"Those who talk about an inevitable 'clash of civilizations' can point today to an accumulating array of symptoms which sometimes seems to reflect their diagnosis. I believe, however, that this diagnosis is wrong - that its symptoms are more dramatic than they are representative - and that these symptoms are rooted in human ignorance rather than human character. The problem of ignorance is a problem that can be addressed. Perhaps it can even be ameliorated - but only if we go to work on our educational tasks with sustained energy, creativity and intelligence."
His Highness the Aga Khan, on the occasion of the Signing of the Funding Agreement for the Global Centre for Pluralism, Ottawa, Canada, 25 October 2006
The Global Centre for Pluralism
An agreement for funding for The Global Centre for Pluralism was signed on 25 October 2006 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, Minister of Canadian Heritage Beverley J. Oda and His Highness the Aga Khan. Under the terms of the agreement, the Government of Canada will contribute C$ 30 million toward the establishment of the Centre’s endowment fund. The Aga Khan will contribute a minimum of C$ 30 million toward the endowment and for the refurbishing of the former Canadian War Museum, which the Government is making available on a long-term lease to serve as the Centre’s global headquarters. Drawing inspiration from the Canadian experience, the centre will function as a global resource for knowledge about fostering pluralistic values, policies, and practices. It will work with countries to nurture successful civil societies in which every citizen, irrespective of cultural, religious or ethnic differences, is able to realize his or her full potential. For more information, please see the press release.
Kampala Serena Hotel Inaugurated in Uganda; Construction Begins in Tajikistan
On 10 November, President Yoweri Museveni inaugurated the Kampala Serena Hotel in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan. The
US$ 30 million renovation, which took 17 months, features a decor that reflects the Ugandan culture and environment. The 152-bed hotel is already one of the largest employers in the country, employing 371 staff, 97 percent of whom are Ugandan nationals (the remaining three percent are East African). The hotel includes a conference centre capable of catering to 2,000 delegates, making it an important venue for international conferences such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which Uganda will host next year. For more information, please see the Serena Hotels website, press release and video. Earlier, the Aga Khan, President Rahmonov and Mayor Ubaidullaev of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, laid the foundation stone for the Dushanbe Serena Hotel. For more information, please see the slide show and press release.
AKDN Completes Fourth Bridge Between Afghanistan and Tajikistan
Tajikistan's President Rahmonov, Afghan's Second Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili and His Highness the Aga Khan inaugurated the fourth bridge between Afghanistan and Tajikistan built by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Vehicles of up to 30 tons are now able to cross from one country to the other. AKDN has contributed US$ 1,700,000 to the construction of the four bridges at Tem, Darwaz, Langar and Ishkashim. Two more bridges, at Vanj and Shurobad, are envisaged. The bridges have led to increased trade between the two countries. Markets have formed on either side of the bridges, contributing to greater food security in the remote region. Afghans have also been able to seek medical care at Tajik hospitals at Ishkashim, Darwaz and Khorog. For more information, please the Aga Khan's speech.
Aga Khan Academy Foundation Stone Laying in Hyderabad, India
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, and His Highness the Aga Khan laid the foundation stone for the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad, on 22 September 2006. When it is completed, the Hyderabad Academy will offer an international standard of education from pre-primary to secondary levels. Admission is merit-based and needs-blind. Eventually, the Academy will be part of an international network of academies in Asia and Africa that will feature a rigorous academic and leadership-development experience. The first such school, the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, began operating in August of 2003. For more information, please see the Academies page, video and Aga Khan Academies website.
World Habitat Award for AKPBS
Princess Zahra accepted the World Habitat Award on behalf of the "Clean Village" award in India.
Music Initiative CD/DVD Receives Grammy Nomination
One of the tradition bearers supported by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia has been nominated for a Grammy award, which is considered one of the highest honours for musical recordings in the United States. The nomination, in the World
Music Category, was for "Best Traditional World Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental). The volume is titled: Music of Central Asia Vol. 2, Invisible Face of the Beloved
Classical Music of the Tajiks and Uzbeks
The Academy of Maqâm
Shigar Fort Residence Receives 2006 UNESCO Award of Excellence
The Shigar Fort Palace (in Baltistan, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan) has been honoured with the Award of Excellence in the 2006 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. For more information, please see the press release and the AKDN Awards page.
New Publications, Slideshows and Videos
Villages on the Front Line, a nine-programme BBC World television series on desertification, will explore the encroachment of saltwater on agricultural land in Gujarat, India. The programme features the work of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, including the construction of bunds and rain-water harvesting systems. The programme can be viewed at the following times and dates (all times are GMT - please consult listings for the corresponding time in your area):
Focus Humanitarian Assistance's work in the Lake Sarez region of Tajikistan was featured in a BBC World Earth Report documentary entitled "Disaster Class", which was shown in November. The documentary focused on how schools could help populations prepare for natural disasters: "Natural disasters may be unavoidable but when at-risk populations are informed, and prepared, the loss of life and devastation caused by disasters can be reduced dramatically. Earth Report visits Cuba, Tajikistan and Thailand to look at how education and awareness can make the difference between life and death". For more information, please see BBC World.
Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Visit AKDN Projects with His Highness the Aga Khan in Northern Areas of Pakistan, 3 November 2006
His Highness the Aga Khan in Tajikistan inaugurates Ishkashim Bridge; lays foundation stone of new Serena Hotel in Dushanbe; reviews ongoing projects, including Khorog Park, University of Central Asia campus in Khorog, and the Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, 29 October - 1 November 2006
His Highness the Aga Khan in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, visits President Bakiev, Prime Minister Kulov, Ministers and members of Parliament
New Publications on line
The 2005 Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance Annual Report
(English, PDF, 3MB)
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development Brochure
(English, PDF, 6MB)
Conservation and Development in Baltistan and Hunza
(English, PDF, 3.8MB)
For a list of all current publications, please see the publications page.
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