In an exclusive interview of ECO Cultural Institute with Mahtab Keramati, a prominent Iranian actress and UNICEF Ambassador for Peace, she referred to her agreements with Mr. Sarvar Bakhti, president of this international organization to plan for joint cooperation and said:" the peoples in the ECO region have thousands of reasons for friendship and not even have a single reason for enmity."
According to the ECO Cultural Institute, the interview is as follows:
Ms. Keramati, thank you for the opportunity you have provided for the interview. Please tell our audience in the ECO member countries about your feelings and interests in this area of civilization?
I would like to appreciate the opportunity created by the ECO Cultural Institute so that I can speak with the peoples of the ECO member country. From my point of view, as an Iranian artist, there is a deep bond and kinship between the peoples in this region with shared civilization; a sort of relationship of the "lost families" that were once together but today are largely separated in geographical borders. The different dimensions of the commonalities of the peoples in the ECO region could be traced in the rituals, customs and daily life of the people of this historical land. The peoples of the region, from Kusadasi in Turkey to the farthest villages of the vast country of Pakistan, have such common historical roots that once they get together to celebrate a common tradition such as Nowruz or to display their handicrafts and traditional arts, a single image of one "culture" is created. In my view, this common culture is the most important tool for the expansion of friendship and peace in this historical region, which, if combined with a sense of collective responsibility, can lead to the revival of a genuine and integrated civilization.
In your remarks, you referred to culture and art as important means to create maximum friendship and peace in the ECO region. As a well-known actress in Iranian cinema, how do you assess the importance of ECO artists in this regard?
I strongly believe in the influence artists have on promoting peace and friendship, and I feel that the artists of the ECO region and cinematographers, in particular, can play a great role in creating friendship among the peoples of the region. To this end, we should put aside cultural and geographical biases in order to achieve a cultural commonality, because the first principle to attain a lasting friendship in the ECO region is to instill a sense of togetherness by artists from ECO member countries to create the ground for joint cultural and artistic productions, and to enhance a "collective sense of honor" for the artists among the peoples in the region.
What would you do if you were to assume the responsibility to expand friendship among the peoples of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran?
There is great potential for the expansion of friendship among the peoples in the ECO region; we just need to shake hands with each other as a symbol of friendship again and avoid whatever inhibits it.
As an Iranian artist, I consider it my duty to build a bridge of friendship wherever borders are drawn between the nations; and this is not far from our reach. For, we have thousands of reasons for friendship, and may not even have a single reason for enmity. We share Nowruz. We share literature, music, carpets and songs. Our food and clothing are rooted in a common history, and we all believe in human values. Perhaps an issue that stands above all the others we know of is lack of communication which can lead to some serious consequences. However, it could be addressed through an effective measure to bridge the gap created between nearly 500 million people of the ECO region in a short time.
As the UNICEF Ambassador for Peace, do you have a specific plan to cooperate with the ECO Cultural Institute as an international organization with ten member countries?
I have been in contact with some ECO member countries in the field of cinema, but I intend to focus on this issue in the future. Therefore, in a meeting I had with Mr. Sarvar Bakhti, president of the ECO Cultural Institute, we reached an agreement on joint cooperation in several areas, the news of which will be announced soon. But my personal aim is to travel to all these countries and make a documentary about the life of the people of this ancient land to represent the "lost eastern dream" in the heart of history.
As a final question, what message do you have for the peoples of the ECO civilization?
First of all, I would like to pass my greetings to all of them and I hope to meet my "lost families" in the countries which share common identity in near future.