Samstag, 19. Juni 2010
“Villa Riehl”, 2824 Seebenstein Wiener Neustädter Straße
Rapprochement of Cultures – Solstice
Within the Austrian branch of UPF it has become a tradition
since 2003 to organize a Peace Conference on the weekend of summer solstice in
a conference centre near Seebenstein, located in the
forests some 60 km south of Vienna.
Responding to the announcement of the UN which declared 2010 as the “Year
of the Rapprochement of Cultures” we invited experts to speak on a
variety of topics representing different cultures of the world.
To start the program Elder Reuben Silverbird organized
an Original Native Circle Dance on the green lawn in front of the conference hall,
which gave to all participants a sense of unity and connectedness with Mother
As an introduction Peter
Haider, Secretary General of UPF Austria, explained the
meaning of the “Rapprochement of Cultures” as it is explained in
the dossiers published by UNESCO. UPF’s activities
and worldwide are specially attached to this topic, as UPF always supports
initiatives to build bridges between religions and cultures. Its founder Rev.
Moon even suggested to establish an Interreligious Council within the United Nations.
As a first speaker Bashir Mirzo, who comes from a Syrian family of musicians, spoke
about “Music in the Orient”. He explained the differences to
Western musical styles, spoke about the influence of India and Persia on the music in the Arabic
countries. Finally he gave a taste of the magic of this music by showing
different rhythms on his percussion and playing his Bedouin flute and the Oud, which is the ancestor of the European lute.
Then Dr. Habib Bakhoum, a native of the West African country of Senegal, spoke about Africa
as the cradle of humankind. He stated that despite the difference of their
colour of skin human beings have exactly the same DNA even if they are white,
black or yellow. So even white European have to get used to
the fact that their ancestors might have come from Africa.
He also made a point that for Africans in their traditional world view life
does not end with death, which is a natural part of human experience, but that
the ancestors are always with us and sometimes we might sense them in the wind,
in trees or in shadows.
The second round of discussions started with a lecture
by Alexej Klutschewsky, a social anthropologist, on the importance of Orthodoxy
today. He spoke about the beginnings of the conversion of Russians when they
where baptized en masse in the Dnieper River
in 988 in Kiev, Ukraine. He explained how Russia tried to inherit the role of the Eastern
Roman empire after the fall of Constantinople.
After the persecution under Communism the Orthodox Church is experiencing a
resurrection today, when many new churches are built and even the political
leadership seeks its support for giving again identity to the nation after
atheisms failed. The arms of the church are reaching far beyond the Russian
territory of today and its Patriarch Cyril has the flags of many of the states
of the former Sow jet Union in his office.
As a representative of the young generation Kaidi Cui, a Chinese student of music in Vienna, whose mother is an expert in Chinese medicine
spoke about the meaning of the different animals in the Chinese Zodiac.
Everybody listened carefully when his or her year of birth was related to one
of the animals and when the strong and week points of the respective character
were explained. She then went into
detail how Chinese celebrate traditionally their holidays.
As a final speaker Dr. Leo Gabriel, journalist,
anthropologist and expert on Latin America, reported about a conference which
was organized a few weeks ago in Bolivia
by president Evo Morales, who is only the second
indigenous president in the history of Latin America
in the last 100 years. The wisdom of the old Inca and Maya cultures survived in
the hearts and minds of the indigenous people more than 500 of colonial
history. Today listening to “Pacha Mama –
Mother Earth” might be helpful even to solve problems like the crisis of
A special part of the program was the celebration of
the 80th birthday of Elder Reuben Silverbird, who has become an
active Ambassador for Peace after making Austria his home more than 10 years
ago. He is still travelling extensively to other European countries and even
other continents, giving concerts and preaching his message of peace which he
published last year in a beautifully illustrated book. After the cutting of the
birthday cake he told us his life’s story being born blind and how this
was such a precious experience until he gained his eyesight when he was four
years old. He also spoke about the desire of the Original Native Americans, who
would like to have a land of their own like the Palestinians do. Finally he
gave us a taste of his musical repertoire ending with a very Austrian song
“Es is wias is”, which he composed after
listening to an old lady somewhere in an Austrian country village who spoke to
him in German, a language unfamiliar to him. This song might be a hit at least
beautiful dinner buffet concluded a long afternoon which was prepared by the
owners of the beautiful estate in Seebenstein, Eckhart and Dr. Maya Riehl, and
by many sisters and brothers whose care and love gave to the whole event a
vibration of peacefulness and hope which everyone took home with him- or
Die Annäherung der
Kulturen ist für die UNESCO von zentraler Bedeutung. Eines der wichtigsten
Ziele der mittelfristigen Strategie für den Zeitraum 2008-2013 ist deshalb
"die Förderung der kulturellen Vielfalt und ihrer logischen Folge,
„Original Native American Circle
Dance“ - Reuben
Annäherung der Kulturen in einer globalisierten Welt“
Wiege der Menschheit: Dr. Habib
Bakoum, Afrikanist, geboren in Senegal
Orientalische Musik: Bashir Mirzo,
vielseitiger Musiker aus Syrien.
Auferstehung der russischen Orthodoxie:
Alexej Klutschewsky, Linguist und Sozialanthropologe
Kaidi Cui, Chinesische Geigerin
der Mutter Erde – Die Antwort
der südamerikanischen Indios auf die Klimakrise:
Dr. Leo Gabriel, Lateinamerikaexperte
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