AKMI was developed in order to support the extraordinary talents of artists dedicated to preserving and disseminating their culture’s musical heritages. Its programs originated in Central Asia and later expanded to South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. AKMI has several areas of focus including enhancing education in the arts, preserving musical traditions through contemporary forms, and curating worldwide performances.
One of the central aspects of AKMI's mission is music education. In Central Asia, it has launched curriculum development centers and music schools in order to sustain local musical traditions and offer advanced training to students. It has also collaborated with the University of Central Asia to produce a pioneering music textbook, “The Music of Central Asia,” that presents the music of this region through a scholarly lens.
In addition to promoting music education, AKMI also curates performances and organizes collaborations among artists from various cultures. It focuses on supporting musicians known as “traditional innovators,” or those who strive to produce contemporary compositions rooted in traditional musical styles.
One recent performance organized by AKMI was held at Asia Society in New York on November 1, 2017, following the presentation of the Asia Game Changer Lifetime Achievement Award to Mawlana Hazar Imam. The performance featured three musicians from differing cultural and musical backgrounds: Afghan rubâb player Homayoun Sakhi, percussionist Salar Nader, and Chinese pipa player Wu Man. The program featured several pieces that included ancestral, classical, and modern styles of music, including a traditional pashto gharani, a duet for the pipa and tabla, and the “Josh” composition, which received a standing ovation.
The concert was attended by the Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Mohammed Saikhal, as well as the Ismaili Council for the USA's President Barkat Fazal, Vice President Zahir Ladhani, and Ismaili Council for the Northeastern US' President Shajahan Merchant.
Through these performances and initiatives, the AKMI strives to develop vibrant musical communities that are dedicated to preserving artistic traditions in order to foster pluralism and strengthen civil society.