August 29, 2003: Dushanbe, Tajikistan [Heritage News] - H.H. The Aga Khan, arrived at 5:00 PM at the Dushanbe Airport on August 29 where a large crowd was waiting to welcome him.
On 30th of August, he attended the Dushanbe International Fresh Water Forum which is one of the main event of this 2003 Water Year. The Forum is held from 29th August to September 1st and the whole city is filled with boards and colourful reminders of this event.
The Forum was opened by President Rakhmanov and his speech was followed by that of the Aga Khan at 9:50 in the morning session. The Aga Khan mentionned that the AKF had developped some expertise in the field of fresh water management, particularly in the Northern Areas in Pakistan. He said Mountain people should be involved in the resolution of the water problems and he particularly emphasised that at the Sarez Lac, risk could be turn into opportunity if the problem was well resolved.
After the morning session, President Rakhmanov, accompanied by all the VIP guests, toured the "World of Water" exhibition.
At a private ceremony held the same afternoon in the presence of President Rakhmanov, The Aga Khan proceeded to the ground breaking ceremony of the new Ismaili Center in Dushanbe. Though a restricted number of people was allowed to participate in the ceremony, a large crowd gathered nearby to see the cars of the dignitaries.
An official reception was hosted by President Rakhmonov at 19:30 for the main guests of the Water Conference.