Mr Matsuura was joined by Ms Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Uzbekistan to UNESCO, Mr Khamidulla Kharamatov, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, and Mr Nizom Bakhtiyarov, Deputy Mayor of Tashkent.
The Director-General began his address by expressing his satisfaction in celebrating the anniversary of Tashkent, “a city with a past extending back over two millennia, that now stands as the modern capital of a vibrant country forged by its strategic location at the crossroads of the great civilizations of Europe and Asia.” Mr Matsuura thanked the Uzbek authorities for making possible the exciting programme of cultural events and international conference that would take place at UNESCO over the next ten days. “These initiatives demonstrate the close cooperation between Uzbekistan and UNESCO, particularly in the spheres of culture and the social sciences”, added the Director-General.
Recalling that one of his strong memories from his visit to Tashkent in 2000 “is of how the city’s inhabitants had succeeded in keeping alive many of their cherished traditions and cultural expressions,” he further noted that some of these were presented in the exhibition, which he described as a “testimony to Uzbekistan’s rich intangible heritage”.
In commending Uzbekistan for its “instrumental role in implementing UNESCO’s ‘Award of Excellence’ programme in Central Asia”, the Director-General explained: “This popular project seeks to raise international awareness about the importance and economic potential of the handicrafts sector and serves as a quality control mechanism and a tool to promote traditions and innovation in the global crafts market.” […] “There can be no doubt about Uzbekistan’s longstanding commitment to UNESCO”, he concluded.
Permanent Delegate Karimova-Tillyaeva thanked UNESCO for “the leadership and contribution the Organisation has provided to the citizens of Tashkent”, helping them preserve the heritage of “the gate to our homeland”, and said that the collaboration between UNESCO and her country would continue to grow. Mentioning the 4000 ancient monuments still well preserved in Tashkent today, Deputy Mayor Bakhtiyarov expressed his joy in celebrating his city’s 2200th anniversary at UNESCO and noted Tashkent’s recognition by the international community as capital of Islamic culture in 2007 and international city of tolerance.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 055-2009 - Publication Date: 06-04-2009