United Nations: Fostering respect for other cultures and beliefs will help the international community face the growing challenges of rise of extremism and threats to peace and security, India said on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year that marks the beginning of spring.
"...the international community also faces a number of challenges of peace and security, rise of extremism and the like. Celebrations like Nowruz will help us in facing these challenges by fostering mutual understanding and respect for each other's culture, traditions and beliefs," India's Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said at the International Day of Nowruz, commemorated on Monday.
The International Day of Nowruz was proclaimed in 2010 by the General Assembly, and India has been co-sponsoring the commemoration at the world body along with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Akbaruddin said the Parsi community, which celebrates Nowruz, is woven integrally into the cultural fabric of India.
The community has contributed significantly towards building and strengthening modern India, he said. The community's growth in India, from the first migrants who landed in the country centuries ago, holds a lesson on how nations can embrace migrants seeking refuge and peace "in distant lands in these troubling times," he said.
Drawing parallels between the central message of Nowruz and that of the International Day of Yoga, he said both days symbolise peace and "harmony with nature." "This central message of Nowruz is also one of the key messages of the International Day of Yoga as underscored in the Yoga Day resolution namely 'building better individual lifestyles devoid of any kind of excesses'," he said.
He added that on the first year of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the central message of Nowruz is indispensable for achieving the "transformative agenda and the goals we have set for ourselves towards sustainable development." In his message on the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that conflict, discrimination and other violations of human rights continue to take an immense toll and the occasion should be used to spread its essential message of hope and renewal around the world.
"We must respond with compassionate action that addresses immediate suffering while tackling root causes. With its focus on good relations, environmental stewardship and lasting peace, Nowruz is an occasion to strengthen our resolve to leave no one behind in our journey to a better future," he said.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called Norwruz "an outstanding manifestation of how living cultural heritage expresses the way we understand the world and the means by which we shape it for the good of all."