Bishkek, 18 October 2016 — His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic decorated Mawlana Hazar Imam with the Order of Danaker, the highest recognition that the Kyrgyz nation can bestow upon a foreign citizen.

The award recognises contributions toward the strengthening of peace, friendship and cooperation between peoples, and towards preserving inter-ethnic harmony and the mutual enrichment of national cultures.

“The Danaker is a mark of honour awarded to individuals who unite people, nations and countries,” said President Atambayev at the presentation ceremony. “On behalf of the people of Kyrgyzstan, and in my personal capacity, I would like to express sincere gratitude for the contributions and support Your Highness has been providing through AKDN in a variety of sectors including education, healthcare, agriculture and others.”

The Aga Khan Development Network has been active in the Kyrgyz Republic for more than 15 years, in areas ranging from education and health to microfinance and cultural development. Together with the presidents of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic, Mawlana Hazar Imam established the University of Central Asia in 2000, and is in Kyrgyzstan for the inauguration of its residential campus at Naryn.

“I would like to thank your Excellency for receiving me so graciously and for conferring this honour upon me,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam after receiving the award. “I look forward to many years of partnership and achieving development goals for the people of Kyrgyzstan. This is a country which is marking global thinking on pluralism, and successful pluralism is one of the most immediate global issues today.”

During the day Mawlana Hazar Imam met with the Speaker of Parliament, Chynybai Tursunbekov and the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, His Excellency Sooronbay Jeenbekov. In the evening, President and Madame Atambayeva hosted a dinner for Hazar Imam and members of his family.