"Development is sustainable only if the beneficiaries become, in a gradual manner, the masters of the process. This means that initiatives cannot be contemplated exclusively in terms of economics, but rather as an integrated programme that encompasses social and cultural dimensions as well. Education and skills training, health and public services, conservation of cultural heritage, infrastructure development, urban planning and rehabilitation, rural development, water and energy management, environmental control, and even policy and legislative development are among the various aspects that must be taken into account."
Clean, Sustainable Hydropower for Tajikistan
For the past ten years, the 250,000 residents of Gorno Badakhshan oblast' of Tajikistan have faced subfreezing winter temperatures without adequate heat. They have survived by using wood fuel for their heating and cooking needs. In the process, they have decimated the region’s tree cover (over 70 percent) and created acutely high levels of indoor pollution. In an ambitious and innovative investment, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have joined forces to develop a new electricity generation and distribution project in a remote eastern province in Tajikistan that will boost the region’s dangerously inadequate electricity supply, improve health conditions, reduce environmental degradation, and contribute toward the region’s economic recovery. For more information, please see the press release.
A New University Dedicated to the Eradication of Poverty in Central Asia
The University is expected to serve 50 million people across the mountain zones of Central Asia. The University of Central Asia, which was founded by a treaty signed in 2000 by the presidents of Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan, will offer a Master's in Mountain Development Studies, a Bachelor's in Liberal Arts and courses in continuing education. The Continuing Education programme, already underway in temporary premises (see photo at right), will eventually consist of four programme streams: agricultural and natural resource management; public and social sector administration; entrepreneurship and small business development; and ethics and culture. Initially, the University will be located on three campuses, in Khorog, Tajikistan; Tekeli, Kazakhstan; and Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic. Eventually, it is expected to serve 50 million people across the mountain zones of Central Asia, including Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. For more information, please see the University of Central Asia website and related press release.
Bishkek Global Mountain Summit, 29 Oct.-1 Nov. 2002
AKDN is playing a major role in planning the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit, which will take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, from 29 October to 1 November 2002. The summit will promote "the conservation and sustainable development of mountain regions" (view background discussion paper entitled "Sustainable Livelihoods and Poverty Alleviation", authored by Stephen F. Rasmussen and Safdar Parvez of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme). Please also see International Year of the Mountains: AKDN Activities in Mountain Areas.
BBC Earth Report to Profile AKDN Work in Central Asia
During the third week of October, BBC World will be showing "Where Families and Mountains Meet", a film which documents the Network's efforts to the help people overcome the hardships encountered in the wake of the collapse of Soviet subsidies. According to the filmmakers, the Network has helped people harness renewable mountain energy, create small businesses and markets, and grow seven times the amount of food they used to grow under the old Russian collective system. The programme will be shown at the following dates and times (all times are GMT). Please consult listings for local times.
AKFED Sets Up Mobile Phone Network for Afghanistan
Afghanistan has licensed an international consortium led by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development to set up its second mobile phone network. AKFED has taken a 51 per cent stake in the project, while Monaco Telecom International hold 35 per cent of the equity, US-based MCT Corp nine per cent and French telecoms giant Alcatel five per cent. The project will involve a total initial investment of $55 million, rising to $120 million over the coming decade. For more information, please see the press release.
ArchNet Launched: World's Largest On-line Resource Dedicated to Islamic Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Design
On 27 September 2002, His Highness the Aga Khan, Charles M. Vest, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard University, launched ArchNet.org, the world's largest on-line resource of historical and contemporary materials on architecture, urbanism, landscape design and related issues of concern to the Islamic world and people interested in it. It was also the occasion for the appointment of A. Hashim Sarkis as the Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Muslim Societies at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. For more information, please see the press release and www.ArchNet.org.
Major Academic and Cultural Centre and Museum in Toronto, Canada
On 8 October, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) announced its intention to establish, in Toronto, a museum housing exceptional collections of Islamic art and heritage as well as a unique academic and cultural centre focused on the study and practice of pluralism. For more information, please see the press release.
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