Kazakhstan has the potential to guarantee stability across the Central Asian region. By carefully positioning and investing its human and material resources, the country can help assure both social harmony and economic prosperity in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions…. I firmly believe that peace will be possible only when the pluralistic nature of human society is recognised, seen as a source of strength rather than weakness, and used as a basis for the formulation of policies and structures at all levels of governance.

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His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, today acknowledged [Kazakhstan’s] vital and strategic role for the development of Central Asia:

Kazakhstan has the potential to guarantee stability across the Central Asian region. By carefully positioning and investing its human and material resources, the country can help assure both social harmony and economic prosperity in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions.

The Aga Khan, who was on a short visit to Astana, also received from President Nursultan Nazarbayev the State Award for Peace and Progress.

The Award citation commended the Aga Khan for his “distinguished contribution to strengthening peace and friendship with mutual confidence amongst peoples and for vigorous activity aimed at the solution of humanitarian problems.”

I firmly believe that peace will be possible only when the pluralistic nature of human society is recognised, seen as a source of strength rather than weakness, and used as a basis for the formulation of policies and structures at all levels of governance.

He also expressed his gratitude for the recognition, and requested that the award be used to create scholarships at the University of Central Asia for Kazakh students with financial constraints who otherwise meet the institution’s merit-based admission criteria.

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