Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Foreign Minister Westerwelle with H.E. Zalmai Rassoul

Foreign Minister Westerwelle with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul and the spokesman of the Federal Foreign Office, Andreas Peschke, at the Closing Press Conference 05.12.2011

Towers of Knowledge – Afghanistan in Ancient Pictures (1747 – 1973)

In front of a packed room at the German House, Professor Paul Bucherer-Dietschi unveiled the five “towers of knowledge” exhibition that he has worked tirelessly on for the past two years.  This historically rich and informative exhibit of photographs and illustrations of Afghanistan from 1747 to 1973 was well-received by the many attendees.

The exhibition was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and co sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.  H.E. Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany introduced the event, followed by H.E. Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Seger of Switzerland, and H.E. Ambassador Wenaweser of Liechtenstein.

The exhibition consisted of five different displays, each summarizing a particular part of Afghan history.  The displays are constructed in the shape of five wooden towers, called the “Towers of Knowledge,” each showing about 60-80 photographs.  Along with the photos, a brief text of comments on historical milestones is presented in English, German and Dari and Pashto.

The exhibitions aim is to enrich the youth with the country’s cultural roots and thus evoke a sense of pride in national identity.  This exhibition helps to restore the education of Afghanistan’s rich history in the future generations.  As H.E. Ambassador Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan said in his opening remarks, “These pictures help the new generation and perhaps all, not only to know our history, but to be inspired by it.”

This exhibit was set up by the Swiss Afghanistan Institute in close cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Education to help Afghan people become more familiar with their own country’s modern history.  The exhibit currently has 68 copies being shown throughout Afghanistan, two copies in each of the 34 provinces.  Teachers were trained in Kabul to handle the towers and provide additional historical background when posed with questions from Afghan citizens.

This exhibition will be on display at the German House from November 21, 2011 – January 10th 2012 for the public to view and enjoy.

Afghanistan: a symbolic pledge of $15000 at the UN Pledging Conference for Development

The 2011 United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities was convened this morning, 8 November, at UN Headquarters in New York. The annual Conference provides member states an opportunity to declare their total financial contributions to UN operational activities for development for the coming year.

Speaking on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, thanked the UN’s development agencies and all donor countries “for providing vital and consistent development support for the people of Afghanistan over the last several years.” Amb. Tanin stressed Afghanistan’s commitment to greater collaboration with the donor community, in accordance with the principles of national ownership and transparency.

As a symbolic show of appreciation for the enormous assistance provided to Afghanistan by the UN, Amb. Tanin also promised the Afghan Government’s contribution for this year of US$15,000 to a range of UN development agencies and programmes, a 25-fold increase from two years ago.

This morning’s Conference also saw the election of H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama of Japan as President and H.E. Mr. Jim McLay of New Zealand as Vice-President of the Pledging Conference.

In total, twenty member states pledged contributions, amounting to over US$265 million altogether.