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Article on Karim Aga Khan, Imam [Crimson]

 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Article on Karim Aga Khan, Imam [Crimson] Reply with quote

Karim Aga Khan
Imam

Published On 6/1/2008 11:10:48 AM

By NINI S. MOORHEAD
Crimson Staff Writer

The summer before his senior year, Prince Karim Khan ’58 received unexpected news. His grandfather, His Highness Aga Khan III, had died, and his will named Karim—fondly known by his classmates as ‘K’—as his successor, making him Aga Khan IV. And so, at 20 years old, Karim became the leader of the Ismaili Muslims, a sect of Shia Islam with over 15 million followers who consider him a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

“The enormous responsibility that had come to me—I didn’t feel prepared for it,” the Aga Khan told the BBC that year. “It was a very, very heavy burden to take over.”

Celebrating his 50th year as the Aga Khan last year, the former Leverett House resident has become a bridge between East and West, traditionalism and modernity.

A spiritual Muslim leader based in France, the Aga Khan eschews the beard and black garb of traditional Islamic clerics in favor of a clean-shaven look and a coat and tie. In speeches across the world, he has pressed for more pluralistic attitudes to combat what he dubs the “clash of ignorances”—a retooling of professor Samuel P. Huntington’s “clash of civilizations.”

Ali S. A. Asani ’77, professor of the practice of Indo-Muslim languages and cultures, said that the Aga Khan has demonstrated that Muslim values and Western ideas are not incompatible.

“The Aga Khan shows that you can be Western, and you can be transnational, and you can still be Muslim,” said Asani, who is an Ismaili.

LEADER FOR AN ‘ATOMIC AGE’

According to the tradition, it would have been expected that Karim’s father, Prince Aly Khan, would assume the Imamate after the death of Aga Khan III.

But Aga Khan III, who had served as the president of the League of Nations between 1937 and 1938, dictated in his will that a young man with a modern attitude would be the right leader for the new “atomic age.”

Once Karim became the Aga Khan, the Islamic history concentrator no longer led a student’s life.

“[Aga Khan III] plucked K right out of the College,” said David H. Rhinelander ’58, one of Karim’s freshman roommates in Wigglesworth Hall. “He moved to a hotel and had to begin to run his empire while he was a student.”

In an interview in the independent documentary “An Islamic Conscience: The Aga Khan and the Ismailis,” the Aga Khan said he was “probably the only undergraduate in the history of that place that had two secretaries and a personal assistant.”

PERSECUTED YET PERSISTENT

The role of a spiritual leader believed to be descended from the Prophet Muhammad is exclusive to the Ismaili tradition in Islam.

Sunnis, the overwhelming majority of Muslims, do not follow a hereditary system of selecting leadership. By contrast, Shias trace a direct line from Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, and her husband Ali to a spiritual leader, or imam, with the power to interpret the faith.

While most Shias believe this imam disappeared in the ninth century and await his return, Ismailis believe in a “living imam,” the Aga Khan, who is vested with ultimate worldly and spiritual authority. Ismailis consider Karim the 49th imam and the fourth Aga Khan—a courtesy title meaning “great king” that was bestowed on the family by the King of Persia in the 1830s.

But this belief in a living imam has made Ismailis a target for radical mullahs, notably the Taliban in the 1990s, who decry them as heretical.

Asani, the Harvard professor who specializes in the Ismaili tradition, says that members of the sect have often lived as refugees and in hiding, giving the community a pluralistic mindset.

“Wherever Ismailis have spread, the externals of culture have not been important,” said Asani, who was the academic advisor to Princess Zahra Aga Khan ’94, the Aga Khan’s eldest daughter.

“One can express faith in any cultural context,” Asani added.

But as a result, Asani said some Muslims look at Ismailis—and their Aga Khan who resides in a chateau north of Paris—with suspicion.

“They say, ‘You’re too Westernized,’” Asani said.

‘A MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD’

Apart from being a symbol of modernity, the Aga Khan has also become a symbol of wealth, with a personal fortune estimated in the billions, a stable of thoroughbred horses, a lavish yacht off the coast of Sardinia, and two high-profile marriages.

But Ismailis do not see a contradiction between the Aga Khan’s worldly riches and his spiritual role.

“I think the notion comes from a Christian model that a religious person has to be an ascetic,” Asani said. “In Islam, you can be wealthy and worldly without being in conflict with your faith. But if you have wealth, you have to share it with those who need it.”

Asani said the Aga Khan has formalized the traditional Islamic obligation to serve the poor through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of nine agencies with an annual budget of $330 million that work to empower the poor in Asia and Africa.

The network is largely funded b y a system of donations in which Ismailis donate a percentage of their income to the Aga Khan and the development network each year.

In recent years, the Aga Khan has overseen hefty development projects, from a sprawling park in the center of Cairo to a major telephone company in Afghanistan. The Aga Khan’s newest project is a system of 18 high schools called Aga Khan Academies in the developing world that will be based on the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
According to the Aga Khan’s spokesperson, Kris Janowski, His Highness travels 150 days out of the year for work as chairman of AKDN, which stands in contrast to His Highness’ image as a jetsetting socialite.

“He uses a jet to travel, but I would describe him more as a workhaholic than a jetsetter,” Janowski said. “He doesn’t go from party to party, sipping champagne. He goes from meeting to meeting, from official appointment to official appointment, and is working in between.”

The Aga Khan is known for his projects that use architecture to promote pluralism. In 1979, The architecture aficionado endowed a joint program between Harvard and MIT called the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture that aims to promote understanding of Islamic architecture in the West.

It is this role as cultural pluralist that spurred Harvard Divinity School stude nt Shamir Allibhai to focus his documentary “The Islamic Conscience” on the Aga Khan.


“The Aga Khan shows a side of Islam that hasn’t been told much since 9/11,” Allibhai said.

In the documentary, the Aga Khan explains his idea of a “clash of ignorances”—a reworking of the much-hyped “clash of civilizations.” He said he blames much of the friction between the West and the Muslim world on a shallow understanding of Islam in the West.

“It’s not part of the definition of an educated person,” he said.

But the Aga Khan added that much of the radical furor in the Middle East is not caused by faith, but by unresolved political issues.

His pluralistic vision is an influential one for many, said Asani. “It’s a message for the whole world.”

—Staff writer Nini S. Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@fas.harvard.edu.


http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=523639
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Islam as a mosaic
A look at the Aga Khan and the Ismaili people
Alice Fordham, NOW Staff

Imam (spirtual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan (C) is welcomed at the Taj Residency Ummed in Ahmedabad on May 16, 2008. (AFP PHOTO/ Sam PANTHAKY)

Prince Karim Aga Khan IV has a reputation more playboy than pastoral. This is a man who owns over 600 racehorses and who, earlier this year, spent $200 million on a yacht, named it Alamshar after a favorite horse and was said to be furious when it failed to break the world superyacht speed record. He has been married twice, both times to aristocratic European beauties, and divorced twice. All this glitter, plus all the gold (he was in 2005 the world's 68th richest person, although his second divorce diminished his wealth a little), is more widely covered than his role as 49th Imam of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims.


Shamir Allibhai wants to change that. His film, An Islamic Conscience, premiers in Beirut on Sunday. In a world of fears about Islamic fundamentalism, he wants to paint a picture of Islam as a “mosaic rather than a monolith”, taking as his theme the Ismailis and the life of their leader, the Aga Khan, beyond the glitz.

The Ismaili people represent only a fraction of the global Muslim population, which numbers well over a billion, and as a community within Shia Islam believe that after Mohammad’s death, his cousin and son-in-law, Hazrat Ali, became the first Imam. The principle difference lies in their devotion to their Imam, the Aga Khan, who is held to be a direct descendant of the prophet and may appoint his successor from any of his male descendants.

This young director believes that the Ismailis represent a tolerance, moderation and equality to be treasured. In person, Allibhai is warm and witty, but it is clear that he sees his film as a work with a serious message, even an agenda.

He has, he told NOW Extra, wanted to make the film for years, especially since traveling with the Aga Khan and being impressed with his huge development program, but Allibhai sees it as more than a biopic. “It is,” he says, “about the Aga Khan on a primary level - who he is, the theology behind the Ismailis - the side of Islam that you don't hear much about.”

But, he continues, “on a higher level, it's about the divides between the Muslim and non-Muslim world and within the Muslim world itself. There are many people in the West who associate Islam with terrorism or bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, but there's a plurality of viewpoints within Islam.” He wanted to tell the story of a people with more moderate beliefs.


At a screening of An Islamic Conscience in Tajikistan

The Aga Khan himself, who celebrated his golden jubilee as leader this year, also presents the Ismailis as a tolerant and enlightened people. Interviewed in the film, he says, “What we are trying to do is bring this idea of intellect as part of faith forward in what we’re trying to achieve.” He also emphasizes the importance of equality to Ismailis, who pray side by side in mosques, with the women discouraged from veiling. Discussing the importance of educating girls, he condemns the, “tendency in parts of the Islamic world to see education as a trampoline to let women take positions in society which the Muslim world – or Muslims – might consider inappropriate.”

Excellent news for a world that needs more equality and education, and coverage of the Aga Khan foundation’s work in building hospitals and schools is inspiring. But still, one can’t help thinking, as one learns that for Ismailis to lay eyes on their Imam is a more profound experience than visiting Mecca, as the idea of the tithe paid to him is explained – does he really need that many racehorses? Does a spiritual leader need a resort on Sardinia? Can his followers respect a leader whose ex-wife sold her jewels at auction for millions? To its credit, the film does not shy away from asking questions – although it answers resoundingly that riches are no obstacle to spiritual leadership.

The Aga Khan himself explains patiently that Islam does not make a distinction between faith and wealth. It just states, he says, “don’t abuse the wealth. Use what you need to live appropriately and be generous with the rest.” His followers, too, vigorously defend his lifestyle and riches.

His life itself is fascinating. This Harvard-educated, charming and cosmopolitan man took on his role as imam at the age of 20, and the archive footage of his father’s huge international role in the early part of the 20th century is one of the film’s most interesting aspects. But the film also manages to squash into a few richly informative minutes the whole history of the Ismaili people.

Allibhai says that it was his “disposition as an Ismaili” that made him want to tell a story that had never really been told before. He particularly strove to speak for marginalized Ismaili communities, like some of those living in Tajikistan.

“Tajikistan,” he says, “was one place where it was definitely tough to make this film. I felt that I spoke for the silenced voices within Islam… It's not just the West who's silencing moderate Muslims. Oftentimes, Muslims pretend that there are no divides within the Muslim world itself, and it is this lack of acceptance, of tolerance, of dialogue that burdens me.

“When they going got tough for me, during the filming,” he says, “the silenced people were who we were fighting for. The people of Tajikistan were part of this. We felt that there's a huge, loyal Ismaili community out there, who have been marginalized at times. We were fighting for them.”

In Tajikistan, there was some official resistance to the dissemination of the film, but they did set up a screening in the capital, Dushanbe. But once in the country, they heard that in Khorog there were people who wanted to see the film Allibhai tells how his contacts in the area told him: “just come, don't worry, it'll be fine.”

“We were in community centres,” says Allibhai, “it was wonderful. Sometimes they would bring their own generators and plug in all the equipment and we would just set up a screen and just - go.”

Allibhai correctly shies away from schmaltz, and his film is not without bias. But it is good to be reminded, in a world where religion too often is used to justify violence and intolerance, that faith can be an inspiring and a beautiful thing.

An Islamic Conscience is showing at the Empire Sofil, Achrafieh, on Sunday October 5 at 7.30pm. For more showings click here.

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=61253&MID=123&PID=2#

And a related link:

http://www.beirutfilmfoundation.org/Mef08/Films/CatalogueBIFF_CS_ME_Final_LowRes_Page_40.jpg
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://agakhanfilm.blogspot.com/2008/10/struck-gold-last-lebanese-ismaili.html

The Middle East Premiere - Beirut, Lebanon - Day 3 - Oct 7

The phone calls and e-mails finally led to success. I think I found what may be the last Lebanese Ismaili living in Beirut. And I think you all know him from the film.

Remember this shot:


This is 1957 when Prince Aly Khan landed in Beirut and drove to Syria to tell the Ismailis there that his son is the rightful successor to the Imamate and to follow him. Look at the person on Prince Aly Khan’s right (the person at the far left of the screen). This is Abdul Hamid El-Fil. He is a Lebanese Ismaili still living in Beirut – and I met him! The above is a frame from the film. This is Abdul Hamid’s photo of the same event:


Virtually identical.

Abdul Hamid is wonderful person with incredible stories – and lots of great photos.
This is one of them that he says is of that same event when Prince Aly Khan drove to Syria. Abdul Hamid in the passenger seat.



Abdul Hamid (born in 1931) told me how is father was close to the previous Aga Khan and how they had gone to the third Aga Khan's funeral in Aswan. Since then Abdul Hamid has accompanied Prince Sadruddin, Prince Aly Khan and the current Aga Khan when they used to visit Beirut. It was with much happiness, he tells me, that when the Aga Khan visited Syria this past August, he went there to attend an event. He retells that the Aga Khan was shaking the line of stretched hands when he saw Abdul Hamid and said enthusiastically in French, “Oh, here is the family of Lebanon. It has been fifty years.”

Abdul Hamid was very moved.

Though he has not had much contact with the community for the past few decades, Abdul Hamid still has the love and affection for it and its Imam, and with many fond memories.

The (Aga Khan-following) Ismailis are designated as one of the offical religions of Lebanon as listed in Lebanon’s Constitution. There is no community left though as most Ismailis, he says, left during the numerous wars in Lebanon.

His wife jokes that during one of the evacuations, they started frantically packing, and Abdul Hamid ran for the photos of him and his family with the Aga Khan. His wife said, “What about the valuables and the jewellery?” He said, “Those are all replaceable. These picture are not!”

They eventually returned back to their home. Plus they have a business in Bekaa, Lebanon.

Abdul Hamid tells me of how he got his business started in Lebanon: it was through the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan introduced him to the Madhvani family of East Africa in the 60’s. At that time, the Madhvani's were looking to get into textiles. Abdul Hamid knew a German girl whose family was into textiles and introduced them to each other which eventually led to a deal. Instead of getting the 5% commission for the deal introduction, Abdul Hamid just asked the Madhvani family to invest in a glass factory in Lebanon. A deal was struck and they went into business together.

The factory has done really well until 2006 when it was bombed in Israeli air strikes during the ’06 war. I had to ask if it was a legitimate business. He said of course. I asked why he thinks they bombed it. He said Israel was probably trying to destroy the infrastructure of the country. Or maybe they have glass factories of their own and saw his as competition. I asked him and his family if they have ill feelings towards Israel? They said no, rhetorically asking, “How can you have ill feelings to all of the people? You can have ill feelings towards policies, not to all the people.”

Abdul Hamid’s wife is Sunni and their three kids are the same. He emphasizes we are all Muslim. Later he adds that his experience as an Ismaili has been formative and wishes his kids could have that interaction with the community as it is like a close-knit family. His daughter adds, "The stories he has told you today - we kids have never heard them. We didn't even know they existed. But we are very happy to have heard this side." Abdul Hamid said that watching the film has been a spark to these memories. Telling me these stories from decades ago are as if he can see them right in front of his eyes. "It is like it is just happening. Memories I make a few months ago, I may forget. These memories are vividly etched in my mind."


Abdul Hamid gave me these links and photos to share:
An article on the bombing of his factory: Daily Star
A post on when the Aga Khan came to Beirut: Ismaili.net


Hassan El-Fil (left), father of Abdul Hamid, with His Highness the Aga Khan (right) and Mustafa Mirza of Syria (center)




Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan at the El-Fil residence with Abdul Hamid El-Fil




Bombay 1957, the Aga Khan (left) and Abdul Hamid (right)



His Highness the Aga Khan received by some Ismailis from Lebanon. Abdul Hamid (far left)




Prince Aly Khan at Beirut Airport's official lounge. On his right, Mustafa Mirza (ex Minister of Syria) and on his left Abdul Hamid El-Fil.





Prince Sadruddin at the lounge of Beirut's airport. Abdul Hamid is on the right.



At a gathering at the El-Fil residence with Prince Sadruddin.



Bombay 1957: His Highness the Aga Khan with Abdul Hamid El-Fil. Abdul Hamid says it was around this time when he pledge spiritual allegiance to the Aga Khan




On a visit to the El-Fil residence in the mountains of Lebanon, the Aga Khan and Abdul Hamid walk together.




Abdul Hamid (left) and Shamir (right) - Oct 7, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fighting the Good Fight
The Aga Khan's millions are helping improve Pakistan


Gari Khan is renowned among his neighbors for his moving recitations of the Koran. Regularly, hundreds of fellow Muslims gather to marvel at his performances. Khan, 35, is known for something else, too: His prowess as a beekeeper. Six years ago, he and his wife, Shamin, 28, got loans and technical assistance from the Aga Khan Rural Support Program to raise honeybees. This year, the Khans' Hunza Honey company repaid its loans and raked in $5,000 in revenues. "Our lives have been turned around," says Shamin. "Before, we were traditional people growing our crops. Now we are thinking like business people."

That's an impressive achievement when you consider where the Khans live: in the mountain village of Aliabad, in Pakistan's rugged Northern Area. In this part of the world, people are lucky to scrape together $100 a year. Remote doesn't begin to describe the Khans' hometown, a dot in the Hunza District, one of the most inhospitable and beautiful landscapes on earth, 16 bumpy hours by road from the capital of Islamabad. Until recently, the town boasted few real businesses, infrastructure such as electricity was nonexistent, and its schools were rudimentary. In fact, Aliabad and its neighboring villages were as poor as present-day Afghanistan, just 60 kilometers north.

GRASSROOTS. Today, the grinding poverty endured for centuries is a fading memory in Aliabad and such neighboring towns as Ghulkin and Karimabad. These villages owe their prosperity to the man who helped give the Khans their start, a moderate Shia Muslim living thousands of miles away in France, 64-year old Prince Karim Aga Khan. Since the 1950s, the family of the Aga Khan, who is spiritual leader to some 15 million Ismaili Muslims worldwide, has been devoting its considerable wealth--much of it donated by the Aga Khan's flock--to good works. The Aga Khan Development Network has spent millions over the years, bringing running water and electricity to remote hamlets, teaching farmers entrepreneurial skills, and educating girls.

The successes in such villages as Aliabad are especially important at this point in history, since they have helped curb the spread of radical Islam. Elsewhere in Pakistan--and Afghanistan--poverty has driven young men into the embrace of mullahs who fill their heads with perverse religious notions, press AK-47s into their hands, and send them off to fight holy wars. "If 15 years ago I had no education, health opportunities, or community support," says Ghulkin resident Mujood Ali, "I'd be one of the terrorists, too." Instead, he runs the microcredit scheme in his village.

What makes the Aga Khan's rural development work so effective is its emphasis on grassroots participation in setting development goals, the mobilization of community savings, and the development of civil society. Moreover, it lends aid regardless of religious affiliation. While the group originally focused its Pakistan programs on the 300,000 Ismailis in the Northern Area, it has since expanded them to non-Ismailis. Its grassroots philosophy could be a model as the world seeks to rebuild a post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Of course, it helps that the Aga Khan continuously pours new funds into his programs, relying on the donations of the Ismaili diaspora. Outside observers note that the progress achieved in the Northern Area is in no way free-standing. Moreover, the Aga Khan Network is the region's largest employer, with 370 on the payroll. "If the Aga Khan Network disappeared tomorrow," says an Islamabad-based U.N. official, "there's a very high risk the whole thing would collapse."

Still, it is hard to overstate the impact that the Aga Khan Network has had in that area. The group has built more than 100 schools for girls, developed dozens of small businesses, and helped construct bridges, irrigation canals, and mini hydropower plants. Its rural support program has introduced new breeds of livestock and better seeds, enabling farmers to increase yields and produce cash crops, such as almonds and dried apricots, that they sell as far away as Britain.

Nowhere, perhaps, is the Aga Khan's contribution more profound than in the schools he builds and finances. They are often the only schools of any kind in remote areas neglected by the government. Recently, the Aga Khan Network has expanded its education program by building elite schools for especially promising students, such as the Aga Khan Girls Academy in Karimabad, the former royal capital of Hunza. Located on a steep mountainside, the school provides a stunning learning environment at 2,450 meters. The stone and concrete facility boasts chemistry labs, a library with daily newspapers flown in from Islamabad, and a computer lab where girls work with Excel and Microsoft Windows. (The community only got phone service last year, and the Internet is still not available.)

ADULT TRAINING. A recent lesson featured a discussion of the life of Mohammed, and what he meant when he talked about jihad, or holy war. "Jihad is a struggle against evil. The best jihad is a fight with ourselves, inner struggle," says 15-year-old Hussun Nawaz. After class, Nawaz and her classmates stress the difference between their education and the dogma taught at fundamentalist madrassahs in other parts of the country. "They're just reciting the Koran in Arabic, a language they don't understand," says Nawaz in flawless English. "Islam preaches to fight against evil, not human life." Fatima Raza, a 16-year-old who plans to become an accountant, nods vigorously: "Nothing in the Koran says we should cover our face or wear a gown from head to foot."

While young people attend school, their elders learn basic business skills from the Aga Khan's local representatives. The training stresses better crop and animal management, and making goods such as carpets that will provide income. Local microcredit facilities, in turn, provide both an incentive to save and a source of credit in regions where banks are nonexistent. From 1982 to 2000, some $2.2 million was lent out in the northern villages.

While the bulk of these loans goes to buy fertilizer, seeds, and tools, more recently the credit has been expanded to support enterprise. A community-owned company called Hunza Threadnet turns out embroidered caps, bags, and carpets, providing jobs for 2,400 women working in their homes. Sales this year, the company says, are expected to reach $50,000. The beekeeping Khans are considered role models of the program. Having paid off their loans, they now plan to boost the number of bee colonies they keep by 50% next year and then start exporting honey as far afield as the Middle East.

Only a generation ago, life in Ghulkin was a daily struggle. Today, the 1,000 village residents enjoy running water, electricity, and English-language schools. About 70% are literate--well above Pakistan's national average of less than 50%. "When I was young, there was only poverty and problems," says Ainul, a woman in late middle age wearing a traditional needlework pillbox crowned by a white scarf. "Now, life is easy." Easy is a relative term, of course. But even the rough level of comfort enjoyed by Ainul and her neighbors wouldn't be possible without the help of their distant benefactor in France, who has helped locals put into practice a moderate, forward-looking Islamic vision.

By Frederik Balfour in Hunza, Pakistan

http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/01_48/b3759145.htm?chan=mz
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Movie Islamic Conscience will be screened at the Parliament of the World’s Religions

An Islamic Conscience: The Aga Khan and the Ismailis
Shamir Allibhai

The Aga Khan has been the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims for the past five decades. Born into wealth and privilege, he has devoted his life to eliminating poverty and inequality. At a time when Islam is at odds within itself and with the West, this film presents the Aga Khan as a voice of moderation, speaking out for pluralism, and promoting dialogue between civilizations.

http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/index.cfm?n=7&sn=35
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Children of Time: The Aga Khan and the Ismailis
Full size

From highland peasant farmers in Central Asia to Canadian industrialists, from South Asian businessmen to Europe based scholars, the Nizari Ismailis are one of the Muslim world’s most diverse Shi’a communities.

With adherents living in more than twenty-five countries they embrace peoples of widely different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. The spiritual leaderof this highly dynamic community has in recent generations come to be known as the ‘Aga Khan.’

Malise Ruthven explores how the present Harvard educated Aga Khan, head of the Nizari Ismailis, has attempted to preserve and build on a religious tradition rooted in medieval theology while at the same time embracing the modern world without lossof faith or cultural identity.

Malise Ruthven is an author and scholar.

IMPORTANT:

Anyone paying concession price must present at the reception while attending the event a proof – Membership card for AH friend, ID for senior citizens and student card for students

Organiser: Asia House
Date: 07 Oct 2009
Time: 6:30 PM
Venue: Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus

http://www.asianatickets.com/index.php?option=com_eventticket&eventID=309&show=show
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Prime Minister of Kenya to meet MHI in Paris

Raila arrives in Paris
Written By:PMPS , Posted: Mon, Oct 19, 2009


Prime Minister Raila Odinga has arrived in Paris, France for a three-day official visit that will see him hold meetings with senior French Government officials and Kenyans living in the country.

Among the officials he is scheduled to meet is the PM of the Republic of France Mr Francois Fillon and Mr Bernard Kouchner, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs.

The PM will on Tuesday hold discussions with Mr Jean-Michel Severino, the director general of the French Agency for Development.

He will also hold talks with Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

Mr Odinga, who arrived in Paris on Sunday evening from China will meet the Kenyan community and address them on Kenyatta Day where he is expected to update the citizens on developments in Kenya, particularly the reform agenda.

Raila holds that the country is on track with the reform agenda.
He will use the Kenyatta Day meeting with Kenyans to lay out some of the achievements the Grand Coalition government has achieved under difficult circumstances.

While here, the PM will also address a conference on renewable energy and climate change in Africa

http://www.kbc.co.ke/story.asp?ID=60493

*****

October 19, 2009

The Aga Khan in Pantelleria. Meeting with the Mayor Salvatore Gabriele.

PANTELLERIA. The Aga Khan has been visited in recent days in Pantelleria. This is confirmed by the Mayor, Salvatore Gino Gabriele, who has had a long meeting with him.

Recently, the Aga Khan has expressed interest in extending the management of private flights, conducted in Olbia, in the ports in the direct management of ENAC: Roma Urbe, Pantelleria and Lampedusa.
And 'This was one of the points raised in the meeting. For the rest, there is absolute secrecy. Salvatore Gabriele declares: "On the carpet the town council has several important objectives, which is pursuing and which are being implemented. We made an overview on the development of this area, to focus on quality tourism and diversified than in other regional contexts, and promote our uniqueness of sustainable tourism, far from the usual comparisons with other Italian and foreign localities. In the coming weeks we will put down a very concrete plan of work that already has a solid foundation. "

Prince Karim Aga Khan, 73, owns among other airline Meridiana. For some time working on an overall tourism, "elite" consisting of Pantelleria and Lampedusa.

http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mazaraonline.it%2Fpublic_html%2F%3Fp%3D3588
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Aga Khan and the Ismailis - Filmmaker's Blog
The story of the Aga Khan and the Ismailis. Who are they and how did they come to be? And what do they have to say in this ever-divided world? Shamir Allibhai's journey with AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis. Film website: http://www.agakhanfilm.org


Thursday, December 3, 2009
2-year anniversary and an Australian Premiere
I am packing to head off to Australia for a screening in Melbourne and I just realized that today is the two-year anniversary of the Aga Khan Film's launch. Time has flown by quickly and I feel a sense of gratitude that the film is still being requested to be shown. But there is also a sense of concern that Islam is increasingly being juxtaposed against peace and tolerance, such as the Swiss ban on the building of new minarets. Within the Ummah and externally, there is a lot more work to be done...

Australia Screening Details:

Parliament of the World's Religions
http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis (61 mins)

Sun 6 Dec 4:30 - 6:00pm
Room 107
Followed by a Q+A

I will also be on a panel discussion 2 days later:

Changing the Conversation about Islam and Muslims Through Film: Shia, Puerto Rican-American and Australian Voices
With: Shamir Allibhai, Dr Pamela Ryan, Macky Alston, Hussein Rashid (Chair)
Tue 8 Dec 2:30 - 4:00pm
Room 106



About the Parliament:
(from their website)
The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
To accomplish this, we invite individuals and communities who are equally invested in attaining this goal.
http://agakhanfilm.blogspot.com/2009/12/2-year-anniversary-and-australian.html
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VIDEO OF THE CEREMONY AT:
http://www.nouveleconomiste.fr/Video-Manager.html


Discours de Son Altesse l'Aga Khan à l'occasion de la remise du Prix Nouvel Economiste de l'entrepreneur philanthropique de l'année 2009 (Cour des comptes, palais Cambon)
17 December 2009



Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

Monsieur le Premier Président,
Monsieur le Député,
Mesdames et messieurs les Ambassadeurs,
Monsieur le Recteur,
Monsieur le Commissaire à la diversité et à l’égalité des chances,
Mesdames et messieurs les Hauts représentants de la
Présidence de la République, du Ministère des affaires
étrangères et européennes, du Ministère de l'intérieur et de la
Mairie de Paris,
Mesdames et messieurs les Hautes personnalités,
Monsieur le Président du directoire de M6,
Monsieur le Rédacteur en chef Madame la Directrice déléguée,
Mesdames, Messieurs,

Mes premiers mots seront pour vous dire combien je me sens honoré de recevoir le prix Nouvel Economiste de l'entrepreneur philanthropique de l'année 2009, dans ce magnifique Palais Cambon.

Je remercie tout particulièrement Madame Tchakaloff, pour ses mots très aimables, ainsi que toute l'équipe de rédaction dirigée par Monsieur Nijdam, pour avoir porté leur choix sur mon nom. Tous mes remerciements vont aussi au parrain de cette cérémonie, et je me tourne ici vers vous Monsieur le Premier Président, qui nous faites le plaisir de nous recevoir chez vous. Je salue naturellement aussi Madame la Ministre des finances, qui durant son voyage au Liban et en Syrie nous adresse par la voix de Madame Cotta un message si chaleureux. Merci.

Je me tourne aussi vers Son Excellence le Recteur Dalil Boubakeur, que je suis heureux de retrouver et qui, à des moments particuliers de ma vie en France, m'a apporté fraternité et conseils. Je salue aussi en lui la Grande Mosquée de Paris, que ma famille et moi considérons avec la plus grande amitié et le plus grand respect, et je lui exprime ma reconnaissance pour tout ce qu'il a fait pour les musulmans de France.

Permettez que j'en vienne directement à mon propos, qui est de vous faire partager l'expérience acquise au fil des cinq décennies qui viennent de s'écouler, au cours desquelles le Réseau Aga Khan pour le développement a été construit (j'utiliserai l'acronyme anglais – excusez-moi -'AKDN' pour le désigner).

Je centrerai mon exposé sur la stratégie que nous mettons en œuvre, ce qui me permettra de cerner la notion d'entreprise philanthropique.

Quelques chiffres d'abord:

- la Fondation AKDN, entité faîtière, coordonne les activités des plus de 200 organismes et institutions qui composent le réseau, au sein desquelles 70.000 salariés et 100.000 bénévoles agissent quotidiennement ;

- par ailleurs, le réseau intervient dans 35 pays parmi les plus pauvres du monde, dans un cadre statutairement laïque.

Cette photographie n'est bien sûr qu'un moment dans une dynamique, mais ses contours sont aujourd'hui suffisamment précis pour que l'on puisse parler d'objectif, de stratégie et de méthode.

L'objectif est clair : il s'agit de créer ou de renforcer la société civile dans les pays en voie de développement. Cet objectif unique, lorsqu'il est atteint, est en effet nécessaire et suffisant pour assurer un développement serein et stable dans la longue durée, même quand la gouvernance est problématique.

Quant à la stratégie, il est évident qu'une société civile ne peut exister en l'absence d'institutions civiles apolitiques et laïques, en particulier des institutions sociales, culturelles et économiques. L'essence de la stratégie du développement est donc de les créer là où elles sont absentes ou doivent grandir.

Enfin, la méthode. Elle consiste en premier lieu à valider la question de savoir s'il est opportun de créer l'institution, puis, si la réponse est positive, rassembler les moyens humains et financiers nécessaires pour la créer.

Au sein d'AKDN, il existe deux catégories d'organisations qui ont en commun l'objectif de soutenir le développement : celles qui ont un but lucratif (rassemblées au sein du Fonds Aga Khan pour le développement, connu sous le nom d'AKFED), et celles que j'appellerai 'para-entreprises', sans but lucratif, dont l'objet est social ou culturel.

La raison de cette dualité est qu'une société civile ne peut naître uniquement de la création d'entreprises ou seulement de la création d'hôpitaux, d'écoles ou d'universités, ou encore de lieux de culture.

C'est cette dualité entre entreprise et para-entreprise que je vous présenterai.

Tout d'abord je vous dirai que les deux obéissent à certaines règles communes.

En premier lieu, elles doivent mettre en œuvre les meilleures pratiques de gestion du moment dans leurs domaines respectifs de compétence et rester à jour en la matière.

Parmi ces pratiques on peut en noter une, particulièrement difficile à acquérir, à savoir la capacité à résister aux crises.

Une autre règle commune est qu'elles doivent être conçues pour avoir des effets bénéfiques mesurables sur les populations concernées, l'objectif étant en général les populations les plus pauvres et, parmi elles, les ruraux.

Egalement, je noterai la règle selon laquelle il faut non seulement ne pas écarter mais souvent même rechercher des projets localisés dans des pays qui sortent de conflits internes ou internationaux, ou encore qui se trouvent dans un processus de modification de leurs fondamentaux économiques. En effet, c'est dans ces circonstances que les populations les plus pauvres requièrent le plus d'attention.

Tout ceci demande des compétences très particulières et une implication d'AKDN sur le très long terme, ne serait-ce que pour s'assurer que la culture managériale est devenue assez forte pour que les réflexes de 'meilleures pratiques' s'ancrent vraiment.

Pour parler maintenant des entreprises d’AKFED, celles qui sont à but lucratif, il s'agit d'environ 150 entreprises réparties dans une quinzaine de pays. Elles emploient plus de 30.000 personnes et génèrent deux milliards de dollars de chiffre d'affaires.

Elles font vivre indirectement des millions de personnes, en particulier dans le secteur agro-industriel. Pour donner un exemple, AKFED a développé la culture du haricot vert au Kenya en fournissant à 50.000 paysans une assistance technique et en leur achetant leur production pour l'exporter en Europe. L'entreprise emploie 2.000 salariés, est rentable et fait vivre indirectement 500.000 personnes.

Les entreprises AKFED obéissent à des règles spécifiques. Je voudrais en évoquer deux, qui sont essentielles.

La première est que les investissements AKDN dédiés aux projets AKFED doivent, dans la généralité des cas, prendre la forme de participations en capital à très long terme. Nous voulons en effet éviter les risques d'endettement excessif.

La seconde est que la part d'AKFED dans les bénéfices doit être totalement réinvestie dans les projets du groupe. Il s'agit là d'une caractéristique fondamentale des projets AKFED, la règle étant que les retours sur investissement doivent bénéficier aux populations des pays concernés et à elles seules.

Ces actions dans le domaine de l'économie productive ne suffisent pas pour créer ou renforcer la société civile. Il y faut les para-entreprises, qui sont essentielles au point que l’AKDN engage quatre fois plus de ressources dans ce secteur que dans le secteur à but lucratif.

Les para-entreprises sont conçues pour être économiquement autonomes. Un réseau urbain et rural d'une centaine d'écoles, comme celui que nous gérons au Pakistan, un hôpital universitaire comme l'hôpital Aga Khan à Nairobi et un parc comme celui de Al-Azhar au Caire, peuvent ainsi parfaitement être conçus de manière à créer des surplus pour assurer leur survie et leur développement, dès lors qu'une réflexion entrepreneuriale sous-tend le processus de création puis de la gestion courante. Cette notion de surplus, il faut le noter, n'est en rien contraire au statut sans but lucratif des para-entreprises.

Quoi qu'il en soit, une des conditions pour qu'une para-entreprise parvienne à l'autonomie économique est que son coût de création soit couvert par un don définitif d'AKDN et, le cas échéant, de ses partenaires, en général des institutions financières de développement, nationales ou internationales.

Je souhaite ne pas excéder le temps qui m'est imparti mais je voudrais terminer en soulignant que l'une des fonctions importantes qui est assignée à l'organisation faîtière du réseau, la Fondation AKDN, est de travailler de façon rapprochée avec les Gouvernements des pays avec lesquels nous coopérons.

Ce travail est particulièrement intense avec la France et je suis heureux de vous dire que la Délégation française de la Fondation AKDN, la plus importante de toutes, à signé en 2008 avec la République française et l'Agence française de développement une Convention de coopération en faveur de 23 pays en développement, dans tous les domaines d'activité de l'AKDN.

Cette très brève présentation successive des entreprises et des para-entreprises ne doit pas conduire à la conclusion que les deux ne s'interpénètrent pas. Au contraire, leur appartenance commune à AKDN permet aux deux systèmes de s'épauler mutuellement.

C'est ainsi qu'une entreprise commerciale ou industrielle d’AKFED peut créer des fonds de dotation, par exemple pour subventionner l'accès de populations pauvres à des services médicaux de haut niveau ou encore pour aider une des banques de micro-finance du réseau.

Les para-entreprises en contrepartie créent un terrain favorable au développement des entreprises AKFED, en contribuant massivement à la construction de la société civile.

Bien sûr les grands principes d’AKDN sont difficiles à mettre en œuvre et nous avons subi des déconvenues. Les réussites sont cependant suffisamment nombreuses pour nous convaincre de conserver le cap.

Pour dire les choses autrement : le développement, ça marche !

Je suis très heureux de vous montrer comment, sur la base de quelques principes finalement assez simples mais atypiques, nous essayons de réduire le malheur dans le monde et de participer à la création de sociétés civiles pacifiques, éclairées et fières de leurs cultures.

Enfin, et c'est un clin d'œil, j'espère vous avoir convaincu que je ne suis pas un entrepreneur au sens classique, ni un philanthrope au sens traditionnel, et que, dès lors, je ne méritais peut-être pas ce prix.

http://www.akdn.org/Content/924/Discours-de-Son-Altesse-lAga-Khan--la-Cour-des-comptes-palais-Cambon

THIS IS A TRANSLATION FROM FRENCH

Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan Cour des Comptes On Acceptance of the 2009 Nouvel Economiste Philanthropic Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 Award (Cour des comptes - Court of Accounts, Palais Cambon
17 December 2009

http://www.akdn.org/Content/924

Please also see: Related material and Discours en français

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

The First President,
Minister,
Your Excellencies,
Your Excellency, the Rector,
Commissioner for diversity and equal opportunities,
Distinguished representatives of the President’s office, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Paris Town Hall,
Distinguished guests,
Chairman of the Board of M6,
Editor in Chief and Associate Director of the Nouvel Economiste,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


His Highness addresses the audience at the ceremony.I shall begin by saying how honoured I am to be given the Nouvel Economiste Philanthropic Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 Award in this splendid setting, the Palais Cambon.

I particularly wish to thank Madame Tchakaloff, for her very kind words, as well as the entire editorial team under the leadership of Monsieur Nijdam, for having singled me out. I would also like to thank the sponsor of this ceremony, and here, I turn to you, Mr First President, our gracious host. And of course I also wish to greet the Finance Minister, who is on a trip to Lebanon and Syria and sends us warm greetings through Madame Cotta. Thank you.
I also turn to His Excellency Rector Dali Boubakeur, whom I am delighted to see here, and who, at particular moments of my life in France, has honoured me with his friendship and advice. I also pay tribute through him to the Great Mosque of Paris, which my family and I look upon with great friendship and respect, and express my gratitude for everything he has done for Muslims in France.

Allow me to move straight on to the subject of this speech, which is to share with you the experience gained over the past five decades during which the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has been built up.

I shall focus my talk on the strategy we implement, which will enable me to outline the notion of philanthropic enterprise.

First, a few figures:

The AKDN Foundation is an umbrella organization which coordinates the activities of over 200 agencies and institutions that make up the network, employing a total of 70,000 paid staff and 100,000 volunteers;

The network operates in 35 of the poorest countries in the world and is statutorily secular.

This tableau is of course merely a momentary snapshot of a constantly evolving process, but its contours are clearly defined enough today for us to speak about goals, strategy and method.

The goal is clear: the aim is to create or strengthen civil society in developing countries. This single goal, when it is achieved, is in fact necessary and sufficient to ensure peaceful and stable development over the long term, even when governance is problematic.

As regards the strategy, civil society obviously cannot exist without apolitical and secular civil institutions, in particular social, cultural and economic ones. The essence of our development strategy is thus to create these where they are lacking or need to be reinforced.

Lastly, the method. It first involves answering the question as to whether it is the right moment to create the institution and, in the affirmative, to bring together the human and financial resources to get it off the ground.

The various organizations within the AKDN fall into two categories which both share the same goal of supporting development: commercial companies (grouped together into the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, known as AKFED) and those non-profit enterprises which I call “para-companies,” that work toward social or cultural goals.

The reason for this dual structure is that civil society cannot emerge solely by starting businesses or solely by building hospitals, schools and universities or cultural facilities.

It is the architecture of this dual company/para-company structure that I would now like to present.

I will start by saying that the two abide by a set of common rules.

First of all, they must implement current best management practices in their respective areas of competence and keep up-to-date in this regard. Among these practices I might point out one that is particularly difficult to achieve, and that is: the ability to withstand a crisis.

Another common rule is, they must be designed in such a way as to have measurable benefits for the local population, the general target being the very poor, and among them, rural communities.

I should also like to point out this rule: projects located in countries emerging from domestic or international conflict, or undergoing a change in their economic fundamentals, should not be dismissed, but should on the contrary often even be sought out. It is indeed in such circumstances that the poorest populations need the most attention.

All this requires very special skills and long-term AKDN involvement, if only to ensure that the managerial culture becomes strong enough for “best practice” reflexes to truly take hold.

And now, turning to AKFED commercial enterprises, we’re talking about approximately 150 companies in some 15 countries. They employ over 30,000 people and generate a turnover of two billion dollars.

They indirectly provide a living for millions of people, in particular in the agribusiness sector. To give you an example, AKFED developed green bean farming in Kenya by providing 50,000 farmers with technical assistance and buying their produce for export to Europe. The company has 2,000 employees, turns a profit and indirectly provides a living for 500,000 people.

Specific rules govern AKFED companies. I will discuss two of the essential ones.

The first is that AKDN investments earmarked for AKFED projects should in most cases be made in the form of long-term equity participation. This is to avoid the risk of excessive debt.

The second is that AKFED’s share of profits must be entirely reinvested in the group’s projects. This is a fundamental feature of AKFED projects, the rule being that any return on investment should solely benefit the population of the country where it has been made.

Commercial activity alone is not enough to create or strengthen civil society. It also takes para-companies. These are in fact so essential that AKDN commits four times more resources to them as to the profit-making sector.

Para-companies are designed to be economically independent. An urban and rural network of schools such as the one we manage in Pakistan, a university hospital such as the Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi and a park such as Al-Azhar in Cairo, thus can be perfectly well conceived to produce a surplus to ensure their survival and development as long as an entrepreneurial philosophy underpins the creation process and later the day-to-day management. This notion of surplus, it should be pointed out, in no way conflicts with the non-profit status of para-companies.

In any event, one condition in order for a para-company to attain financial independence is that its start-up cost must be covered by an outright gift from the AKDN, supplemented in some cases from partner donations, usually from national or international financial development institutions.

I do not wish to go over the allotted time, but I would like to conclude by emphasizing that an important function of the network’s umbrella organization, the AKDN Foundation, is to work closely with the governments of the countries with which we cooperate.

With France, this work is particularly intense, and I’m happy to report that in 2008, the French Delegation of the AKDN Foundation, the largest of all, signed a cooperation agreement with the French state and the French Development Agency to assist 23 developing countries, involving all the AKDN’s areas of activity.

This brief presentation of AKDN companies and para-companies should not give the impression that the work of each is entirely separate from the other. On the contrary, both being part of the AKDN, the two types of organizations are able to offer each other mutual support.

For instance, a commercial or industrial AKFED company can set up endowment funds to subsidize access for the poor to top-quality medical services or to help one of the network’s microfinance banks.

In return, through their enormous contribution to building civil society, para-companies create a space conducive to the development of AKFED companies.

Of course, the major principles guiding the AKDN are difficult to implement, and we have met with occasional disappointment. We have had enough successful achievements, however, to convince us to stay the course.

In other words, development works!

I am pleased to have had this opportunity to explain to you how, on the basis of a few fairly simple but fairly uncommon principles, we have tried to relieve hardship in the world and to help create peaceful, enlightened civil societies that are proud of their culture.

Lastly, and I say this tongue in cheek, I hope I have convinced you that I am neither a typical entrepreneur nor an ordinary philanthropist, and therefore may not deserve this award.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Le nouvel Economiste du 17 décembre 2009 — N°1502 – © Nouvel Economiste 2009
Karim Aga Khan - Entrepreneur philantropique de l'année 2009

Le prix du Manager de l'année

L'entrepreneur philanthropique de l’année 2009

Aga Khan,
la cause du développement



Lire
en format journal

Chef religieux et homme politique, mais aussi investisseur avisé et entrepreneur philanthrope, le Prince investit près de 450 millions de dollars chaque année dans l’éducation, la santé et le micro-crédit. Pour rompre “le cercle vicieux de la pauvreté”.

Par Philippe Plassart

Une tournée mémorable. Aussi épuisante pour ses suiveurs que revigorante pour son chef de file. C’était il y a deux ans. De Mombassa à Chicago en passant par Karachi, Damas, Tananarive, Londres ou Paris, Karim Aga Khan rend visite aux représentants des musulmans chiites imamites ismailis dispersés dans une vingtaine de pays. L’occasion ? Son jubilé d’or à la tête de la communauté. Un périple qui lui permet d’évaluer en son for intérieur le chemin parcouru depuis qu’il y a un demi-siècle, son grand- père lui a confié le rôle d’imam de la communauté. Il est étudiant pas encore frais émoulu d’Harvard, et a alors tout juste 20 ans. Et de mesurer les attentes qui ne cessent de converger vers lui, souverain sans Etat, authentique chef religieux et vrai entrepreneur philanthropique. A la tête de son organisation, AKDN, chaque année, l’imam investit de l’ordre de 450 millions de dollars dans des projets multiples à vocation de développement. Une somme recueillie auprès des fidèles – qui s'ajoute à ses contributions personnelles et aux sommes que la Banque mondiale et d'autres agences de développement investissent à ses côtés – qui font de Son Altesse probablement le premier décideur privé au monde en matière de développement.

Double facette

“L’éthique de l’islam établit un lien entre la vie spirituelle et la vie matérielle — Din et Dunya. Aussi mes responsabilités de chef spirituel et d’interprète de la foi vont-elles de pair avec un profond engagement dans l’action en faveur de l’amélioration des conditions et de la qualité de la vie. Et cette action ne se limite pas à la communauté ismaélienne, elle concerne tous ceux qui partagent leur vie — à l’échelle locale, nationale, et internationale”, explique-t-il en 2007, devant les diplômés du Master of Public Affairs (MPA) de Sciences-Po. Un engagement “public”, en prise directe avec les problématiques du développement et de la mondialisation qui a “influé profondément” sur sa vision du monde. Celui-ci dévoile une autre facette – celle du milliardaire militant et impliqué — et vient rectifier l’image d’un personnage au patronyme familier du grand public et dont la richesse et l’aura un brin mystérieuse font naturellement fantasmer. Il est vrai que la chronique a longtemps associé l’histoire familiale aux formes ostentatoires du luxe. Pour son père, ce furent les voitures, passion fatale ! Lui, il investit dans trois domaines. En premier lieu, le cheval — il dispose d’une écurie de pur-sangs, héritée de son père, à Chantilly et vient de prendre en pension dans son haras irlandais le crack Sea of the Stars ; la mer — son yacht mouille régulièrement au village-marina de Porto Cervo au nord de la Sardaigne. On fait des envieux avec moins que cela. Quant au goût qu'on lui prête pour l'aviation, il s'agit pour lui de pouvoir maîtriser certaines contraintes de ce qui est son vrai "sujet"— celui auquel il consacre les deux tiers de son temps et qui le motive —, le Réseau Aga Khan pour le Développement (AKDN).

Les deux maître-mots, autonomie et long terme

L'Aga Khan est au sommet d'une construction sans équivalent, structure dédiée au développement de pays parmi les plus pauvres au monde, organisation d'environ 170 000 personnes salariées ou volontaires, dont la tête de pont — un staff d'environ deux cent personnes — est installée à Gouvieux près de Chantilly. Une équipe aux fortes compétences qui, au sein de la Fondation AKDN, organisation laïque comme le précise ses statuts, supervise le travail d'une douzaine d'organisations majeures ayant le statut de fondations ou d'agences privées de développement. Un entrepreneuriat philanthropique dont un des éléments est le Fonds Aga Khan pour le Développement Economique (AKFED), moteur de l'activité économique dans les pays aidés par la fondation AKDN, dont les surplus d'exploitation sont toujours réinvestis au bénéfice des populations pauvres de ces pays. AKFED gère plus de 90 sociétés ayant des projets distincts et emploie plus de 30 000 personnes, générant un chiffre d'affaires de plus de 1,5 Md$.
Sous la direction de Karim Aga Khan, les institutions ont gagné en taille et en portée géographique — le champ d’action s’étend principalement de l’Asie centrale à l’Afrique de l’Est en passant par le Moyen-Orient et on relève parmi les réalisations les plus emblématiques l’université Aga Khan à Karachi, l’université d’Asie Centrale, l’académie de Mombassa, une agence pour la micro-finance (AKAM), des centres hospitaliers et tout dernièrement un parc urbain à Bamako. Avec quelle cohérence ? “C’est l’Aga Khan en personne qui donne la vision stratégique d’ensemble, témoigne Kris Janowski, porte-parole de Son Altesse. Il préside à tous les comités d’orientation d’experts pour valider les choix et suivre les projets.” Les critères sont bien établis : “Il s’agit de soutenir les initiatives visant à donner aux populations les plus pauvres les moyens d’améliorer sur la durée et par eux-mêmes leurs conditions.” Un précepte décliné à tous les niveaux et dont les deux maîtres-mots sont : autonomie et long terme. Une déclinaison de la philosophie ismaélienne. Pas question en effet de créer des “trous noirs” qui absorbent indéfiniment de l’argent sans avenir. Chaque projet doit créer une dynamique locale avec des retombées propres. Un leitmotiv chez Karim Aga Khan qu’il a repris dans son opération de mécénat personnel à plusieurs millions d’euros du château de Chantilly en insistant sur la nécessité de revivifier localement la filière hippique. De même, pour le prix de l’architecture qu’il décerne tous les trois ans, au-delà des prouesses techniques, c’est l’impact social et environnemental qui reste déterminant dans le choix du lauréat. Instruit par l’expérience, Aga Khan sait qu’il faut donner du temps au temps. Il n’exige pas un “retour sur investissement” en deux ou trois ans. Les projets sont conçus et soutenus sur la durée, et l’unité de compte peut avoisiner la décennie, voire plus longtemps encore.

Le souci de l’autre

Le bilan ? Au milieu des années 90 Karim Aga Khan s'est fixé un objectif : faire accéder 75 % des jeunes femmes des pays aidés à l'éducation secondaire et aux équipements hospitaliers. Mission qui se double d'une autre volonté : donner la chance aux talents d'accéder aux meilleures universités en bannissant la barrière de l'argent. Une filière est en cours de constitution avec Baccalauréat international pour permettre ces parcours d'excellence. Une autre intention qui s'est réalisée, celle que l'ensemble des actions des organisations de l'AKDN bénéficie à l'ensemble des populations au sein desquelles vivent les ismaïlis.
Certains investissements prennent même place dans des pays où les ismaéliens sont absents comme au Mali. Signe de cette ambition élargie : le réseau renforce ses moyens d’action en passant des partenariats avec la Banque mondiale, et les agences de développement spécialisées. Ainsi vient-il prendre en charge avec l’Agence française de développement l’expansion et la modernisation d’un hôpital mère-enfant à Kaboul.
Education, santé, microcrédit : Aga Khan joue sur toute la gamme des outils pour rompre “le cercle vicieux de la pauvreté” en privilégiant les zones rurales et déshéritées. Il est vrai que la communauté est historiquement issue en partie de l'ensemble continental qui, d'ouest en est, recouvre le Pakistan, l'Inde et le Bengladesh, une des régions du monde les plus largement confrontée aux problèmes du développement, à partir de laquelle les ismaïlis ont essaimé. Une façon aussi de rompre avec l’isolement ? Sa vision est celle d’un monde ouvert et divers, mais non sans inquiétude, Aga Khan ne cesse pas de la décrire à l’occasion des multiples conférences qu’il donne. “Le pluralisme existe dans les faits mais pas dans les têtes. Nous vivons dans des sociétés “cosmopolites” encore dépourvues d’une “éthique cosmopolite”, lance-t-il devant ses auditoires pour les interpeller. Et de défendre son point de vue : “La défense du pluralisme n’est pas un pâle compromis. C’est un impératif sacré. la différence devient source d’enrichissement et l’ “autre” représente à la fois une opportunité et une bénédiction — que cet “autre” habite de l’autre côté de la rue ou de l’autre côté de la planète.” Chantilly. Un soir sur la planète Terre.
Le nouvel Economiste du 17 décembre 2009 — N°1502 – © Nouvel Economiste 2009
Karim Aga Khan - Entrepreneur philantropique de l'année 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Show Roots and Wings on TV5 January 11, 2010
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan IV, Canada, North America.
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His Highness the Aga Khan will the guest of the show. Monday, January 11, 2010 | 20h00 on TV5
Below translated via Google, check original for details.

For this new edition, “Roots & Wings” will install its cameras inside the domain of Chantilly to go to the discovery of one of the most beautiful places in the history of France, currently enjoying a renaissance …

Chantilly is of course famous for its castle (and its magnificent collection of ancient paintings, the second after the Louvre), but also for its park …

Gardens fully restored, and were designed in the 17th century by André Le Nôtre, creator of the gardens of Versailles!

A castle in the fascinating and turbulent history that its last owner, the Duke of Aumale (the son of the late French king, Louis-Philippe) bequeathed to the Institut de France.

In recent years, the backup domain depends, among other things, a foundation initiated by a patron shows and discreet: the Aga Khan, who is with the writer-academician Erik Orsenna, the guest of the show.

http://www.tv5.ca/emissions/des-racines-et-des-ailes-100206743/chantilly-100206750.html


Earlier related:
http://ismailimail.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/aga-khan-granted-the-distinction-of-grand-patron-and-grand-donor-by-the-french-ministry-of-culture/

http://ismailimail.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/show-roots-and-wings-on-tv5/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IsmailiMail+%28IsmailiMail%29&utm_content=Gmail
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