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Iranian photographers hold exhibition in European Parliament

Brussels, Nov 23, IRNA -- An exhibition of photographs by six women and three men Iranian photographers opened in the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels Monday night.

Belgian Member of Parliament Veronique De Keyser, inaugurating the exhibition, said women in Iran are "very strong" and know how to project their views and ideas.

Simone Susskind, president of the NGO 'Actions in the Mediterranean,' one of the organizers, said the aim of the exhibition was to open bridges of communication between the civil societies of Iran and Belgium.

She noted that the exhibition coincides with the visit of a group of Iranian women representing different sectors of Iranian civil society to Brussels.

Susskind said she is planning to organize a festival on Iranian culture in Brussels next year.

Fery Malek-Madani, head of the Art Cantara, a co-organizer of the exhibition, said that following the 1979 Islamic revolution avid and professional photographers played the basic role of informing the world about changes in their country through their pictures.

With the outbreak of the Iraqi-imposed war, professional Iranian photographers impressed the world with their numerous photos taken on the warfronts, said Madani, an Iranian who has been living in Belgium since 40 years ago.

The photo exhibits on display are by women photographers Shadi Ghadirian, Rana Djavadi, Hamila Vakili, Golnaz Taheri, Mahkameh Parvaneh and Bita Rohani.

Some exhibits on display are by men photographers Bahman Djalali, Arash Hanaii and Kourosh Adim.

The exhibition will open to the public on Tuesday and will run until December 3.

Meanwhile, speaking to IRNA, Socialist MEP De Keyser said that there is a "good dialogue" going on between the EU and Iran, but added that the EP was "upset about the human rights situation in Iran."

For her part, Susskind told IRNA that the seven-member delegation of Iranian women representing Iranian civil society is to meet MEPs, European Commission officials, NGOs and members of the European civil society.

"The aim of their visit is to see how we can develop cooperation in exchange projects between Belgian and Iranian women," she said.

Susskind led a delegation of Belgian women to Iran six months ago.

"The civil society in Iran very much wants to open up to the rest of the world, especially with Europe," she said.

There is much demand for student and university exchange programs between Europe and Iran, she added.

The EU has a multi-million euro scholarship program known as 'Erasmus' for Third World countries.

"Where is Iran in all this? We want to know," said Susskind.

The Iranian group is to visit a school in Brussels where 80 percent of the children are of Muslim origin.

Suzanne Tahmasebi, representing an Iranian NGO, told IRNA that the purpose of the group's visit was two-fold.

First is to meet civil society organizations in Belgium and get ideas of how civil society operates here.

Second, they want to inform their Belgian and European counterparts about the situation of women in the Islamic Republic during their one-week stay here.

She said the image of Iranian woman has been negatively portrayed in the West.

"This is a very good opportunity for our Belgian counterparts to learn about the achievements of Iranian women."

Suzanne said women in Iran have achieved a lot in the last 25 years. "About 50 percent of university entrants are women, about 65 percet of university graduates are women."

Women are represented at all levels of government, both elected and appointed, she noted.

... Payvand News - 11/23/04 ... --

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