Aga Khan honoured - 2009-06-13
His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, on Friday received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Cambridge’s Pembroke College.
The Aga Khan becomes the first Muslim to receive the distinction in the university’s 800-year history.
“As we celebrate our eight hundredth anniversary, it is perhaps fitting that we first honour a man who traces his ancestry to the sixth century, and to the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him,” said Dr Rupert Thompson, classicist and Fellow of Selwyn College, in a citation read out in Latin, in keeping with the College’s tradition.
“Since becoming the fourth Aga Khan, he has worked tirelessly, through his development network, to ensure that those who are pressed by the worst poverty should enjoy a reasonable standard of health care, education and financial security. And this is not humanitarianism, as he says, but the requirement of his faith.”
The Honorary Doctorate of Divinity is awarded to individuals who have made a global impact through their religious leadership.
Earlier in the week, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta in recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of the world’s poor and build a global culture of tolerance.