Oman is part of the member states which is providing financial support to the new initiative and reaffirming its commitment to the intercultural dialogue along the Silk Roads by providing support to the initiative.
“Oman has played an important role with its outstanding participation in Unesco Silk Roads initiatives (1988-2002), and it actively participates in this project too. In this respect, the country has provided the new Unesco project with financial support. This financial support enables the Online Platform to reach a wider public, particularly in the Arabic-speaking countries, and disseminate knowledge and scholarship developed by academic and cultural institutions in these countries,” Mehrdad Shabahang, project officer, Silk Road Online Platform, Unesco, told Muscat Daily in an email reply.
Apart from Oman, Kazakhstan, Germany, Azerbaijan and China have contributed financially to the project. According to Unesco, the Silk Roads have connected civilisations and brought people and cultures into contact with each other from across the world for thousands of years, permitting not only an exchange of goods but an interaction of ideas and cultures.
In the light of this enduring legacy, the Unesco Silk Road Online Platform revives and extends these historic networks in a digital space, bringing people together in an ongoing dialogue about the Silk Roads in order to foster a mutual understanding of the diverse and often inter-related cultures that have sprung up around them.
Shabahang further said that the Silk Road Online Platform was launched within the framework of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-22). “The project compiles and disseminates the knowledge on the common cultural heritage of the Silk Roads. It aims to bring together local scientific, cultural, artistic and especially youth communities alongside the historic Silk Roads for sharing their knowledge and experiences related to the common cultural heritage with a view to reinforce interactions and collaborations,” he said.
In order to ensure full participation of various partners in members states in this flagship project, an International Network for the Silk Road Online Platform has been established. “Up to now, 25 countries along the historic Silk Roads (including Oman) have designated focal points, to participate actively in, and to follow up the project’s activities in their respective countries,” added Shabahang.
Speaking on the vision of the Silk Road Online Platform, Shabahang said it aims to promote common cultural heritage a major vector for dialogue and peaceful exchange among people of vast territories along the historic Silk Roads.
The Online Platform provides information on various aspects of the Silk Roads legacy. Moreover, it also puts at disposal scientific researches and studies on the Silk Roads that were undertaken over the last three decades.