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Popular Culture in Turkic Asia and Afghanistan: Performance and Belief was the subject of our three day event at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. The event took place starting with a Round Table revolving around "The study of Turkic languages in University of Cambridge", where the Turkish, Azerbaijani, Kazakh Embassies' representatives, and Deputy of the General Secretary of Turksoy (Ankara) actively participated in a discussion. The following days - 1-2 of December - were filled with a tight program within which participants from 15 different countries (USA, UK, Germany, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Holland, Bulgaria, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iran ) gave their papers and contributed at discussion sessions. Our presenters delivered papers on popular culture in the Turkic speaking world, religion and music, improvisation as major music quality, cultural preservation, the issue of national identity at the time of globalization, and many others.

The Workshop-concert at the astonishing 10th century old Chapel of Jesus College was a beautiful addition to our symposium, where four groups of authentic performers (from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Kazakhstan) sang and performed with the help of their traditional instruments. The concert concluded with the cross-cultural workshop improvisation conducted by famous British Composer, Professor Peter Wiegold.

The new initiative was to not only invite Ethnomusicologists and musical performers to our Symposium-Workshop, but also bring three composers to the mix (Peter Wiegold, Aziza Sadykova and Hossein Hadisi), and even an artist (Elena Tchibor), whose exhibition "Musical Instruments of the Turkic speaking World" was displayed during the event. The Symposium's closing ceremony was a dinner at the 14th century Old Library of Pembroke College. The outcome is going to be a book publication with the best papers of the Symposium and CD with recorded at Symposium-Workshop performance.

One thing that needs to be mentioned, is that our Symposium and workshop would not have had the ability to take place, were it not for the support and financial sustenance of the University of Cambridge, British Council and Turksoy.