Bishkek (AKI Press) January 19, 2016: This year the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) marks 15 years of its work in Kyrgyzstan. AKIpress talked to Mr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Kyrgyzstan, about AKDN projects, values and many other topics.
Q: What does AKDN do in Kyrgyzstan?
A: I am a Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which is a private, non-religious, international development organisation. I am working on the University of Central Asia (UCA) project …
Q: Why do you work in Kyrgyzstan?
A: Kyrgyzstan is very important country for us. Tajikistan faced famine after gaining independence. We could not deliver food to Gorno Badakshan via Afghanistan or Uzbekistan. This was only possible via the Osh-Khorog road. We approached the Government of Kyrgyzstan, which responded favourably to our request …
His Highness the Aga Khan asked, “How we can help?” President Akaev and the Government requested our assistance in education. Then we asked what else? The Government responded we would like to develop our economy.
Read the complete interview at the source: AKI Press
About Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Ismaili Imamat’s AKDN Resident Representative to Kyrgyzstan
Dr Kassim-Lakha was appointed as a Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network on July 8, 2014. Before this, he was a Founding President of the Aga Khan University, the first private university established in South Asia. Under the vision of His Highness the Aga Khan, he led the planning, building and operation of this internationally renowned world class institution for 27 years in eight countries of Asia, Africa and United Kingdom.
Kassim-Lakha served as Pakistan’s Minister of Education as well as Science and Technology in the Caretaker Government in 2007-8.
Kassim-Lakha received his undergraduate education in the UK and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. In recognition of his academic and social work he has received an honorary degree from McMaster University, Canada as well as national awards of Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan and Officier de l ‘Ordre National du Merite from the President of France.
- Prince Amyn Mohammed Aga Khan is the (Non-Resident) Personal Representative of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan to Bangladesh.
- Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Gordon Campbell, is also Canada’s Ambassador to the Ismaili Imamat.
Ismaili Imamat’s AKDN Resident Representatives
- Afghanistan: Nurjehan Mawani, Order of Canada
- Bangladesh: Munir M. Merali
- Canada: Mahmoud Eboo
- Kenya: Aziz Bhaloo
- Kyrgyzstan: Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Pakistan), Officier de l ‘Ordre National du Merite (France)
- Portugal, Mozambique and the Lusophone countries: Nazim Ahmad, Comendador da Ordem do Mérito (Commander of the Order of Merit)
- Syria: Mohamed Saifo
- Tajikistan: Ali Akbar Pesnani
- Tanzania: Amin Kurji, Légion d’Honneur (France’s Legion of Honour)
- Uganda: Mahmood Ahmed
AKDN Resident Representative is a position similar to an Ambassador. While AKDN is a non-denominational entity, it is supranational in the context of its reach and operations. AKDN is a contemporary endeavor of the Ismaili Imamat to realize the social conscious of Islam through institutional action and it is inspired by the ethics of Islam as interpreted by the Shia-Alid tradition. The diplomatic reciprocity AKDN enjoys in the global diplomacy arena speaks of the importance of the contribution, impact and relevance the Ismaili Imamat has in the community of nations in modern times.
According to Wikipedia, an ambassador is an official envoy, especially a highest ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state, or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment. The “ambassadors” to the Commonwealth of Nations are known as High Commissioners and “ambassadors” of the Holy See are known as Papal or Apostolic Nuncios.
Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali