As a guest of honor, and upon the invitation of Princess Marianne Bernadotte, Countess of Weisberg, Her Imperial Majesty The Shahbanou of Iran attended the 30th Anniversary of Bernadotte Arts Awards Gala Dinner on June 7th, 2012, in Stockholm, Sweden. His Royal Highness Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Queen Noor of Jordan were also among the guests.
Grants are awarded each year to young scholars in music, theatre, design, and art. The scholarships provide young artists with the opportunity to develop their talents at an early stage in their careers; many of the award winners have later become successful. Over the years, the foundation has awarded grants to over 150 artists. Among the winners of the Bernadotte Art Awards for 2012 were two young women from Iran, the actress Nina Zanjani born in 1981, and the designer Behnaz Aram born in 1978.
Remarks by HIM Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi at the 30th Anniversary of
the Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte Arts Fund
June 7, 2012, Stockholm
Dear Princess Marianne,
Your Majesty Queen Noor,
Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen:
Dearest Marianne, first and foremost I offer you my deepest condolences for the tragic loss of your beloved son. As a mother, I feel what you are going through and I want you to know that you are in my thoughts at this difficult time. Despite this great loss, I admire your courage and resilience in going ahead with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte Arts Fund.
Thank you for inviting me to take part in this special event.
Our own friendship extends over decades. I recall with immense pleasure the late Prince Sigvard’s visit to Iran and how much my husband and I enjoyed meeting him. I’m happy that now you and I both serve on the board of the Museum of Art & Design in New York City. I applaud your commitment and efforts in supporting, encouraging, and promoting the works of artists of diverse disciplines and origins. The Marianne and Sigvard Bernadotte Arts Fund opens the door to dialogue between cultures and civilizations. This philosophy is very close to my heart because in 1976 we established the Dialogue of Civilizations in Iran to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and build a bridge between East and West. I believe art and cultural exchanges can indeed help eliminate barriers and enable people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to live together in harmony. As history has proven time and again, oppressive regimes have mostly failed to snuff out artistic creativity and expression. Artists have paved the way for promoting free societies and democracies. Their vision, foresight, and courage have enriched and touched all our lives. So my congratulations to all the recipients of the Marianne and Sigvard Bernadotte Arts Funds 2012 Awards. I am especially delighted to see that two of my dear compatriots, actress Nina Zanjani and designer Behnaz Aram are among the winners. I also would like to take the opportunity to thank Hans Hjelmqvist and his colleagues from Trendgruppen who have organized this splendid gala evening.
I end with my best wishes for the continued success of the Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte Arts Fund.