"In an era of rising expectations and unmet needs, both in the developed, but much more in the developing world, civil society institutions play an essential role in the provision of social services, the protection of the marginalised and the delivery of development programmes. The positive action of these civil society initiatives is especially critical where governments are weak or non-performing, as in situations of failed democracies or post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction."
His Highness the Aga Khan, Toronto, 18 June 2004
Mostar’s Historic City Centre
In tandem with the opening of Mostar’s reconstructed Old Bridge on 23 July 2004, city officials and representatives of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the World Monuments Fund inaugurated a wide range of projects that include urban planning, the restoration of monuments, the improvement of historic houses and streetscape enhancements. Both the planning and the physical restoration efforts constitute a major contribution to the revival of the historic city of Mostar. For more information, please see the press release and the new brochure, "Conservation and Revitalisation of Historic Mostar".
"Green Oscar" for AKRSP's Micro-hydros in
Northern Areas of Pakistan
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Pakistan has won an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy for "outstanding and innovative renewable energy projects". The Award was given for the innovative use of mini hydroelectric plants, called micro-hydels. The Ashden Award cited the AKRSP for the sustainable and eco-friendly solution: "Unlike dams, which invariably damage the local eco-system, the micro-hydel technology used by AKRSP involves simply digging a narrow channel to divert water along a hillside and into a pipe, creating enough pressure to turn a turbine and so produce 20 - 100kw of power." Over 180 micro-hydel units supplying electricity to 50 percent of the population of Chitral have been built. The projects are implemented, maintained and managed by the communities themselves.
University of Central Asia Launched
President Emomali Rahmonov of Tajikistan and Vice-President of Nematullah Shahrani of Afghanistan joined the Aga Khan in laying the foundation stone of the Khorog, Tajikistan campus - the first of three campuses of the University of Central Asia (UCA). The second campus of the UCA was inaugurated in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic on 8th July, by the Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Tanaev, in the presence of Prince Amyn Aga Khan and Governor Salymbekov. For more information, please see the new UCA web site and information about the Lead architect and the landscape architects.
In three Proms appearances at the Royal Albert Hall in London (13-19 August), Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble will bring together music and artists from China, India, Iran, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Among other pieces, they will perform a new quadruple concerto by Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng and selected pieces from a repertoire for solo pipa, sheng and kemanche. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is the lead funder and creative partner of the Silk Road Project. For more information, see the BBC Proms site for Week 5.
On the other side of London, the Kyrgyz epic Manas will come to life at the British Library from 17-20 August 2004. Rysbek Jumabaev, a revered manaschi (epic reciter), and Ben Haggarty, a London-based storyteller, will recount the story of Manas, the hero of the epic, which has come down to the present day in versions over 500,000 lines in length. They will be accompanied by a new musical work woven together with black-and-white archival film footage of Sayakbay Karalaev (1894-1971), one of the greatest manaschis of the 20th century. The programme is the result of a collaborative effort between the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia and the Silk Road Project, Inc. Performances will be twice a day at 1.30 - 2.00 pm and 3.30 - 4.00 pm from Tuesday 17 August to Friday 20 August. For more information, please see the British Library Events page.Two Major Speeches, on Civil Society and Preventing the Failure of Democracy, by Aga Khan in Canada
On 18 June, the Aga Khan called for a “wide civil society partnership” between the developed world and the developing world, saying that it was “especially critical where governments are weak or non-performing, as in situations of failed democracies or post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction.” At the 2004 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference on 19 May, the Aga Khan warned that “democracy can fail anywhere, at any time, in any society …for it is self-evident, in Europe and across the globe, that the existence of political parties and elections do not alone produce stable governments or competent leadership.” For more information, please see Aga Khan Urges a Civil Society Partnership Between Developed and Developing Countries and Aga Khan Speaks on Preventing the Failure of Democracy, in Ottawa.Darwaz Bridge to Strengthen Commercial Ties and Tajik-Afghan relations
The Tajik-Afghan Friendship Bridge in Darwaz, which will consolidate permanent overland links between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, was inaugurated on 6 July 2004. Second in a series of bridges to be constructed across the River Panj, the US$500,000 project, undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in collaboration with the two governments, will improve significantly the flow of aid, commerce and trade within Central Asia. The Aga Khan expressed hope that the bridges in the years ahead would enable the free flow of people across the river for their mutual benefit and bring an improvement in the access to social services and in the quality of life. For more information, please see the press release.First MicroFinanceBank of Tajikistan Expands Access to Banking Services to Marginalised Populations
In countries such as Tajikistan, villagers in remote areas must travel long distances at great expense to access financial services. In addition, commercial banks often do not find it profitable to offer services to the urban poor or to populations living in remote locations. The First MicroFinanceBank in Tajikistan, which was inaugurated on 5 July 2004, will expand access to a wide range of banking services for the people of Tajikistan. For more information, please see the press release.New Publications and Websites
The University of Central Asia has a new website www.ucentralasia.org
Conservation and Revitalisation of Historic Mostar, from the Historic Cities Programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. See the Publications page for additional information about new language versions of brochures: AKDN (English, Russian, Arabic, French and Farsi) and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Brochures (English, Russian, French and Arabic).
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