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Guest Book

Sylvie Brieu, Senior Editor, National Geographic France

Encore merci et bravo pour tes initiatives innovantes auprès des jeunes talents émergents, désormais sensibilisés aux richesses du monde et à l'utilisation de la photographie pour en témoigner. Les rencontres insolites nouées dans une ambiance d'une chaleureuse simplicité ont offert à chacun des participants issus de milieux, de cultures et de générations différents la possibilité de s'ouvrir à l'autre tout en découvrant la beauté de l'altérité et d'une terre imprégnée de multiculturalisme.

Sarah Anderson is the mother of Will Anderson. Will took part in the Children’s Eyes on Earth contest and his photographs were displayed at the International Youth Photo Festival

I can hardly begin to tell you how much the Festival meant to us, (Will, Tim and I) individually and collectively.  
To see all the children grow in confidence and understanding over the three days was delightful.  To experience the generosity of the professionals towards the youngsters was a joy.  
Before this, I knew little of the world of photography and photographers, though of course I had experienced the National Geographic and NG Kids.   Now I have a whole world opening up that I can join in through Will.
Finally.  The competition came at a key time for our family, lifting us when we needed it after the departure some months ago of the children's dad. The loss of communication and financial support has created many difficulties for them and the boost to their confidence from the festival is beyond measure.  So, for that unintended extra, bless you both.

Charles Mifsud, Journalist on TVM2 (Malta)

I would like to thank you and all the team who worked on this project for inviting me to this event . I would like to thank all the participants and new friends I made for the Wonderful experience.
Tonight  however with my poem and photos  I would like to pay  a tribute to the country which hosted this event : Azerbaijan . This country is so rich in Culture ( I spent four hours at the Literature Museum ) . In the poem "One Last Dance "  below  a princess is mentioned , not only because the poet Nizami elated the woman to status of princess (at a time when women were still slaves ) but because Azeri Culture had many intellectual women across the centuries . If I am not mistaken one  princess Natavan beat Alexander Dumas in a chess game !

Poem :                                         
One Last Dance
A seagull dances with the breeze ,
Sweep of joys in   empty horizons  ,
A dance of forgotten tales,
Consumed in ardent flames of fire,
A  little princess  awaits  his  dance ,
Caressing the soothing breath of the Caspian sea,
A  dance  to the lost memories ,
Of Rhythms carved in stones,
 For in the deserted Spaces   of Gobustan ,
Sterile lizards still share    her dream ,
And in the shades of an ebbing   twilight,
A twinkle lightens  the distant horizon,
A Flicker of joy shining ,
In the passionate eyes of love ,
For stars twinkle in multitudes ,
  Little kisses  across the span of eternity,  
And in  the darkness of a quiet  night ,
A   princess awaits a dawn for a her  one  last dance  with a seagull .

Steve Watkins, Editor, Outdoor Photography magazine

This morning it feels like we were away for a week or more, such was the amount of cool and fun experiences we packed into those few and memorable days in Baku.
Some real life moments were etched into my mind; the sermon on the mount from Reza; watching such a fantastic, skilled and lovely group of children come together and noticeably grow and mature in just 96 hours or so; watching the parents seeing their children doing that right before their eyes.
Just goes to show what can be achieved when creative and positive people come together.
I am sure, will become a major event on the international photography calendar over the coming years. The hospitality and the assistance from the IDEA people was superb, so thank you to everyone for arranging it.

Manoocher Deghati, photo-journalist, founder of Aina photography department in Afghanistan and Associated Press

I have attended many photo festivals and events around the globe in last three decades but the one in Baku was very special, spending time with young and talented photographers and their devoted parents was a great gift to me.

Lauren Jarvis, chief editor of the Children’s Eyes On Earth Youth Photo Contest and Festival

Thank you all for making the first International Youth Photo Festival so very special, and something I'll never forget. The passion and love that your team has for the project ensured that it was so much more than a festival - it felt like a true celebration and the start of something very special.

Dheeraj Paul is the father of Raghav Paul, one of the participants. He accompanied his son in Baku for the International Youth Photo Festival

Still could not forget Baku Photo Festival. What a wonderful time we all had with warm welcome & perfect hospitality. Thanks to Reza family, IDEA, Webistan & all the members.

John Hindle is the father if William Hindle, one of the participant. He accompanied his son in Baku for the International Youth Photo Festival

Dear all
We have also just landed safely in South Africa, with all suitcases intact.
I can only echo what Dheeraj has said. William and I had a wonderful time and his was indeed life changing. So many new friends, so much confidence, and so much new knowledge!

Michael Theodric won the third prize of the Children’s Eyes On Earth contest and his photographs were displayed at the International Youth Photo Festival

Thanks lots to all friends from all over the world :d ... Mike very happy to hv lots great friends , and top world class teacher, mr Reza Deghati, thank so much !
And to the IDEA team, just woww !! Great !
Should back to Baku next time ! It’s a beautiful city...


Hans Althaus is the father of Justine Althaus, one of the participants. He accompanied his daughter in Baku for the International Youth Photo Festival

The south French team is at home as well. Everything ran all right on our trip back, but it was sad to leave Baku. We would have liked to stay some more enjoying this incredible ambiance with all of you.
PS : the Samsung Camera is really great !

Georgina Smith is the mother of Megan Smith. She accompanied his daughter in Baku for the International Youth Photo Festival

Just relaying the whole sentiments from us northern lot in the United Kingdom.
Here's to everything that has been experienced this weekend and to the building of life long friends.

Juan Carlos Canales won the second prize of the Children’s Eyes On Earth contest and his photographs were displayed at the International Youth Photo Festival

Hello friends!
From Spain : only in our big dreams we could enjoy a few days like these.
Incredible organization, Wonderful Friends, Beautiful place, Master Reza = Sometimes life is perfect.

Alexandre Schreiber took part in the Children’s Eyes on Earth contest and his photographs were exhibited at the International Youth Photo Festival

I was very happy to share these wonderful moments with you in Baku. Travel, festival, dinner..... all of the stay is unforgettable.


Bulent Karapekmez is the father of Oguzhan Karapekmez, one of the participants.

We still are like a dream. We also thank all the team working in the organization that memorable idea. Oguzhan was too big to overcome with emotion. 

Dan Hutchinson, Chief Editor, Digital Photographer magazine

The festival was a great success and it was my great pleasure to attend. The quality of the photography and the enthusiasm of the children was truly impressive. As was Reza's interaction and inspiration with the children throughout the weekend.

Alexandra Kropova took part in the Children’s Eyes on Earth contest and his photographs were displayed at the International Youth Photo Festival

We would like to express our gratitude to you personally, your colleagues,
and, especially, to all the students - volunteers from Baku
They invest their time, efforts, and attention to the environmental problems,
because they know: there is no future without healthy ecosystem -
their work has tremendous impact for the future.

Iiuri Konoplov is the father of Eugenia Konoplova

Thank you very much for amazing time in Baku. Everything was perfectly and very interesting. Special thanks to the organizers, jury members, and of course the wonderful photographer Reza.


Irena Cerar, Editor, National Geographic Kids Slovenia

It was a wonderful event. I was SO proud to be a part of it and very honored to be invited. I guess in my spirit I’m still in Baku ;))

Paola Hellel, Director, Fox International Channel

Sincere thanks to you and the entire Webistan team.  It was such a pleasure to be a part of the event and experience the warmth and excitement of the children who learned so much.  I look forward to hopefully working with you and the rest of the team on the project in the future.

Glenn Ruga, Founder, SocialDocumentary.net

Great to meet everyone and a terrific festival! Fantastic to spend some time in a part of the world that I have never been to before and to meet so many wonderful people.
I want to thank Reza, his entire staff, the ambassadors, advisory committee members, IDEA, and of course the children and their families. (Did I miss anyone?)


Didier de Fays, Chief Editor, Photographie.com

Dear all,
It has been a great pleasure to meet you, and share with you such beautiful moments in a wonderful country.
Reza, thank you for aloowing us to discover such talented young photographers !