Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 23 August 2012 - The Council of Europe has awarded its "Cultural Event" label, or designation, to the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The Award was given in recognition of the series of master classes, presentations and concerts that the Music Initiative has offered through its “Performance, Creation and Outreach” programme. The Council of Europe "Cultural Event" (CECEL) label recognises exceptional and innovative cultural and artistic projects, which convey strong messages related to the Council of Europe’s mission and values and address key challenges of the European societies of today. The award was presented on the occasion of a concert presentation by the Aga Khan Music Initative at the Edinburgh International Festival on 23 August, featuring Alim Qasimov Ensemble, outstanding masters of Azerbaijan’s spiritual music and long-term collaborators of the Music Initiative. The CECEL is awarded every calendar year to a small number of outstanding projects. The selection committee chooses the projects to be awarded on the basis of artistic value, relevance to the concerns of contemporary European societies and the Council of Europe’s mission and values, innovative approach, diversity of audiences and means of expression, geographical scope, etc. This year, four other projects were awarded the Council of Europe label: Hotel Gelem, Satellistaden, CultureFutures Club et Warriors-Génération-Europe. The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education program with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities. The Initiative was launched by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms. The Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. AKMI designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests and works to promote revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints. For more information about the Council of Europe, please see the website: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/ For more information about the Aga Khan Music Initiative, please see: www.akdn.org/akmi or contact: Sam Pickens Telephone: +41 (22) 909.72.00 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.akdn.org/akmi To contact the Council of Europe: Irène Weidmann tel +33 6 77 97 09 87 Website: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/ Notes The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg (France), now covers virtually the entire European continent, with its 47 member countries. Founded on 5 May 1949 by 10 countries, the Council of Europe seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.