Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

06.10.2010

On September 28th 2010 the memorial photo exhibition “The Roerich Pact and the Military. 75 Years of Culture Protection and Peacekeeping” opened in Vienna


It is the second time this year when Vienna, being one of the cultural capitals of Europe, holds activities, dedicated to the anniversary of this historic event, welcoming the exhibition of unique photographs, archival documents and reproductions, brought to Austria by the International Centre of the Roerichs.

In the very heart of the Austrian capital, at the headquarters of the Austrian Ministry of Defense, at the Imperial Crown Prince Rudolf's Barracks the exhibition “The Roerich Pact and the Military. 75 Years of Culture Protection and Peacekeeping” was opened. It is noteworthy that not only representatives of the Austrian cultural community, but also the military and the Minister of Defense and Sports in person initiated the event.

In the grand hall of the Barracks – the building recognized as a historical monument – in the presence of generals and officers of the Austrian army, military attaches of various diplomatic representations, top-rank servicemen and other guests the Banner of Peace unrolled. The exhibition opened the international seminar for the representatives of the Balkan States’ military headquarters, dedicated to the issues of cultural heritage protection.






General Martin Yavurek delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister of Defense of Austria. He expressed gratitude to the International Centre of the Roerichs and paid tribute to Nicholas Roerich, having mentioned his great contribution into the world’s common treasure house of culture: “The International Roerich Pact was named after its creator, an outstanding Russian artist, lawyer and writer Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich, who was the universal genius and an outstanding figure of his time. He is engraved in our memory as a famous artist and writer, but we shouldn’t forget his contribution into philosophy, study of art and archaeology. The Roerich Pact’s ideas were conceived on the ground of high humane ideals and professionalism. That’s why it remains urgent nowadays and its applicability in the system of international law is much wider in scale compared to the Hague Convention of 1954 and the protocols of 1954 and 1999, attached to it. The fact that the Roerich Pact laid down an ethical principle of culture protection and gave a clear definition to the notion of “cultural heritage” is especially valuable for the law system. Such a broadside approach to the issues of cultural heritage protection is used in the functioning strategy of the Austrian Armed Forces and is reflected in a proper manner in the research and training programme of the Austrian National Military Academy”.

In his speech, Carl von Habsburg-Lothringen, President of the Association of the National Committees of the Blue Shield, pointed to the fact that the painter and public figure Nicholas Roerich can positively be called an ambassador of Culture, because he was the one who initiated the launching of the International Pact and started the international movement for protecting the world's cultural heritage.

The International Centre of the Roerichs was represented by its president, Alexei V. Postnikov. He expressed cordial appreciation to the Austrian defense ministry for the invitation to exhibit. This invitation attests to enormous interest on the part of the military elite to the ideas stated in the Roerich Pact and to the fact that they are eager to improve legal norms concerning the protecting of the world's cultural heritage.

The opening of the exhibition was attended by representatives from from the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and from the embassies of the countries participating in the seminar, as well as by experts in the field of protecting the world's cultural heritage. The Russian Federation was represented by Mr. A.V. Sidorov, the Russian Embassy's cultural counselor.

The opening was accompanied by music: classical pieces performed by a military brass quartet, which added to the solemn atmosphere of the feast.

A special catalog containing materials revealing the importance and topicality of the ideas stated in the Roerich Pact was published for the participants of the seminar.

The exhibition will be on display until the end of October. All the official visits at the Austrian defense ministry during this period are launched under the Banner of Peace.


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