The head of state made a welcoming speech at the forum’s opening ceremony.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, Mr President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev,
I am pleased to welcome the participants and guests of the International Cultural Forum in Russia.
This is the sixth time cultural figures from many countries are meeting in St Petersburg to discuss with their colleagues problems of the arts and education and the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage, as well as to share their ideas and identify new avenues for developing cultural cooperation.
Your involvement, mutual trust and commitment to partnership show once again that culture is a universal language of communication and mutual understanding, and it has enormous potential for uniting people around noble humanistic goals.
Moreover, culture saves the most important, core values and standards and passes them on to future generations. It helps connect the past, present and the future, preserve the identity and uniqueness of every nation, and it also helps people navigate the rapidly changing global world.
Finally, culture, art and education are a response to the challenges of barbarity, intolerance and aggressive radicalism, which are threatening our civilization. This is a path toward overcoming dividing lines and barriers, as well as all sorts of prejudices that impede forward movement.
We highly appreciate the fact that the spirit and purpose of the St Petersburg Forum are very much in demand and that all together we have managed to create yet another venue for an open and equal dialogue, as well as for launching initiatives serving the mutual enrichment of cultures and therefore the harmonious development of the world as a whole.
One such project was presented today – the International Theatre Olympiad; our colleagues and I have just talked about this. It was decided to hold the Olympiad in Russia in 2019.
Our country already had the privilege of hosting this unique event in Moscow in 2001. It did its utmost to ensure that the event become unprecedented in terms of scale and significance. At that time about 5,000 actors from 40 countries participated in it while the number of spectators exceeded 1 million.
I have no doubt that the new show of theatrical achievements from all over the world will be just as successful. Especially given that its venue will be St Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the world, which is rightly regarded as our country’s cultural capital.
Invaluable monuments and some of the world’s largest museums, theatres and libraries are concentrated here; the names of great musicians, artists and writers, whose works have become part of world cultural heritage, are associated with it.
All of this, without any doubt, fosters a special creative atmosphere in St Petersburg. I am confident that the participants and guests of the International Cultural Forum could feel this to the fullest. Allow me to wish you every success and all the very best.