Secretary-General celebrates writings and influence of renowned Persian poet

18 June 2008

The writings of Abu Abdullah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki, the poet considered to have laid the foundations of Persian classical literature, should serve as an inspiration to international efforts to combat extremism and attempts to divide peoples and cultures, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Speaking at United Nations Headquarters in New York at a commemoration ceremony on the 1150th anniversary of the birth of Rudaki, Mr. Ban said it was fitting that the world body, given its goals, should celebrate the life of a poet “who so beautifully extolled the virtues of good and justice.

“With simplicity and elegance, Rudaki pioneered a great tradition, laying the foundation for Persian classical literature,” the Secretary-General said. “He took poetry from the realm of the abstract into contemporary life. And, in the process, he shed new philosophical light on society. Rudaki is truly the ‘Sultan of Poets’.”

Mr. Ban said Rudaki’s influence is particularly important today, given the work of the UN-backed Alliance of Civilizations, “our initiative to counter extremism and heal the divisions that threaten our world.”

Today’s commemoration, which was attended by many scholars and artists, was organized by the permanent representatives of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Head of UN unit on inter-cultural understanding looks to the future

The head of the United Nations campaign for understanding between cultures, known as the Alliance of Civilizations, has visited the Organization’s New York Headquarters to discuss the initiative’s future plans with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders.