Dr Sayed Mossadeq Khalili, Minister and SAF-Afghanistan Director, participated in a panel discussion on the 18 SAARC Submit

News Kathmandu, Nepal - 28th November 2014

Hon’ble Dr. Sayed Mossadeq Khalili, Deputy Minister of Culture of Afghanistan and Director of the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Cultural Heritage Preservation Institute in Kabul participated in a panel discussion on the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu last week.  Attached is his speech delivered on the occasion in which he lists out the activities of the chapter, Amb. Madanjeet Singh’s assistance to the Bamiyan Buddha’s reconstruction and the SAF group scholarships being provided.

The panel discussion also has Ms Chime Palden Wangdi, General Secretary of the Tarayana Foundation, Thimpu who is in holding Vice Chair of SAF-Bhutan chapter.

The discussion program’s chief guest was the Foreign Minister of Nepal Mahendra Bahadur Pandey.

Khalili During SAARC SUBMIT Uploaded by Sunil Binjola

In Centre: Dr Nishchal N Pandey, Chairperson, SAF-Nepal, left to him Hon’ble Dr. Sayed Mossadeq Khalili, Director, SAF-Afghansitan,
and Ms Chime Palden Wangdi, SAF-Bhutan, Vice Chairperson (standing second last )

Speech  of  Hon’ble Dr. Sayed Mossadeq Khalili


H.E Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Dear Friends
Dr. Nishchal N. Pandey, Distinguished delegates from SAARC Countries

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very happy to be invited and participate to this Valuable gathering in this beautiful and cultural city of Kathmandu.

On behalf of the Afghan government and in particular the ministry of information and culture of Afghanistan, I would like to express my sincere gratitude’s to the Centre for South Asian Studies and The Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks for Worm hospitality and excellent arrangement made for this important meeting . I would also like to take this opportunity and extend my greetings to everyone at this panel discussion from all the SAARC Member states and abroad.

Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates,

You all know that during 3 decades of war our country has suffered a lot, this destructive war destroyed all the infrastructures and influenced different aspect of afghan people life.

Especially in the field of culture, our country has experienced a very difficult and intolerable period.

Most of the historical monuments and archeological sites have been destroyed and illegally excavated, The Tow Great Budha Statues have been destroyed and the national museum of Afghanistan were looted, which its collection with over 100,000 items had earlier been one of the most important in Central Asia.
In consequence today we have more than 1200 monuments and 5000 sites in danger of collapse and destruction
But fortunately Since 2002 Afghanistan after thirty years of war has returned to normal life once again. At this stage of our transition from the culture of war to culture of peace and fostering fraternity and cordiality and promoting the spirit of forgiveness. The government of Afghanistan via the Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism and Youth has tried to popularize these principles through holding of cultural gatherings; festivals as well as Concerts and Cultural exhibition. The psychological effects of such cultural services not only alleviate various attitudes but also help in the development of the culture of toleration and help us to rid the society from the affects of thirty years of war.

In cooperation, with the international community and our friends from every part of the world, and the regional cooperation organization such as SAARC and ECO we try to rebuilt Afghanistan, and conduct this country towards a sustainable development and peace.

I am sure that SAARC Can have a significant role in the reconstruction and peace Building process in Afghanistan.

I believe that SAARC Agenda for Culture Can help us to strengthen our Relation and join efforts to preserve our Shared Cultural HeritageWithin the SAARC Agenda for Culture the Cultural Capital program is a wonderful occasion which helps us to know about Each other’s Culture and bring together our nations.
As you are aware the Bamian City of Afghanistan is declared as the first SAARC Cultural Capital for the Year 2015.
Bamyan situated on the ancient Silk Route, the town was at the crossroads between the East and West when all trade between China and the Middle East passed through it. Because of the cliff of the Buddha’s, Band-e-Amir, Shar-e-Gholghola, Zohak City and its local scenery and other historical sites, Bamyan has become as one of the most visited places in Afghanistan.
We honored when heard that SAARC declared Bamyan as the cultural capital of south Asian countries. As you know Bamyan has lost its glorious Great Buddha’s and the murals in the surrounding caves, but many caves and monuments with their beautiful wall paintings remain, and the diversity of this monuments give them irreplaceable value from the religious, cultural architectural and historic viewpoint, this Cultural and Historic Values and being a World Heritage site, gives Bamian the opportunity to be SAARC Culture Capital.

I hope that in cooperation with all our friends from The 8 SAARC countries we will be able to celebrate successfully Bamian 2015 and bring together, Exhibit and Introduce the SAARC Culture and Strength the Cooperation between our nations Via the Common and diverse Culture and Traditions. The Selection of Bamiyan as First SAARC Cultural Capital is a great occasion for Afghanistan to give a different image from the country via Culture.

I hope that you all will find the opportunity to join us for the celebration of Bamian as Cultural Capital of SAARC on April 2015 and visit Bamyan and its natural landscapes.
Now let me to come on the expectation of Afghanistan form the SAARC.

As the international Assistance for Afghanistan is going to be decreased after 2014, SAARC can play a major role to fill the gap and support Afghanistan to continue towards the development and stability. Therefore Our expectations from the SAARC is the improvement of Regional cooperation, and efficient and well use of resources and opportunities to develop economy of the region and bring together the efforts to fight against common challenges in order to conduct the region towards a peaceful and better future.

The instability in Afghanistan is not, an isolated problem, the instability in Afghanistan may affect the whole of South Asia, The security of Afghanistan is closely related to the regional security and Stability in Afghanistan means the regional stability, With the support of the SAARC, Afghanistan has the potential to play a significant role to connect the Central Asia and South Asia, Here I take this opportunity to call our South Asian Friends to have more active role in Afghanistan, and help the country towards a peaceful development and collaborate with the new afghan government towards making Afghanistan more stable.
Considering the critical situation of the Afghanistan’s Cultural heritage especially with 1200 monuments and 5000 Archeological sites in danger, we need cooperation of our South Asian friends to preserve these cultural heritages which is a heritage shared with the SAARC Nations.

I believe that culture makes it easier to understand each other better, and enable the people to overcome the economic and political barriers. Therefore Afghanistan seeks to strengthen the collaboration with all SAARC Members and enhance cultural cooperation with South Asian Nations.

At the end as the former director of SAF Institute of Madanjeet Singh on the Preservation of Afghanistan Cultural Heritage I would like to have a few words regarding the activities of this Association in my Country.

After receiving membership of south Asia foundation (SAF) in 2003, SAF Afghanistan Chapter Started to take the initial steps on the Preservation of Cultural Heritage by establishing the UNESCO/MADANJEET SINGH Center for preservation of Afghanistan Cultural Heritage.
This Institute is the only institution providing the courses and Trainings on the preservation of Cultural Heritage in Afghanistan in coordination with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture.
SAF Afghanistan also introduces qualified candidates for Madanjeet Singh group Scholarships which has introduced around 40 students based on competency to different Madanjeet Singh Group Scholarships since 2007.

By the Improvement of security situation in Afghanistan, SAF-Afghanistan chapter will not only invite the students from the provinces but also pave the way to invite students from the other SAARC countries to study in this center and get familiar with Afghanistan culture and improve the regional cooperation and peace through education which is the core objective of SAF
Once again I thank all the organizers of this valuable conference specially the CSAS and COSATT for giving us the opportunity to get together and discuss the issues related to our regional cooperation and I hope that the 18th SAARC SUMMIT will open a new chapter in regional cooperation.

Thank you for Your Attention!