H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the General Assembly
Ladies and Gentleman,
Today we come together from many nations to celebrate Nowruz, an official international day. Last year, the representatives of Azerbaijan, Albania, Macedonia, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan co-sponsored the General Assembly resolution that took Nowruz beyond our national and regional boundaries and brought it here to the heart of the international community. With this, we created a new piece of history for our age-old cultural tradition. I am honored and humbled to have been among my colleagues as part of that major achievement. As we celebrate Nowruz, the beginning of our New Year from the Balkans to China in the East and to the Himalayas in the South, we join with other colleagues here today in celebrating the beginning of spring for the entire Northern hemisphere.
Nowruz is about a new beginning. It is a rebirth, which comes in the season in which nature plays out the metaphor of renewal in its budding, blossoming return to green. After months of cold, snow, and perhaps even hibernation, we emerge from our winter slumber across nations and regions to our spring awakening.
The celebration of spring and the vernal equinox is embraced by many cultures and religions. In Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and many other religions and civilizations, this seasonal change is marked with unique traditions all stemming from the same feeling of reinvigoration at the much-anticipated arrival of spring.
This time of renewal also has the potential to become a means of internal and natural reconstruction. It is a time for personal growth and rebirth of the self.
Nowruz belongs to all of us, an estimated 300 million people who have celebrated this event for more than three thousand years. It came to us as an old and most natural of all festivities, through myths, stories, and history. The tradition spanned through generations and continues in our time, not as a tradition of an empire or state, but a tradition that goes beyond all boundaries that divide us and reminds us of the common ground that unites us. This is a tradition that many of our individual cultures enjoy, defining us within the context of a larger, shared culture. While we live within our national boundaries, our cultural landscape has always been greater than the political ones to which we belong.
Ladies and Gentleman,
In today’s deeply interconnected world, globalization has had a transformative effect, necessitating cooperation between countries and regions. It has been first the political or economic interests that underpin this cooperation. However, globalization is only successful when it is rooted in the realization of cultural common ground. Political and economic cooperation and integration, as shown by the European Union for example, can only be sustained when it is based on a strong cultural foundation. For us, history, including historical traditions like Nowruz, is a part of that common cultural identity.
We are thrilled to celebrate Nowruz with our friends from around the world, and to join with millions of people to honor this time of joyous festivity and renewed hope for a new year, a new season of life. Here in the United Nations, we are not only part of a co-sponsorship of this international day but we all work together for the realization of the noble objectives of peace and cooperation between our nations. I hope that in celebrating together today we can play a role in bringing about a natural new beginning to our work here in this building by the East River, and reinvigorate our collective efforts for peace around the globe.