UCLG-MEWA culture working group convened in Gaziantep/Turkey

The Culture Working Group, established under the United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA), held its second meeting on 14-15 March 2014, in Gaziantep, hosted by Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality.

“I am proud that the presidency of the Culture Working Group, which was decided to be established, during the UCLG-MEWA, Konya Meeting held on 10-20 December, 2014, was bestowed upon my team in this department, and I would like to thank all the UCLG-MEWA members, on behalf of my team”, said Ms. Sema GÜZELBEY MARANGOZ, Head of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, Department of Culture and Social Affairs, during her opening remarks.

"A Latin American thinker who visited Istanbul in 2008 (Ernesto Cardenal) said that “there is no such thing as holy war; what is holy is peace”. International Peace Poems Festival is organized in Iran, the country of poets like Hafez and Saadi Shirazi. Similar events are held in the other countries in our region,” said Mr. Mehmet DUMAN, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, and he added: “The Middle East and West Asia, which constitute our region, is a region in which civil wars, conflicts among countries are prevail. Many countries which are divided by red borders on the map today are united in the lines of Hafez, Rumi, Ahmad Yasewi, Yunus Emre, Hacı Bektaş Veli and Mahmoud Darwish. That is, culture plays a unifying role, not a discriminatory one, and it serves as the most important tool to be used in ensuring or protecting peace. While gathering you, our aim, as UCLG-MEWA, together with Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, is to share reciprocal experiences and develop joint projects in this field. As UCLG-MEWA, I would like you to be assured that we are always at your disposal to assist you in this regard.”

During the opening ceremony, Co-Presidents of UCLG-MEWA Working Group and Dr. Asım GÜZELBEY, Mayor of Gaziantep took the floor, as well.

Member local authorities made their presentations on “Culture for Peace, Peace for Culture”, following the talk by Prof. Dr. Nurhan Atasoy, the acknowledged art historian, on the effects of Ottoman designs in the European culture.

The official program ended pursuant to the final session in which it was decided to appoint Tehran Municipality as a co-president of UCLG-MEWA Culture Working Group.