Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:41 am Post subject: ACTIVITIES AT THE ISMAILI CENTRE DUSHAMBE
Jesse and Diana in Tajikistan Our blog while living in Tajikistan from September, 2009 to August, 2010
Friday, December 18, 2009
The Ismoili Center of Dushanbe is one of several like it around the world. The spiritual leader of the Ismoilis is the Agha Khan, who lives in Switzerland and went to Harvard. He has a development network that does lots of good work around the globe in health, microfinance and other sectors.
The new Center is far and away the most beautiful and architecturally interesting building in Dushanbe, and I was wishing as we walked through and around it that others would attempt to imitate it instead of the much more popular Soviet architecture. To some degree, many are limited by materials available--rebar and concrete only go so far. The bricks for this building were made specifically for it in Samarkand, 3 million of them, and then shipped here. Not everyone has that kind of money, but some of the new big construction projects are just boxy.
Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:18 am Post subject: Re: ACTIVITIES AT THE ISMAILI CENTRE DUSHAMBE
Alhumduallah, Mashallah the Architectural design of the Ismaili Center really made me very happy, I have never seen such a wonderful Islamic Architect design before then Our Ismaili Center...... All the Ismaili Centers around the world are Mashallah beautiful in their design styles.... May our Beloved Imam Inshallah one day, rebuild the Alamut our strong hold castle in Iran........
Tajikistan’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullo Yuldashev, and AKDN’s Resident Representative in Tajikistan, Munir Merali, addressed Imamat Day reception guests at the at the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe. Photo: Michail Romanyuk
On 11 July, the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe was the venue for an Imamat Day reception hosted by the Aga Khan Development Network in Tajikistan. The event, which also marked the 15th anniversary of the signing of an Agreement of Cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and the AKDN, included a cultural show as well as a three-day exhibition of AKDN’s projects in the country during the past 15 years.
It was the first time that the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe — which was opened in October 2009 by Tajikistan’s President, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, and Mawlana Hazar Imam — hosted a public event of this magnitude. Some 10 000 visitors were welcomed at the Centre over the Imamat Day weekend.
The AKDN Exhibition was inaugurated by Tajikistan’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullo Yuldashev, who conveyed messages of felicitations on behalf of the Government to Mawlana Hazar Imam on the 53rd anniversary of his accession to the Ismaili Imamat.
Tajik Ismaili Girl and Boy Scouts pose for a photo as they prepared for the arrival of guests at the Imamat Day reception. Photo: Natasha Merali
AKDN’s engagement in Tajikistan began in 1992 with the launch of a humanitarian assistance programme. Today, the Network works actively in all regions of the country and in most sectors, to help improve the quality of life of all the country’s peoples. The Exhibition showcased the geographic reach and thematic scope of the Network’s activities, which range from investments in education, health, rural development, microfinance, culture, hospitality, tourism, to disaster risk mitigation and, development of the energy sector.
Guests at the Imamat Day reception and the inauguration of the Exhibition included representatives from the Government of Tajikistan, as well as members of the international and local community. Rudolf Schoch, Head of the Swiss Development Corporation in Tajikistan, praised AKDN’s approach towards development work: “Many organisations come to Tajikistan with projects lasting for two to three years. In the case of the AKDN, it is a life-long engagement. Such an approach gives the opportunity to go deeper and make meaningful impact in the lives of people.”
Ismaili students from the Aga Khan Lycée in Khorog share their projects with visitors at the AKDN Exhibition. Photo: Shenila Khoja-Moolji
Over 600 Ismaili volunteers and Scouts from across Tajikistan participated in the festivities in a variety of ways, from helping to construct display booths, serving refreshments and ushering guests, to participating in the cultural show and, conducting tours of the Exhibition. Fotima Ofizbek and her sister Zuhro, both served on the hospitality team and were delighted to have the opportunity to meet and work with their Ismaili brothers and sisters. Excitement was palpable on the faces of the volunteers — for many, it was the first opportunity to serve the Jamat and the public at the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe.
Among the volunteers at the Exhibition were five students from the Aga Khan Lycée (AKL) in Khorog. Established in 1998, the AKL is the first privately-operated school in the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) of Tajikistan. The students displayed some of the science projects they had prepared at their school.
Navjavonov Nurzod, an eighth grade student, presented a remote-controlled helicopter that he designed. “After I graduate from AKL,” he explained, “I will continue further education and would like to become an engineer.” Another student, Amrnazarzoda Gulnoz, proudly presented some of the techniques of crafting Tajik necklaces learnt at the AKL’s extracurricular club, Zebo Soz (Beautiful Making). The school’s curriculum seeks to foster critical thinking skills, as well as develop creativity and cultivate an appreciation of Tajikistan’s rich culture and heritage in its students.
Visitors to the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe admire some of the handicraft items produced by local organisations in GBAO, which are supported by the AKDN Mountain Societies Development Support Programme. Photo: Natasha MeraliThese celebrations presented an opportunity to reflect on the tireless efforts of the volunteers and staff in advancing the Network’s objectives. Reminiscing about the beginnings of the Network in Tajikistan, Yodgor Faizov, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan, remarked: “It was back in the early 1990s when I was asked to join the Pamir Relief and Development Programme – the first programme of the AKF in Tajikistan. When I started, we had a team of only seven people. Today, the Network has greatly expanded, employing over 3 000 people and several hundred volunteers for various agencies.” The ethic of volunteerism is a valued Muslim tradition, and the Tajik Ismaili Jamat has demonstrated its strength and unity through its volunteer service.
The AKDN also hosted a cultural show that featured performances from all districts of Tajikistan, as well as the neighbouring Central and South Asian countries. Performers included the Padida Theatre group, Samo band, the Indian Embassy Ensemble, as well as the Tajik popular band, Shams. The show presented a mix of traditional, as well as popular dance and musical performances that enhanced the festive mood of the occasion.
The celebrations concluded with a showing of the video of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee visits to France and Central Asia, and a dinner in honour of all volunteers and staff who worked to help organise and manage the events. At the dinner reception, AKDN Resident Representative, Munir M. Merali, expressed his personal gratitude to all volunteers and staff on behalf of the Network’s agencies in Tajikistan.
The Padida Theater group performs a Chinese cultural dance at the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe in celebration of Imamat Day. Photo: Michail Romanyuk
The Musical Arts of the Pamirs: University of Central Asia launches seminal series on Pamir music and heritage
Please also see: Press Release in Russian and Fact Sheet (English, Russian, Tajik)
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 21 January 2011 - The Musical Arts of the Pamirs, Volumes I, II, and III was launched today at the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe. Published by the University of Central Asia (UCA), the three-volume set is part of a five-volume study on folk music, oral history, and theatre traditions from the Pamir region of Tajikistan.
Widely viewed as the most comprehensive work on Pamir music and heritage to date, The Musical Arts of the Pamirs is the culmination of approximately 40 years of field work by Dr Nizom Nurdjanov, along with his colleagues, Dr Fayzulla Karomatov and Dr Bahriniso Kabilova.
The series features re-publications of the first two volumes of The Musical Arts of the Pamirs, first published in 1978 and 1986, respectively. First commissioned in 1959 by the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences in Tajikistan, this seminal work captures the findings of a nearly 20-year exploration of the Pamir region of Tajikistan. Though widely viewed as a rare collection of primary source materials, the volumes have long since been out of print.
The third volume, Ritual Music: Wedding, Birth and Funeral, which focuses on the ritual folk music of holidays and traditional community celebrations, is the newest contribution to the planned five-volume series.
Guided by a mission of preserving cultural heritage as an asset for the future, the University of Central Asia first began working with Dr Nurdjanov’s team in January 2009 with the goal of reviving decades of research on the diverse musical traditions of the region. In partnership with UCA and The Christensen Fund (TCF), the series seeks to contribute to the preservation and revitalization of traditional Tajik music.
The series is a testament to the legacy of Dr Nurdjanov’s fifty-year career at the A. Donish Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography within the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, where he has served as professor since 1951 and published over 35 monographs and 850 articles on the diverse cultural traditions of Tajikistan.
For Dr Nurdjanov, the publication of the Musical Arts of the Pamirs is an especially meaningful achievement in his long and illustrious career. "It has been an honor to work with UCA and to revisit our early years of research from 1959. Reproduction of our first works and developing a third volume has allowed us to modernize our efforts and reach out to the next generation."
UCA is also supporting the production of Volumes IV and V, scheduled for completion in 2011. “UCA is proud to be the publisher of this important work,” said UCA Director General Dr Bohdan Krawchenko. “Tajikistan’s uniquely rich cultural heritage needs to be preserved, understood, and shared with new generations, both regionally and internationally. This does not happen by itself; it requires serious scholarly effort. Nurdjanov’s work is a great example of the role that scholarship plays in documenting cultural treasures and informing the future by understanding the past.”
The co-authors of Volume III include Dr Karomatov, Head of the Music Department of the Hamza Hakim-zade Niyazi Institute of Fine Arts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and an expert on Uzbek and Tajik music; and Dr Kabilova, a Senior Fellow at the A. Donish Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography at the Academy of Sciences in Tajikistan who writes extensively on Tajik folk and modern music.
For further information please contact:
University of Central Asia
138 Toktogul Street, 720001 Bishkek
Mobile: +996 (0) 770 822 851
Aga Khan Development Network
8-10 Gani Abdullo Street, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Mobile: +992 93 500-82-92
Yes heard the same and it looks like it is not going to be for some time. Freedom of worship is in question. Who appoints M/K is also in question from what I know, the Govt. wants to appoint them.
2011, September 9: The Tajik Government has invited MHI to participate at the Vanj bridge opening which will take place in September 9th on Independence day, also Serena will be inaugurated (soft, meaning not fully operational but the building should be ready by then.
Obviously this news will be on main page of ismaili.net only beginning September this year.
There was an interesting news item below which could have an effect as well...
Tajikistan moves to ban adolescents from mosques
Reuters Jun 18, 2011, 02.28am IST
DUSHANBE: Tajikistan has taken the first step toward banning children and adolescents from worshipping in mosques and churches, drawing criticism from Muslim leaders who oppose the Central Asian state's crackdown on religious freedom.
The lower house of parliament in the impoverished ex-Soviet republic this week passed a "parental responsibility" bill that would make it illegal to allow children to be part of a religious institution not officially sanctioned by the state.
Authorities say the measures are necessary to prevent the spread of religious fundamentalism in the volatile republic, the poorest of the 15 former Soviet republics, where government troops have been fighting insurgents in the mountainous east.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 22, 2011
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Please let me tell you how excited I am to be here with you. Sher, thank you for that introduction and for being our moderator today. I wanted to thank the Aga Khan Development Network for supporting this forum and working so hard to create opportunities for the Tajik people and the Dushanbe Ismaili Center. Thanks to you for hosting us in this truly beautiful, impressive building here.
And I am delighted, to look out and see this large audience of people who are working to improve the lives of your fellow citizens and create a better future for your country. And I’m grateful to you because each and every one of you is helping to build a more prosperous, democratic future for Tajikistan. And it is exciting for me to see men and women gather together to make it here, and the future must include all citizens. A vibrant society that supports inclusive opportunity, prosperity, and rights for everyone knows that you will be more successful. And I’m also pleased to see so many young people because building that future is really all about you.
"Tajik citizens deserve the opportunity to receive a decent education, own land, practice whatever religion they choose, enjoy a free and independent media, and participate equally in the political process," Clinton said at the town hall meeting, sponsored by the Aga Khan Development Network. "And it is up to their leaders to ensure that fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom, are protected for all people: men and women, young and old."
Dushambe jamatkhana started officially last month. Mavlana Hazir Imam came on a very short visit to inagurate the JK. I cant wait to go to Dushambe and visit it. My mom says a lot of people come there. last firday she was saying it was around 2,500 people there, and people were sitting in next door rooms and corridor.
Ismaili Centre hosts World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics
World Bank Group : World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics Visits Tajikistan
04/05/2013| 02:08pm US/Eastern
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, April 5, 2013 -The challenge of reducing extreme poverty and building shared prosperity was the major theme of the official visit of Mr. Kaushik Basu, the World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics, who visited Tajikistan on April 4-5. The role of public policy in achieving the ambitious target of ending extreme poverty by 2030, laid out by the World Bank Group President Jim Kim, was discussed by Mr. Basu in the context of Tajikistan in his meetings with the top leadership of Tajikistan, donors, civil society and the public.
"Although economic growth is likely to be the main driver of poverty reduction, in most countries, markets cannot do it alone," said Mr. Basu during his public lecture held in the Ismaili Center in Dushanbe on April 5. "Public policy plays a central role in strengthening the institutional foundations within which markets operate, in providing public goods, and in correcting market failures. It is essential to deploy efficient social safety nets to protect the poor, especially in times of crisis. At the same time, it is equally essential to move ahead with reforms to attract more private investment - and jobs - to the country."
In his meeting with the Government's economic team, Mr. Basu commended Tajikistan for the progress made over the last decade in reducing poverty thanks to strong economic growth and sizable remittance inflows. He noted that the task ahead is to invest in basic human needs: maternal and child health, education, clean drinking water, and energy and food security - all vital elements of the Government's "Living Standards Improvement Strategy" for 2013-2015. In particular, he underlined the benefits of an effective and targeted social assistance system in reducing poverty, offering citizens a protection mechanism, and achieving higher coverage of the extreme poor. The Chief Economist highlighted that improving access of the population to quality education, health services, food security, and addressing winter energy needs will continue to be priority areas for the World Bank Group in Tajikistan as these are essential elements, along with a targeted social assistance system, for eradicating extreme poverty and building shared prosperity.
As part of his visit, Mr. Basu visited a local school in Nurek, which since 2008 has been financed through the per capita financing mechanism - a key reform supported by the World Bank in Tajikistan, aimed at increasing the efficiency and transparency in education financing at the local level. He also visited the Nurek Hydro Power Plant (HPP), the world's highest dam and the source of 96% of Tajikistan's electricity. A study for rehabilitation and sedimentation management of this important HPP is currently ongoing as part of the World Bank financed Energy Loss Reduction Project.
This year, Tajikistan and the World Bank Group will be celebrating 20 years of partnership. Tajikistan joined the World Bank in 1993 and the International Development Association (IDA) in 1994. Since 1996, the World Bank has provided approximately US$843 million in IDA grants and trust funds to Tajikistan. Around 34% of these funds have been committed for agriculture and rural development sector. Other major sectors for IDA support since 1996 are economic policy and public sector (17%), energy (15%), water and urban development (15%), health and social protection (9%), and education (10%).
These investments support the World Bank Group's mission of promoting economic growth, reducing poverty and building shared prosperity in Tajikistan.
To mark International Education Week, the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe hosted an education fair in November that was attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Education and Science, as well as the United States Ambassador to Tajikistan.
A number of international and regional educational organisations delivered presentations to some 300 students and their parents, who were able to ask questions and gather information on educational programmes and opportunities.
“International education is an important means of establishing a cultural bridge between [our] two countries,” remarked US Ambassador to Tajikistan Elizabeth Millard.
“Over 4 000 Tajik citizens received their education in the United States,” she continued. “Now, these graduates are employed at different government departments and regions of the Republic [of Tajikistan].”
The Ministry of Education and Science were represented by Rahmatullo Mirboboev, Tajikistan’s First Deputy Minister of Education and Science, and Mirzoev Habibullo, Head of the Ministry’s International Department. The dignitaries were welcomed by Sharofat Mamadambarova, President of the Ismaili Council for Tajikistan.
First Deputy Minister Mirboboev said the Ministry of Education pays special attention to the progress of Tajiks who receive higher education abroad, cooperating closely with foreign countries and international organisations.
“Only in the 2016-17 academic years, over 4 900 students got enrolled in different universities in 32 countries,” he noted. Citizens who study abroad are able “to explore the culture of other countries and peoples” and return to Tajikistan as “highly qualified specialists.”
Among the educational organisations in attendance were American Councils for International Education, EducationUSA, Bactria Cultural Center, Erasmus+, University of Central Asia, Aga Khan Foundation, American Corner Dushanbe, MBO Professional, and Multikid Education Agency.
The programme also included a series of presentations and webinars by well-known universities from around the world, which were delivered over the course of the week at American Corner Dushanbe.
Award-winning Pamiri language film screened at Ismaili Centre
Dushanbe, 1 December 2016 — The Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe hosted a screening of the award-winning film Mushkilkusho, which was named as the Best Tajik Film at the 2016 Didor International Festival.
Directed and produced by acclaimed Tajik film maker Umedsho Mirzoshirinov, the film is unique for its use of Pamiri languages, which are listed as endangered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“Mushkilkusho,” which means overcoming challenges in life, tells the story of a Pamiri girl, who falls in love with a musician in Moscow, where she has travelled in search of a better life. The film illustrates the hardships faced by Tajik labour migrants in Russia, including cultural misconceptions and the clash between traditional and modern lifestyles, as well as the beauty of Pamiri culture and languages.
It topped a list of some 80 films entered in the festival from former Soviet republics, Persian-speaking nations, as well as Germany, India, Mongolia, Sweden and the United States of America.
Upon receiving the prize, Mirzoshirinov said that he wants to produce more Pamiri language movies that touch upon social problems facing people in the region. In this way, he hopes to make a personal contribution towards preserving the Pamiri languages.
Scott Goldstein, Georgetown University graduate shares memories of his visit to the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe
| by AM
|Posted on January 12, 2017
“The Ismaili Center is by far one of the most beautiful building in Dushanbe.
… If there is anything to match the Ismaili Center’s beauty and strength, it is the religious devotion of the Ismaili community.”
– Scott Goldstein, majoring in Persian Studies at the University of Maryland
By Scott Goldstein for Ismailimail, an exclusive special report.
Image credits: Scott Goldstein & Desiree Halpern.
In a city comprised mostly of uniform Soviet-era buildings, one structure stands out for its breathtaking architecture: Dushanbe’s Ismaili Center. The Center, which opened in 2009, serves Tajikistan’s thousands-strong Ismaili community.
Panoramic view from the inside courtyard of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe. (Image credit: Scott Goldstein)Panoramic view from the inside courtyard of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe. (Image credit: Scott Goldstein)
Details of the external brickwork of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe. (Image credit: Desiree Halpern)Details of the external brickwork of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe. (Image credit: Desiree Halpern)
Built thanks to the largesse of His Highness Aga Khan, Dushanbe’s Ismaili Center has four major areas. In addition to its prayer hall, the structure has education, social, and administrative halls too. Altogether, the prayer room can accommodate 1,500 Muslims for religious services, and the education room features fourteen classrooms for students, as well as a knowledge center and multipurpose hall.
Architectural cues to both Shi’a themes and Central Asian motifs abound throughout the impressive structure. The Shi’a inspired large central courtyard and turquoise-glazed clay bricks are some of the Center’s most stunning features.
Ismaili Center, Dushanbe courtyard (Image credit: Desiree Halpern)Ismaili Center, Dushanbe courtyard (Image credit: Desiree Halpern)
The Ismaili Center benefits from Tajik and Central Asian contribution as well: the ceiling’s wooden beams were carved by artists from Khorog; the beautiful plaster work on the walls were designed by craftsmen from Dushanbe; and carpets hand-made throughout Central Asian adorn the walls. Taking a tour throughout the ingenuous building makes the attention to detail apparent to one and all: the Center’s 3 million bricks are all symmetrical down to one millimeter or less!
However, it was the content of the tour that impressed me most, even more so than the exquisite building.
1 of 5 skylights of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe. (Image credit: Scott Goldstein)1 of 5 skylights of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe. (Image credit: Scott Goldstein)
My tour guide relayed fact after fact about the religious symbolism of the Center’s wall, ceiling, and floor patterns. He also spoke about the building’s environmental sustainability and expressed his wish that all of Tajikistan benefit from the Ismaili Center’s religious, intellectual, and cultural offerings. At the end, when I asked my guide how much it cost to maintain the Center’s upkeep, he responded that Ismaili volunteers are responsible for most of the upkeep. The guide himself came in once a week to give tours and help keep the Center clean and well equipped.
Scott and Desiree with friends at the entrance at of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe - 1 of 5 skylights. (Image credit: Desiree Halpern)Scott and Desiree with friends at the entrance at of the Ismaili Center, Dushanbe – 1 of 5 skylights. (Image credit: Desiree Halpern)
If there is anything to match the Ismaili Center’s beauty and strength, it is the religious devotion of the Ismaili community. Though the community may be small in Sunni-majority Tajikistan, it is strong and the group’s efforts to give back to Tajikistan and Central Asia are praiseworthy.
Anyone finding oneself in Central Asia ought to make the trip to see Dushanbe’s Ismaili Center. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
About Scott Goldstein
Scott Goldstein is a current student of Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. While studying International Politics at Georgetown University, Scott became fascinated with the Persian speaking world. Last summer, he traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan to practice his language skills and gain familiarity with Central Asia, when he came across the Ismaili Center. He hopes to visit again soon!
Ismaili Center Dushanbe. Another inspiring afternoon on many levels. Started off with meeting the Executive Officers of the Center and the Ismaili National Council, Vadim, plus leaders in educational services and community development for the mountain communities, Kishwar, secular work. Truly great to see the work done by the AKDN across the world. The center is another landmark, one of six in the world. Three million bricks from Samarkand, wood from Finland and China, beautiful stone everywhere and the overall design inspired by Uzbek style and colours. The center hosts all the standard features like the social hall, prayer hall (high high ceilings, stunning), and other functional areas. Site largely run by volunteer capacity – you see many of them in my pictures. What really caught my eye was how full the library was on a Saturday evening! Hmmm….meeting place? Lastly I stayed for prayer and was moved by the simplicity of the people and ritual. Women all covered in head gear, men mostly in jeans.
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