» UNESCO Director-General celebrates cooperation with Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation) and presents th...
21.08.2017 - ODG

UNESCO Director-General celebrates cooperation with Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation) and presents the Sviyazhsk World Heritage designation certificate

On 20 August 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, visited the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation, where she presented the town-island of Sviyazhsk its World Heritage certificate and named former President of Tatarstan, Mr Mintimer Shaimiev, UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue.

The Director-General handed the World Heritage designation certificate of the Assumption Cathedral of the Town-Island of Sviyazhsk, nominated last July in Krakow, to the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Mr Rustam Minnikhanov.

“The significance of Sviyazhsk for Tatarstan, for the Russian Federation and for all humanity goes well beyond the beauty and purity of its stones and buildings. This is about religious tolerance. This is about peaceful coexistence and intercultural dialogue”, Irina Bokova said.

“We need such message of tolerance more than ever today. We have to oppose the attempts of violent extremists to disseminate false narratives on religion or culture and distort history to spread hatred and we must share more examples of mutual understanding, more stories of encounter and mutual enrichment,” she added.

The Director-General also named Mr Mintimer Shaimiev, former President of Tatarstan, UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue, for his strong commitment to this issue as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the nonprofit organization “The Republican Foundation for the Revival of Historical and Cultural Monuments of the Republic of Tatarstan”.

Handing the Certificate to Mr. Shaimiev, Irina Bokova said: “Your life and your work have been guided by the conviction that cultural diversity is a force for the construction of sustainable and inclusive societies, as a source of resilience, adaptation and pride.  You played a major role in the cultural revitalization of the region through funding of initiatives such as the reconstruction of the Mother of God Cathedral and the creation of a Bolgar Islamic Academy”, Irina Bokova added.

The Republic of Tatarstan is a region of the Russian Federation, with a long history of peaceful religious coexistence. It has developed a leading role within the Russian Federation in all fields of cooperation with UNESCO. It hosted the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI) in Kazan in July 2017. It is actively involved, with its religious communities, in the launch of UNESCO’s Cycle of Regional Thematic Consultations on sustainable management of the World Heritage properties of religious interest. It also hosts three UNESCO Chairs, including the new UNESCO Chair on Bioethics at Kazan State Medical University.

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