On 18 May 2016UNESCO
celebrated the World Day of Cultural Diversity in cooperation with the Non-Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity; the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO); the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO; and the embassies of Bangladesh, Mexico and Turkmenistan.
The grand celebration took place in Niavaran Palace in Tehran and consisted of a series of cultural performances from Turkmenistan and different provinces of Iran, as well as a cultural exhibition and a traditional food festival with dishes from Bangladesh, Turkmenistan and Rasht in Iran.
Rasht became a member of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network in 2015 for its gastronomy and the city showcased its culinary diversity in the food festival.
The open-air celebration was attended by many embassies, government officials, artists, NGOs and UN agencies, and was also open to the general public. Hundreds of tourists stopped by to visit the exhibition space and watch the cultural performances.
Mr. Jakov Kitarović, husband of the President of Croatia, H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, also paid a surprise visit and attended part of the ceremony.
During the opening ceremony, Ms. Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, said: “In the year 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, declared May 21 to be the “World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development”. This day provides us with an important opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better. At UNESCO we believe that exchange and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect and the equal dignity of all cultures, is the essential prerequisite for constructing social cohesion, reconciliation among peoples, and peace among nations.”
Dr. Talebian, Deputy Head of ICHHTO talked about the cultural diversity within Iran and the 60 official languages that exist in the country. He said: “If we study this carefully, we will find that most of these languages have common roots, which shows our unity in diversity.”
Dr. Hasani, Director of the Non-Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity talked about the origins of the Center and referred to the NAM Ministerial Meeting on “Human Rights and Cultural Diversity”, which was held from 3 to 4 September 2007. It was sponsored by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), UNESCO and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran. The Declaration of the Ministers included the decision to establish a NAM Centre for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity in Tehran.
“All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and the international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis, and that, while the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, said Dr. Hasani.
The culture exhibition, which took place alongside the ceremony, consisted of photos from Iran’s 19 World Heritage Sites, handicrafts from different parts of the countries, as well as cultural exhibitions from Bangladesh, Mexico and Turkmenistan.