YO-YO MA: THE ROAD RUN SMOOTH AS SILK - 2003-05-26
... Central Asia's most discreetly powerful player, in the form of the Aga Khan. This hereditary leader of the Ismaili branch of Islam believes that today's burning issue is less a clash of civilisations than what he terms the 'clash of ignorances'. It may come as a surprise, to those who think of this elusive 67-year-old and his family in terms of yachts, palaces and racehorses, to learn the scope of their humanitarian activities - largely through the UN - over the past 50 years. A champion of tolerant pluralism, he has initiated scores of medical, environmental and architectural projects in the undeveloped world, but Islam is his guiding thread.
I am here to speak briefly about Central Asia. I wanted to share with you some of the reasons why the theme of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival this year is so important. As you know, Central Asia has been an area of considerable concern and instability for the world. Over the past decade, Central Asian countries have come into existence in difficult circumstances. Frontiers have been changed, ethnic groups have been divided, old traditions have been modified by the Soviet presence, and all this has caused considerable difficulty in looking ahead in that part of the world.
Yo-Yo Ma was fascinated by the wealth of music along what was once the Silk Road. So the cellist conceived a plan to weave together the multifarious threads, as he explains to Michael Church
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|News Article||Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Opening of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2002-06-26||akdn.org|
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