Emerging from a conversation that began at the Maldives Symposium in March 2014, Silk Routes participants have developed bi-lateral and multi-lateral Local Projects centered on writing that engage youth, strengthen creative networks, and promote creative collaboration. More details and project materials will be posted as each project develops.
Despite a creative writing culture within Afghani universities, many young writers remain silenced—either lacking access to publishing opportunities or fearful to share their ideas. The purpose of this project is to create a short story competition which focuses on Afghani heritage and that of the historic region known as the Ariana Empire, a region that connected both culturally and economically with more expansive Silk Routes. The competition will be amongst students at nine universities throughout Afghanistan as a way of encouraging a broader literary community geared towards emerging writers, uncovering new Afghani literary talents, and providing a space of collaboration, trust, and creativity. Once the competition committee selects several up-and-coming writers, who will become members of the Partaw Cultural House, they will all come together for an awards ceremony and literary festival. Afghanistan desperately needs to hear the voices and ideas of its youth and the Short Story Competition intends to work towards securing opportunities and safe literary communities for young Afghani writers.
With technological and skills-oriented changes in the medical profession, graduating doctors today have little in the way of interpersonal skills or multidisciplinary perspectives regarding the human condition. With this in mind, the purpose of this project is to bring a variety of speakers—writers, artists, film makers, musicians, and historians—to St. John’s Medical College as a way of inculcating humane values, enhancing the sensitivity of medical students, and developing a vibrant regional network of multi-talented, multi-disciplinary, and multi-faceted doctors and other professionals who feel strongly about the need for collaboration between the humanities and medical fields. Speakers will discuss a variety of issues, including medical histories of interconnectedness and cultural exchange along the former Silk Routes. Through engaging budding doctors and encouraging creative thinking, the project intends to enrich—not challenge—the contemporary medical profession in India.
The northern Himalayan districts of Bajhang and Darchula in far western Nepal bordering Tibet still have rich oral traditions that tell fascinating tales about human life and death, happiness and sadness, love and hate, along with rich details about societal customs, rituals, economies, cross border relations, and the hazards accrued by the difficult topography of the region. Like many oral stories today, threatened by the erosion of traditional cultural practices and languages, these stories are on the verge of disappearance and with the changing landscape of Nepal and the rise in the tendency of linguistic code switching, there is a strong possibility that younger generations will discontinue such oral traditions. The goal of this project, therefore is to record these folk narratives, engaging local youth in such endeavors in order to bridge the generational divides, and subsequently the publication of an archive, which will ensure the continuation of such longstanding traditions and stories.