International Museum of
Peace and Solidarity
P.O. Box 76
UZ - 703000 Samarkand
Republic of Uzbekistan
Tel: +998 (662) 33-17-53
Contact: Anatoly Ionesov, Director
"Mind, ye peoples of the Earth, Enmity is an evil state.
Live in friendship, one and all - Man can have no kinder fate."
"The gem of the world", "the shining point of the globe", "Eden of the East" - such titles were given to Samarkand by ancient poets, philosophers, geographers and writers. Today the town is called a priceless treasury of culture, the cradle of oriental peoples. The historical monuments still stand in all their glory to the light and amaze us. Registan, Gur-Emir, Shahi-Zinda, Bibi-Khanym... are included into the list of masterpieces of world architecture.
Samarkand has been the home of many great scholars and thinkers of the East: Rudaki, Navoi, Jami, Ulughbek and others. It has a rich and turbulent past and has witnessed many tragic and glorious events. It was the capital of Tamerlane's vast empire. It stood in the heart of the crossroads of the Great Silk Road.
Now it is a very popular place for tourists to visit and an important industrial and cultural centre of Central Asia. 2750-year-old Samarkand is a town of broad cultural traditions and links as well as of inexhaustible stream of foreign guests. So it can be hardly considered accidental that it is here in Samarkand that the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity, the first in the former USSR, appeared in 1986, the International Year of Peace.
The idea was born in the early 80s when a number of international peace exhibitions were organized by local Esperantists in Samarkand. The museum itself is a fruit of a grassroots initiative by the International Friendship Club "Esperanto" and is run by the founder and director Anatoly Ionesov. The vitality of this out-of-the-ordinary museum of a new genre without equal in the CIS and Baltic states has earned it the honorary title of a "People's Museum", awarded by the Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture. The museum is a member of the International Peace Bureau in Geneva and of the International Network of Peace Museums.
The Samarkand-based International Museum of Peace and Solidarity is a non-profit, non-governmental institution committed to the universal human values, dedicated to the promotion of peace through citizen diplomacy, culture and arts; to the development of public awareness, concern and a sense of personal responsibility for the global challenges man faces here and now; to the empowerment of people to get practically involved into the process of creation of the better future for humanity.
The museum is a NGO which, alongside its own projects, also works in partnership with other museums, organizations for children, youth arts, environmental groups etc. Being a child of citizen diplomacy, it runs a wide range of voluntary educational activities and international projects, presents various art exhibitions as well as having a permanent display of some 20,000 different exhibit pieces from over 100 countries in all continents. One can view here a huge and eclectic range of peace-promoting posters, streamers, paintings, drawings, tapestries, banners, photographs, documents, books, newspapers, magazines, badges, stickers, T-shirts, films, videos, tapes, CDs, slides, balloons, postage stamps, medals, coins, original handmade items, a solar box cooker, pieces of the Berlin Wall, fragments of the Soviet and US medium-range nuclear missiles, parts of the A-bombed roof tile from Nagasaki, soil from Auschwitz, the location of Stalingrad Battle and the Hiroshima Peace Park and much more.
The entire exhibition emphasizes the priority people worldwide are now giving to the universal human values and the urgent need for this priority to be recognized in international relations. Honestly, we ourselves are surprised at how quickly and widely our idea for such a museum has been accepted and supported. It shows, we think, that all people everywhere are concerned, first and foremost, about peace, human rights and protection of the only world we have. Our contacts include many international and national organizations and people from all over the world. Every visitor to the museum exhibition feels the sincerity and the universality of the organizers and contributors alike. It is immediately felt that peace and healthy environment are what people want above all else and that they are ready to work together for the humanization of international relations and the protection of our only common Home - planet Earth.
The museum has sponsored many community events which include but are not limited to the following:
"The Peace Autograph". This is a truly universal collection of signed photographs, personal messages/visions and autographed works of people worldwide who have contributed significantly to the creation of the better world on this earth of ours. Many wonderful entries have been sent in by outstanding individuals from the arts, science, politics, business community, major religions, news media, sports etc. Envisioned is a special gallery/library of autographed books, musical collections, art works, archives of memorabilia etc.
"Children Of X-Country: Look At The World". This programme aims to introduce to the local community different countries, peoples and cultures through artworks created by children. Children's art exhibitions have been organized, coming from France, South Korea, Australia, Egypt, Taiwan, New Zealand, Philippines, Iran, Albania, Tibet, Japan, South Africa, Russia and Malta. In return, children's art shows from Samarkand are regularly displayed abroad. The second stage of this project involves the establishment of a permanent International Children's Art Gallery in Samarkand.
"Children's Peace And Disarmament Festival". It has been organised under the motto: "War Is Not A Game. Why Play War Toys? Peace Begins With Me" and it entails trading in military toys, broght by local children, in exchange for peaceful, non-violent and creative ones. The child simply brings a toy that has any type of military or violent overtone. He/she then signs an International Children's Disarmament Treaty and receives a toy representing peace (educational toys, animals, paints, crayons, books, multicultural dolls, building blocks, balls, creative activity games, crafts and nature kits etc.). Besides each child is awarded a special Peace and Disarmament Diploma. In addition to peace toy exchange, this popular festival also provides a variety of concert programs, art competitions, exhibitions, cartoon film shows, paper cranes workshops, peace lottery, penpal service and a number of other events. The purpose of these festivals is to foster in children from a young age a constructive and creative vision of life and nature, so that they grow up at peace with themselves, with positive attitudes and values to be taken into their adulthood.
"The World Through The Eyes Of Disabled Children". Any children with physical or mental disabilities, victims of disease, violence, crimes, wars, polluted environment and other disasters are invited to send in their artworks for this international exhibition. We wish not only to make known the art skills, fantasy and inspiration of the disabled children here in Samarkand and in other cities of Uzbekistan, but also to discover the great spirit of these boys and girls, their feelings, dreams, aspirations, vision of the better world through their pieces of art.
"The World Of Smiles" project aims at making a worldwide collection of smiles, represented in photographs, sketches and paintings of smiling faces, computer graphics, prints etc. You are cordially invited to join this project by sending in your smile(s), in whatever creative form you choose, and by inviting your relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours, pets... to smile with us. Later on an International Hall of Smiles is to be set up in the museum. So start smiling ... soon, today, right now.
"International Friendship Club "Esperanto", based at the museum, works for the promotion of the international language Esperanto as a neutral means of international intercourse since Esperanto is one of the working languages of our Peace Museum. This club also provides international penpal service (pen-friends, collectors, hobbyists etc.), establishment of direct contacts between youngsters and adults in different countries which contribute more than anything else to mutual understanding, friendship and peace on earth.
"Clean up the World (CUW)" - jointly with the Samarkand City Young Naturalists, included all stages of the clean-up: collecting, sorting and disposing of garbage. Volunteers included school groups, university students, and people from local communities. By active participation in the worldwide CUW events, local volunteers expressed their commitment to enter the third millennium with clean houses, streets, squares, parks, mountains and lakes - under the blue sky, with green grass and healthy people.
"The Great Silk Road". The geographical location of the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in Samarkand, ancient bridge between East and West, has also inspired this project, which promotes revitalization of the traditional links across this bridge, by using citizen diplomacy and by developing international tourism, partnerships and cooperation between local and foreign entrepreneurs and specialists in various areas.
Excerpts from the Museum's Guestbook
Your Support is Needed
As an independent and non-profit non-governmental organization, the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity depends largely on voluntary work and contributions of groups and individuals who share our concerns. We would honour and treasure any materials you could possibly supply our museum with. Your contributions would be greatly appreciated and would give us an opportunity to make known your noble efforts in our part of the world. Thank you very much in anticipation for any help that you may be able to offer.
How You Can Help
The museum is located in the Central Recreation Park of Samarkand in Mustaqillik Street, 56. Admission to the museum is free, although donations are appreciated. The museum is usually open Monday through Saturday from 9 am till 5 pm or by appointment.
|Some quotes from supporters of the museum:
would like to send you my best wishes for success in your
work. Its importance in these troubled and tragic times
can scarcely be overestimated."
"The Museum of Peace and Solidarity is, I am
sure, very pleasing to God. The wonderful work undertaken
for the cause of Peace in the world will surely bear
fruit. God bless you."
certainly wish your museum every success in its
worthwhile activity. Anything it does to help achieve a
peaceful world is extremely valuable."
"I send you and the International Museum of Peace and
solidarity my warmest wishes and regards with compliments for
your endeavors to create interest for a better and healthier
"I think it is wonderful how by your efforts you unite
people from all over the world in their aspirations for
"I am delighted that such a museum exists and will
contribute to a world without nuclear weapons and without wars to
settle disputes between nations. You are to be commended for your
initiative in working to fulfill the dreams human beings have
ached for since the dawn of history."
Bernard Lown, MD, co-president, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Inc. (IPPNW)
"I can assure you that I do appreciate your peace
initiative very much. Peace indeed is not only a matter for
politicians, bu begins in everyone's mind. I am convinced that
the Museum of Peace and Solidarity will make a lot of people more
conscious of the importance of Peace and that it will contribute
in its own way to the peacemaking process in the world."
Wilfried Martens, Prime Minister of Belgium
"How honoured I am to receive your embracing letter, and how pleased I am to hear of your wonderful venture. I am happy to think that a little bit of me will reside in that great , ancient city Samarkand, in a museum dedicated to peace, human rights and the protection of the only world we have. I hope you will accept my small contribution to what I know must be a heart-warming collection of the many much greater individuals who care deeply about this world of ours, and who try hard to make it a better place. We must not stop trying, that's all I know. To you, and your colleagues and your friends, my warm wishes . All the best."
Janet Suzman, actress
"My heart goes out to the wonderful people of the
International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in Uzbekistan who
are providing the world with the voice of human beings; for I
believe that everywhere human beings are longing for harmony, a
better understanding of their neighbors, and for a world where we
can exchange knowledge and art. It is my greatest wish that those
voices could be heard and given the political weight they
Lord Menuhin, conductor and musician
"I congratulate you for creating this Peace Museum in Samarkand and sincerely wish that you accept this following statement: May harmony in music and peace and love in Man's Heart be always there. With my best wishes."
Ravi Shankar, musician
"Your dedication to such noble causes as world peace,
human rights, environmental protection and world development
represents a building block to a lasting peace among nations and
surely merits international admiration. I commend on your efforts
and your appeal for world peace
I am honored to be a part of
something that means so much to you and your people."
Edward M. Kennedy, US Senator
"Your work and action in the museum are extremely
In many regards you are sharing the concerns and
preoccupations of the Club of Rome concerning the global issues
and the future of humankind. I very much hope that we will keep
in touch in the future and cooperate. Please accept for you and
your colleagues our best wishes for the success of the museum:
peace and solidarity constitute such a wonderful program."
Bertrand Schneider, Secretary General, the Club of Rome
"I would like to express my support and respect to the
initiative you are committed to undertake. I have no doubt that
various countries are supporting and promoting your beneficent
initiative and will continue to support it in the future.
supports the noble intentions of your museum as
they contribute to consolidation of Peace and stability in the
Algirdas Brazauskas, President of Lithuania
"I hope that the International Museum of Peace and
Solidarity will be yet another important contribution to world
peace and to the lovely city of Samarkand."
Suleiman Demirel, President of Turkey
"Best wishes for the museum which will serve all human beings. Strength, friends. Strength! and Courage! and Joy!"
Maya Angelou, poet
"UNICEF is always appreciative of the efforts made by institutions like yours to highlight actions and activities undertaken to try to create a better world for the present and future generations. I wish you the best of success for the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity."
Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
"The underpinnings of peace and solidarity lie in our daily lives - in the courage of our convictions, in the quest for truth, equity and justice as well as the strength to speak out against oppression. Its roots are in the education, spiritual and moral values we vest in our children and, most importantly, in the example we set. This museum is a tribute to these ideals, symbolically bringing together exhibits as well as intellectual and artistic statements as diverse as the nationalities and backgrounds of the many thousands of people who will visit it annually. I hope that this will stimulate new perceptions, new understanding and tolerance - so that they depart inspired to act in some small way as ambassadors of peace and harmony in their respective regions."
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan
"It is indeed a pleasure to send this personally autographed photo to you, along with a poster to add to your museum, especially since it is for such a worthwhile cause. I wish you a resounding success in your endeavors!"
Vidal Sassoon, hair stylist
"I wish the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity all the best for a major international reputation representing the arts in all expressions concerned. All the best."
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
"I was most interested to hear about the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity. This is the subject very close to my own concerns about peace, human rights and protection. I wish your museum every success in the future years. With great respect and sincere greetings."
Minette Walters, writer
"I am most impressed by your idea and your efforts in the establishment of the Museum of Peace and Solidarity. It is, of course, something I support wholeheartedly, as must all citizens of this could-be-glorious world. Every good future to the Museum of Peace and Solidarity."
Julian Glover, actor
"Your Museum of Peace and Solidarity sounds really wonderful, and you honor me by asking my contribution to your work. God bless you. Love and Peace."
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate
"It is with great pleasure that I forward to you my autographed photo for the international project "The Peace Autograph". It is an honour for FIFA to be represented in your Museum and I would like to congratulate you for such an initiative. With great respect, I remain very respectfully yours."
Joseph S. Blatter, President, FIFA
"Regardless of our nationality, our ethnicity, and our religion, you and I should be active in both word and deed in impressing upon our fellowmen the absolute need for peace, for human rights, and the protection of the environment - the goals of this wonderful International Museum of Peace and Solidarity for making this world a better place to live for everyone."
Robert F. Furchgott, Nobel Laureate
"Thank you for your letter of invitation to participate in the international exhibit at your museum. I am truly honored to share in this effort of helping people, particularly through such a rare museum in the ancient world. Hopefully the enclosed message will bring some enlightenment to your visitors who, after reading the many thoughts and missives at the museum, will have ever greater compassion and love for people and life in our world, just as you have all intended."
Crystal Gayle, singer
"It is with great interest that I learned of the International Peace Autograph project and am pleased to contribute to the collection. With my best wishes of success for this initiative."
Klaus Schwab, President, World Economic Forum
"Your museum seems fascinating, and certainly it is dedicated to a noble cause. I hope your institution will flourish, and that all will also be well with you and yours."
Poul Anderson, writer
"I am really honoured to receive your letter and very impressed that you are putting together such a wonderful museum. I enclose a signed photograph and one or two of my publications.
I wish your museum every success and all good wishes for the future."
Dame Cicely Saunders, Chairman, St. Christopher's Hospice
"I appreciate and admire your initiative to build out a museum of peace and solidarity. It is so important for the people and the world of today. I wish you much success with your museum. With 1000 warm wishes for you and your supporters. "
Phil Bosmans, educator
"I have a great pleasure in sending a complete set of my books which I hope your readers will enjoy. I share all your aspirations: for peace, for humanity, for the dignity of all peoples and for sensible care and maintenance of our small planet. I hope that the world that I have described in many of my books will not return, and that the people of the former Soviet Union will enjoy the freedom and democracy so long denied them."
John Le Carre, writer
"Needless to say, your idea of creating a Museum of Peace and Solidarity - two things that mankind need more that anything else to survive - is a noble and lovely invention. I wish you, of course, best development and bloom and I hope that the Museum will be a real contribution to this great cause. Yours in friendship."
Leszek Kolakowski, philosopher
"I am very glad to hear about the good work the Museum of Peace and Solidarity is doing. Once again, thank you for thinking of me. I wish the museum and all the people of Uzbekistan the very best for the future."
Danielle Steel, writer
"Thank you for your letter about the International Museum, which I found interesting and wish it every success, and for its work towards Peace and Solidarity which is very important. With best wishes to the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity."
Frederick Sanger, twice Nobel Laureate
"Thank you for your interest in my accomplishments in space and for the invitation to make a contribution to the "Peace Autograph" as part of the International Project. My heart is always filled with pride when I have the opportunity to tell others, especially students, about the value of the space program and fortunate I was to have been a part of it. So may I speak to the young people that will visit your museum and may read this letter …With my blessings and every good wish…"
Walter Cunningham, astronaut, Apollo 7
"Not necessary to say that it is an honor for me to support your efforts. I have asked my publisher to send you some books as well as signed photographs. If God permits and my wife and I should once be given an opportunity to come to Samarkand we would not hesitate to knock at your door. Good wishes and kindest regards."
Siegfried Lenz, writer
"I am very happy to enclose some books and photographs and would like to wish health and happiness to everyone who visits the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity. All best wishes."
Susan Hampshire, actress
"Thank you very much for inviting me to take part in your most exciting project. Please find enclosed two of my books, both autographed and one with the message on the cover, as well as an autographed photograph. I wish you health, peace and much success with your project. Shalom."
Amoz Oz, writer
"May I wish all very success with this important project. The human family working together for peace, human rights, non-violence and the environment, can solve together, but only together, all our problems. Every best wishes to you all. Siaochain, Peace, Shalom, Salam."
Mayread Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
"Peace!… I'm all for it! Thanks for helping!"
Phil Collins, musician
"I have a friend who says "happiness comes from love and service to others, and a peaceful mind comes from understanding and acceptance". I have found these are principles that promote healing in my life - healing of my relations and of my soul. I truly believe that slowly, day by day and person by person, those same ideals will heal our world. The very fact that this museum exists is proof that we have begun."
Judith Light, actress
"I am not at all surprised that your idea for a Museum of Peace has been so quickly and widely supported. It shows that ordinary people everywhere are fully convinced that war solves nothing, can never be justified, and that conflicts must be peacefully resolved if the human race is to survive. Count me among your supporters."
Herbert A. Hauptman, Nobel Laureate
Last updated: January 2001
A print version of much of the information contained in this Central Asian Third Sector Organizations section can be found in Civil Society in Central Asia (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999).