The sixth meeting of the Board of Trustees of the ECO Cultural Institute, hosted by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Tajikistan, was held on March 22, 2015, coincided with Nowrouz (the Persian New Year) celebrations, in Khujand, Tajikistan.
The Board of Trustees is comprised of the Ministers of Cultures of its Member States, the Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the president of the ECO Cultural Institute. Board of Trustees of the Institute is the highest decision making body to examine and approve macro policies, programs and budget of the Institute.
H.E. Mr. Shamsiddin Orumbiczoda, Minister of Culture of Republic of Tajikistan, the chairman of the Board of Trustees for a two-year period, stated in his statement that the history has taught us that violence, conflicts, increasing extremism and unhealthy schools of thought are developed as the result of negligence of cultural values. With respect to the said point, it is essential for us to unite again for the promotion of Knowledge and culture of the people of the region and fight with any kind of violence and extremism through spreading ancient and everlasting Eastern culture. He also called the occasion an auspicious time coincided with Nowrouz, "since it is magnificently celebrated in all the member states of the Institute and considered an evidence of cultural and historical commonalities and the ECO region's brilliant past".
H.E. Mr. Iftikhar Husain Arif, the President of ECO Cultural Institute, also delivered a comprehensive report of the policies, programs and recent activities of the Institute as well as the planned programs for the future to the meeting. He referred to the cultural commonalities among the ECO nations as one of the basic concepts leaded to the conclusion of the Treaty of Izmir as the founding document of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and stressed the importance of cultural exchanges among the people of the region in different aspects and necessity for the contribution of all concerned cultural and artistic organizations of the member states.
H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Reza Haji Karim Jabbari, the Executive Director of ECO Cultural Institute, while managing secretarial affairs of the meeting, took the floor several times and replied to many procedural and substantive enquiries made by the delegations. The significance of the Institute in the promotion of cultural cooperations in the region, strategies, policies and programs of the Institute, comparison of the conducted activities over the past two years with previous years in terms of quality and quantity, financial crisis, contributions and other organizational issues were among the matters the Executive Director noted.
Also at the sixth meeting of the Board of Trustees of the ECO Cultural Institute, the Khujand Declaration was approved. In the declaration, all the Member States emphasized the need to strengthen extensive cultural cooperation among the Member States of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), to support policies and programs of the Institute and recommendations of the Board of Trustees to organize cultural events in the ECO region.
The delegations from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) were present at the meeting. The previous meeting of the Board of Trustees from 2001 onward were held in Tehran, Islamabad, Tehran, Mazar-e Sharif and Kabul respectively.