"I firmly believe that peace will be possible only when the pluralistic nature of human society is recognised, seen as a source of strength rather than weakness, and used as a basis for the formulation of policies and structures at all levels of governance."
Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan in Astana, Kazakhstan, 17 December 2002
Aga Khan Receives Central Asia Peace Award
The Aga Khan received the Kazakhstan State Award for Peace and Progress on 17 December 2002. The Award citation commended the Aga Khan for his "distinguished contribution to strengthening peace and friendship with mutual confidence amongst peoples and for vigourous activity aimed at the solution of humanitarian problems." The Aga Khan expressed his gratitude for the recognition, and requested that the award be used to create scholarships at the University of Central Asia for Kazakh students with financial constraints who otherwise meet the institution's merit-based admission criteria. For more information, please see the press release.
Bridge to Afghanistan Opened
A bridge built by AKDN across the Pyanj River between Tajikistan and Afghanistan has reconnected a trade route to Central Asia that had been closed for 20 years. The US$ 400,000 project, the first of a series of bridges across the Pyanj River, will improve the flow of aid, commerce and trade within Central Asia. “By facilitating the flow of goods, services, knowledge and technology in both directions," said the Aga Khan, "this bridge will allow communities on either side of the frontier, as well as neighbouring countries, to gain from one another and to contribute to one another’s welfare.” For more information, please see the press release and accompanying photos.
Project to Revitalise Kabul Hotel
At the invitation of the Government of Afghanistan, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development will invest US$ 25 million in a project to revitalise the Hotel Kabul as part of a broader development plan for Kabul. The Kabul Serena Hotel (as the revitalised property will be called) is a Soviet era hotel built some 50 years ago amid handsome gardens. The building is expected to undergo a phased rehabilitation, refurbishing and upgrading and ultimately to incorporate up to 184 rooms with restaurants, banqueting, business conferencing, health and leisure facilities as well as a connected shopping area. For more information, please see the press release.
Award Seminar Draws Overflow Crowds in Iran
At unprecedented encounters in the historic city of Yazd and in Tehran, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture brought together planners, architects and conservationists from France, Japan and the United States, as well as from the Maghreb, Lebanon, Turkey and Uzbekistan, to a five-day international seminar on “Architecture for a Changing World”. In scenes reminiscent of sold-out pop concerts or sports events, students, engineers and architects spilled over from jammed aisles into adjoining lounges and an open-air theatre of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. For more information, please the press release and the Award Home Page.
Update on Bishkek Global Mountain Summit: Call for Regional Solutions
The Aga Khan, speaking at the concluding event of the International Year of the Mountains, called for regional solutions to development issues in Central Asia. "Even when demonstrably successful, community-based projects seem to reach a development stage at which they no longer produce continuing increments in returns," he said. "It would appear that when that point is attained, much wider forces of change have to be brought into play, such as mobilizing new economic drivers and diversifying the economy at the macro level. New areas and scales of enterprise in fields such as commerce, agro-industry, the leisure industry and others must be developed. There are new needs for regional institutions such as universities, enterprise support agencies, micro-credit banks and the like. Improved communications, better roads and appropriate customs and border regimes take on a new urgency. They in turn must seek out new levels of funding and diplomatic support that only large international funding agencies can offer." For more information, please see the Keynote Speech by the Aga Khan at the Plenary Session of the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit and accompanying photos.
Aga Khan School Opened in Kyrgyz Republic
The inauguration of the first phase of the Aga Khan School, in Osh, Kyrgyz Republic, on 3 November 2002, marked the beginning of a new chapter in educational development for the Kyrgyz Republic. Comprising an academic centre with 22 classrooms and seminar rooms, a Learning Resource Centre, a multipurpose gymnasium and a 200-seat cafeteria, the School will introduce innovation in learning environments, methodology and curricula. For more information, please see the speech at the opening ceremony, press release and accompanying photos.
Arabic, French and Russian versions of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture brochure are now available on the Publications page.
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