H.E. Mr. Stefan Scholz, the Austrian Ambassador to Iran, and Mr. Karl von Habsburg, President of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, and his entourage, met with Dr. Mohammad Mehdi Mazaheri, President of the ECO Cultural Institute, and a number of the Institute's advisers on Wednesday May 1, 2019, at the headquarters of this international organization.
According to ECI public relations, at the meeting, Dr. Mazaheri appreciated the Austrian ambassador to Iran and welcomed President of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, pointed to the special position of the ECO region, said: "The objectives of Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, also called 'The Cultural Red Cross' has much in common with ECI's Cultural Diplomacy strategies".
The ECI president also pointed out to various dimensions of the civilizational legacy of the ECO countries and the need for maximum utilization of the experiences of international institutions in safeguarding the manifestations of the historical heritage of this ancient civilization and stated: "As an international institution, ECI is ready for any joint cooperation with the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield".
"Preserving the human heritage, promotion of peace and stabilizing the environmental well-being are among the strategic fields of ECI activities", Dr. Mazaheri continued.
Concluding his remarks, the president of ECO Cultural Institute referred to ECI's facilities in the field of media and said: "All our public relations facilities including the website, magazines and publications are ready to cooperate to disseminate information for the prevention of potential damages to the historical heritages at the time of natural disasters".
Speaking at the meeting, H.E. Mr. Scholtz, the Austrian Ambassador to Iran, pointed to the 700-year, long-lasting Iran-Austria relations as well as a notable number of ECO countries, and said: "The special attention of Dr. Mazaheri, the president of the ECO Cultural Institute, to the preservation of cultural and historical heritages, heralds a bright future for mutual cooperation".
He also welcomed ECI's willingness to collaborate with the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield and said: "In the upcoming meetings, we will definitely utilize the outlooks of the ECI president and cooperation of the professionals at the ECO Cultural Institute."
Karl von Habsburg, President of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, expressed his sincere gratitude towards ECI president for his hosting and welcomed his views, saying: "Today, the regional identity of the nations is at stake and thus, preventive measures should be taken for preserving cultural, historical and civilizational legacies in its various forms deems inevitable."
He also delivered a brief history of the establishment of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield and continued: "During the past century, around half of the countries' cultural monuments have been lost due to wars, conflicts and natural disasters, which is an alarming situation to the world."
The president of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield also welcomed ECI's willingness to work with this international body and highlighted that he will definitely consider the proposal to form 'ECO Blue Shield Committee'.
It is noteworthy that the Committees (Working Groups) of the Blue Shield, with its headquarters in Austria, according to Article 47 of the Protocol II adopted by UNESCO in 1999, is a consultative body of the Working Group on the Protection of Cultural Property at risk from armed conflict and natural disasters (Article 24, Protocol II) and has offices in 40 world countries.