The Aga Khan, Leader of a Global Network of Cultural, Educational and Development Philanthropies, Selected as the 2011 Recipient of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- An unparalleled leader in development, cultural preservation and philanthropy, largely benefiting poor and marginalized communities in Asia and Africa, is being honored with the 2011 Urban Land Institute (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and leader of the nondenominational Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), was named the 2011 Nichols Laureate today at ULI's Annual Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo in Los Angeles.
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize recognizes an individual, or a person representing an institution, whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. The $100,000 prize honors the legacy of legendary Kansas City, Missouri, developer Jesse Clyde Nichols (1880-1950), a founding ULI member who is widely regarded as one of America's most influential entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 20th century.
"The ULI J.C .Nichols Prize recognizes distinguished contributions to community building. Such contributions can, and do, come from many sources and cultures," said James DeFrancia, chair of the 2011 Nichols Prize jury and principal of Lowe Enterprises in Aspen, Colo.
"Through the Aga Khan Development Network, progress and improvements to communities have been undertaken in over 30 countries," DeFrancia said. "The Aga Khan has further been an advocate of standards of excellence through his Award for Architecture. His Planning and Building Services agency has also improved design, construction, sanitation and environmental sustainability. The efforts of the Aga Khan have strengthened both communities and society at large."
Luis Monreal, general manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, accepted the prize on behalf of the Aga Khan. "Fully a third of World Heritage sites are in the Muslim world, but they are inhabited by some of the poorest people," Monreal said. "Traditional approaches to urban regeneration - which are often designed to create museums of these neighborhoods - fail to address social and economic dimensions. They become unproductive burdens on poor municipalities. The central objective of our work, therefore, is to leverage culture in pursuit of poverty alleviation. We do this by bringing a critical mass of programs to bear - the creation of parks and gardens, heritage conservation, water and sanitation, microfinance, open space and infrastructure improvements, and education and health initiatives. We have found that poor people can benefit from these efforts and can become custodians of their heritage."
The selection of the Aga Khan as the 2011 ULI JC Nichols Prize recipient is particularly timely this year, as ULI celebrates its 75th anniversary. "We are recognizing the anniversary as much by looking ahead as by celebrating our past, and this involves expanding ULI's reach to new audiences around the globe," said ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick Phillips. "The knowledge we gain from the outstanding example set by the Aga Khan's work will greatly help ULI broaden its approach to community building," he said.
One project undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the restoration of a 900-year-old Altit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan, illustrates the scope of the Aga Khan's work. Before restoring the fort, which is a cultural monument and tourist attraction, the project focused first on improving living conditions in the local village. According to the AKDN, residents had been abandoning traditional houses in the village and building new houses on valuable arable land. Improvements including a water filtration system helped draw people back to the traditional settlement. Earlier this year the project received an Award of Distinction at the 2011 UNESCO Asian-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
That is but one example of the great range of endeavors undertaken by the Aga Khan and the AKDN. He and his network have created universities and medical centers in areas of the world that lacked such vital institutions. Economic development, microfinance, education, cultural preservation, promotion of tourism, and humanitarian assistance all are part of the organization's important work.
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize jury also made note of the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The Award is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. The selection process emphasizes architecture that not only provides for people's physical, social and economic needs, but which also stimulates and responds to their cultural expectations.
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th Imam, or spiritual leader, of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims who live mainly in Central and South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, but also in Europe, North America and Australia. Born in 1936 in Geneva, Switzerland, he spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, and graduated from Harvard University in 1959. For more information about the Aga Khan and his work, visit www.akdn.org .
About the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban DevelopmentThe ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development ( www.nicholsprize.org ) is funded by an endowment from the family of J.C. Nichols to the ULI Foundation. A management committee including ULI representatives and members of the Nichols family directs the prize program. Nichols (1880-1950) pioneered the development of sustainable, mass market residential neighborhoods built for permanence, and automobile-oriented shopping centers. The Country Club district, a model residential community; Country Club Plaza, a 77-year-old shopping center and multi-use development; and numerous well-preserved suburban communities south of downtown Kansas City attest to his enduring legacy. Vincent Scully, 2003 laureate of the Nichols Prize, said of J.C. Nichols, "There is no one involved with the American city who does not owe J.C. Nichols a debt for his vision and method in the planning and development of residential communities. His example has helped this generation to take on that basic program intelligently once again."
The 2011 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize JuryJury Chairman: James M. DeFrancia, principal, Lowe Enterprises, Inc., Aspen, Colo. Additional jury members: Ronald Altoon, FAIA, partner, Altoon + Porter Architects, Los Angeles; F. Barton Harvey III, former chairman, Enterprise, Baltimore; Neal Peirce, chairman, The Citistates Group, Washington, D.C.; Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president, Forest City Washington, Washington, D.C.
About the Urban Land InstituteThe Urban Land Institute ( www.uli.org ) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
SOURCE Urban Land Institute
Copyright (C) 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
The Council for USA is pleased to inform the Jamat that earlier today, Mawlana Hazar Imam was awarded the J.C. Nichols prize for visionaries in urban development by the Urban Land Institute.
The award was made at the annual meeting of the Urban Land Institute in Los Angeles, California.
Accepting the award on behalf of Mawlana Hazar Imam was Luis Monreal, General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
This $100,000 prize is awarded every three years to a person whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development.
The award jury selected Mawlana Hazar Imam for his strong leadership of a stunning variety of development and philanthropic endeavors throughout poor communities struggling to improve their living conditions.
The two AKDN agencies that the award jury particularly noted were the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The Urban Land Institute stated, "In a time of both unrest and great hope in the Arab and Muslim worlds, the jury was moved to honor a leader who has raised the quality of life in these regions without regard to nationality, creed, or gender.
His Highness the Aga Khan Receives ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development
Los Angeles, 27 October 2011 – His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), today received the 2011 Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development at the ULI's Annual Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo in Los Angeles.
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize recognizes an individual, or a person representing an institution, whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. The $100,000 prize honours the legacy of legendary Kansas City, Missouri, developer Jesse Clyde Nichols (1880-1950), a founding ULI member who is widely regarded as one of America's most influential entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 20th century.
"Through the Aga Khan Development Network, progress and improvements to communities have been undertaken in over 30 countries," said James DeFrancia, chair of the 2011 Nichols Prize jury and principal of Lowe Enterprises in Aspen, Colorado. "The Aga Khan has further been an advocate of standards of excellence through his Award for Architecture. His Planning and Building Services agency has also improved design, construction, sanitation and environmental sustainability. The efforts of the Aga Khan have strengthened both communities and society at large."
Luis Monreal, General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, accepted the prize on behalf of the Aga Khan. "Fully a third of World Heritage sites are in the Muslim world, but they are inhabited by some of the poorest people," Monreal said. "Traditional approaches to urban regeneration – which are often designed to create museums of these neighbourhoods – fail to address social and economic dimensions. They become unproductive burdens on poor municipalities. The central objective of our work, therefore, is to leverage culture in pursuit of poverty alleviation. We do this by bringing a critical mass of programs to bear – the creation of parks and gardens, heritage conservation, water and sanitation, microfinance, open space and infrastructure improvements, and education and health initiatives. We have found that poor people can benefit from these efforts and can become custodians of their heritage."
The Aga Khan was selected for the award on the 75th anniversary of the ULI. "We are recognizing the anniversary as much by looking ahead as by celebrating our past, and this involves expanding ULI's reach to new audiences around the globe," said ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick Phillips. "The knowledge we gain from the outstanding example set by the Aga Khan's work will greatly help ULI broaden its approach to community building," he said.
The ULI jury cited a number of AKDN projects as exemplars of the Aga Khan’s work, including the restoration of a 900-year-old Altit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan, which received an Award of Distinction at the 2011 UNESCO Asian-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, and the triennial Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
For more information:
Aga Khan Development Network
1-3 ave de la paix
Tel. +41 22 909 7200
It’s the question that 6,000 developers from around the United States (plus many from around the world) must have been asking last week as they assembled in Los Angeles for the Urban Land Institute’s 75th anniversary celebration. The organization’s highest honor, they heard, was not, as in previous years, going to a familiar U.S. property developer, planner or far-sighted political leader (last year Chicago’s retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley).
Rather, the prestigious J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development was being awarded to Shah Karim-al Hussayna — a man better known as the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, a sect of 12-15 million believers worldwide who revere him as a direct descendant of and legitimate heir to the Prophet Muhammad.
And why this selection? The ULI award cited the Aga Khan’s “strong leadership, over more than 40 years, in a stunning variety of development and philanthropic endeavors largely benefitting poor and marginalized communities in Asia and Africa struggling to improve their living conditions.”
A point of clarification: this writer was a member of the ULI awarding jury, at the organization’s invitation. We concluded that in this year of the Arab Spring, at a moment of perilous transitions in the relations between Western and Muslim communities, the time was ideal to honor the Aga Khan. First, because of his remarkable record in furthering quality design and physical development, with great sensitivity to communities’ unique histories and cultures.
And secondly, we hoped the award to this thoughtful and effective Muslim leader might be a bridge to broadened exchange of ideas and community building practices between Western and Islamic cultures.
The Aga Khan was born in 1936, schooled in Europe, and became the 49th hereditary leader of the Ismailis in 1957, while a student at Harvard. (His father, Prince Aly Khan, an infamous playboy best known for his brief marriage to Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth, was predictably passed over — a decision made by his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan).
Energetic from youth, the new Aga Khan skied at the 1962 Olympics in Innsbruck, made the cover of Life magazine in 1958, and interviewed President Kennedy in the White House. In 1977 he endowed a Center for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT.
A skeptic might say the Aga Khan has it easy. His family fortune places him on lists of the world’s wealthiest individuals. And he receives a 12.5 percent tithe from his sect’s millions of followers as they follow the ethic of Islam that requires members of the faith to contribute to improving the quality of human life. This income — $625 million in 2010 — flows to the Aga Khan Development Network, which he founded more than 40 years ago.
What’s striking is the breadth of activities this money, heavily focused in the world’s developing countries, supports. There are funds to promote entrepreneurial activity in fragile economies. Cash flows flow to rural development, health, education and strengthening civil society. There are microfinance programs in 20 countries. Planning and building services are provided to improve village planning, housing and construction. There’s an Aga Khan University that offers medical and education field courses at ten campuses in nations ranging from Kenya to Afghanistan, Egypt to Uganda.
Stewardship of the built environment — quality architecture combined with respect for local history and tradition — has been a major focus of the Aga Khan’s activities for decades. The work’s been essential in the Muslim world, where the historic cores of many cities have deteriorated seriously over time.
An example is provided by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which worked to restore a noted historic monument that draws many tourists — the 900-year old Altit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan. But there was a problem: residents had been abandoning traditional housing in the village and building new houses on valuable arable land. So the trust financed a water filtration system to draw people back to the traditional settlement.
Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, sponsored and financed by the Aga Khan’s Trust for Culture and listed as one of the world’s 60 great public spaces by the Project for Public Spaces.
The Aga Khan last year explained such strategies to NBC News: “I discovered the cultural dimension of the Islamic world was an extraordinarily powerful trampoline for development. The populations of these cultural sites are often the poorest in the country. So acting in culture, you’re actually developing the quality of life for the poorest people who’ve been recently urbanized.”
Or on another occasion: “We are increasingly aware that the quality of our buildings can transform the quality of our lives, both spiritual and material.”
At a time when xenophobic voices in the United States thoughtlessly bundle Muslim faith with its fringes of terrorist extremism, the Urban Land Institute’s award to the Aga Kahn represents the value and wisdom of a thought- and value-based approach in a mature society. The country (and world) need far more, not less, of the same.
Comments from ULI Leadership:
From 2011 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize Jury Chair James DeFrancia, principal of Lowe Enterprises, Aspen, Colo.:
The J.C. Nichols Prize recognizes distinguished contributions to community building. Such contributions can, and do, come from many sources and cultures. Through the Aga Khan Development Network, progress and improvements to communities have been undertaken in over 30 countries. The Aga Khan has further been an advocate of standards of excellence through his Award for Architecture. His Planning and Building Services agency has also improved design, construction, sanitation and environmental sustainability. The efforts of the Aga Khan have strengthened both communities and society at large.
From Patrick L. Phillips, ULI Chief Executive Officer:
The jury made a great choice. The work of His Highness the Aga Khan and the AKDN exemplifies the holistic approach to community building that is central to ULI’s culture and ethos. As we commemorate our 75th anniversary year, this award reinforces several things about where ULI is today: we’re a global organization; our mission resonates in emerging markets as well as developed ones; and we’re interested in expanding our view and our impact beyond our traditional constituencies.
Shah Karim Al-Hussayni, The Aga Khan IV
Shah Karīm al-Hussaynī, The Āgā Khān IV, is the 49th and current Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. In Islam’s ethical tradition, religious leaders not only interpret the faith but also have a responsibility to help improve the quality of life in their community and the societies where they live. For the Aga Khan, this has meant a deep engagement with international development community for more than 40 years through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
The AKDN works in over 30 countries around the world and employs approximately 80,000 people, the majority of whom are based in developing countries. The AKDN’s annual budget for non-profit development activities in 2010 was approximately US$ 625 million, and the project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development generated revenues of US$ 2.3 billion in 2010. Its partners include numerous governments and several international organizations. AKDN agencies operate in social and economic development as well as in the field of culture, with special focus on countries of the Third World. The network operates in 35 of the poorest countries in the world and is statutorily secular.
Shah Karīm al-Hussaynī has held the title of Āgā Khān since July 11, 1957, when, at the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. In 1977, the Aga Khan established the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, an award recognizing excellence in architecture that encompasses contemporary design and social, historical, and environmental considerations. It is the largest architectural award in the world and is granted triennially. In 1979, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) respectively, established the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA), which is supported by an endowment from Aga Khan.
The Aga Khan defies nearly every Western stereotype of an Islamic religious leader. He is a citizen of the United Kingdom, but resides in an eighteenth-century chateau in Chantilly, France. In order to enhance the status of women, he frequently travels in the Muslim world with his Harvard-educated daughter, Zahra, who works on social development issues for his philanthropic network. He is a horse breeder, a newspaper proprietor, a yachtsman, a developer, a financier, and a philanthropist of almost unparalleled scope. Most importantly, he is widely considered the most successful Imam of the Shia Imani Muslims and is deeply committed to improving living conditions and opportunities in the developing world.
The Aga Khan, son of Prince Aly Khan and Princess Tajuddawlah Aly Khan (née Joan Yarde-Buller), was born on December 13, 1936, in Geneva. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. The Aga Khan spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya and prepped at Le Rosey School in Switzerland before entering Harvard University in 1955.
In 1957, while a 20-year-old Harvard undergraduate, the Aga Khan became the 49th hereditary Imam, or leader, of the world’s Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. As Imam, the Aga Khan is responsible for the material and spiritual well-being of the Ismailis, an affluent Muslim sect of 15 million who live in South and Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, as well as in North America and western Europe. He succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, who had requested to be succeeded by “a young man who has been brought up in the midst of the new age.” The Aga Khan’s father, an infamous playboy who was best known for his brief marriage to American actress Rita Hayworth, was predictably passed over.
AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The Aga Khan, whose family wealth perennially places him on lists of the world’s wealthiest individuals, receives a 12.5 percent tithe from his followers. The entirety of this money is invested and allocated to health, education, and cultural projects worldwide, which have been brought together under the AKDN, formally founded in 1967. Over the last 40 plus years, the Aga Khan has created a number of AKDN programs that are conducted without regard to the faith, origin, or gender of the people they serve, guided by the ethic of Islam that requires members of the faith to contribute to improving the quality of all human life. The overarching goal is to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in the developing world.
Underlying the AKDN’s development philosophy is the recognition that values and ideals shape and reflect people’s identities and can offer direction and points of reference in a rapidly changing world. AKDN institutions work in close partnership with the world’s major national and international aid and development agencies. The AKDN itself is an independent self-governing system of agencies, institutions, and programs under the leadership of the Aga Khan. In 2010, the annual budget for its nonprofit development activities was approximately US$ 625 million. The project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development generate annual revenues of US$ 2.3 billion, with all surpluses reinvested in further development activities.
The Aga Khan Development Network has nine agencies:
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, which works to invest in fragile economies and promote entrepreneurial activity in the developing world;
The Aga Khan Foundation, which focuses on rural development, health, education, the strengthening of civil society and the environment;
The Aga Khan University, which offers courses in the medical and education fields at ten campuses in Asia, Africa, and Europe and the University of Central Asia, with campuses in Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan;
The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which operates microfinance programs in 20 countries.
The Aga Khan Health Services, a network which includes the 235 nonprofit hospitals, clinics and satellite facilities;
The more than 300 schools comprising the Aga Khan Education Services;
The Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, which works to improve housing design and construction, village planning, natural hazard mitigation and environmental sanitation; and,
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) includes The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Historic Cities Support Program, and the Education and Culture Program. The Trust also provides financial support for the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.
THE AGA KHAN AWARD FOR ARCHITECTURE
The Aga Khan sees the stewardship of the built environment as a component of his religious obligations. He has said, “The Holy Koran says that man is God’s noblest creation to whom he has entrusted the stewardship of all that is on earth; each generation must leave for its successors a wholesome and sustainable social and physical environment.” The Aga Khan works to preserve and improve the built environment, while engaging architects, their clients, governments, planners, village organizations, educational institutions and builders in urban and rural areas. The Aga Khan promotes the idea of architecture as something integrated into larger social developments; in his words, “you can’t have architecture without education, you can’t have education without healthcare, you can’t have healthcare without architecture. It becomes a unified sense of architecture and, therefore, the works that emerge from that point of view, I think, are more resonant.”
More than 30 years ago, the Aga Khan became increasingly concerned with the deteriorating architectural heritage and inappropriate building practices found in many Muslim societies, while wanting to sensitize those who build in the developing world to the unique heritage of Muslim history and architecture. He worked with leading architects, philosophers, artists, teachers, historians, and thinkers from all religious faiths to establish an Award for Architecture, which was founded in 1977. The award seeks exemplary design excellence while heightening international awareness of Islam’s rich and varied architectural traditions. The award, which is the world’s largest architecture prize, honors a broad range of achievements from social housing and community improvement to reuse, conservation, and contemporary design.
The award focuses on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalization of communities in the Muslim world. Qualifying projects are designed for or used by Muslim communities. Up to $500,000 is awarded to projects selected by an independent master jury appointed for each tri-annual cycle. Because of the broad range of issues and locations involved, professionals from all backgrounds and religions are appointed to the nine person jury, which chooses from several hundred submissions.
The first cycle of the awards in 1980 established themes of social responsibility and sustainability. Controversy followed when an award was made to a self-help community planning program, the Kampung Improvement Program in Jakarta, Indonesia. Prior to this, spontaneous building was largely considered to be outside of the realm of architecture. As a result, the award has encouraged the worldwide architectural community to reconsider its definition of architecture. The awards typically cover an exceptionally wide range of architectural programs and styles.
Past recipients of the award include the Salinger residence in Malaysia, which, despite its modern presence was hand-built using traditional skills. Great Mosque of Riyadh, an old city center redevelopment in Saudi Arabia, won an award in 1995 for reinterpreting styles of the past to create a meaningful dialogue with the present. An award recipient in 1983, the Haij Terminal in Riyadh was designed to house the million or more pilgrims who make their way to Mecca every year, a program that prompted the design of the largest roof in the world. Recipients involving contemporary design include Vidhan Bhavan, the striking state assembly building in Bhopal, India, and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, designed by Louis Kahn.
The awards have a long-standing tradition of rewarding conservation. Many Muslim cities have historic cores that have severely deteriorated over time. Awards were made in 1995 for the conservation of Old Sana’a, Yemen, and for the conservation of Mostar Old Town in Bosnia-Herzegovnia in 1986. In addition to the conservation of historic districts, juries have awarded projects that involved the restoration of historic monuments with social and cultural value. The restoration of the 14th Century Tomb of Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Pakistan is one such project.
Most recently, in 2010, the Wadi Hanifa Wetlands, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the revitalization of the Hypercentre of Tunis, Tunisia, the Madinat Al-Zahra Museum, Cordoba, Spain, the Ipekyol Textile Factory in Edirne, Turkey; and the Bridge School, Xiashi, Fujian, China received the award.
The Historic Cities Support Program (HCSP) was launched to develop best practice conservation and adaptive use of buildings and public spaces in historic cities in the Muslim World. HCSP undertakes the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces in ways that can spur social, economic and cultural development. Individual project briefs go beyond technical restoration to address the questions of the social and environmental context, adaptive re-use, institutional sustainability and training. HCSP has been involved in revitalization projects in six places in the Islamic World – the Northern Areas of Pakistan, Zanzibar, Samarkand, Cairo, Mostar (Bosnia) and Syria.
THE AGA KHAN PROGRAM FOR ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE
The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA), established in 1977, is an endowed center of excellence in the history, theory, and practice of Islamic architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AKPIA’s mandate is to educate architects, planners, teachers, and researchers who can contribute directly to meeting the building and design needs of Muslim communities today. AKPIA teaching and scholarship also serves to increase sympathetic cross-cultural interest in Islamic arts and culture. To date, more than 120 professionals from the Muslim world have graduated from the program. Trust endowments have supported the operation of Harvard’s textual and visual collections on the history of Islamic art and architecture, and have enabled the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a visual reference collection on the architecture of the 20th century Muslim world. The Trust has also underwritten the publication of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, produced since 1983 through AKPIA’s office at Harvard University.
HONORS AND DISTINCTION
In 2005, the Aga Khan was awarded the Vincent Scully Prize by the National Building Museum and matched the cash prize of $25,000 and used the sum to create scholarships for third world students wishing to study architecture at Harvard, MIT, and Yale. As previously mentioned, there is an Aga Khan program for Islamic Architecture at both Harvard and MIT; Yale was included as a gesture to Vincent Scully. In a tribute to him at that event, James Wolfensohn, the former president of the World Bank, said this of the Aga Khan: “I have never met anybody who not only has the vision but has the personal management capacity to be able to take these visions and realize them….he has a wonderful way of doing it, which perhaps gives him an advantage over most of the rest of us, in that he draws on remarkable experts, but he makes the decisions…..[he] is one person who stands out in my mind as not only an icon of not only thought and philosophy but of action.” The Aga Khan has been the recipient of countless awards and distinctions from around the world, the most prominent of which are listed below.
In June 2011, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service’s (AKPBS) innovative Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP) received the Award for Avoided Deforestation at the 2011 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. Also in 2011, the Aga Khan received the 2011 University of California San Francisco Medal, the university’s highest honor, which recognizes outstanding personal contributions in areas associated with the University’s fourfold health science mission.
Significant recent or current projects led by the Aga Khan include the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and the Global Centre for Pluralism (GCP) in Ottawa, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, the Bagh-e Babur restoration in Kabul, and a network of residential schools known as the Aga Khan Academies (AKA). Since 2001, the Aga Khan Development Network has mobilized over $700 million in Afghanistan—a personal contribution larger than any single donor and more than most countries.
At the 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture ceremony, the Aga Khan gave a speech that focused on the proper role of Islamic architecture in the modern world, where he considered the distance Islamic architecture has traversed in the past 40 years: “We have come a long way from a careless confidence that the built environment would somehow take care of itself. We are increasingly aware that the quality of our buildings can transform the quality of our lives, both spiritual and material.”
Ashden Sustainable Energy Award, Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, 2011
University of California, San Francisco Medal, 2011
Foreign member of the Sciences Academy of Lisbon, Portugal, 2009
Vincent Scully Prize, National Building Museum, 2005
Alcan Prize for Sustainability, 2005
Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy, 2005
Order of Canada, 2005
Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy, 2005
Die Quadriga, 2005
Honorary Degrees from American University of Beirut (2005), Bristol University (2002), Brown University (1996), McMaster University (1987), MIT (1994), University of Toronto (2004)
Hadrian Award, World Monuments Fund, 1997, 1996
Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects, 1992
Honorary Member, American Institute of Architects, 1984
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal in Architecture, University of Virginia, 1984
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