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Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay: Khiva still embodies the real power of culture and inspiration to unite the people

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Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay: Khiva still embodies the real power of culture and inspiration to unite the people

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has commented on the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to hold in 2021 in the city of Khiva the International Forum “Central Asia at the Crossroads of World Civilizations”, put forward at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, IA “Dunyo” reports.

“We are pleased to note the productive partnership with Uzbekistan established at a high level in many areas of UNESCO’s mandate,” said Audrey Azoulay. – We have achieved this largely due to the mutual will and strong desire of the parties to expand cooperation observed in recent years.

I highly appreciate the personal commitment of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the establishment and development of close ties with UNESCO, which he demonstrated during our meetings with him in Paris and Samarkand.

It is gratifying that a legal framework has been formed, including the Country Program and several “road maps”, which lay the foundation for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the future.

I think that we should reinforce our efforts to unlock tremendous untapped potential in our relations in some new areas and programs. For example, we can establish interaction within relatively new directions and programs within UNESCO.

UNESCO has always been a close partner to Uzbekistan in organizing big international events in the country. UNESCO recently supported several major cultural festivals such as Melodies of the Orient, Bakhshi and Makom, which were held under the auspices of the Organization. I was glad to participate in the opening of the Melodies of the Orient festival last year in Samarkand.

From this point of view, UNESCO welcomes the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to hold the International Forum in Khiva “Central Asia at the Crossroads of World Civilizations”.

UNESCO has been mobilizing substantial investments to study Central Asian history and culture – some years ago published multivolume book “The History of Civilizations in Central Asia”.

I think the upcoming forum will be another good opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating shared culture and universal heritage of Central Asia, which have played a key role in shaping civilizations in the region and beyond.

The region can play a role of dialogue and mediation in current geopolitical tensions, in line with its history as a crossroads of civilizations and its current vitality.

The chosen venue is also very symbolic: the beauty and majesty of ancient Khiva - which is a world heritage site - not only attracted scientists, craftsmen and artists but also served as the cradle of empires and centres for enlightenment spanning millennia. This city embodies the real power of culture and inspiration to unite the people even today.

We look forward to celebrating this landmark event widely in 2021.

UzA