بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for giving me the floor. As the time is very restricted, I prefer to submit my detailed itemized report to the secretariat to be documented while a copy of which is available on your table. Here, I will only go through its subtitles. But prior to that, I would like to draw your kind attention to some conceptual introductory remarks:
The human worldwide experiences during the 20th century tell us that exclusive political and economic arrangements of governments would not provide us with a unanimous, lasting and sincere base for a comprehensive cooperation. We do need to include 'culture' and promote mutual cultural understanding. This is in fact the ECI raison d'être, thanks to the high awareness of the ECO member states of the importance of the 'Power of Culture'.
It is worth to mention that in 1988 the General Assembly of United Nations entrusted its Secretary-General to provide the UN, within the period of 10 years, with a comprehensive report of the role of the culture in the course of sustainable development. This report was discussed in an international Conference in April 1999 by UNESCO in Stockholm. The final documented outcome of this conference emphasizes that we cannot neglect cultural elements in the process of development if we wish it to be sustainable.
Our societies in the ECO region are going through a transitional period. While facing the unavoidable challenges of modernity, we have to safeguard our identity. We need to help our young generation to know more about the roots of their common identity; to learn that preserving their identity does not mean that they cannot culturally be opened to each other. This is a complicated and multifaceted task for which, I hope, the ECI can make a real contribution.
We do need to promote the 'Art of Listening' amongst our nations. Mawlana Jalaluddin Balkhi Rumi, the great thinker and poet of our region, marvellously invites us to listen to each other's heart:
“Oh, to be one in heart is better than to be one in tongue. Without speech and without sign or scroll, hundreds of thousands of interpreters arise from the heart.”
پس زبان محرمی خود دیگر است همدلی از هم زبانی خوش تر است
غیر نطق و غیر ایماء و سجل صد هزاران ترجمان خیزد ز دل
If we do not learn how to listen to each other, we cannot learn how to speak to each other:
ز آن كه اول سمع بايد نطق را سوى منطق از ره سمع اندر آ
"Since, in order to speak, one must first hear; therefore, do enter the field of speaking through listening” , Mawlana said.
May I now, ladies and gentlemen, briefly present the titles of ECI report hoping that you have a look on its distributed detailed form:
ECO Tourist Guide-Book, published 5000 copies and contains critical tourism information to• each ECO Member State. Its information have been also placed on the website of ECOTOURISTGUIDE.org .
• Inauguration of 1st ECI Coordination Unit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Mirzo Shahrokh Asrory, the Honorable Minister of Culture of Republic of Tajikistan in Dushanbe on May 1, 2010.
• Inauguration of ECI Coordination Unit in Kabul, April 2010, opened in Kabul by H.E. Mr. Makhdoom Rahyn, Honorable Minister of Culture and Information of Afghanistan.
• ECI Coordination Units in Shiraz and Isfahan in May 2010 in the field of Arts and Letters.
• Formation of Specialized Cultural Groups: poetry, literature, Music, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Calligraphy, Women and Youth, Sports and Tourism.
• Participation in Fajr Int’l Theatre/Film & Music Festivals in February 2010 in Tehran.
• ECO Symphony Orchestra is planned.
• MoUs Concluded: ECI has concluded MoUs with some national and international institutions, as like as Afghanistan’s Ministry of Culture and Information, the cultural deputy of the Iranian Ministry for Science, Research and Technology, the Organization for Researching and Composing University Textbooks in the Humanities (SAMT) and the Secretariat of Expansion of Science and Technology in the Islamic World (University of Tehran):
• Music of ECO region in France, Belgium, Italy, Netherland and Switzerland, January 2010.
• International Seminar On Allama Iqbal hosted by Tehran University and co-sponsored by the Embassy of Pakistan and ECI, May 2010.
• Co- sponsoring Shahname Ferdowsi Millenial Commemoration, August 2010.
• co-sponsoring the 6th International Sand Sculpture Festival, August 2010.
• First ECO Calligraphy Festival, October 2010 in Dushanbe. The event is planned to be held in other ECO countries such as Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey as well.
• Second ECO Calligraphy Festival in December 2010 in Kabul upon the agreement reached with the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
• ECI's Monthly Magazine published since January 2009 in English language in 16 issues.
• Music Concert in Baku, July 2010 with the cooperation of Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Tehran,
• ECI’s New Headquarters: The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran transferred the ownership of a large new building as the permanent Headquarters of ECI. The building, located in a prestigious part of Tehran, is fully equipped with state of the art facilities, and has special halls to host different cultural events by ECO Member States.
• ECI-CPR Regular Meetings upon the decision of the 4th Board of Trustees (BOT) of ECI .
• New Membership to ECI : Following some negotiations, the Republic of Kazakhstan has announced that its accession to ECI Charter is under study and the country will hopefully become a full member of ECI in the near future.
• Exhibition of Works of Afghan Artists in Isfahan, October 2010.
• ECI Officials Awarded Top Tajik State Cultural Medals: On behalf of the Government of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Mirzo Shahrokh Asrori, Tajikistan's Minister for Culture, awarded ECI President and his advisor the country's top cultural medal.
• Third Meeting of ECO Heads of National Libraries, held in Ankara, October 2010.
• First Meeting of ECO Ministers of Youth Affairs, November 2010 in Tehran. The study the feasibility of establishment of ECO Union of Youth Affairs was decided.
• ECO Park: Tehran Municipality has allocated a 200 square meter piece of land in the Park to each ECO Member State to display their own cultural characteristics: tourist attractions, handicrafts, traditional dresses, local foods, paintings, music, and visual arts. It is planned to be inaugurated on March 27, 2011.
• Shams Tabrizi and Mawlana Conference, November 2010 in the city of Khoy, West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. ECO Member States ambassadors in Tehran have been invited by ECI to attend this important cultural event.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As President of ECI, I am requesting this high level gathering to strengthen their support of ECI, help us to deepen present field of activities and define new programmes for the sake of our heavy task.