Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan-2003-05-13
Mediating between East and West, and bringing an environmental conscience to the affairs of the UN
"The last of fools is he who indifferently asserts and denies...", prophetically wrote Dante, who probed all man's afflictions, at the dawn of the XIVth Century. Modern society is imbued with a tragic lack of self-confidence and afraid of appearing moralizing or oppressive. In this climate, absolute truth is seldom taken seriously.
The Bellerive Foundation is an officially recognised N.G.O. presided by Prince Sadrudin Aga Khan involved in numerous public interest projects. The Bellerive Foundation has made it's presence felt in many parts of the world. One such project is the "Conservation of the Alps". The following are edited remarks made by Prince Sadrudin at a meeting of leaders from international organisations, governments, industry, tourism and N.G.O. with scientists, media and students in Geneva, 28/2/89.
There is a well-known story that after preaching at St. Paul’s Knightsbridge, Tom Corbishley could not resist joining the Protestant congregation in taking Holy Communion. This impulsive act, which typified Tom Corbishley’s commitment to and enthusiasm for the Ecumenical movement, inevitably invited a reprimand from Cardinal Heenan; his letter to Father Corbishley began "I write neither in sorrow nor anger, BUT..."
Professor Gilbert Murray OM, was of the founder members of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief and one of its trustees in 1942. In 1950 he made the first Weeks's Good Cause Appeal for the Committee, which raised jus under $18,000.
While the outside may be simple, the rooms inside are crammed with exotic bibelots, orchids, oriental rugs and textiles. But then Prince Sadruddin is the younger son of Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, Aga Khan III - the Imam, or leader of the Ismaili Shia Muslims. Their family's bloodline can be traced back to the Prophet.
Turgut Ozal is the president of Turkey. Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, a Geneva-based leader of the Ismaili Muslims, a sect scattered from Iran to Pakistan, is the special representative of the secretary general of the United Nations for Humanitarian Affairs relating to issues arising from the Iran-Iraq War. Ozal's statement and the * question-and-answer exchange that follows with Aga Khan took place in Davos, Switzerland, during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Coordinateur pour les Nations Unies de l'aide humanitaire et économique en Afghanistan depuis mai 1988. Consultant spécial et chargé de mission auprès du Secrétaire général de l'Organisation des Nations Unies depuis 1978. Rapporteur de la Commission des droits de l'Homme des Nations Unies sur les questions des personnes déplacées (1981). Haut Commissaire adjoint (1962-1965) puis Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (1965-1977).
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan doesn’t look much like a fire-breathing ecowarrior. With an Iranian passport, an American education, a Geneva address and a long career as a U.N. diplomat, he’s not the sort of man one expects to rage about man’s inhumanity, the spooky power of multinational corporations or the toothlessness of many U.N. institutions. But he does.
Following the historic agreement signed in Geneva on 14 April 1988 between Afghanistan and Pakistan, on 11 May the UN Secretary General appointed Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan to the position of Co-ordinator for United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes relating to Afghanistan. Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, who held the post of UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 1966 to the end of 1977, granted this exclusive interview to REFUGEES in September 1988, in which he defined his aims and priorities.
Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan People’s Party chairperson, has said that Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan will be mourned not only by his family, friends and the Ismaili community but also by “the larger world where he was well known and respected”.
In her condolence letter to the late prince’s widow, Ms Bhutto wrote: “So many will mourn the passing of a sensitive man of enormous intelligence, understanding and compassion. I will mourn him for all those reasons. I will mourn him too as a good friend of my family over many decades.” —Staff Report
On a clear day, with binoculars, you can look across lake Geneva from Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan's office to the towers of his seventh century Chateau Bellerive, at least you could until yesterday, when he resigned after 12 years as UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Outside are well-kept lawns, winding paths, splendid great evergreens. It all seems a million miles away from the squalor and misery one associates with the very word refugee.
...Meanwhile, My ordinary life outside politics had continued tranquilly and eventfully. My wife, Princess Andree, had through-out the exhausting and protracted sessions of the first two Round Table Conferences been of quite invaluable support and help to Me. For the Conferences had a circumambience of hospitality and sociability, parties, receptions, and dinners innumerable, at which My wife was My constant, graceful, and accomplished partner. In January 1933 My second, son, Sadruddin, was born in the American Hospital at Neuilly, just outside Paris.
People sign a condolence book dedicated to the memory of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, at Aga Khan's residence Chateau de Bellerive above Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 15, 2003. Aga Khan, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and uncle of the spiritual leader of the Shiite Muslim Ismaili community, has died at the age of 70 on May 12, 2003, in a hospital in Boston, USA, after a long illness.
Sitting comfortably in his office in the immaculate villa that houses his Bellerive Foundation in Geneva, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan hardly looks like a man who has taken as his personal agenda many of the world's most pressing problems. The erstwhile townhouse, from which he has directed his various personal philanthropies since 1977, is a grand confection of turn-of-the -century architecture clearly intended, inside and out, to facilitate to the fullest its original owners' enjoyment of their comfortable existence.