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"Celebration of the Arts"
Remarks by Ambassador Said T. Jawad


Embassy of Afghanistan
05/13/2004

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
I am honored to welcome you to our embassy. Thanks for joining us to celebrate Afghanistan’s rich heritage of arts and culture.

Please allow me to acknowledge some of the Afghan artists that are here and have contributed to this event:
•Professor Amanullah Haiderzad, Founder and the Head of Fine Arts
Department at Kabul University – and a world renowned artist
•Professor Hamed Naweed, former Professor of Art at Kabul University
and a well-known Afghan poet
•Mr. Ibrahim Habibzai, Master Painter and the Head of Union of Afghanistan Artists
•Ms. Sima Azimi, an afghan designer
•Ms. Zarmina Sayd, an Afghan designer
•Mr. Sulaiman Sherzad, musician
•Our beautiful models

We are also grateful to
•Ms. Heidi Kuhn and the Roots of Peace for their generous support and contribution to this event. Roots of Peace, through their initiative of turning Mines to Vines, is restoring another cultural legacy of our country, the thousands years old heritage of growing grapes in Afghanistan;
•the American Society of Afghan Professionals, and Fawzia Afshari
•Mr. Ata Amin, social Activist
•Mr. Sediq Alem, from Ariana Muska Video Production
•Mr. Rafi Habibi, from Afghan Market
•Ms. Nahid Azimi, our wonderful Florist

This event would not have been possible without the leadership and commitment of
•my wife, Shamim Jawad, and
&

bull;very hard work of Homa Naderi, our media and public relations officer, and Laila Waziri, social affairs officer and event organizer and all my staff.

Thank you for your wonderful work.

Afghanistan is a mosaic of various beautiful and rich cultures. My country is at the cross-roads of Asia and once was a center and hub of learning and commerce, connecting China with the Middle East and India with Europe through the historic Silk Road.

Greek, Indian, Persian, Chinese, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim philosophers, poets, artists, merchants and conquerors traversed Afghanistan and greatly contributed to the emergence of magnificent civilizations and art styles.

The Afghan Emperors, monarch and courts, such as the Ghaznawid and Temourid of Herat attracted world class poets and artists, such as Ferdoussi and Behzad.

The work of great poets, such as Rahman Baba and Khoshal Khatak crystallize our love for freedom, and devotion to mysticism and Sufism.

The Kabul Museum used to be one of the richest museums of Asia.

The invasion, war and violence in Afghanistan did not only destroy the country but also ruined many of our cultural heritages.

The world community sadly witnessed the mindless destruction of the giant Buddhas by the Taliban in early March of 2001 in Bamiyan province. The two giant Buddhas are thought to have been carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan in the third century.

Today, Afghans are putting their lives and country back tougher. Once again, as President Karzai has said, Afghanistan is emerging as model of cooperation of civilizations.

Now that we are rebuilding Afghanistan, nothing can serve better than art to deliver the message of unity, beauty, love, peace and reconciliation in our war-torn society.

Today, we are pleased to present to you a collection of paintings, sculptures, photos, colorful jewelry, beautiful traditional costumes and artifacts of Afghanistan.

What you see is a very small part of our cultural heritage. This collection includes pictures from the of prehistoric sculptures; one carved from stone 17000 years ago, the oldest sculpture found in Asia; artifacts from the Greco-Bactrian and Greco–Buddhist styles of art that flourished in Afghanistan from 200 BC–to through the fifth century; the Islamic Art that flourished in the cities of Balkh, Ghazni, Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul from 9th to 15th century to the modern work by Breshna and Professor Haidarzad and a 12 year old Afghan painter, living in Kabul.

Last but not least, I want to mention and thank my staff members, who are doing a wonderful job, working very long hours to help their country, their people and their embassy:

•Gen. Payenda Mohammad Minister Counselor& Military Attaché
•Ghafar Oaman Counselor
•Hekmat Karzai First Secretary
•Farooq Mayel First Secretary
•Jamil Ahmadzai Second Secretary
•Omar Ghafoorzai Third Secretary
•Mariam Nawabi Commercial attaché
•Ashraf Haidari Gov't & Media
•Khatera Attay Protocol officer
•Schahn Sideqi Technology officer
•Wagma Paindakhail Visa Officer
•Shafiqa Nabi Receptionist
•Tariq Hanif Intern
•Arsenio Garcia Staff
•Fatah Eshaqzai Staff
•Ceasar Staff

Thank you. Heidi, would you like to share a few words with us.