Conflict Prevention, Peace building and Mediation

Speech by EU Ambassador Androulla Kaminara at launching of Coffee Table Book ‘From Landi Kotal to Wagah: Cultural Heritage Along the Grand Trunk Road’

Islamabad , 10/02/2021 - 12:49, UNIQUE ID: 210210_18
Speeches of the Ambassador

Launch of the Coffee Table Book ‘From Landi Kotal to Wagah: Cultural Heritage Along the Grand Trunk Road’Launch of the Coffee Table Book ‘From Landi Kotal to Wagah: Cultural Heritage Along the Grand Trunk Road’

Wednesday 10/02/2020, 15:00, Pakistan National Council of Arts

Points to raise:

Introduction/Appreciation

  • It’s a great pleasure for me to be part of the launch of this Coffee Table book;
  • I would like to start by thanking Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for the National Heritage and Culture Division, for his endeavour to protect and promote the heritage sights described in the book;
  • I would like to thank Ms. Patricia McPhillips, Director of UNESCO Islamabad, H.E. Mr. Benedict de Cerjat, Ambassador of Switzerland and Ms. Maha Ahmed, from the World Bank for the fruitful cooperation over the past two years;
  • Culture is at the heart of EU international relations. Particularly, the EU strategy for international cultural relations aims at supporting culture as an engine for social and economic development, promoting intercultural dialogue and the role of culture for peaceful inter-community relations and reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage;
  • Culture is also one of the areas of cooperation under the Strategic Engagement Plan.

The Grand Trunk Road

  • Over the centuries, the GT road became a vital link in the trade routes across Central and South Asia and ensured mobility across continents;
  • The strategic value of this grand highway is testified by the presence of forts, fortified towns, caravanserai, milestones and stepped walls all along the way;
  • The sights described in the book demonstrate the importance for economies to trade with neighbouring countries and how trade facilitated the creation of bridges between peoples;
  • Many of the anecdotes present in the book can serve as source of inspiration for strengthening ties among the neighbours of our times;
  • I have read some chapters – these stories bring the past alive.

Promotion of Tourism

  • Along the Grand Trunk Road not only goods but cultures, ideas, religions and languages were exchanged, leaving a permanent trace on the societies along the Road today;
  • The Greeks, Mauryans, Scythians, Parthians, Sassanians, Turks Mughal and British all left their mark on the history of Pakistan;
  • The book showcases the lesser known sights of Pakistan and identifies opportunities to promote tourism in the country;
  • Promotion of tourism as an economic vehicle for growth is among the top priorities of the Government of Pakistan;
  • Cultural heritage is an important manifestation of cultural diversity that needs to be protected and promoted, especially for its key role in attracting tourism and boost economic growth;

          Religious sights and interfaith harmony

  • The book includes many religious sites, a large number of which are non-Muslim, which testify the peaceful coexistence of different religions and faiths across Pakistan’s history;
  • Last week, the EU Delegation joined the UN’s “Interfaith Harmony Week” to celebrate Pakistan’s diversity and multiple faiths, which should be cherished and supported;
  • Throughout the book, there are many examples of how tolerance, mutual understating and respect among different religions are deeply rooted in Pakistani culture;
  • This is a rich legacy, which Pakistan can be proud of presenting and showcasing;
  • It is a rich legacy which Pakistan needs to nurture and expand for the present and for its future.

  Conclusion

  • I invite all partners and friends present here today to visit the sights presented in the book- some of them are only few minutes’ drive from Islamabad, and play an active role in their promotion though our global outreach;
  • I have certainly got many ideas of where to visit next.

 

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