Heads of State of Tajikistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina advocate dialogue and cultural diversity at UNESCO’s General ConferenceIvo Miro Jović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Emomali Rakhmonov, President of Tajikistan, today addressed the General Conference of UNESCO, focusing on cultural diversity, dialogue between cultures and religions, and the education of future generations.
In his address, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ivo Miro Jović, stressed the need to preserve cultural diversity. “Denial of identity begets violence,” he said. “By defending the diversity of cultures and identities, we build the defence of universal values. By allowing all peoples to use their language in the media and in the education of children – the future pillars of hopefully healthy societies – […] we recognize individuals’ and people’s right to maintain their identity, and we build the foundations of a more humane society. Such is the society my country aspires to build in its determined march towards the European Union […].”
Insisting on the need to deepen mutual knowledge of cultures in his country to preserve historic memory and heritage, Chairman Jović said: “My country has known a war during which different cultures, due to lack of mutual knowledge, opposed one another [….] The negation of history and culture only fuelled the conflict.”
The Chairman welcomed UNESCO’s assistance in establishing regional communication through forums on dialogue among civilizations, which have been bringing together the heads of state concerned since 2003. He went on to stress the Organization’s pioneering role in restoring peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina: “The reconstruction of the Old Bridge of Mostar marked the start of the return of mutual trust in this multi-ethnic city, once the most beautiful city in the country, which had become an attraction only to war correspondents. […] The peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina - the Croats, Serbs and Bosnians - are again proud of the Bridge,” he declared, welcoming the recent inscription of the Old Bridge area of the Old City of Mostar on the World Heritage List.
The President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rakhmonov, also focused on the role of dialogue between cultures and religions.” Each culture has the right to be preserved,” he declared. “We must work for the preservation of cultural diversity in the face of globalization.”
Speaking of the present international climate, the president argued that “we must do all in our power to bolster cooperation among scientists, writers, artists and all the actors of our planetary society to reinforce dialogue between civilizations to avoid the threat of conflict.” He put forward the national and international role of education in a world made dangerous by terrorism and fanaticism.
The President evoked the spiritual contribution of all the world’s religions and declared: “I am absolutely convinced that we do not have the right to blame extremism, terrorism and radicalism on any one religion and that includes Islam. These negative phenomena are diametrically opposed to the high humanity of the spirit and teaching of all religions, including Islam. [This is why], as a matter of principle we object to the use of terms such as Moslem terrorism or Moslem extremism.”
The visit of President Rakhmonov took place on Tajikistan Day, which is celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters today with an art exhibition and evening concert of Tajik music. The Director-General opened the exhibition this morning with the President.
See: : www.unesco.org
Photo 1 © UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac: Mr. Ivo Miro Jovic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photo 2 © UNESCO/Andrew Wheeler : Emomali Rakhmonov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan