Kabul 27th March, 2014. Afghanistan hosted the 4th International Festival of Nowroz with Presidents of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and high-ranking officials of the countries marking Nowroz among the dignitaries. In a message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, the celebration of Nowroz was noted as being important for all of us as it carries a message of peace for all peoples. Nowroz was inscribed in 2009 on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and in 2010 The UN recognized 21st March as the International Day of Nowroz.
President Karzai marked the occasion by saying that “this is the beginning of the new year and a new cooperation for the region.” In bringing together people from the region, the Iranian President Mr. Rohani accentuated this time of year as a moment for prudence and moderation adding that “the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran hope that this is a moment for regional cooperation and peace”, reconfirming the need for mutual cooperation in the region.
The President of Pakistan Mr. Mamnoon Hussain reiterated the importance of Nowroz to humanity and drew attention to the international cultural importance of the occasion by reminding people that Nowroz has been recognised by the interantional community for its value to intangible cultural heritage.
As Afghanistan enters a new dawn it is poignant that cultural heritage is marked as a way of bringing people together to celebrate common culture in the region and to share this culture internationally, reminding people of the unity in celebrating historical traditions such as Nowroz.