On October 7, 2017, the Embassy of Afghanistan cohosted a celebration of the 810th birthday of Rumi the Maulana with the Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ARCH International).
The celebration began with welcoming remarks from Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib. He spoke of the importance of poetry in Afghan culture and how Rumi’s messages of peace and love still resonate deeply with Afghans today. Following Ambassador Mohib’s speech, guests were treated to Sufi-inspired dances by the Silk Road Dance Company, set to two compositions by Steven Flynn’s concert work, Rapture Rumi. Former Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United Nations and current board member of ARCH International, Zalmay Khalilzad shared with the audience his personal reflection on Rumi. He told the audience, particularly the young men and women, that as the inheritors of a great civilization, they have incredible potential to achieve many things. Following Ambassador Khalilzad’s remarks, Dr. Fatemah Keshavarz, a Rumi Scholar and Director of the Roshan Institute at University of Maryland spoke about the relevance of Rumi and why he still matters today. Dr. Keshavarz finished her speech by opening it up to the audience where they asked questions and shared a dialogue on the subject. The ceremony concluded with a poetry reading by Professor Hamid Naweed to celebrate Rumi’s heritage. He was accompanied by flute player, Mojib Ghaznawi.