, providing further networking opportunities.

Later in the evening, TEAS also hosted a charity concert at prestigious Hotel Westminster, located in front of the celebrated Promenade des Anglais, in favour of the association Lions Club Nice Arénas, which focuses on projects for children.

Andrée Roux, President, Lions Club Nice-Arénas Association, rightfully quoted Melvin Jones, Founder, Lions Club International, who acknowledged the importance of such events: “You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else.”

Marie-Laetitia Gourdin commented: “How can we express the terror that gripped all of us at the sight of the horror on the Promenade des Anglais on 14 July after the terrorist attack. The strongest condemnations do not suffice to appease the pain that still affects us all. For more than a year, we have been discussing with the Lions Club about the organisation of a charity concert to benefit the work of this association, and after the July tragedy this project took on a whole new dimension.”

Stephanie Simpson, Director of Communications, Lenval Foundation, a children’s hospital that was central to the treatment of young children injured during the 14 July attack, provided her views on long-term co-operation with the Lions Club.

The Azerbaijani jazz pianist Emil Afrasiyab then gave a duet performance with accordionist Anvar Sadigov at the charity concert. They dedicated this to the memory of the victims of the horrific terrorist attack in Nice. The concert was attended by 120 guests, and raised more than 2,500 Euros for children’s projects in the Nice region.

This was followed by a tasting of Beaujolais Nouveau wine, complemented by some Azerbaijani pastries, acting as an excellent fusion of French and Azerbaijani tastes.

For many years, TEAS has been active in providing support to philanthropic projects. Every year, TEAS supports the Mosaic Foundation led by Prince Charles. In addition, TEAS has also provided financial support on an ad hoc basis to a number of associations. In France, for instance, TEAS has provided support to the Association Française des Victimes du Terrorisme after the attacks in 2012 in Toulouse, and also to the association IMAD Pour la Paix in 2015, following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris. 

Azerbaijan is internationally recognised as a model of religous tolerance, being a secular country since 1918. In that sense, Azerbaijan is very active in fighing terrorism in the framework of the international alliance of Western contries, and in that sense, TEAS, as a non-governmental foundation, finds it logical to provide support to initiatives that are aimed at bringing peace and understanding between peoples at a troubled time.