Our very fruitful discussions will now enable us to concentrate resources where the AKDN’s experience can address priority needs identified in co-operation with the Syrian Government. These include specific areas of cultural and economic concern, education policy and institutional support in the healthcare sector and the challenges faced by rural populations.

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His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims today concluded a three-day official visit to Syria during which he had meetings with President Bashar al-Assad and a series of discussions with Ministers on key development priorities for the country.

The Aga Khan’s discussions with President Assad touched on a range of issues but focused on specific areas in which institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) could expand its activities.

Our very fruitful discussions will now enable us to concentrate resources where the AKDN’s experience can address priority needs identified in co-operation with the Syrian Government. These include specific areas of cultural and economic concern, education policy and institutional support in the healthcare sector and the challenges faced by rural populations [the Aga Khan said].

In his meetings with President Assad, Prime Minister Naji Al-Otri, Speaker of the Parliament Mahmoud Abrash as well as Ministers of Culture and Tourism, Education, Health, the Aga Khan reviewed both the initiatives launched by the Network since the signing of a Framework Development Agreement with the Syrian Government in November 2001, and the directions of future activity in each domain. The Network’s agencies have launched a series of programmes in the Governorates of Aleppo, Hama, Lattakia and Tartous. These have included partnership with the Ministry of Education in Early Childhood Development, the training of senior inspectors, the installation of computer laboratories in schools, medical equipment grants to hospitals, collaboration with the Ministry of Health on nursing education and the Healthy Villages Programme, scholarships for medical specialists, a water management and rural development programme, conservation, restoration and urban planning at three historic sites and micro-finance programmes in four governorates.

SOURCES

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