Brest passed the title of the CIS Capital of Culture over to Kazakhstan’s Shymkent in a ceremony on 9 December, BelTA learned.
The event took place at the Brest Academic Drama Theater. “The interstate program ‘The CIS Capital of Culture’ is certainly a key cultural project for the CIS states. It is an honor and great responsibility to earn such a status. Belarus is proud that three Belarusian cities - Gomel, Mogilev and Brest - have been the CIS Capital of Culture since this international project was launched. Throughout 2019 Brest showed that it was worthy of this high status. The city was a place of real celebration of culture, which contributed to peace, friendship and interaction between peoples. Today we pass the baton to Shymkent. We sincerely wish the new capital of culture new discoveries, ideas, and projects,” Belarus’ Culture Capital Yuri Bondar said at the ceremony.
Brest Mayor Aleksandr Rogachuk noted that the CIS Capital of Culture program organically fit into the program to mark the city’s millennium, giving it a greater scale. “Cultural life is so diverse that this unique status enabled us to step beyond the provincial format of our celebrations. I am sure that in 2020 we will see as many great events," the mayor said. He added that some of the events that debuted this year will become traditional in Brest.
Aleksandr Rogachuk handed the symbolic statuette to Shymkent First Vice Mayor Kairat Nurtay. “For the city, this is, first of all, a big responsibility. The city was gearing up for this moment, for this status. This is a good opportunity for the CIS member states to share knowledge of history and culture. In 2020, our city is marking its 2,200 anniversary,” said Kairat Nurtay.
According to First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Viktor Guminsky, it is great that Brest has been the CIS Capital of Culture on its anniversary year, and residents and guests enjoyed dozens of festive events. “It was a true celebration. Brest citizens had an opportunity to get familiar with the culture of all CIS countries. Of course, it is sad that this festival is coming to an end. I am sure you have a great potential and you need to move forward,” he stressed.
Viktor Guminsky’s opinion was echoed by Mikhail Shvydkoi, Co-Chairman of the Board of the CIS Interstate Humanitarian Cooperation Foundation, the Russian president’s special representative for international cultural cooperation. “The Capital of Culture status is given forever. With such a history, people and bountiful nature Brest has a huge potential,” Mikhail Shvydkoi said.
The Commonwealth of Debuts Awards winners were honored during the ceremony. A concert that followed the ceremony featured the best singers from the CIS countries.