Why Heritage Education and Learning?

Very few people in Pakistan know that Badeshi, Bagri, Balti, Burushaski, Dehwari, Chilliso, Domaaki, Khowar, Kundal Shahi, Shina, Ormuri, Ushojo, Wakhi, and Yidgha, are among the indigenous languages of Pakistan. According to the well-known Pakistani scholar Dr. Tariq Rahman, Pakistan has six major and over fifty-nine small languages, some of them on the verge of extinction. Pakistan is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural society. Its linguistic and cultural diversity owes much to the influence of the Indus Valley Civilization, Aryans, Dravidians, Greeks, Scythians, Persians, Mongols, White Huns, Arabs, Turks and later the British rule. The area comprising present day Pakistan played a key role in bringing together diverse cultures and religions because of its strategic location on the historic Silk Road. In spite of having a majority Muslim population, even today many cities and towns in Pakistan stand as imposing witness to the influence of world's great religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Manichaeism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. All these great faiths have had an enormous impact on the evolution of Pakistani culture and society. Besides language and religion, Pakistan's cultural diversity extends to its music, dance, art, architecture and cuisine.

The problem is that majority of people in Pakistan as well as in other countries of the Silk Road is unaware of the wealth of cultural resources of the region. Lack of cultural awareness and education is a big reason for uninformed speculation about other cultures and in many cases it has increased both ethnic and class conflict in Pakistan and in many parts of the Silk Road region. Cultural ignorance and lack of cross-cultural understanding encourage miscommunication about other cultures which in turn breeds intolerance. Silk Road Centre's education and learning programs aim to address the issue of cultural ignorance by promoting greater understanding of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.


  • Culture and Heritage Clubs at Schools will work to develop training and resources for teachers to help students record and share information about local cultural heritage
  • Painting and writing workshops on culture for primary grade students
  • Training programs on culture and heritage awareness for professionals and local authorities
  • Learning cultural diversity through exploration of the Silk Road
  • Residencies with renowned musicians and artisans
  • Short films on culture and heritage will result from training in filming and editing techniques, script writing and content development for middle and secondary school students and youth

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