Silk Road musicians performing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Washington, DC, USA, 26 June 2002 - "A search for new forces of stability," was how His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, today described one of the pressing needs of the moment in Central Asia. One such force "that seems particularly essential," he said, "is the validation and vigorous promotion of human and cultural pluralism ... For the new countries of Central Asia, the inherent pluralism of their societies can be an asset rather than a liability. In a wider sense, it can be a means for enlarging the frontiers of global pluralism... This is a goal, with which we can all associate and should all associate."