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According to Ms. Musubai, major trends of the cultural development in Kyrgyzstan must consider the following practice of global modernization in the cultural field:
Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue is the key to sustainable development at the global and national levels;
Preservation of heritage is identification, protection, and regulation of its use;
Development of art and creativity is a sign of economic development, social stability and a quality of life; and Establishment of cultural industries is a good example of the integration of culture and economy.
Creative diversity inherent in Kyrgyzstan should be considered a significant factor contributing to the creation of an attractive image of the country, affecting the quality of living, developing tourism and economy, and promoting intercultural dialogue in the country.
Naizabekova Almakan Cultural Programs Coordinator, Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan;
Curator, Central Asian Network on Arts and Culture (Kyrgyzstan) Ms. Naizabekova presented the “Role of Public Organizations in the Development of Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation in Kyrgyzstan – Best Practices.” Kyrgyzstan has become a model of an open, complex, and developing system covering various ethnic and religious cultures. Along with traditional religions many other religions appeared with obtained independence and democracy. In this regards, only tolerance towards views and beliefs, races and ethnicities contribute to peace and tranquility in a society, where the priority of human rights become commonplace cultural norm.
Kyrgyzstan is involved in several major educational programs of the UNESCO. The National Commission for UNESCO closely works with the Ministries of Education, Science and Culture, the Commission on Education and Science to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, and other international and public organizations.
International and public organizations in Kyrgyzstan are contributing to the promotion of intercultural dialogue and cooperation through cultural programs and individual projects. The program “Intercultural Mediation and Dialogue of the Open Society Institute - Budapest” supported and implemented projects developed by local community organizations, in partnership with their foreign counterparts. Notable projects included:
1. Fund supporting young talents “Akayyn.” Project “International theatrical festival of Central Asian street theaters.” Participants of the first festival were theater ensembles from Mongolia, Poland, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is proposed to hold the festival on a regular basis and every third year.
2. Association ARTilek. Project - creative research workshop “Leisure zone – Asia.” Author and project manager Talant Ogobaev.
The short-term goal: to observe Kyrgyz landmarks such as Lake IssykKul through a different perspective; as a space for social reality and territory where society cultivates its hopes. The long-term goal: to publish the results of the workshop on a public website and encourage this web resource.
3. Individual Project “The first interactive literary social network in Central Asia.” Author and project manager Zhumabek uulu Kubanychbek. Main goal: to bring young and recognized authors in a single cross-border project. Priorities: to support young authors, to increase their readership, and to raise literary level.
The next two projects were not supported by the Open Society Institute - Budapest, but the organizations have been working to implement their ideas and believe that these ideas will find supporters and sponsors:
1. Project “Gallery of the Silk Road cultures.” Public Association “Society of friendship and cooperation, Great Silk Road.” Project author Jamal Tashibekova. The project website is attempting to be an important source of information on cultures of the Silk Road countries for scientists and students. Particular attention will be given to educational and cultural tourism.
2. Projet “Film: Hungarians in Kyrgyzstan.” Cultural Center “Nazdar” under the aspices of Public Association Chekhov “Nazdar.” The film will highlight the Hungarian Diaspora in Kyrgyzstan and Hungarians working towards the development of Kyrgyzstan.
Babadjanova Munzifakhon Secretary General, National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan for UNESCO Rakhmatov Asledin First Secretary, National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan for UNESCO (Tajikistan) In her absence, Ms. Babajanova’s presentation “Intercultural dialogue in Tajikistan. Educational and Cultural Programs:
Kaleidoscope of Cultures” was presented by her colleague, Mr.
Rakhmatov. The presentation highlighted Tajikistan’s state policy in the field of culture as determined by the provisions of the Constitution, Law on Culture, as well as many treaties and conventions where Tajikistan takes an active part. This policy recognizes the fact that diversity creates multicultural world and each culture has a right to exist, where no culture can claim dominance or create unequal conditions for development.
Tajikistan is a multi-national society with 120 nationalities living in tolerance and mutual understanding. Each nationality has its own language, history and culture; therefore, the Government of Tajikistan attaches high priority to the development of intercultural dialogue. One of the priorities of Tajikistan’s policy is the protection of rights and freedoms of various nationalities living in the country and guarantee equal opportunities in all spheres of activity. Tajik Government is determined to play a dynamic role in the promotion of tolerance in Central Asia and early prevention of conflicts.
The development and preservation of intercultural dialogue and international cooperation is another priority of the state cultural policy, including the following educational and cultural programs:
UNESCO Chair on Intercultural Dialogue in the Contemporary World at the Tajik-Russian (Slavonic) University where developed courses and materials are used during lectures, meetings, and conferences;
Network of the UNESCO Associated Schools (ASP net);
Translation of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity into Tajik language by the National Commission and its subsequent publication;
Annual celebration of the International Mother Tongue Day proclaimed by the UNESCO National Commission; and Culture Coordination Meetings (CCM) organized by the National Commission in partnership with the Swiss Office for Cooperation, which gathers representatives of public organizations, institutions, civil society, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, embassies, and officials engaged in the cultural sphere.
In addition, the National Commission in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair on Intercultural Dialogue in the Contemporary World at the Tajik-Russian (Slavonic) University and the Alliance of Minorities prepared and published an educational tool “Kaleidoscope of Cultures” based on the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. The purpose of this publication is to make the study of Central Asian nations through the example of Tajikistan both interesting and valuable. Moreover, this illustrious publication helps its readers to discover all aspects of culture and explore contribution of the Tajik culture to global civilization. The publication is geared towards youth audiences of high schools and universities and consists of 15 lectures dealing with various topics, including theory of culture, global and national culture, intercultural dialogue, language, arts and music, and historical monuments.
Mamedov Georgy Director and Project Coordinator, Restorers without Borders (Tajikistan) Mr. Mamedov’s presentation “Museum as a Tool for Intercultural Dialogue” stated that Central Asia is a region located at a cross-road of cultures, religions and traditions; therefore, the organization, Restorers without Borders, strongly believes that museums are one of the most important tools for inter-cultural, inter-ethnical and inter-confessional dialogue. Central Asian museums hold collections representing heritage of various cultures and traditions including pre-Islamic, Islamic, Buddhist, Christian, Oriental, Occidental, Russian, and Soviet as well as cultures and traditions of different ethnical and cultural minorities who inhabited in the region.
Unfortunately, current terrible conditions of most museums do not allow to showcase the true richness and splendor of their collections for the purposes of intercultural dialogue in the region.
In addition, lack of professional and objective interpretation of displays for museum visitors further proves the deterioration of its conditions. Therefore, one of the main goals of the Restores without Borders is to develop this professional and objective interpretation as well as material modifications of the exhibits through its Museum Development Program at three institutions: Tajikistan National Bekhzod Museum, Gurminj Museum, and Khorog Botanical Garden and Museum.
The Museum Development Program activities include i) staff training through relevant workshops, trainings, and professional exchange programs; ii) material and technical development of museum infrastructure, restoration, and conservation; iii) development and implementation of educational and cultural programs for visitors aiming at the development of museums’ capacity as centers of culture, education, and tourism. One of the key successes of the program is its transferability, which allows the application of this positive practice at other museums in the region.
Mr. Mamedov shared the success of the program at the Gurminj Museum, which was transformed into the center of living music culture through activities such as the exchange program for museum staff with specialists from Azerbaijan; the restoration of the museum collection; the experiment on electrification of Tajik traditional musical instruments with participation of a master-luthier from London, Andrew Scrimshow; the “Tusovki Project”, nights of live music of different trends; and “Grandpa Gurminj’s legends” children program. Moreover, the museum achieved musical intercultural dialogue while playing various music genres: Tajik, Russian folk, rock, jazz, blues, and music of ethnic Yagnobi and Badakhshani minorities.
The Museum Development Program implemented the following projects at K. Bekhzod National Museum of Tajikistan i) professional exchange program for museum directors in the United States; ii) situation survey and recommendations on the development of the department of Nature; iii) restoration training for art college students and museum staff in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; and iv) restoration of the paintings from the museum collection.
Currently, Restores without Borders is working on the implementation of a large project entitled “The Role of Pre-Islamic Heritage in Contemporary Culture of Tajikistan.” This project will especially highlight the importance of professional and objective interpretation of museum collections. Within this project, an exhibition devoted to the role of the pre-Islamic heritage in contemporary culture – every day life, religion, traditions – will be held in Tajikistan for the first time, displaying a number of rare objects.