Under the Swiss-funded Kalasha Heritage Safeguarding and Sustainable Tourism project, a coffee table book on Kalasha people and their culture was launched at an event in Islamabad. Co-published by THAAP and UNESCO and entitled "From Tsiam to the Hindu Kush", the book is a collection of essays and photographs aimed to offer a holistic account of the last remaining indigenous community of the country.
The event, hosted by Aga Khan Foundation, was attended by members of the Kalasha community, representatives of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and federal governments, and development partners.
In her welcoming remarks, the UNESCO Representative to Pakistan, Vibeke Jensen, spoke about the background for the book, and congratulated those involved in the publishing process. She also highlighted the inscription of the Kalasha astronomical practice of Suri Jagek on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in December 2018. Pakistan's first exclusive inscription on the List, Suri Jagek is a source of great pride for both the Kalasha community and the country at large.
The Swiss Ambassador His Excellency Thomas Kolly emphasized the commitment of Swiss Embassy towards religious and cultural minorities, including the Kalasha people. He noted "It is very encouraging to see that many of our interventions have been successful in not only raising a particular issue but also building partnerships with the government and international agencies".
Chief guest Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, and Heritage, delivered the keynote address at the conference. Mr. Mahmood spoke about the importance of all development partners to work together with the Kalasha community for sustainable development in the region.
CEO of THAAP, the co-publisher of the book, Professor Sajida Vandal lauded the tenacity of the Kalash, 'The fact that they have found ways and means to survive in such a hostile and physically challenging environment is a remarkable tribute to the resilience of the human spirit'.
The book will be available for sale at the Institute for Art and Culture, Lahore. For more details, contact Babar Zaman at firstname.lastname@example.org