In 2016, we – a group of Iranian scholars and academics – started the project “Literature & Cultural Diplomacy”, which aims at bringing together participants from different countries for annual “International Conferences on Oriental Studies” on the relationship between literature and peace.
The first of our conferences took place on 26 May 2016 in Yerevan (Armenia) on the 13th century medieval Persian Saadi Shirazi “Saadi, the great poet of moderation”. The second took place on 02 March 2017 in New Delhi (India) focussing on a 17th century Safavid-Mughal poet under the title “Eastern Conference on Abdul-Qādir Bedil”.
The third conference is now planned for 23 April 2018 in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. Following two conferences focusing on individual writers, this time we have chosen a a more general issue: “Can literature contribute to peace?!”. The public will consist of some 50 Iranian scholars and academics and the same number of Brussels-based counterparts.
In the history of our country, we found mutiple examples of how poets contributed through their work to a more peaceful society and to overcome wars between neighbours. To share these examples – and to look as well on our 21th century – we have decided to gather in the capital of the European Union, which is an example of how populations from different countries can live together based on learning, sharing and mutual respect: