Thank you very much for inviting me to this wonderful celebration of Nowruz. I am delighted to join you in marking this significant holiday, which symbolizes the renewal of Springtime.
I especially thank the representatives of the twelve countries sponsoring today’s event. The very fact that you have all come together in this festive atmosphere demonstrates the power of Nowruz to unite people from different cultures and backgrounds.
As we speak, families are gathering across Western, Central and South Asia, the Caucusus, the Balkans and beyond. They are cooking traditional delicacies. They are setting their tables and filling their picnic baskets. They are lighting candles, or singing songs or preparing special games.
There are many different ways to celebrate Nowruz in the rich, diverse region you represent. This tapestry of human culture is impressive. But I am even more moved that these very diverse peoples share common values. When they celebrate Nowruz, they rejoice in harmony with nature, human solidarity and fresh beginnings.
These are the very values we need to address climate change, end poverty and resolve longstanding conflicts.
Let us take inspiration from the wonderful musical performances we will hear tonight to carry the spirit of Nowruz beyond this season and around the world.