This is how Turkmenistan's first international children's art festival was called by one of its participants
Young talents from 15 countries, winners of contests in their homelands, stayed for a week in Ashgabat and the Caspian sea port, Turkmenbashi city. Turkmenistan was represented by the winners of qualification contests held in all the provinces and the capital city of Turkmenistan. Over 600 best boys and girls came to participate in the children's forum.
A contest of the same name initiated by Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov was held for the first time on the Caspian coast last summer. Now, it has been given the international status. Folklore and ethnographic groups, folk and popular singers, young painters, elocutionists, children from the special music and art schools from Central Asia, Asian-Pacific region and Europe participated in the festival. The main goal of the festival was to expand artistic and spiritual ties between children's art groups from various countries and bring up the younger generation in the spirit of patriotism, respect for national traditions and customs. According to the organizers of the festival, it was not only meant to help open new young talents but also provide foreign guests with an opportunity to get in touch with the original culture and art of the Turkmen people.
And the expectations have come true. According to the children, their stay in Turkmenistan was full of pleasant surprises. "I have seen a flourishing country. I like the way children are treated here. I've seen how much is being done for a child to be able to study well, to develop creative skills, to be healthy and happy, a Kyrgyz schoolgirl wrote in her composition at the contest that was held in the framework of the festival. - Turkmenistan citizens are real patriots of their homeland, they love their own country and its nature very much and are proud of living in Turkmenistan. This festival is a confirmation of the rise and unprecedented development of Turkmenistan in the years of independence. It is a bridge of friendship between children of the planet".
Young actors were offered the best studios and concert halls of the country. On the outcomes of the contest, a grand concert was held in the Ruhiet Palace in Turkmenbashi city. Spectators acquainted themselves with tunes and rhythms of different peoples of the world, folklore dances and old melodies. All of them are unique. At the same time, they were somewhat surprisingly similar. It may be so, because they were performed by children representing their national culture, unique traditions of their nations at the international artistic show. Along with traditional musical performances the young talents presented their own compositions as well. The final gala concert took place in the Exhibition Palace in Ashgabat.
Nevertheless, the jury could not name the winner because of brightness and individuality of national characters. As a result, the festival organizers decided that all contestants were the best in their countries, and this trip to Turkmenistan was an honorable mission of young ambassadors of creation and friendship to represent their states. In a festive atmosphere delegations and performers received diplomas of the Ministry of Culture and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan for the active participation in the festival. All children were given memorable presents.
"Our Chinese Youth Ensemble of Arts is represented by 19 people in Turkmenistan. However, there are much more young actors ranging from 8 to 15 in our group, they are over 100. The most talented ones came here, says Li Ziang Liang, head of the delegation of the People's Republic of China. The ensemble is 8 years old, and we performed our dances in many countries of the world. By the number of participants, the International Children's Art Festival in Turkmenistan reminded us of the similar 2004 Youth Friendship Festival in Budapest. In both cases, children with artistic talents of different countries have become champions of peace and friendship. I have noticed that Turkmen dances are somewhat similar to the rhythms of Uighurs, a small ethnic group of China. I must say, the Turkmen national art is very beautiful in its essence. I'm very happy that we have had an excellent opportunity to enjoy it on the Turkmen land."
The festival week also featured a great cultural program. The organizers arranged many interesting meetings and excursions, various activities, seminars, contests, sport and literary competitions. Turkmen youngsters and guests of the country visited museums, State Puppet Theater, new Ice Palace, went on a sightseeing tour of the Turkmen capital and Turkmenbashi city. The children had rest on the sea beach, bathed in the sun and boated.
In the Address of Friends to coevals in the whole world, the Children's forum participants called Turkmenistan a paradise where they found many new friends and discoverd talents. "We, the participants of the international festival held in Turkmenistan, have witnessed that much attention is paid to the development of a true school of children's art here, on the Turkmen land. That is why we call upon all coevals in the whole world to take active part in such festivals. These forums unite children, contribute to discovering young talents, help them shine brightly like stars in the sky", says the Address.
Young people that had never known each other came to Turkmenistan. A week later, they parted as true friends.