The seventh edition of St Petersburg International Cultural Forum, opened on Thursday in the Russian city with Qatar as the guest of honour for the first time in the event.
The forum runs for three days with the participation of 35 foreign delegations led by many ministers of foreign affairs and culture in the world, including Qatar.
The forum was opened by Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Olga Golodets and HE the Minister of Culture and Sports of Qatar Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, who led the Qatari delegation.
More than 20,000 participants, representing theater, opera and music schools, in addition to experts in the global cultural and artistic fields and representatives of some governments are taking part in forum.
The St Petersburg International Cultural Forum aims to discuss ways to support co-operation in the cultural field between countries and their people around the world and to foster exchange of knowledge on cultural and artistic issues through seminars, lectures, roundtables, theater, film and musical performances, as well as supporting and developing youth initiatives.
The Qatari participation as a guest of honour comes within the framework of Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture which witnessed the organisation of many events by the two countries throughout the year in order to strengthen partnership and bilateral ties.
In his opening remarks to the forum HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, said that the diversity of people and cultures is a blessing from God. To emphasise his point, the minister quoted the Qur'anic verse: "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you."
The minister pointed out that Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture reflected the joint efforts between the two countries and culminated in an important model experiment in more than 40 different cultural activities which reflected its importance in cultural exchange and dissemination of the values of tolerance and openness.
He thanked all those who took part in the forum and for the opportunity they gave Qatar as a guest of honour in St Petersburg, which he described as the beautiful city and symbol of cultural diversity for centuries.
As part of Qatar-Russia 2018 Year of Culture celebrations, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra will be staging a concert. The minister said that Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performance in this forum under the theme "One Culture, One Tune", is the best proof of the value of cultural diversity in achieving rapprochement and coexistence among people.
The country's participation in the forum will be highlighted through a series of cultural activities and events such as an art exhibition on contemporary Qatari society, and the presentation of the archaeological project 'Qatar and Sudan', which highlights the importance of preserving historical monuments and archaeological excavations.
The forum will also feature a variety of presentations by Qatar Museums Department , and a programme on cinema in Qatar, Qatari artists and photographers' works.
The city of St Petersburg in Russia has been hosting this forum annually since 2012.
A number of Qatari cultural events will be held today, including a ministerial discussion which will be attended by the Minister of Culture and Sports and his counterparts from a number of countries. The event include a speech by the HE the Minister of Culture entitled "Truth or Myth", as well as a presentation on Qatar and Sudan archaeological project.
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