Krista Pikkat: I was impressed by Navruz celebrations

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April 14, 2014

Krista Pikkat: I was impressed by Navruz celebrations

On the threshold of Navruz, Ms. Krista Pikkat, UNESCO Representative in Uzbekistan shared her opinions with UzA reporter Nodira Manzurova.

– Dear Ms. Krista Pikkat our conversation is taking place on the eve of Navruz. What do you think about this holiday, its role and importance in the world civilization? What factors were taken into account in inscribing Navruz on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as well as declaring March 21 as the International Day of Navruz?

– Let me start by expressing my best wishes for the holiday. Happy Navruz to all!

Navruz is celebrated every year by millions of people from Western, Central and South Asia, the Balkans and other regions across the world. It was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009 jointly by Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. UNESCO’s Representative List includes traditions, skills, knowledge and beliefs that have been kept alive over centuries and are passed on from one generation to another. It ensures better visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance, as well as encourages dialogue which respects cultural diversity.

As an age-old tradition with strong cultural and natural components, Navruz is a time for rejoicing with family, friends and community. It is also a celebration of renewal and harmony with nature.

– Have you participated in the ongoing celebrations of Navruz festivities in our country? Would you please share your impressions about this holiday.

– As I have lived and worked in Uzbekistan for a little bit more than a year now, I had the pleasure of participating in the Navruz celebrations last year. I found the performance in the National Park of Uzbekistan named after Alisher Navoi spectacular, full of colours and joy. The dancers and singers from different regions of Uzbekistan testify to the wealth of cultural diversity in the country. I was particularly moved to see the joy in the eyes of the public and their eagerness to sing and dance along with the performers. It is important that the traditions are living traditions, that they are owned and carried by the communities. This is why I would also like to travel to the Ferghana valley this year to witness and participate in the celebrations of Navruz in smaller communities.

– We would like to hear your opinion about the work carried out in Uzbekistan on preservation of national cultural heritage, the development of art and culture, as well as cooperation with UNESCO in this directions.

– The work in the field of culture constitutes perhaps the most important and interesting part of the work of our office here in Uzbekistan because of the wealth and diversity of cultural expressions in the country.

UNESCO has a number of standard-setting documents in the field of culture – starting from the 1972 Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage – which Uzbekistan has ratified. This provides us a framework for our work on promoting the safeguarding of the four sites inscribed on the World Heritage List and supporting the intangible cultural heritage elements inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as well as promoting culture’s role in sustainable development in general.

We hope that Uzbekistan will also ratify the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions that will widen the scope of our culture-related work further.

– 2014 in Uzbekistan has been declared as the Year of a Healthy Child. What can you say about this initiative of the President Islam Karimov and the work carried out in our country in this direction.

– I find the President’s initiative to choose a focus for each year highly commendable. I am confident that this year’s special attention on the health of children will generate a number of initiatives by the concerned national institutions and the development partners that would further enhance healthy lifestyles in Uzbekistan, including balanced nutrition, physical activity or the safety on the roads.