Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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20.04.2016

Gala evening dedicated to the 81th anniversary of the Roerich Pact: «Relevance of the Roerich Pact ideas in the contemporary world»

Alexander V.Stetsenko  

On April 15, 2016 the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs hosted the gala evening dedicated to the 81th anniversary of the Roerich Pact. The Roerich Pact, also known as Treaty on protection of artistic and scientific institutions and historic monuments, was initiated by the Great Russian artist and public figure Nicholas Roerich. This is the first-ever international treaty on the protection of cultural heritage establishing the priority of protection of cultural values over military necessity, signed by representatives of 21 states on April 15, 1935 in Washington.

The following high-level speakers delivered statements to mark the gala evening in the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich: the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, member of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO A.V.Ochirova, Deputy Director of the UN Information Centre in Moscow V.S.Pavinsky, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Russian Federation Mr.Riad Haddad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq to the Russian Federation Mr. Ismail Shafiq Muhsin, Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Mr. Álvaro Sánchez Cordero, Cultural Adviser of the Columbian Embassy to the Russian Federation Mr.Ruben Dario Flores Vesila, Second Secretary of the Indian Embassy to the Russian Federation Mr. Dzheysundhar, Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts Mr.A.A.Zolotov, Plenipotentiary for building of the Memorial Temple in Victory Park Mr.Bair Tsympilov, Chairman of the ICR branch in Saint-Petersburg Mr. E.A.Tomsha.

The Vice-President of the International Centre of the Roerichs Alexander V.Stetsenko opened the evening by welcoming the participants. He spoke about the longstanding ICR activity on popularization of the peacekeeping ideas of the Roerich Pact including the international exhibition project “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity”, which took place in 46 cities of 17 countries of the world and 113 Russian cities in all nine federal districts of the Russian Federation. The ICR project supported by the UNESCO Director General Ms.Irina Bokova and the UN Secretary- General Mr.Ban Ki-moon became the world’s largest public initiative in the sphere of preservation of cultural heritage on the basis of the Roerich Pact ideas.

Alexandra Ochirova

The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Alexandra Ochirova pointed out the importance of the Roerich Pact as the basis of international legal instruments and UNESCO activity aimed at developing and preserving the world heritage properties. In the statement of the Executive Secretary of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO George Ordzhonikidze to the participants of the evening it was said that Russia totally shares and supports the UNESCO strategic direction on protection of culture in the case of armed conflicts. The Executive Board of UNESCO in Paris confirmed the project of the Russian delegation “Role of UNESCO in providing security and preservation of Palmira and other Syrian cultural heritage sites”. This event and leading role of Russia in this question are directly linked with the deal launched by Nicholas Roerich decades ago. It was also pointed out in the statement that “International Centre of the Roerichs solves important challenges on promotion and popularization of noble ideals of the Roerich Pact at home and abroad”.

The participants from Syria and Iraq, countries that most suffered today at the hands of extremists, spoke of huge cultural heritage losses as a result of the outburst of international terrorism. The leading role of Russia in exemption and preparation for restoring the unique cultural heritage site– Palmira and other Syrian cities was particularly emphasized.

Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Mr. Álvaro Sánchez Cordero said about the Cultural Heritage Institute which exists in Venezuela – it preserves and studies 11000 cultural objects. This figure could have been much higher if the idea of preserving cultural objects was actively promoted and developed in society. Besides, for Latin America the problem of preserving the culture of indigenous people who have seriously suffered from colonizers hundreds of years ago and are still subject to persecution, is very acute.

“Today, we gather here to support and celebrate the idea of a man who understood that ephemeral aggression of a humankind should not in any way influence the eternal values of art” – Mr. Dzheysundhar, Second Secretary of the Indian Embassy to the Russian Federation noted in his speech. Wars and conflicts destroying the cultural heritage are a treat to collective memory of all humankind that lives not only the present but the past, which manifests itself through historical and cultural heritage of nations of the world.

Mr.Riad Haddad
Shafiq Muhsin
Álvaro Sánchez Cordero

Plenipotentiary for building of the Memorial Temple in Victory Park Mr.Bair Tsympilov thanked the International Centre of the Roerichs on behalf of Buddhist traditional Sangha of Russia and wished it further flourishing and new success in development and protection of culture.

The necessity to remember about the fate of architectural and artistic monuments and help to preserve them in Russia was highlighted in the speech of Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts Mr.A.A.Zolotov. He stressed out that society in its accelerated development is not able to assess the scale of importance of monuments near us however the way forward becomes mechanic and non-spiritual for society without preservation of monuments and pieces of art.

Chairman of the ICR branch in Saint-Petersburg Mr. E.A.Tomsha shared his experience of holding the international exhibition project “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” in Saint-Petersburg – the cultural capital of Russia.

Mr.Bair Tsympilov
Mr.A.A.Zolotov
Mr. E.A.Tomsha

Participants of the evening unanimously recognized the importance of development and preservation of cultural ties particularly through cultural heritage sites. Different continents, economic realities, political disputes should not be the obstacles for this purpose. The participants also notice that general protection of culture is one of the most essential global tasks and the pledge of preservation of humankind. According to figural expression of Cultural Adviser of the Columbian Embassy to the Russian Federation Mr.Ruben Dario Flores Vesila , the cultural monuments are “the expression of great love of creators, expression of great love of nations, who create them” and this is the great strength of culture with the potential to unite and develop countries and nations.

The reports contained the importance and relevance of the Roerich Pact conception, especially under the conditions of unabated military conflicts which lead both to social-economic and huge cultural losses. Destroying cultural values is an irretrievable loss for humanity as it is culture that is the basis for educating future generations in a constructive and peaceful spirit.

Mr. Dzheysundhar
Pavinskiy Vladimir Stanislausovich
Mr.Ruben Dario Flores Vesila

The International Centre of the Roerichs got the approval and gratitude of all speakers for successful promotion and popularization of the Roerich Pact ideas on the necessity to preserve historical and cultural values and Nicholas Roerich conception “Peace through Culture” in Russia and abroad.

The evening ended with the concert of award winners of the international contests Meruert Kamenov (violin) and Ivan Sokolov (piano).


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