December 15, 2004

UNESCO's Regional Seminar in Kazan on Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage

On December 15, regional seminar of UNESCO started its work in capital of Tatarstan on protection of non-material cultural heritage. First Lady of Azerbaijan, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO Mehriban Aliyeva took part in the seminar.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the seminar.

Speech by Mehriban Aliyeva:

Ladies and gentlemen!

Today we are guest of nation who has given worthy contribution to treasure of world culture. We have come to a city possessing history of thousand years. This multi-century history and culture is reflected in unique face of Kazan. Kazan Kremlin has been belonged to most beautiful establishments of world heritage.

Beside material cultural monuments, Tatar people managed to protect richness of non-material heritage reflected today in its traditions. Sabantuy national holiday is bright example regarding care to traditions. Hospitality that each of us felt from the first moments in this city is beautiful tradition delivered from generation to generation.

Now, when mass cultural stereotypes are preferred, protection of these national holidays, showing care and attention to them is very important. One of numerous duties of UNESCO is to protect moral world of human. So, protection of non-material heritage pearls reflecting more brightly national "I" of every nation inhabited in our mankind becomes important issue. Convention on protection of non-material heritage is directed just to protection of this most fragile part of human culture. I hope that this meeting will contribute to acceleration of process of ratification of that Convention in each country we represent.

Azerbaijani nation gas given very big contribution to world culture. It is not accidental that UNESCO included Azerbaijani mugham in list of pearls of the whole mankind. Regarding this I would like to direct your attention to the point that Shusha, homeland of Azerbaijani mugham, other cities and districts of our country, - totally 20% of Azerbaijani territory, - are under occupation of Armenia as a result of Armenia-Azerbaijan, Daglig Garabag conflict. Cities where usually best mugham singers, called nightingales of Garabag, were born and formed, have been fully destructed, wiped off from the earth. Ancient architectural and cultural monuments of Azerbaijani people have been destroyed.

Today there are other conflict centers in the world, wars are going. Historical and cultural values belonging to the world are destroyed. Many of them are lost forever. Let me emphasize necessity of paying more serious attention by international organizations and generally world union to fate of cultural and historical monuments in conflict zones. Undoubtedly, urgent solution of these conflicts would help prevention of destruction of cultural heritage.

Dear friends!

As Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, I am very delighted of being here. I am sure that this is only beginning of our cooperation. I am very hopeful that we can implement very interesting regional projects. Projects being realized in Azerbaijan may be ground for such kind of cooperation.

At the end of my speech, I would like to express my gratitude to all organizers of this important seminar and wish all you successful and effective work.

Big duties stand before us from point of protection and growth of moral heritage of our nations. I am sure that we will be able to fulfill this kind duty together.

Thank you for your attention.