On the first day of an official visit to commemorate the inaugural campus of the University of Central Asia (UCA) in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic, UCA Chancellor His Highness the Aga Khan was presented the Order of Danaker by His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Order is the country’s highest recognition given to a foreign citizen for contributions to strengthening of peace, friendship and cooperation between peoples and working towards preserving inter-ethnic harmony and the mutual enrichment of national cultures.
His Excellency commended His Highness for his contributions and steadfast commitment to development across the region. “It is my privilege to award the Order of Danaker to His Highness the Aga Khan,” remarked President Atambayev. “The Danaker is a mark of honour awarded to individuals who unite people, nations and countries. On behalf of the people of Kyrgyzstan, and in my personal capacity, I would like to express sincere gratitude for the contributions and support Your Highness has been providing through AKDN in a variety of sectors including education, healthcare, agriculture and others.”
As Chancellor of the University of Central Asia, His Highness was in the Kyrgyz Republic for the inauguration of the UCA Naryn campus, the AKDN’s largest investment in the Kyrgyz Republic. UCA is an internationally chartered, secular, private and not-for-profit university established to offer an internationally recognised standard of higher education in Central Asia and drive development in the region’s mountain societies. A partnership between the governments of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and the AKDN, the Presidents are the Patrons of UCA and His Highness is the Chancellor.
“I would like to thank your Excellency for receiving me so graciously and for conferring this honour upon me. I look forward to many years of partnership and achieving development goals for the people of Kyrgyzstan, which is a country which is marking global thinking on pluralism, and successful pluralism is one of the most immediate global issues today,” His Highness the Aga Khan said after receiving the Award.
UCA celebrated the inauguration of its first residential undergraduate campus on 19 October. The ceremony, under the patronage of President Atambayev, was officiated by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov and UCA Chancellor His Highness the Aga Khan.
AKDN has been working in the country since 2001. Its programmes, operating in all seven oblasts, help develop an economically dynamic, politically stable and intellectually and culturally vibrant Kyrgyz Republic. Working in the fields of education, health care, economic development, microfinance, agricultural development and cultural preservation, the Network employs over 1,500 nationals.
During his visit, His Highness also met with Speaker of Parliament Chynybai Tursunbekov and Prime Minister Jeenbekov and attended a dinner hosted by President and Madame Atambayeva.His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. In the context of his hereditary responsibilities, His Highness has been deeply engaged with the development of countries around the world for close to 60 years through the work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).