ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) city of Sanandaj (Sine) on Tuesday inaugurated the so-called “Kurdish Elites Congress,” with hundreds of notable Kurdish personalities from various fields such as the arts and sciences in attendance.
The two-day event, during which many accomplished individuals are expected to be awarded for their contributions to their respective disciplines, is taking place at the Mawlawi Hall of the Kurdistan University of Sine.
Preparations for the Kurdish Elites Congress (KEC) began a year ago under the supervision of the Iranian government and local authorities in Sine as well as a committee from Kurdistan University. The stated aim of the KEC is to celebrate and “honor” eminent Kurdish figures.
Masterful Kurdish figures in music, such as Mazhar Khaleqi, were among participants. Khaleqi is originally from Sine but left Iran 38 years ago during the Islamic Revolution when the new government instituted tight control over the arts and culture. This marks his first visit back to the country since.
Khaleqi, now 81, is much revered among Kurds from all parts, with his compositions and songs that used contemporary as well as folklore poems, some of which have been lost due to not being recorded, are a staple of mid-to-late 20th-century Kurdish music.
Readings of statements from senior officials kicked off the Congress, starting with a congratulatory message from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, followed by another from the President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, and then Rojhilat’s Kurdistan Province Governor, Bahman Moradniya, who personally delivered a speech.
“Kurdistan is part of the Iranian heaven that the Kurdish Elites Congress is trying to introduce to the world,” Moradniya said in a televised speech in Farsi, the only official language of Iran. Kurds make up an estimated 15 percent of the country’s population.
Nadia Murad, an Ezidi woman from Shingal who last year was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Abdullah Pashew, a famed poet from Erbil, and mathematician Caucher Birkar, a Kurd from Rojhilat who previously won the prestigious Fields Medal in 2018, were all invited to the gathering but did not attend.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany