THE SAMARKAND PEACE MUSEUM PROJECT
SAMARKAND PEACE MUSEUM PROJECT
The Republic of Uzbekistan, which proclaimed its independence in 1991,
could be said to be opening up to the world afresh... This "grizzled" but
bountiful land, which since ancient times has attracted the attention of
eminent travellers, generals, merchants and thinkers, is today rightly
regarded as a conservation area, a true open-air museum, where ancient and
modern history interweave harmoniously in a multicoloured mosaic.
This landscape has seen pass not only the cavalry of the Persian Shahs,
Alexander the Great's phalanxes and Genghis Khan's hordes but also the
caravans of the Great Silk Road. Here ruled the great Amir Timur; here
shone the wisdom of Abu Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna), Beruni, Farabi,
Al-Khorezmi, Rudaki, Firdousi, Khayyam, Ulughbek, Navoi, Babur and many
other major Eastern scholars and thinkers.
One of the greatest repositories of the immensely rich historical and
cultural heritage of past ages is Samarkand. In its time it has been called
the "Eden of the East", the "Face of the Earth", the "Focus of the
universe's wisdom and beauty". Indeed, the architecture of Samarkand - the
Gur-Emir mausoleum, the Registan ensemble, the Shahi-Zinda necropolis, the
Bibi-Khanym mosque, etc - cannot fail to seize the imagination. The city is
2750 years old, but still today the thrusting, radiant minarets and blue
cupolas of the mausoleums, mosques and madrasas bequeathed to us by the
gifted masters of mediaeval times sparkle with light.
A city of immensely rich cultural traditions and extensive links to the rest
of the world, Samarkand invariably attracts an unending flow of visitors
from around the globe. It can hardly be thought a coincidence, therefore,
that it was here in Samarkand that the first International Museum of Peace
and Solidarity in the former USSR came into existence.
An ancient Chinese proverb says: "If you think a year ahead, plant rice; if
you think ten years ahead, plant trees; but if you think a hundred years
ahead, educate the people". Following this wise advice, we began to acquaint visitors with universal human values and with the
world-wide problems of civilization that can only be solved by the joint
efforts and solidarity of all the inhabitants of the Earth.
HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM'S FOUNDATION
It all began, actually, with ... the international language Esperanto. In
1977 we initiated the launch of the "Esperanto" International Friendship
Club, which subsequently became one of the most active in the country.
We began an international correspondence in Esperanto, made friends in
many countries and, using what Esperantists sent us, began to organize
a variety of exhibitions on different subjects, including a cycle of
international exhibitions entitled "Peace - the Hope for the Planet",
which were successfully staged in Samarkand, Tashkent, and in some
cities in Russia. Over time, the materials we were sent -
posters, drawings, books, postcards and so forth - grew into the
"Esperanto" club's collection and became the foundation of the future
International Museum of Peace and Solidarity opened by the Esperantists of
Samarkand in 1986 to mark the International Year of Peace.
In 1989, by decision of the board of the Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture, the
Museum was awarded the honoured designation of "People's Museum". It took as
its motto some words by the great Uzbek poet and humanist Alisher Navoi, who
issued the challenge five centuries ago:
"Mind, ye peoples of the Earth,
Enmity is an evil state.
Live in friendship, one and all -
Man can have no kinder fate."
MISSION AND OBJECTIVES
We aim to promote peace through citizen diplomacy, culture and arts; to deepen public awareness and understanding of global challenges and to cultivate a sense of personal responsibility for coping with the vital worldwide problems on which the future of the world and the survival of our descendants depend; to demonstrate the multicultural diversity of the human race, fresh visions of a better world, and the need for worldwide solidarity.
Various exhibits, including literature, artwork, memorabilia etc, from around the globe, all featuring the universal human values and the visions of the better world.
Regular temporary exhibitions and presentations in various locations, community events, major international projects: “Beauty Will Save the World”, “Samarkandiana”, “The Peace Autograph”, “The World Through the Eyes of Children”, “Esperanto”, “The World of Smiles”, “Great Silk Road”, “Clean Up the World”, etc.
SAMARKAND ON EVERY CONTINENT
Our home town, Samarkand, is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. We collect ANY type of related material (letters of greeting, travel tales, literature, songs, poems, photographs, etc) to do with Uzbekistan and Samarkand. In fact, anything at all on this topic, including photos of streets/ shops/ restaurants/ hotels/ communities/ companies etc in your country with the name “Samarkand” or similar will be most welcome.
All items sent in will be displayed in the special exhibition.
SOME FEEDBACK: VISITORS SAY
- "I think your museum is a wonderful idea, to give and uphold ideals to all, old and young".
- "Thanks for the good work and excellent exhibits! I wish you much luck and successes in your upcoming projects. Thank you for all."
- "I cannot believe that there is such a wealth of fascinating information here. I am very grateful to have been shown around. Thank you!"
- "What a wonderful museum and movement. May our world continue toward Peace."
- "I really enjoyed every exhibit in the museum and I look forward to working with the museum in the future. Stay the course - this is an incredible vision."
-"I was fortunate to be able to visit this museum and see the assembled work and ideas that must have taken so much energy and will to produce. I salute your success and I wish you the best in the future."
- "It's amazing that in this little corner of the park in Samarkand there is this wealth of intellect, love and overall collective support for such an important (and necessary) movement. I wish everyone passing through these doors the best - Peace is something that needs to hit every individual in their heart and spread outwards."
SOME QUOTES FROM SUPPORTERS OF THE MUSEUM
"The Museum of Peace and Solidarity is, I am sure, very pleasing to God. The wonderful work undertaken for the cause of Peace in the world will surely bear fruit. God bless you."
Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Laureate
"My heart goes out to the wonderful people of the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in Uzbekistan who are providing the world with the voice of human beings; for I believe that everywhere human beings are longing for harmony, a better understanding of their neighbors, and for a world where we can exchange knowledge and art. It is my greatest wish that those voices could be heard and given the political weight they deserve. With greatest respect and admiration for the work of the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity."
Yehudi Menuhin, musician
"I congratulate the organizers of the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity for your wonderful initiative. The central problem of XXI century is to transfer from the culture of war to the culture of peace. This is the cause your Museum serves to. With all my best wishes for success in the new millennium."
Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Laureate
"I would like to send you my best wishes for success in your work. Its importance in these troubled and tragic times can scarcely be overestimated."
Noam Chomsky, scholar
"How honoured I am to receive your embracing letter, and how pleased I am to hear of your wonderful venture. I am happy to think that a little bit of me will reside in that great , ancient city Samarkand, in a museum dedicated to peace, human rights and the protection of the only world we have. I hope you will accept my small contribution to what I know must be a heart-warming collection of the many much greater individuals who care deeply about this world of ours, and who try hard to make it a better place. We must not stop trying, that's all I know. To you, and your colleagues and your friends, my warm wishes . All the best."
Janet Suzman, actress
"I certainly wish your museum every success in its worthwhile activity. Anything it does to help achieve a peaceful world is extremely valuable."
Sir Edmund Hillary, explorer
"Thank you for your letter of invitation to participate in the international
exhibit at your museum. I am truly honored to share in this effort of
helping people, particularly through such a rare museum in the ancient
world. Hopefully the enclosed message will bring some enlightenment to your
visitors who, after reading the many thoughts and missives at the museum,
will have ever greater compassion and love for people and life in our world,
just as you have all intended."
Crystal Gayle, singer
"Congratulations on your museum dedicated to peace and solidarity. While we have many serious challenges in our world it is ultimately the desire of the people which will prevail. Your museum, which reminds people that we are all alike in our desires and wishes, is a reflection of the truly important values which we all share. During my Apollo 9 flight back in March, 1969, I looked down at this beautiful planet and I saw no boundaries, no borders. We put lines and colors on maps in order to organize our world, but too often they become the basis for separation and dispute. It is important to realize that from space, where we see the world as a whole, there are none of these artifical lines and colors… we are all One People, One Planet!
Good luck with your museum."
Russell L. Schweickart, Apollo 9 Astronaut
"I send you and the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity my warmest wishes and regards with compliments for your endeavors to create interest for a better and healthier planet."
Thor Heyerdahl, explorer
"I congratulate you for creating this Peace Museum in Samarkand and sincerely wish that you accept this following statement: May harmony in music and peace and love in Man's Heart be always there. With my best wishes."
Ravi Shankar, musician
"Your dedication to such noble causes as world peace, human rights, environmental protection and world development represents a building block to a lasting peace among nations and surely merits international admiration. I commend on your efforts and your appeal for world peace… I am honored to be a part of something that means so much to you and your people."
Edward M. Kennedy, US Senator
"The more we spread the idea of peace, the more peace will be recognized and lived and respected! One of our problems today is that war has better press! Your museum of Peace and Solidarity in Samarkand should become such a popular chain that every city should want one!"
Wim Wenders, film director
"Your initiative illustrates the kind of actions that can help humanity save our beautiful planet earth. Science can provide the knowledge that will make possible the attaining of a lovely and sustainable world. Museums and other educational means can serve a needed role of promoting public support for the successful use of this knowledge. I hope that your plans develop well and that the people of Uzbekistan enjoy a good future."
Paul D. Boyer, Nobel Laureate
"I am most impressed by your idea and your efforts in the establishment of the Museum of Peace and Solidarity. It is, of course, something I support wholeheartedly, as must all citizens of this could-be-glorious world. Every good future to the Museum of Peace and Solidarity."
Julian Glover, actor
"It is an honour for FIFA to be represented in your Museum and I would like to congratulate you for such an initiative. With great respect, I remain very respectfully yours."
Joseph S. Blatter, President, FIFA
"I have a friend who says “happiness comes from love and service to others,
and a peaceful mind comes from understanding and acceptance”. I have found
these are principles that promote healing in my life – healing of my
relations and of my soul. I truly believe that slowly, day by day and person
by person, those same ideals will heal our world. The very fact that this
museum exists is proof that we have begun."
Judith Light, actress
"Peace and Solidarity is what the world needs - with my strongest support for your initiative and my best wishes of success."
Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate
"Your museum seems fascinating, and certainly it is dedicated to a noble cause. I hope your institution will flourish, and that all will also be well with you and yours."
Poul Anderson, writer
"Congratulations for your efforts for Peace and friendship between nations."
George Vassiliou, former President of Cyprus
"I wish your museum every success and all good wishes for the future."
Dame Cicely Saunders, Chairman, St. Christopher's Hospice
"I appreciate and admire your initiative to build out a museum of peace and solidarity. It is so important for the people and the world of today. I wish you much success with your museum. With 1000 warm wishes for you and your supporters. "
Phil Bosmans, educator
"I am very glad to hear about the good work the Museum of Peace and Solidarity is doing. Once again, thank you for thinking of me. I wish the museum and all the people of Uzbekistan the very best for the future."
Danielle Steel, writer
"Thank you for your interest in my accomplishments in space... My heart is always filled with pride when I have the opportunity to tell others, especially students, about the value of the space program and fortunate I was to have been a part of it. So may I speak to the young people that will visit your museum… With my blessings and every good wish…"
Walter Cunningham, astronaut, Apollo 7
"Not necessary to say that it is an honor for me to support your efforts... If God permits and my wife and I should once be given an opportunity to come to Samarkand we would not hesitate to knock at your door. Good wishes and kindest regards."
Siegfried Lenz, writer
"I am not surprised that you have had such a positive response on your effort to open the museum, and proud to be asked to contribute. Peace and solidarity is historically our world’s greatest challenge. Thank you for your internationally monumental efforts."
Al Gore, former US Vice-President, Nobel Peace Laureate
"I would like to thank sincerely the Museum and people, who stand behind it. The problems of peace and solidarity are very important indeed. I am Greek by birth and I live in Russia. It happened so that I lived in different countries and experienced their cultures. This was used in my work, while playing characters of various national backgrounds. The most important thing for me is however the depth of human being whom I try to create on the screen. National and religious affiliation is of secondary importance. All the frontiers and categories are relative. Is not it important to hear the voice of someone who is standing next to you? Would not this little thing help the cause of peace? Thank you for this opportunity of adding my voice in the quest for better world."
Evklid Kurdzidis, actor
"I would like to wish health and happiness to everyone who visits the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity. All best wishes."
Susan Hampshire, actress
"Needless to say, your idea of creating a Museum of Peace and Solidarity – two things that mankind need more that anything else to survive – is a noble and lovely invention. I wish you, of course, best development and bloom and I hope that the Museum will be a real contribution to this great cause. Yours in friendship,"
Leszek Kolakowski, philosopher
"Thank you for inviting me to participate in your project “The Peace Autograph”. I an honored that you feel I have contributed to the creation of the better world. I wish you success for your valuable work and all my best regards."
Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor, Nazi hunter
"Thank you very much for inviting me to take part in your most exciting project... I wish you health, peace and much success with your project. Shalom."
Amoz Oz, writer
"Peace!… I'm all for it! Thanks for helping!"
Phil Collins, musician
"I am delighted and honored by your request and while I do not pretend to any personal beauty, I am happy to be a part of this distinguished gathering."
John Kenneth Galbraith, scholar
"I thank you for the honor to be a part of something as beautiful and important as this Peace Museum. You are an inspiration to me and to countless others. If there is anything I can do to help you, please do not hesitate a second to contact me. In peace and respect,"
Leslie Nuchow, singer, songwriter, activist
"I want to praise you for your enormous work and effort in conflict resolution and building communities of tolerance, peace and love. You have my support and prayers."
Danny Glover, actor
"I wish many museums in other countries and places throughout the world follow your noble example and establish a similar museum of exhibits that feature the universal human values of peace, human rights and protection of this planet – the world we all have to live in – which, exhibited in a most interesting and graphic way will cause the average man to think of, and work for world understanding, cooperation, advancement and the protection of our planet. I send my heartfelt best wishes for the success of this worthy enterprise."
"We pray for your country and for your Center of Peace and Solidarity. My best regards,"
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Nobel Peace Laureate
"I send you my warmest greetings to all those who visit this wonderful museum whose goals I endorse most wholeheartedly with both your country and all of us who strive for peace in our individual way to be rewarded through understanding between all people in the future."
Zubin Mehta, conductor
"I am not at all surprised that your idea for a Museum of Peace has been so quickly and widely accepted and supported. It shows that ordinary people everywhere are finally convinced that war solves nothing, can never be justified, and that conflicts must be peacefully resolved if the human race is to survive. Count me among your supporters."
Herbert A. Hauptman, Nobel Laureate