Vienna/Duschanbe, 17 October 2005 Press release

Austrian-Tajik dialogue between cultures, civilisations and religions


Dialogue Forum in Dushanbe

Vienna/Dushanbe, 17 October 2005 - At the initiative and with the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and at the invitation of the Tajik Academy of Sciences, twelve representatives of Austrian intellectual and cultural life are participating in an intercultural dialogue forum in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. Opinions are being exchanged with Tajik partners in the areas of history, archaeology, music, anthropology, sociology, and religion against the background of today’s political developments. The joint final forum will present the results of the deliberations to the Tajik public, and a written summary will also be made available to interested Austrians.

This is the second meeting of Austrian and Tajik academics since the signing of the bilateral agreement between the two Academies of Sciences in 2004. Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia with which Austria has such an agreement. By the same token, Tajikistan’s only such agreement in the West is with the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

In addition to the treatment of specifically Tajik-oriental themes, the Head of the Academy for the Training of Teachers of Religion of the Islamic Community in Vienna, Amir Zaidan, will meet with the Islamic community of Tajikistan for an exchange of opinions, which, among other things, will be devoted to the life of the Islamic community in Austria and its contribution to the Christian-Islamic dialogue.

The musicologist Nadya Kayali carried out preparatory work for the 2006 project "Mozart and the Orient" and discussed the planned performance in Austria of the Tajik opera "Komde Madam" with her Tajik counterparts. The legal expert Stefan Hammer examined features of Islamic law in the legal system of today’s Tajikistan and analysed rules of law relating to civil society and NGOs. Moreover, an Austrian-Tajik exhibition by the Austrian-Central Asian Summer Academy for Lithography is also being held: five Austrian artists are working together with five central Asian colleagues for a period of three weeks, at the end of which they will present their works to the public.

The delegation was accompanied by Gudrun Harrer, journalist and orientalist, who is also instrumental in the preparation of the conference "Islam in a pluralistic world" which will take place in Vienna from 14 to 16 November.