The opening ceremony of the Avicenna International Christmas Exhibition and Fair, organized for the first time by Avicenna Holding, commenced on December 8, 2023, in the large lecture hall of the Avicenna International College, which is part of the company group and is also suitable for prestigious events. Among the nearly one hundred and fifty invited guests of the ceremony, which was also supported by the Society of Honor, we were honored by such foreign dignitaries as Mr. Bashar Samara, Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Budapest, and Mr. Jimmi Albert Andrade Colorado, Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Budapest and several other diplomats.

The opening speeches started from 16.00 p.m. following the welcome address of Dr. Shahrokh MirzaHosseini, President of Avicenna Holding and Avicenna International College. First of all, he expressed his gratitude to Mr. András Pikó, the Mayor of Józsefváros, for taking on the patronage of the event. Then, he gave a short but informative presentation about the large scale activities of the Avicenna group of companies. Dr. Mirzahosseini handed over the floor to Dr. Gábor Erőss, Deputy Mayor of Józsefváros responsible for culture and education, who in his speech highlighted the traditionally tolerant, international nature of the 8th district, as well as the fact that it was not by chance that Józsefváros became a district of Universities where both Hungarian and international students feel at home. He praised the activities of the Avicenna group, which regularly tries to bring extra vibrancy into the life of the district with new colorful programs and initiatives like the given one.

After the speech of Deputy Mayor Dr. Gábor Erős, International Director János Kovács, the moderator of the ceremony, gave the floor to the main foreign VIP guest, H.E. Mr. Morteza Moradian, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Budapest. His Excellency’s participation at the opening ceremony carried special actuality, since the guest of honor of this year’s Avicenna Christmas Fair is “Persia”, which means that about half of the exotic products at the fair came directly from Iran. Ambassador Moradian praised the stable, always problem-free and historically long lasting Hungarian-Iranian relations based on mutual respect. He also highlighted an actual event of great importance such as the upcoming Ministerial meeting on the agenda of the Hungarian-Iranian Joint Economic Committee, that seems to be embedded for by the Avicenna Group’s Christmas Fair, which carries both cultural and commercial values.

The next high-ranking speaker was Mr. Miklós Bornemisza, Vice President of the International and Foreign Economic Cabinet of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BKIK). Mr. Bornemisza also praised the excellent relations between the BKIK and the Avicenna Group, and later even suggested that the Budapest Chamber would be glad to take on the role of co-organizer at the next year’s Avicenna Christmas fair.

Professor Dr. László Rosivall, PhD, DSc, FERA, FAPS, the former Rector of Semmelweis University, also played an important role with his speech, as he himself was present at the launch of Avicenna International College 28 years ago. He noted that in the beginning, the main goal of this institution’s activity was to attract and professionally embrace talented Iranian students who wanted to build their future in the field of medicine. As a result of the continuous development of the Avicenna group, students from around two dozen different nations study now within the walls of the patinated educational institution built in 1898, which now not only offers active university preparation programs, but effectively operates an English-language high school that has recently won a full-fledged, long-term ERASMUS partnership.

After the official opening speeches, the guests proceeded to the entrance of the several hundred square meter large pavilion set up in the garden of the Avicenna International College, serving as the location of the fair. Here, the VIP participants ceremonially cut the national colored ribbon stretched at the entrance between the two pavilions, marking the first Avicenna International Christmas Exhibition and Fair was formally opened. The VIP guests took a short walk to the pavilion and got to know the international exhibitors. The other guests followed their example with great interest.

The speech of the VIP guests ended with a joint announcement by Mr. Andor Schmuck, President of the Society of Honor, and Mr. Dr. Shahrokh MirzaHosseini, President of the AHO/AIC. The speakers announced that a unique event will be organized on December 24 as the closing chord of the more than two-week long Avicenna International Christmas Exhibition and Fair. Namely, on Christmas Eve, as a sign of the holiday of love, 50 of our elderly compatriots living alone will be hosted for a graceful dinner at the Avicenna under the title “Christmas of the Lonely”.

Later, the guests took their seats in the designated space in front of the stage located at the end of the pavilion and watched the performance of two groups of artists who enriched the opening day by providing distinctive cultural value:

  • First, under the leadership of drummer Kristóf Kövér, who also is one of the head coaches of the Dragon Sword Kungfu Association, presented the famous Chinese “Lion Dance”, which, according to Chinese beliefs, brings cleanness to the event opened in this way and good luck to those who touch the dancing lion. This group was introduced to us by the ELTE Confucius Institute.
  • The second artistic performance was a “three-phase”, dazzling Korean classical dance performed by the Mugunghwa (mallow flower) Korean Traditional Dance Ensemble led by Zsuzsanna Vargáné Esztergomi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Han You Hungarian-Korean Arts Foundation. We got to know the foundation thanks to the great help of the Korean Cultural Centre operating in Budapest.

After expressing their appreciation to the performers, the guests returned to the building of the Avicenna International College to enjoy an exotic reception in its impressive restaurant.

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