Dr. Uxi Mufti specializes in the preservation of the folk and traditional cultures of Pakistan, and is the founder of Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage), which collects, houses, documents, preserves, and disseminates the country's tangible and intangible cultural traditions. Dr. Mufti has continued to search for and reveal the foundations of Pakistani culture through his guidance of this institution over many years. He has been extremely successful in preserving, utilizing, and publicizing the significance and importance of his country's folk traditions both in Pakistan and throughout the world.
After studying psychology in Pakistan, Dr. Mufti went to Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) to study Western philosophy. During the course of his studies, he developed a firm belief in the abundant wisdom of the forefathers in his Pakistani homeland that developed over several centuries and was manifested in its poetry, literature, and music. When Dr. Mufti returned, he found that Pakistan was heavily influenced by political nationalism while ignoring its own cultural heritage. In an effort to assertively present local culture from the perspective of cultural nationalism, he founded Lok Virsa in 1974, served as its first director, and has played a leading role in its activities since then. With this institution as his starting point, Dr. Mufti devoted himself to research and preservation activities. During this time, he served for many years as the producer of a television program that presented native folk music, an activity he utilized to raise the Pakistanis' awareness of their folk culture. In addition, he conducted many other activities to revive traditional folk arts that were on the verge of extinction and foster knowledge of the regional folk crafts. These activities included the continuous conduct of folk culture festivals, where the nation's artisans could meet, and the promotion of grassroots activities for regional development.
During this time, Dr. Mufti spent 30 years conducting broad, down-to-earth folkloric research. The results of his research into the mountainous areas and agricultural villages in the Pakistani hinterlands in particular have created an important record with great value internationally. In addition, the interrelated work of collecting folk crafts and compiling a database of the information compiled has become an important source of data for understanding the full range of Pakistani folk traditions.
Dr. Mufti continues his practical work in preserving the cultural legacy of Pakistan. He served as the primary force for building the National Museum of Ethnology/Heritage Museum completed in 2004, and is serving a similar role in a project to build a national commemorative museum in Pakistan. Internationally, he has worked in partnership with UNESCO and many other international cultural institutions and become known as the leader in the activities for folk and cultural preservation in the Islamic countries of Central Asia.
As a noted Pakistani cultural leader, Dr. Mufti has conducted tireless activities on behalf of the preservation and development of traditional folk culture. He also has made immense contributions to the preservation, utilization, and spread of international Islamic culture. Thus we believe Dr. Mufti is well-deserving of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.