Fairouz Nishanova explains that her mission, as the director of the Aga Khan Music Initiative, is to celebrate cultural differences through music from around the world.
Nishanova has served as the director of the Aga Khan Music Initiative at the Geneva-based Trust for Culture since 2005. The Initiative was launched by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms. Beginning its work in Central Asia, the Initiative subsequently expanded its focus to include the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Since joining the Aga Khan Development Network in 2000, Nishanova has been closely involved in its interagency activities aimed at social and cultural development. A cultural development specialist with a lifelong love for performing arts, music, and dance in the many styles and traditions from the places where she has lived and traveled, Nishanova began her career at the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and continued at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Born in Sri Lanka to Uzbek parents, she grew up in Amman, Jordan, and studied economics, history, and international relations at Moscow State University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.