20.03.2008 09:29

Author: Bahrom Mannonov

DUSHANBE, March 20, Asia-Plus  — The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has teamed with the Government of Tajikistan and the Government of Afghanistan in organizing Tajik-Afghan cross-border concerts to celebrate the Navrouz holiday.  Concerts are being held today in Khorog, the main town of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (Gorno Badakhshan or GBAO) and in neighboring Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province.

Today, singers and musicians from Tajikistan will be crossing the border at the site of the Friendship Bridge in Khorog and performing traditional songs and dances for audiences on the other side of the Panj River.  Tomorrow, Afghan performers will hold a traditional concert program in Khorog.

Ms. Sitora Shokamolova. Communications Officer, AKDN Tajikistan, noted that a group of more than 20 musicians including Umar Timurov and Faizali Hasanov, national singers of Tajikistan, and the local Badakhshani Ensemble headed by Sohiba Davlatova will perform in the open-air area near the Teacher’s Training College in the village of Bashor, Afghanistan.  Afghan performers will join Navrouz celebrations in Khorog and perform their traditional program in an open-air area in the Shosh-Khorog neighborhood.

Despite a common linguistic and cultural heritage between inhabitants of the Tajikistan and Afghanistan, social and economic connections between them have been minimal for the past seventy years.  The Cross-Border Concert is an experience and culture sharing initiative intended to foster regional cooperation. Better understanding amongst the peoples of neighboring countries is seen as a cornerstone of future stability throughout Central Asia.  Cultural relations are regarded as a way of building confidence and trust that can in turn lead to wider cross-border cooperation on alleviating poverty and promoting economic growth.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.  The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion.  The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$ 300 million.

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