Autumn 2006 (14.3)
International Medical Manuscripts Conference
Dr. Farid Alakbarli
The First International Conference on
Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica in Medieval Manuscripts
was held in Baku on June 12-16, 2006. This was the first international
conference on the history of medicine ever to be held in Azerbaijan.
The Inaugural session was opened by First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva,
Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and President of the Heydar Aliyev
Foundation, which organized and sponsored the event with Washington
Academy of Sciences (WAS). Dr. Farid Alakbarli, President of
the Azerbaijan Association of Medical Historians, Dr. Alain Touwaide
of WAS (U.S.) and Anar Alakbarov, Executive Director of the Heydar
Aliyev Foundation, served as co-chairs.
The impetus for the event was UNESCO's recognition of three manuscripts
kept at the Institute of Manuscripts that successfully were registered
in the "Memory of the World" Program in 2005. UNESCO
launcAZER.comhed this program to guard against collective amnesia
and to call upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings
and library collections all over the world to ensuring their
Above: (Left) New Book: "Medical
Manuscripts of Azerbaijan" by Dr. Farid Alakbarli, edited
by Betty Blair, sponsored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in
Baku, 2006. This is the first time that a substantial book about
Azerbaijan Medical Manuscripts has been made available in English.
An extremely attractive volume, this 248-page paperback is chock
full of historical content and lavishly illustrated in color.
Contact Dr. Alakbarli for copies: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right: New DVD developed by the Heydar Aliyev
Foundation highlighting Azerbaijan's rich collection of Medical
Manuscripts kept at the Institute of Manuscripts. Superb quality.
The manuscripts which were included in the Registry were copies
of Canon by Avicenna (1143), Zakhirai Nizamshahi by Rustam Jurjani
(13th century) and Surgery by Zahravi (11th century). Conferees
caught a glimpse of these rare manuscripts, which were on display
at the Conference. UNESCO's Abdel-Aziz Abid, Memory of the World
Program Director also flew in to attend the event.
Above: (Left) Illustration from the Book described
in Photo 2. Miniature from "Ikhtiyarati-Badii" by Ali
ibn Huseyn Ansari. Copied by hand in 1686 and kept at the Institute
of Manuscripts in Baku.
Middle: Avicenna's "Canon"
copied in 1143 and kept in Baku's Institute of Manuscripts. This
is one of three manuscripts in Azerbaijan that qualified for
registry in UNESCO's program "Memory of the World"
because of its uniqueness and rarity.
Right: "The Book of Surgery and Instruments"
by Abulkasim Zakhravi dates to the 13th century. This manuscript
also is registered in UNESCO's Memory of the World program.
Representatives from 22 countries participated in the Conference
including historians from Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Egypt,
Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, Italy,
Russia, Syria, Turkey, UK, and the USA.
Website of the First International
Conference on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica in Medieval
Manuscripts which was held in Baku, June 12-14, 2006. The Conference
was sponsored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Washington
Academy of Sciences. Site is in Azeri and English at www.medical-manuscripts.az.
Right: Conference attendees visited the Khan's
Palace in Shaki in northwestern Azerbaijan where traditional
musicians and young dancers entertained their guests.
Guests also went on several organized tours while in Baku, visiting
Baku's Medieval Inner City and the glorious architectural gems
of the Oil Baron period. At the end of academic sessions, conference
participants visited Azerbaijan's region with tours in Yevlakh
and Shaki where they toured the Khan's Palace,the Caravansarai
and the recently restored Kish Church.
Above: Dr. Farid Alakbarli (second from left),
one of the co-organizers of the Conference along with international
guests at the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Building. The first session
was opened by First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Heydar
Aliyev Foundation and International Goodwill Ambassador to UNESCO.
1. Dr. Abdel-Aziz Abid (France), Director of the Memory of the
World Program of UNESCO.
2. Professor Athanasios Diamandopoulos (Greece), President of
the International Society for the History of medicine (ISHM),
physician, and distinguished historian of medicine and archaeologist.
3. Dr. Alain Touwaide (USA), Secretary General of ISHM and vice-president
of the Washington Academy of Sciences.
4. Dr. David Wright (UK), Editor of Vesalius, Journal of ISHM.
5. Prof. Jean-Pierre Tricot (Belgium), former President of ISHM
and well-known specialist.
6. Dr. Abdul-Nasser Kaadan (Syria), Secretary General of the
International Society for the History of ISLAMIC Medicine (ISHIM).
He is a specialist in medieval surgery and wrote his PhD on Abul-Kasim
Zakhravi's book on Surgery which is in Baku's Institute of Manuscripts
and now registered with UNESCO's Program Memory of the World.
7. Dr. Axel Helmstaedter (Germany), Secretary General of the
International Society for the History of Pharmacy, University
8. Professor Ayshegul Demirhan (Turkey), President of the Turkish
Society for the History of Medicine.
9. Professor Nil Sari (Turkey), Vice-President of the Turkish
Society for the History of Medicine, and recognized as the leading
specialist in medieval medical miniatures (paintings).
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