Ashgabat hosts international conference dedicated to Nowruz
An international conference called “Nowruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism” was held at the Ruhiyet (Spirituality) Palace in Ashgabat. It was chaired by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The high-level forum was timed to the International Day of Nowruz. The conference was organized by the Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan.
The Nowruz festivities in Ashgabat, including the international conference “Nowruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism” was attended by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Kasymzhomart Tokaev, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation Rustam Minnikhanov, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Elchin Efendiyev, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Taner Yildiz, Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of Kyrgyzstan Sultan Rayev, and Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Kabibulla Dzhakupov.
More than 30 countries sent their representatives to the international conference “Nowruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism.” Among the foreign participants were the heads and representatives of the Academies of Science, major scientific and cultural centers, universities, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov opened the conference and delivered a speech. He stressed the great significance of the centuries-old Nowruz holiday. Highlighting the ethical-philosophical and culturological aspects of the holiday, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that “sacred Nowruz symbolizes our spiritual, historical and cultural unity.”
Stressing the consolidating role of Nowruz holiday in the modern world, the Turkmen leader said that the recognition of Nowruz as International Day by the UN General Assembly made people happy and pride, as Nowruz brings the peoples together and opens up new ways to take their relationship to higher levels.
The President of Turkmenistan said that the current joint celebration of Nowruz was manifestation of friendship and brotherhood, emphasizing immutability of the humanistic orientation of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan, one of the leading principles of which is further development of friendly relations with the countries of the world and especially with the closest neighbors. In this regard, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov referred to a number of large-scale joint projects already implemented by Turkmenistan with the regional countries, as well as those planned for the future.
“First of all, these projects aim to develop trade and economic cooperation, establish transnational transport and communication systems, use natural and energy resources in the name of ensuring the interests of all people, sustainable development and prosperity,” the head of state said, expressing confidence that such close cooperation in the interest of national, regional and global development would certainly continue.
The Turkmen leader touched on the humanitarian component of international cooperation, noting that the spiritual and cultural values of mankind in complex conditions of modern life lead to the right decisions. He said that cooperation in education and science, art and culture takes an important place among the priorities of the international partnership of Turkmenistan. According to the Turkmen president, it takes over thousands of years to establish the historic partnership, and the cultural community of nations can emerge owing to the naturally springing human relations, which are based on the spiritual and moral values inherent in every nation, as evidenced by the substance and best traditions of Nowruz holiday.
Stressing the importance of humanistic values in strengthening international cooperation and enriching the cultures of the world, the President of Turkmenistan proposed to launch a special publication named “Nowruz”, introducing the world community to national holidays and traditions. This publication can be printed once a year, on the eve of the holiday.
In his speech, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed that Nowruz was glorified by the classical Turkmen poets and thinkers. As the head of state noted, the Turkmen historical personalities made invaluable contribution to the educational and scientific processes of development of mankind. They clearly demonstrated the value of Nowruz in their works. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan proposed to hold an international art contest for the best literary and other works of art dedicated to Nowruz holiday. The Turkmen leader said that this contest would be open for poets and writers, painters, muralist, artists and creative people of the fraternal states, and this will be very much important for bringing the peoples closer to each other and mutual enrichment of cultures.
Concluding his speech, the President of Turkmenistan once again congratulated the forum participants on the bright holiday of Nowruz, wishing them good health, happiness and success, as well as peace, happiness and prosperity to the peoples of fraternal states.
Continuing the international conference, the President of Turkmenistan gave the floor to the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Kasymzhomart Tokaev.
Greeting the participants of the international conference, a senior UN official sincerely thanked the head of Turkmenistan, the Turkmen people for the cordial and warm welcome and good organization of the high-level international forum. The high guest conveyed warm greetings and best wishes of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the head of the Turkmen state and all participants of celebrations on the occasion of Nowruz.
Kasymzhomart Tokaev said that Nowruz, a holiday with a more than three thousand year-old history, symbolizing renewal and embodying the spirit of unity of society, inspires people of the world for new and innovative achievements. He stressed the importance and urgency of traditions and spiritual heritage in the modern world, in the age of globalization and innovation. According to him, the festival of Nowruz provides an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to universal values such as tolerance, respect and mutual understanding and recognition of equality of all people.
“Festivities in honor of the International Day of Nowruz in the beautiful Turkmen capital city of Ashgabat provide an excellent opportunity to send a goodwill message to the entire world and demonstrate our shared commitment to working for the interests of all peoples,” the UN Deputy Secretary General said in conclusion.
Then, the Turkmen leader gave the floor to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Speaking about the high meaning and symbolism of Nowruz, the head of the friendly country cited the lines from the verses expressing the philosophical essence of this wonderful holiday that embodies the awakening of nature, renewal of life, spiritual rebirth of man.
The Iranian leader said that the divine essence of the holiday is reflected in its sacred traditions and customs, good work, including maintenance of friendly cordial relations with different people, honoring one’s parents, respect for teachers, help for the poor and multiplication of the good.
“Ancient Nowruz, as a symbol of spring renewal of nature since time immemorial, awakened in people the most wonderful feelings. Being a spiritual legacy of dozens of nations, it has contributed to their unity,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, stressing that celebration of the holiday at the international level is an excellent opportunity to maintain friendly relations in the world, develop cooperation and strengthen cultural relations of different nations.
Then, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave the floor to President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.
The head of Afghanistan noted that one of the distinguishing features of Nowruz is its focus on strengthening the relations of fraternal friendship between the peoples and countries of the region. He said that this ancient holiday is a symbol of peace, prosperity and development. Hamid Karzai stressed that joint celebration of Nowruz is important to strengthen the ties of friendship and good neighborliness between the peoples of the region, since it has the enormous positive potential for development of the broad fruitful cooperation. “For its part, Afghanistan will continue to make every effort to build an effective partnership in the common interest,” the Afghan leader said.
Then, the President of Turkmenistan gave the floor to President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
The head of Tajikistan noted the symbolism of celebration of the International Day of Nowruz in brotherly Turkmenistan this year. He stressed that “this hospitable land has been part of a common cultural space and recognized as a homeland of radiant Nowruz.” According to him, Nowruz is the holiday of people and nations of Central Asia and the Middle East, being inherently a transnational phenomenon that proclaims unity of man, nature and universe, as well as unity of the human race. “Realizing this holistic paradigm, our ancestors laid the foundation for globalization of this great festival in the fifth century BC,” the head of Tajikistan said.
On this occasion, President Rahmon expressed his sincere gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for organizing an important trilateral summit on the eve of the conference, where the sides negotiated and signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Turkmenistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Tajikistan on the railway project “Turkmenistan —Afghanistan — Tajikistan.” The Tajik leader said that recreation of transport and communication corridors and information bridges in the cultural space of Nowruz will promote fruitful economic and trade cooperation between the countries of the region.
Then, the floor was given to President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.
The Pakistani President said that Nowruz is a symbol of the new year, a holiday that unites the peoples, and its recognition by the United Nations as an integral part of the world cultural heritage signifies the triumph of the ideals of peace, goodwill and humanity. He stressed that the countries of the region, guided by the value of Nowruz, should strengthen and develop cooperation in all areas, including in the economic sphere, energy, transportation and communications sectors and construction of relevant infrastructure.
The head of Pakistan, speaking of Pakistan’s high interest in cooperation in the energy sector, highlighted the importance of the project initiated by Turkmenistan on construction of the gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-
Then, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Taner Yildiz took the floor. He conveyed greetings and best wishes of Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Speaking of the consolidating power of this bright holiday, the guest emphasized that Nowruz, symbolizing the arrival of spring, love of life, purity, renewal, awakening of nature, as well as prosperity and abundance, serves a bridge between the cultures of our fraternal peoples.
Then, the floor was given to President of the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation Rustam Minnikhanov.
Warmly greeting the conference participants, the head of Tatarstan on behalf of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and multiethnic people of the Republic of Tatarstan congratulated President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the people of brotherly Turkmenistan on the International Day of Nowruz.
Speaking of the humanistic premise of Nowruz, which was laid by the forefathers, the head of Tatarstan emphasized that Nowruz is as relevant in modern times as never before. This is evidenced by the fact that people of different nationalities celebrate this holiday that embodies the idea of goodness and justice.
Expressing gratitude for the hospitality extended in the Turkmen land, the President of Tatarstan emphasized that his every visit to Ashgabat is a symbol of the growing ties between the two brotherly peoples, further strengthening of friendship and cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan. Minnikhanov said that Tatarstan is genuinely happy with the achievements of the brotherly Turkmen people who made tremendous progress in the path of socio-economic and cultural development under the leadership of their president.
Speaking about the importance of this conference, being attended by prominent scientists from Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov expressed confidence that the forum would connect the ancient traditions of great Nowruz with modern trends of the dynamically developing world, which is open to cultural and economic contacts.
Then, the floor was given the head of the official delegation of the Azerbaijan Republic, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Elchin Efendiyev.
The head of the Azeri delegation noted that Nowruz holiday is a symbol of brotherhood, friendship and humanity, which is currently celebrated by more than two billion people on the planet. Elchin Efendiyev stressed the importance of the current festivities in honor of the International Day of Nowruz in the beautiful capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. Noting that Nowruz is a symbol of renewal and creativity, he expressed admiration with the scale of transformations in Turkmenistan and the capital city under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, exemplifying the creative ideals of this bright spring holiday.
Then, the floor was given to Deputy Chairman of the Majilis (Parliament) of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kabibulla Dzhakupov.
Speaking of the importance of this joyous festival, the honored guest said that the history of Nowruz, which is celebrated for over three thousand years by the Turkic and Persian peoples as a holiday of spring and renewal of nature, dates back in those days when there were no modern religions and nationalities. In this regard, Kabibulla Dzhakupov cited the story of creation of a new calendar called “Calendar of Maliki” in the 11th century by famous poet and scholar Omar Khayyam. This calendar is based on the natural beginning of the year, coinciding with the day when the sun enters the constellation Aries and begins the first day after the vernal equinox.
Kabibulla Dzhakupov said that Nowruz, which embodies the continuous connection of times and generations, has found a profound spiritual and ethical meaning in the modern era. He said that through such activities Nowruz is becoming the embodiment of unity and understanding of all people, a strong symbol of friendship and good neighborliness between countries.
Then, the floor was given to Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic Sultan Rayev.
As the head of the delegation of the Kyrgyz Republic stressed, the peoples of the East have for centuries been united by historically close relationship and common cultural traditions, and ancient holiday of Nowruz is a vivid example of this. He noted that for centuries on this sacred day of the vernal equinox it has been a tradition to visit each other’s homes and relatives, plant young trees, enjoy the beauty of awakening of nature. The Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of Kyrgyzstan expressed confidence that the joint celebration of Nowruz holiday would become a tradition and contribute to the further strengthening and development of friendly relations among nations and peoples.
Summing up the results of the plenary session of the International Conference “Nowruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism,” the President of Turkmenistan spoke to the participants and thanked the senior UN official, heads of friendly states and official delegations for interesting and informative speeches at the conference. The Turkmen leader said that their speeches unanimously emphasized the unifying power of the sacred holiday of Nowruz and its great importance in glorifying peaceful and humanitarian values.
Having once again congratulated the participants of the international conference on Novruz holiday and wished them further productive work, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov announced the international conference “Novruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism” closed. The Turkmen leader invited his guests to continue the celebration of Nowruz in the land of Akhal.
In the second half of the day, the International Conference “Nowruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism” continued in three breakout sessions titled “Current possibilities of celebrating Nowruz in the era of power and happiness,” “Sources and Historiography of Nowruz,” “Influence of Nowruz on development of material and spiritual culture of the East.” The sessions were held in the conference rooms of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the Turkmen State Institute of Culture and the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan.
In the breakout sessions, the participants discussed current issues related to studying the history and traditions of Nowruz, dissemination of knowledge about the legacy of this holiday in the international community, as well as about the importance of Nowruz in developing peaceful relations among nations and popularization of the historical and cultural traditions of the people.
The results of work were summed up at a ceremony of closing the international conference “Nowruz — Holiday of Peace and Humanism” at the Turkmen State University named after Makhtumkuli.
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