Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia

From: on behalf of Rafique Keshavjee
Sent: Monday, October 20, 1997 2:16 PM
Subject: PROG. INFO.- Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia

A distribution of: CentralAsia-L - Announcement List for Central Asian Studies
PROGRAM INFO.- The Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia

Starting November 1997, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture will implement a project to strengthen the humanities at the undergraduate level in universities in Central Asia. Under the title of the Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia, this project will be based in Dushanbe.

As approved by the Ministry of Education of the Government of Tajikistan in March 1997, this project is part of a broader endeavor of the Aga Khan Development Network to promote and support social, cultural and economic development through higher education in Tajikistan. Two components, the English Language and Economics Programs, are already under implementation. The Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia comprises the third component.

Project Outline: The Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia will develop and pilot test a curriculum in partnership with several universities in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The project will be thematic and multidisciplinary, but anchored tightly to a skill-based pedagogy and implementation planning, to avoid fragmentation and to ensure a practical outcome. The themes are as follows:

* Human Diversity and Human Ideals.
* Individuality and Responsibility to Community, Society and Environment.
* Understanding Cultural Creativity and Decline.
* Culture, Innovation and Applied Reason.
* Art and the Human Condition.
* The Relationship between the Oral and the Written Tradition.

Embodying a comparative perspective, the curriculum will orient students to cultural pluralism and the foundations of civil society in traditional culture. It also aims to develop skills in ethical reflection, cultural interpretation and problem solving, including conflict resolution.

Implementation: The languages of the curriculum will be Russian, Tajik and English, then other languages, as the project expands in the region. The Project consists of a Director, Project Officer and an academic staff of ten, plus support staff. The Project will include the following activities:

* Curriculum Development, including a conceptual framework, curriculum materials and pedagogic guidelines for the six themes, plus a seminar for selected students to pretest material. Competitions will encourage creative material on Central Asian culture in local languages.

* Outreach to several universities in Tajikistan through workshops for faculty teams from each partner university. The workshops will focus on conceptual foundations, curriculum assessment and teaching methods, but hinge on an implementation plan.

* Pilot implementation in Dushanbe, closely monitored. Later, several curriculum developers will set up satellite projects at their respective universities in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

* International Conference: drawing talent from throughout the region, it will focus exclusively on innovative pedagogy in the humanities, and draw upon the lessons offered by the Project.


The major outcome will be a pre-tested, multidisciplinary core humanities curriculum required of all undergraduates. Just as importantly, it will have generated human resources, and tested a replicable model aimed at strengthening universities in the developing world. Finally, it will help bring light to Central Asian Culture internationally. Subject to evaluation, the project could expand regionally, into new technologies, an integrated curriculum, as well as intervention at the high school level.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Rafique Keshavjee, Director

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