The main objective of this event was to introduce Afghan cultural heritage and values to non-Afghan Canadians, such as historical monuments, geographical terrain, literature, poetry, music, dance, food, clothing, fashion and much more in an effort to build further bridges for an integrated and cohesive society, one that is peaceful and tranquil and promotes understanding and respect within Canadian society and beyond. We would like to change the dialogue that is happening in this country about Afghanistan from killing and war to understanding and peace.
Other objectives of the event were:
• Promoting cultural integration, understanding and respect among Canadians with diverse cultural backgrounds; and
• Providing strength and acceptance to the Afghan community by promoting love, tolerance and tranquility amongst Afghan-Canadians with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
The project was led by PAC (Partnership Afghanistan Canada) with Shahnaz Qayumi, COO of PAC, Chairing the event. Shahnaz also delivered the keynote speech at the event, and the transcript of her speech can be found at the bottom of this page. Other Afghan and non-Afghan organizations who participated were Caravan TV, Vancouver Institute for Afghan Studies (VIFAS), Mawj, Afghan school, Beacon of Hopes, and others both from the Afghan and non-Afghan affiliated groups.
The Event featured, among many other highlights, a fabulous fashion show! Click below for a slideshow of photos:
Traditional Afghan Dance (Attan):
Play Representing the Unity of Afghanistan:
Traditional Afghan Food:
PAC Chief Operating Officer Shahnaz Qayumi’s Keynote Speech
1st Afghan Cultural Heritage Day in Vancouver BC
Afghanistan has a rich history and a cultural heritage that has been the victim of four decades of war and destruction like the Afghan people. The world is portraying Afghanistan through the eyes of the media. The world has forgotten about the glorious past of Afghanistan and the unique cultural value that Afghans can bring to the table to make the world a better place for humanity. Afghans in Diasporas can play an important role in cultural enrichment particularly for those of us who live in a country like Canada where multiculturalism is embraced by the government of Canada and the Canadian people. Partnership Afghanistan (Canada) (PAC) is proud to lead the revitalization process of Afghan cultural heritage, unveiling the unique cultural values of Afghanistan and sharing them with the rest of the Canada. Therefore the 1st Afghan Cultural Heritage Day was held in Vancouver BC with the following objectives:
- to change the dialogue on the perception of Afghan cultural heritage by exposing the true cultural values of Afghans;
- to introduce Afghan cultural heritage and values to British Columbians;
- to form a cultural bridge between Afghans and non-Afghan Canadians;
- to promote cultural integration, understanding and respect among Canadians with diverse cultural backgrounds; and
- to provide strength and acceptance for the Afghan community by promoting love, tolerance and tranquility amongst Afghan-Canadians with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
As Chair of the organizing committee I am proud to say that all Afghan organization, groups and individuals had taken an equal and active role in their capacity to make this event successful. Therefore every Afghan organization, groups and individuals in their own right can say that it was their success. However, in my analysis, the success of this event was the result of collective wisdom, collective tireless work, unity of Afghans, their love toward their country and cultural heritage as well as the support and help of non-Afghan Canadians.
I would like to take this opportunity to cordially thank members of the organizing committee, fundraising committee, scientific committee, advertising committee, all Afghan organizations, groups and individuals particularly youth and children, the non-Afghan organizations, groups and individuals who have participated in this event and the success could not be guaranteed without their hard work.
I would like to extend special thanks to the Honorable Anne Callaghan the US Consul General and all elite members of our society including the Honorable Minister of Innovation Moira Steelewell, the Honorable Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and the Honorable MLA Raj Chauhan, Chief Superintendent Dave Critchley of Burnaby police for making this event with their presence and speeches. I also like to thank my friend Lauren Oates for sharing her stories and feelings about Afghans and their culture.
I hope the tradition of celebrating the Afghan Cultural Heritage Day will become an annual event not only for British Columbians but also for the rest of the Afghan community in Diasporas.
Chair of the Organizing Committee.