The UNESCO Islamabad Office and the Embassy of Norway in Pakistan jointly held a photo exhibition titled “Faces of the Kalash” from 27 September to 2 October at the Satrang Art Gallery in the Islamabad Serena Hotel, Pakistan. This photo exhibition, which is aimed at raising the visibility of Kalash culture and emphasizing the importance of safeguarding cultural diversity, was the first public showing of photographs by Norwegian linguist Dr. Georg Morgenstierne. An avid photographer, Dr. Morgenstierne shot a number of images during his extensive field studies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Iran from 1923 to 1971. One important legacy was his field studies in Chitral, Pakistan, in 1929, in which he produced a detailed record of Kalash culture and a large body of documentation.
At the exhibition opening, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Director of the UNESCO Islamabad Office, spoke on the need to protect the unique heritage of the Kalash. One of the core missions of UNESCO and an important project in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to ensure cultural diversity. Speaking along these lines, Ms. Jensen advocated to promote the cultures of ethnic minorities, such as the Kalash, that face the threat of extinction.
In addition to the exhibition was a seminar on the Kalash language on 8 October and 9 October under the organization of the Ayun & Valleys Development Program. Twenty-five members of the Kalash community participated in the seminar to give presentations on their culture, way of life, and language. Also on discussion were Kalash folk music and oral traditions.