Since independence, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have been highly protective of their sovereignty by embarking on the process of reconstruction of their identities and re-interpretation of their histories. In this regard the three Central Asian countries consider Art and Culture as a powerful vehicle for conveying these values.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) considers Art and Culture as an important component and tool of good governance. Moreover, for SDC supporting cultural activities is an integral and indispensable part of development as “Culture is not one of life’s luxuries – it is life itself”. The Regional Art and Culture Program, which covers both regional and national projects is implemented by the Swiss Cooperation Offices in Dushanbe, Bishkek and Tashkent.
Although SDC has been successfully supporting cultural projects in Central Asia since 1998, the Regional Art and Culture Programme (RACP) was developed and launched in 2007 by the Cooperation offices in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan building on the vision of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Ever since it has been an innovative, effective and context-adapted vehicle to promote universal values such as democratic principles, openness and diversity as well as strengthening social and cultural dynamism and connections in the communities it involved.
The RACP approach reflects the principles of the SDC's Cultural Strategic Orientation (2010-2015) stating that the cultural support to a partner country is an essential and integral element for developing capacities and for sustainable development.
Being an integral part of the Swiss cooperation strategy for Central Asia for the years 2012-2015 the RACP is supporting the overall objectives and approaches of the strategy, in particular by contributing to reducing the fragility and conflict potential in the region.