PRIMACY OF SPIRITUAL VALUES
A good company of great and friendly personalities, an atmosphere of trust and understanding, hospitable hosts, common interests and desire to jointly look for solutions to the current problems of society....all this could be described as a feeling of genuine human happiness. At the same time, this was exactly the distinctive feature of the XIV Forum of Artistic and Scientific clerisy of the CIS countries held in the capital city of Turkmenistan, where one could really sense a powerful impulse of good generated by all delegations that gathered at the generous festive Turkmen table.
The high-level forum brought together more than two hundred delegates from the CIS countries, including prominent statesmen and public figures, scientists, writers, musicians and painters. President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin sent their welcome messages to the forum participants. This fact lent greater importance and political status to the event.
The forum was held under the theme "Common Humanitarian Space of the CIS: a Dialogue in the Sphere of Culture, Science and Education." This theme defined the general course and nature of discussions, including those relating to plans of cooperation in light of modern realities and identification of priority areas and forms of joint work.
Speaking at the plenary session, Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev noted that year after year the forum steadily strengthens its role and authority as a key event in the humanitarian life of the CIS, while face-to-face contacts between the workers of science, art and education contribute to the development of the cultural dialogue. According to Sergey Lebedev, Ashgabat provided all conditions and excellent opportunities for holding a constructive and meaningful dialogue on key topics of the humanitarian agenda, which is clear evidence of Turkmenistan's desire to preserve and develop the common humanitarian space of the CIS. He noted that there are currently 10 active CIS bodies for sectoral cooperation, including the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation that plays a great role. The practice of holding thematic years in the CIS, which has been in place for over twenty years now, proved to be efficient. For example, the year 2019 was held under the theme "Year of the Book". The year 2020 has been proclaimed "Year of Victory in the Great Patriotic War." By the way, following the proposal by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the year 2021 will be held under the theme "Year of Architecture and Urban Planning."
Concluding his speech, Sergey Lebedev expressed confidence that owing to the traditionally open and trustful atmosphere prevailing in the Forum the Ashgabat meeting would become a worthy contribution to the strengthening and development of humanitarian and cultural interaction in the CIS. He also noted that this dialogue produced many important and interesting joint projects that contribute to maintaining contacts and strengthening mutual understanding between people, mutual respect and friendship, preserving and passing the historic relations of our peoples and their ethnic and cultural diversity and original traditions to future generations.
In his speech, Chairman of the Board of the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation Polad Bulbul-Ogly touched on the topic of youth policy and education. The CIS highest bodies adopted 35 documents on these issues, including the agreements on recognition of higher education diplomas, on advanced training of teaching staff, on giving the status of basic organizations of the CIS countries to 17 higher education establishments for training and advanced training as well as retraining of specialists tailored to the requirements of the CIS markets. Polad Bulbul-Ogly especially noted cooperation in the sphere of culture, citing the most important projects and events, international and national actions in this area: music, theater, film festivals, joint exhibitions and contests, workshops for artists, seminars and conferences.
According to the head of the Fund, in the period from 2007 to 2018, the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation facilitated the implementation of 735 multilateral projects that involved more than 500 thousand people from all CIS countries, Baltic States and Georgia. Eighty-four projects are planned for 2019. Each of these projects prioritizes people, good deeds and new opportunities and produces positive energy that undoubtedly binds together hundreds of thousands of people and makes this world a better place to live. Polad Bulbul-Ogly thanked the entire team of the Fund, the participants of all previous and upcoming projects, the organizers of this forum and all those who give their strength, knowledge and skills to create a peaceful humanitarian space for our countries.
In his turn, Special Representative of the Russian President for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy expressed his gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for his caring attitude towards the Forum of Artistic and Scientific clerisy of the CIS countries and for the great organization of work by the Government of Turkmenistan.
The major highlight of the plenary session was the ceremony of awarding winners of the Interstate Prize "Stars of the CIS" for their achievements in science and education, culture and art.
Fourteen nominees from nine countries contested the prize this year. The jury awarded prizes to eleven nominees. It was for the first time that Turkmenistan's representative, opera singer, People's Artist of Turkmenistan Atageldy Garyagdyev won this award.
Other winners of "Star of the CIS" award included conductor Rauf Abdullayev (Azerbaijan); painter Robert Elibekyan (Armenia); the team of authors of the Institute of Powder Metallurgy (Belarus) comprised of academician Pyotr Vityaz, doctor of technical sciences Alexander Ilyuschenko, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences Mikhail Andreyev; poet Yesengali Raushanov (Kazakhstan); writer Mar Baydzhiev (Kyrgyzstan); doctor Ion Ababiy (Moldova); President of the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" Mikhail Kovalchuk (Russia); doctor of chemical sciences Ulmas Mirsaidov (Tajikistan).
The plenary session was followed by the press briefing at the Mekan Palace in the framework of the XIV Forum of Artistic and Scientific clerisy of the CIS. It was attended by members of the Forum Presidium, winners of the Interstate Prize "Stars of the CIS" and representatives of the Turkmen and foreign mass media.
The briefing participants emphasized the importance of the humanitarian component as an integral factor of multi-vector cooperation in the CIS, strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship, mutual understanding and trust between the peoples of the CIS countries, preserving and promoting their historical and cultural heritage and common humanistic values.
In the afternoon, the International University for the Humanities and Development hosted a panel discussion on the topic "Turkmenistan - the Heart of the Great Silk Road" as part of the XIV Forum of Artistic and Scientific clerisy of the CIS. This panel brought together mainly representatives of the academic community from among the delegates of the forum. Eminent humanities scholars, including those specializing in philosophy, social sciences, history and oriental studies analyzed the evolution of the Great Silk Road from ancient times to the present day and its current transformation into a mega-corridor for the intensive two-way traffic of goods and technologies, ideas and people. Emphasis was placed on the need to popularize the Great Silk Road phenomenon as a factor of bringing together not only the economies of the countries of the Eurasian continent but also the peoples and cultures, as well as Turkmenistan's work in this regard and the initiatives put forward by the leader of the country.
Then, a presentation of the cultural capital of the CIS in 2020 - the city of Shymkent (Republic of Kazakhstan) - was held at the same university. In the evening, the forum participants watched the play "Melody of Dutar" staged by the Main Drama Theater of Turkmenistan on the book "Music of the World, Music of Friendship and Brotherhood" by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
On the second day, the forum worked in three thematic sections that discussed further cooperation in culture, science and education. The participants covered topics relating to the actualization of the material and spiritual heritage in the current context, establishment of multi-channel information links, exchanging art delegations and implementation of joint research projects.
For example, the thematic section "Culture of the CIS: a Universal Language of the Dialogue" at the Turkmen State Institute of Culture looked at the tasks and strategies of humanitarian partnership, covering many areas from art, museum and library to publishing business.
The second thematic section "Education and Science in the CIS" took place at the Magtymguly Turkmen State University. It presented the directions of the actual fundamental and applied research works, technological developments and discussed innovations in the methodology of vocational training and pedagogical practice introduced in the higher education establishments of Turkmenistan and the CIS countries.
The third thematic section discussed the activities planned for the current Year of the Book in the CIS. This section worked at the exhibition center of the State Library of the State Cultural Center. The Forum delegates discussed issues relating to the preservation and promotion of traditional book culture in the era of digitalization, popularization of reading and nurturing media literacy, as well as literary processes in the CIS countries.
In the second half of the day, the State Library of Turkmenistan hosted the traditional action "Books as a Gift." As part of the action, the CIS Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation donated editions of the Russian classical and modern literature to the central library of the country.
Other events included master classes by cultural figures from different CIS countries - painters, sculptors, composers, conductors, theater actors - for students of high education establishments and pupils of special art schools of Ashgabat. Their master classes at the Turkmen State Institute of Culture, the State Academy of Arts and a special music boarding school at the Turkmen National Conservatory were held in the atmosphere of lively exchange of views.
At the closing ceremony of the XIV Forum of Artistic and Scientific clerisy of the CIS, the participants summed up the results of the two-day active work at various venues, in various formats, made recommendations for the further development of humanitarian cooperation in the CIS and reflected it all in the outcome document.
The outcome document calls on the CIS countries to support joint projects in the area of preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of the CIS countries with the view of developing contacts between specialists in history, art history, cultural studies, museum and archival work, restoration, as well as local history and preserving the historical and cultural landscape.
A concert by the CIS Youth Symphony Orchestra was a wonderful musical way to conclude the Forum. A group of talented musicians based on the State Symphony Orchestra of Turkmenistan presented an impressive concert program that featured many beautiful compositions by Turkmen musicians and composers from the CIS countries.