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    International Day of Culture

    On April 15, the world celebrates International Culture Day.
    The date is associated with the signing on this day in 1935 in Washington (USA) of the agreement “On the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historical Monuments,” which became known in international legal practice as the Roerich Pact.
    In 1998, the initiative to celebrate the day of signing the pact as the International Day of Culture was taken by the public organization International League for the Defense of Culture, established in 1996 by the International Center of the Roerichs.

    The idea of ​​the need for a special agreement on the protection of educational institutions and cultural monuments first arose from the famous Russian artist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). In 1929, Roerich turned to governments and peoples with a well-developed draft of an international treaty, which asserted the advantage of preserving cultural heritage over military necessity. He was supported by many famous cultural and scientific figures of those times: Albert Einstein, Bernard Shaw, Herbert Wells, Thomas Mann and others. The draft Roerich Pact was approved by the Committee on Museum Affairs of the League of Nations and the Pan-American Union, and committees were created in Belgium, France, the USA and India to disseminate the ideas of the Pact.

    In September 1931, the first international conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact was held in the city of Bruges (Belgium), an action plan was adopted to disseminate the ideas of the Pact, and the International Union of the Roerich Pact was created.
    In 1932, the second international conference of the Roerich Pact was held in Bruges with the participation of 22 countries, which decided to establish the Banner of Peace Foundation for worldwide assistance in implementing the ideas of the Roerich Pact.
    The third conference, held in 1933 in Washington, was supported by 35 countries. She recommended that the governments of all countries sign the Roerich Pact.
    On April 15, 1935, in Washington, at the White House, representatives of 21 states of the American continent signed an agreement “On the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historical Monuments.” The pact included general principles on the protection of cultural property and the respect that should be given to it. The provision for the protection of objects is unconditional and is not weakened by clauses of military necessity.

    The document became the first international legal act specifically dedicated to the protection of cultural property, the only agreement in this area adopted by part of the world community before the Second World War (1939-1945).
    The historical significance of the Pact lies in the fact that it became a fundamental element of the legal and organizational system of international protection of cultural heritage, which was formed after the Second World War. It has been used as the basis for documents of international cooperation in the field of protection of cultural heritage, including such UNESCO acts as the “Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict”, adopted in The Hague (Netherlands) on May 14, 1954, the “Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage”, adopted in Paris (France) on November 16, 1972.
    Subsequently, the ideas of the pact were developed in the “Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity” (2001) and the “Declaration on the Deliberate Destruction of Cultural Heritage” (2003) of UNESCO, the “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” of the UN (2005) and other international documents.
    In 2024, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas Roerich is celebrated. As part of the anniversary events, the International Center of the Roerichs organizes exhibitions, scientific conferences, round tables, lectures, festivals, etc.

    By decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated April 22, 2013, in order to attract public attention to issues of cultural development, preservation of cultural and historical heritage and the role of Russian culture throughout the world, it was decided to hold the Year of Culture in the Russian Federation in 2014.
    Summing up its results at a meeting of the State Council and the Presidential Council for Culture in December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated the need to strengthen Russia’s cultural influence in the world and not “close in on oneself,” avoid the ideologization of history and culture, and the excessive Latinization of the Russian language. Also in 2014, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree “On approval of the Fundamentals of State Cultural Policy,” where culture is understood comprehensively, and the emphasis is on education and the creation of accessible cultural goods throughout the country. By adopting this document, the state for the first time elevated culture to the rank of national priorities and recognized it as a guarantor of the preservation of a single cultural space and the territorial integrity of Russia. In January 2023, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree “On Amendments to the Fundamentals of State Cultural Policy.” In particular, the document lists the dangerous manifestations of the humanitarian crisis for the future of the country. These include the destruction of traditional values, the weakening of the unity of the multinational people of the Russian Federation, the decline in the intellectual and cultural level of society, the growth of aggression and intolerance, the deformation of historical memory, etc.
    Culture Day is celebrated in many countries of the world. On this day, concerts, exhibitions of national cultures, conferences, lectures, and performances are held.
    The material was prepared on the basis of information and open sources

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