New York

1 May 2013

Secretary-General's message to 25th anniversary of Solomon Mikhoels International Cultural Center (ICC) at "Culture beyond Borders" Gala Concert

I am delighted to send greetings to this wonderful “Culture Beyond Borders” Gala Concert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Solomon Mikhoels International Cultural Center.  I thank the Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the
United Nations, the organizers and all the performers who have come from around the world to participate.

After an inaugural evening at UNESCO in Paris on 29 January, this concert is part of a rich programme of events that will take place throughout the year and across the world, culminating next February – all to celebrate the work of the Solomon Mikhoels International Cultural Centre in promoting cultural exchanges and mutual understanding. 

The great painter Marc Chagall once described the actor and activist Solomon Mikhoels as “practical and dreamy; his logic merged with feeling.” Solomon Mikhoels’ powerful combination of high ideals and pragmatic action propelled him to stand up against fascism even at the cost of his own life.  By carrying on his name through this meaningful celebration, you affirm that moral right is more enduring than military might. This message is consistent with the values and principles of the United Nations.

We live a time of transition and test.  Conflicts in troubled regions and global crises affecting our world as a whole demand a concerted response by all members of the international community.  Culture has an indispensable role to play in bringing people together, fostering understanding and reminding us of our common humanity.

The Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who is invited to attend this evening, once wrote, “Poetry is like a bird; it ignores all frontiers.” Our shared goals of peace and human dignity are also universal, transcending national borders to unite humanity.

I thank you for your efforts to advance these aims and wish you a most enjoyable evening.