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International Day of Nowruz

25 March 2014
International Day of Nowruz

Opening remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Acting Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
“International Day of Nowruz”

Palais des Nations, Hall XIV
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1 p.m.

Ambassador Naziri Asl
Distinguished Permanent Representatives
Ladies and gentlemen:

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this celebration of Nowruz. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for this vibrant tribute to the New Year and to peace, unity and mutual respect. The organization of this event by no less than nine Permanent Missions truly illustrates the marking of Nowruz at the United Nations in Geneva as a symbol of friendship, solidarity and commitment.

For thousands of years, the celebration of Nowruz has brought together families and communities from Western, Central and South Asia and other regions around the world to celebrate the first day of spring and the New Year.
Today, it is a pleasure to host our own celebration – bringing together the UN family and the international community in Geneva.

By designating the 21st of March as the International Day of Nowruz, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the importance and significance of this celebration for everyone. The power of Nowruz to build bridges between people has also been recognized by UNESCO, which placed it on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Expressed in a rich array of ways across the world, Nowruz also celebrates diversity as strength and as the foundation for a peaceful and sustainable world.

Nowruz is a time of hope and rejuvenation. It is a time for inspiration. It is a promotion of the universal values of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding. I am grateful to the nine organizing Missions for not only bringing us a lively and interesting event, but also the opportunity to come together in support of our shared vision for a better world.

Happy Nowruz to all !