The historical city of Qazvin, Iran, hosted the 11th Silk Road Mayors Forum from 3-4 September 2016. The Forum, organized by World Citizens Organization (WCO), aimed at improving tourism, as well as cultural, economic and social ties between cities along the ancient Silk Roads.
Ms. Kuisch Laroche, Director of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and UNESCO Representative to I.R. Iran and Turkmenistan, delivered a speech on the second day of the Forum regarding the importance of the Silk Roads for cultural dialogue and exchange.
“Perhaps the most lasting legacy of the Silk Roads has been their role in bringing cultures and peoples in contact with each other, and facilitating exchange between them”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.
The UNESCO Representative talked about the “Integral Study of the Silk Roads, Roads of Dialogue”, which was launched in 1988 and became one of UNESCO’s largest programmes in the 1990s. This initiative revived the historical Silk Roads and promoted the modern legacy of human interactions, shared values and common heritage, as an important basis for peace and development.
Ms. Kuisch Laroche said that in 2008, UNESCO had resumed its Silk Roads programme through new initiatives: the Silk Roads World Heritage nomination project; the Silk Road Heritage Corridors Tourism Strategy Project; and the Silk Road Online Platform.
Other speakers included the mayor of Qazvin, who provided an overview of the outcomes of the first day of the Forum and mentioned that a number of MoUs had been signed between different cities.
The speeches were followed by reports of the panel discussions that had taken place during the first day.
At the end of the second day, the participants, including many foreign diplomats and their spouses, were invited to visit the historical monuments in Qazvin city and attend the opening of an exhibition of Silk Road cities.
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