Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, 6 September 2016 — Prince Rahim represented Mawlana Hazar Imam at the opening ceremony of the Second World Nomad Games, an international event that celebrates the cultural heritage of nomadic peoples throughout out the world.

Attending at the invitation of His Excellency President Almazbek Atambayev, Prince Rahim led the Aga Khan Development Network delegation, which included Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, the Diplomatic Representative of the AKDN in the Kyrgyz Republic. Some 30 other delegations were also present, including heads of state, ministers and other high level dignitaries.

“I am delighted to be back in Kyrgyzstan to enjoy its stunning landscapes, traditions of hospitality and to meet old and new friends,” said Prince Rahim.

More than 1 000 performers took part in the opening ceremony, putting on an exhilarating show of sound and light that presented themes common to nomadic traditions in diverse geographical and cultural contexts, while highlighting those specific to Kyrgyzstan.

Some 2 000 athletes from 40 countries are participating in over 20 sports competitions taking place along the shores of Lake Issyk Kul. These include wrestling, horse racing, archery, horseback wrestling, kok-boru — Central Asia’s most renowned horseback competition — and toguz korgool (a nomadic intellectual game).

“It was a pleasure to witness the spectacular opening of the Second World Nomad Games and in particular to experience the enthusiasm of the Kyrgyz peoples for their nomadic traditions,” said Prince Rahim.

Naryn Governor Amanbai Kayipov welcomed Prince Rahim to the Naryn Oblast section of an ethno-village built specially for the second day of the ceremonies.

“We are honoured by your presence and look forward to welcoming you to our oblast to see first-hand the positive contribution of AKDN programmes to the lives of the people,” said the Governor.

This month, the newly built Naryn Campus of the University of Central Asia began accepting its first cohort of undergraduate students. It is the first of three campuses being constructed by the university, which is a joint initiative between the Ismaili Imamat and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The UCA’s next residential campus in Khorog, Tajikistan is scheduled to be completed by September 2017.

The Second World Nomad Games continue until 8 September. Musicians trained by the Aga Khan Music Initiative will perform specially composed traditional pieces for the closing ceremony of the Games.