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Children’s Books Focusing on Pluralism and Tolerance to Reach All Schools in Kyrgyz Republic


Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, 19 January 2012 —The Kyrgyz Republic’s Ministry of Education and Science, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Aga Khan Foundation signed an agreement this morning to reprint 90,500 copies of dual-language children’s books aimed at promoting peace, tolerance and respect for diversity among primary school children. The books will be distributed to all 2,204 schools in the country.

Three Sad Wizards, a book on the value of pluralism, which was distributed to all schools in the Kyrgyz Republic. Photo: AKF

The books, “Friendship Song of the Goose” and “Three Sad Wizards”, were originally developed by the Aga Khan Foundation, working with local authors and illustrators, as a direct response to the June 2010 conflict and in support of the national government’s initiative to promote multicultural values in the country. They are dual-language (Kyrgyz-Uzbek, Kyrgyz-Russian, Kyrgyz-Tajik, and Kyrgyz-English) books for children.

The books are being published with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) and the Aga Khan Foundation, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network.

With further grant assistance from USAID/OTI, the Aga Khan Foundation will also develop tool-kits which will help teachers to translate the theory of conflict resolution and tolerance building in the classroom. The tool-kits will be developed in partnership with the Kyrgyz Academy of Education. A total of 4,382 kits will be distributed. Support from USAID/OTI will also enable the Aga Khan Foundation to produce four new episodes of its nationally broadcast animated children’s program, “Adventure of the World of Books”. The episodes will be based on the books and also focus on pluralism.

Mrs. Nurjehan Mawani, Head of the AKDN Representation noted: “I am proud that the Aga Khan Foundation with its partner USAID and the Ministry of Education and Science have published books that tell stories of friendship, honesty and the power of diversity for children. The early years shape our worldview and we wish for all our children, a worldview that is inclusive, tolerant, and respectful of diversity – all of which are critical ingredients for strong nations, and peaceful, prosperous societies”.

Together, these efforts are intended to help children better appreciate the multi-ethnic and multi-lingual nature of the Kyrgyz Republic and the world at large. Over the long-term, creating awareness of other ethnicities and cultures is expected to strengthen values of openness, tolerance, and pluralism among the country’s future generation.

For further information please contact:

Mavliuda Dzhaparova
Public Relations Coordinator
Aga Khan Foundation, Kyrgyz Republic
Toktogul Street, 138, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan,
Tel. : (+996 312) 621912 (313)
Mobile: (+996 550) 87 04 74 E-mail: mavluda.djaparova@akdn.org

Notes:

The Aga Khan Development Network

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. Its annual budget for social development is US$ 600 million. In Kyrgyzstan, more than 1,000 people, most of whom are local citizens, are directly employed by AKDN and its various agencies. For more information on AKDN, please visit the website at www.akdn.org

Aga Khan Foundation

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is a non-denominational, international development agency established in 1967 by His Highness the Aga Khan. Its mission is to develop and promote creative solutions to problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and East Africa. Created as a private, non-profit foundation under Swiss law, it has branches and independent affiliates in 19 countries. It is a modern vehicle for traditional philanthropy in the Ismaili Muslim community under the leadership of the Aga Khan. In Kyrgyzstan, AKF currently operates Osh and Naryn Oblasts where complementary interventions in education, health, and rural development converge in villages and are implemented in partnership with and between government authorities, community interest groups, and local civil society organisations. In April 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth Policy and Aga Khan Development Network enabling the Aga Khan Foundation to support the development of the country’s education sector.

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