Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:38 am Post subject: ACTIVITIES AT THE ISMAILI CENTRE BURNABY
Ugandan Vice President speaks at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby
Gathered at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby (L to R): His Excellency George Abola, High Commissioner for Uganda in Ottawa; Samira Alibhai, President of the Ismaili Council for British Columbia; His Excellency Professor Gilbert Bukenya, Vice President of Uganda; Malik Talib, Vice-President of the Ismaili Council for Canada; and John Halani, Honorary Consul for Uganda in BC. Photo: Riyaz Lalani
On 25 October 2009, His Excellency Professor Gilbert Bukenya, Vice President of Uganda visited the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Accompanied by His Excellency George Abola, High Commissioner of Uganda in Ottawa, he sought to reach out to the Canadian Ismaili community — many of whom were born in Africa — with an invitation to invest in the future of Uganda.
Upon their arrival, they were received by Malik Talib, Vice-President of the Ismaili Council for Canada and Samira Alibhai, President of the Ismaili Council for British Columbia, as well as John Halani, Honorary Consul for Uganda in British Columbia. A number of businessmen and professionals had also gathered at the Ismaili Centre to hear Vice President Bukenya’s presentation.
During the visit, the Ugandan Vice President discussed his country’s socio-economic progress, and presented to the Jamat a range of economic opportunities in the country. Of particular emphasis was Uganda’s movement from being an exporter of raw materials to an exporter of finished products, and a supporter of private sector enterprise.
The Ismaili Centre, Burnaby provided a meaningful setting for the event. “This is a place not only of prayer and congregation, but also a place for teaching, learning, intellectual discourse, inquiry, and social gathering,” said Vice-President Talib in his address. Symbolic of the Jamat’s permanent presence in Canada, it also testifies to the core values of the Ismaili community, he added.
Vice-President Talib applauded the Ugandan government for the stability and overall sense of renewal that it has created in Uganda. “Today, the Government of Uganda is also making a strong commitment to public education, and Uganda’s own history involves centres of learning, like Makerere University,” he said.
His Excellency Professor Gilbert Bukenya, Vice President of Uganda, speaks at the occasion of the foundation-stone ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy, Kampala, in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte
He highlighted the importance of ongoing partnership between the Government of Uganda and the Aga Khan Development Network through economic initiatives like the Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Project and the Kampala Serena Hotel, as well as the Aga Khan University’s health studies and education programmes in Uganda. Vice President Bukenya also has first-hand knowledge of the new Aga Khan Academy being built in Kampala, having joined Mawlana Hazar Imam at the occasion of its foundation stone-laying ceremony in 2007.
“We are confident that these partnerships will grow under the investment-friendly policies of your government and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Government of Uganda,” concluded Vice-President Talib
AKU-ISMC is pleased to announce that it will be conducting a cluster launch for its publications at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby, Canada during the first week of January 2010.
This will be the first of a programme of ongoing cluster events to be held across several locations to launch the institute’s 3 new series of academic publications . Four volumes from these series were published this past October, entitled: Islam: Between Message and History, Development Models in Muslim Contexts, The Challenge of Pluralism, and Encyclopaedias about Muslim Civilisations.
Sikeena Karmali Ahmed, Manager, Publications & Editing at the ISMC will deliver a brief presentation about the Institute’s publications programme, its 3 academic series and the newly published volumes. There will be abundant opportunity for both questions and discussion; and the books will be available for sale.
Please refer to IJKC announcements for a confirmed date and time.
Reflecting on 25 years of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby
Leafy plants and fragrant flowers accent the exterior of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Nurdin Dhanani
On 23 August 1985, then Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, officially opened the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam and then Premier of British Columbia, Bill Bennett. The opening of the first Ismaili Centre in North America was a historic moment for the Jamat in Canada and around the world.
» Ismaili Centres: The Ismaili Centre, Burnaby
» Opening Ceremony on 23 August 1985
» Gallery: Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby
Farouk Verjee, then President of Ismaili Council for Canada, was intimately involved in the planning, development and opening of the Centre. He describes a meeting that occurred on the morning of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 1978 visit to Vancouver when Hazar Imam announced to the Jamati leadership that Burnaby would be home to the first Ismaili Centre in Canada. “It was much more than just a building,” he says, “it was a powerful message to the Jamat that Canada was to be our permanent home.”
The building was designed by Vancouver architect Bruno Freschi. In 2006, Freschi visited the Centre for the first time since his involvement in the project, and spoke of his inspiration for the building and the rationale and purpose of the building from an architectural standpoint.
Architect Bruno Freschi describes to Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, how the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby will take shape. Photo: Christopher Little
“I was inspired by the opportunity to work on a significant spiritual architectural space, and one from such a long and profound tradition in spiritual architecture,” said Freschi. “Through very illuminating discussions with His Highness, the local community and other consultants, I found an open minded and very willing client group in a passionate search for an icon to represent this new community in Canada.”
“Mawlana Hazar Imam was intimately involved in the design process,” recalls Verjee. “And Prince Amyn played a key role as well, particularly in the design and development of the beautiful courtyard.”
The Centre is a synthesis of Islamic architecture and contemporary design, drawing on architectural principles steeped in Muslim history and tradition, but reflecting the requirements of modern-day society. The fusion of these seemingly disparate elements results in a design that draws strength from its diversity and is also rooted in timeless values. The use of architecture to convey layers of meaning is evident not only in the Ismaili Centres in Burnaby and around the world, but also in the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa that was opened in 2008.
Mawlana Hazar Imam applauds Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, following his remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Zahur Ramji
The Delegation building was inspired by rock crystal, which presents itself differently as light moves through it and is a symbol for the profound beauty and unfolding mystery of creation itself, and of the Creator. The melding of design concepts will also be employed in projects currently under construction in Toronto — the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and their Park on Wynford Drive. The architecture of these buildings is inspired by the past, but also by the modern day, making the structures relevant for generations to come.
At the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby, Mawlana Hazar Imam outlined his vision for the Centre: “This will be a place of congregation, of order, of peace, of prayer, of hope, of humility, and of brotherhood,” he said. “From it should come forth those thoughts, those sentiments, those attitudes, which bind men together and which unite. It has been conceived and will exist in a mood of friendship, courtesy, and harmony. While the building will be an important focus in the social and religious life of the local Ismaili community in Burnaby, it is my hope, a very deep hope, that it will become a symbol of a growing understanding in the West of the real meaning of Islam.”
During the 25 years since its opening, the Centre has served as a conduit through which the community has sought to fulfil this dynamic vision not only for the Jamat, but also for the wider Canadian and international communities. The Centre has welcomed an array of social, political and business leaders, crossing the lines of political affiliation, culture and religion, and has provided a meaningful setting for the promotion of dialogue and the sharing of ideas.
His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York, speaks with guests and recipients of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the courtyard of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Aziz Ladha
“The Centre was the first Silver Jubilee project in Canada,” says Ismaili Council for Canada President, Mohamed Manji. “As I look back, I see the Jamat and its outlook have changed significantly since its establishment. In any city — in any community — the built environment speaks to the life of the community. The Centre in Burnaby is more than a place of gathering, it has become a focal point. It provides a sense of pride, belonging and identity. It has also been a source of education about Islam and the Ismaili Jamat. And, it is utilised by people from all walks of life as a place for meetings and seminars, thus providing the Jamat an opportunity for meaningful interaction.”
Both past and recent events held at the Centre demonstrate its role in fostering a pluralistic civil society where the diversity of cultures, traditions and ideas are celebrated. Since the opening of the Centre, the building has continually welcomed citizens from within its neighbourhood to discuss the commonalities amongst their faiths.
During Mawlana Hazar Imam’s recent Golden Jubilee visit, the City of Burnaby recognised the contributions of Mawlana Hazar Imam and the local Ismaili community by gifting a large parcel of land next to Burnaby Lake Jamatkhana, which will be developed into a park. In his remarks, the Mayor said: “We are honoured to create this park on the occasion of His Highness’ Golden Jubilee as the City of Burnaby’s recognition and thanks to the Aga Khan and the Ismaili community for making Burnaby their home. We have benefitted from their enterprise and contribution to civil society.”
Professor Farid Esack is congratulated by ummah leaders during an event held in commemoration of Milad-un-Nabi at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Canada
President Manji says that the gift from the City of Burnaby “is a wonderful example of how the Jamat and the Ismaili Centre have had an impact in Canada, and how the Centre in Burnaby has been a catalyst for the continued success of the Jamat.” Similarly, Manji adds that the projects on Wynford Drive represent a turning point for the Jamat, offering it a trajectory along which to reach even greater heights of success.
In September 2009, the Olympic Truce Dialogue was held at the Centre, where Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, led a dialogue aimed at engaging youth in meaningful and action-oriented conversation on the topic of peace-building through sport and culture. In welcoming the guests, President Manji noted that the values of the Olympic Truce — humility, tolerance, pluralism, the creation of a peaceful and better world through sport, and the spirit of volunteerism — are values that the Ismaili community also lives by, and are cherished by all Canadians.
The following month, the Centre welcomed His Excellency Professor Gilbert Bukenya, Vice President of Uganda, who spoke about his country’s socio-economic progress and the growth of economic opportunities. And, more recently, on 24 April 24 2010, the Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, was a guest at a luncheon held at the Centre, where she spoke about improving access to justice and the role of alternative dispute resolution. Professor Azim Nanji, Senior Associate Director for Islamic Studies at Stanford University, and past Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, also spoke on the topic of justice in Muslim contexts.
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, speaks with volunteers at the Olympic Truce event hosted at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby in 2009. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Canada
Twenty-five years ago, Mawlana Hazar Imam called for a better understanding of Islam in the Western world. “Muslims living in the West can, and indeed must, contribute to improving the comprehension of what their faith does stand for, and to dispelling misconceptions which, both in the short and the long term, pose a serious threat to international understanding,” he said.
The need for this understanding has never been more evident than in the world today. The institutional buildings and presence in Canada, including the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, as well as the new Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and their Park in Toronto, serve not only as symbols but also as vehicles to help develop and cultivate this understanding.
The Ismaili Centre, Burnaby is a focal point for many events, including this book launch held in the Social Hall. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship welcome 40 new Canadians at a special ceremony at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship in partnership with the Vancouver citizenship committee will host candidates for citizenship at a special community ceremony at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby on Monday Oct.18 to kick off Citizenship Week (Oct. 18 – 22).
Forty new citizens will be welcomed. Prior to the ceremony, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will hold another in its series of community roundtable discussions. These unique ICC-designed roundtable discussions aim to strengthen the connection between new Canadians and their communities.
PRESIDING OFFICIAL: Judge Anne-Marie Kains
Diversity and Pluralism in Islam: Historical and Contemporary Discourses amongst Muslims
For more than fourteen hundred years, Muslims have held multiple and diverging views about many aspects of their religious tradition including religious authority, ritual practice, political power, law and governance, civic life, and the form and content of individual and communal expressions. Muslims have regularly debated amongst themselves about these issues. Despite the diversity amongst Muslims and the plurality of understandings about Islam, Muslims are regularly portrayed as internally homogenous and monolithic. This book challenges such propositions by examining the ways in which Muslims regularly debate amongst themselves about matters of common concern, the processes by which they discursively construct notions of self, other and community, and the socio-cultural tools they employ in so doing.
Dr. Zulfikar Hirji will be in Vancouver to launch this new and share his insights from a range of disciplines, including anthropology, history, literature, political theory, comparative literature and Islamic studies.
Date: Thursday, November 25, 2010
Venue: Ismaili Centre, Burnaby.
CITIZENSHIP WEEK –
BUILDING CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES
Citizenship Week was from Oct. 18 to 22 this year and the
ICC celebrated with community ceremonies all across the
Our Building Citizenship committees held ceremonies at
the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Ismaili Centre Burnaby,
the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Immigrant Centre
in Winnipeg, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto ,
Hamilton’s Mohawk College and Thorncliffe Park Public
School in Toronto, which was featured on CBC’s Metro
The P.E.I. Citizenship Committee, headed by Trina O’Brien
Leggott, also launched its first-ever ceremony on Oct. 28 in
Charlottetown at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
Ceremonies in November included Fort York in Toronto (Nov. 12), St. Michael’s
Ismaili Center Burnaby: Venue for "A Song at a time to make a difference!”
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Come to Burnaby & Coquitlam to hear the harmony of Children’s voices….
“A Song at a time to make a difference!”
A number of lunchtime concerts will take place in public venues around Burnaby and Coquitlam during “Songs of the World 2011″. Each choir will energize your day with a wonderful set of about 30 minutes of singing. A wonderful way to spend your lunch hour!!
Wednesday July 6, 2011 | Noon | Performances located as follows:
II. Ismaili Centre , Burnaby- 4010 Canada Way, Burnaby
Young Naperville Singers and Coastal Sound Children’s Choir
Shahin Jaffer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Ya Ali Madad to all our Lower Mainland Physicians, Residents, Fellows
and Medical Students,
On behalf of the Economic Planning Board we would like to invite you
to the first meeting of the Physicians’ Alliance to be held in
Vancouver. In keeping with the recent guidance from the Imam, we
would like to bring together members of the medical community in an
attempt to establish a closer network between health care specialists
so as to better serve the jamat.
The first meeting will be held at Darkhana Jamatkhana on September 24
in the meeting room at 11:00 am . This initial meeting will be for
the purpose of brainstorming potential ideas and goals for the
Alliance, as well as to determine how we can better serve the jamat
and humanity in general. Your presence is requested both for your
participation as well as for your contribution as a health care
Please RSVP to either Dr. Shahin Jaffer or to Tehmina Remtulla by
September 10th, either by phone or by email. Our contact information
is as follows:
His Honour the Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, addresses Duke of Edinburgh award recipients at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Azim Verjee
In the past 25 years, the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby has hosted a wide range of events, opening its doors to government officials, prominent academics, leaders of many communities, and the wider public.
Over the years, the Centre has served provided a distinguished venue for the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Awards, hosting 19 Bronze Award ceremonies and a Royal Gold Award ceremony. These ceremonies have permitted Award recipients and their families an opportunity to tour the Centre and engage in dialogue with leaders of the Ismaili community.
As part of its year-long commemoration of the 25th Anniversary, the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby hosted a Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award ceremony on 4 June with His Honour the Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. It was the first time a Silver Award ceremony has been held outside of Government House in Victoria.
Antalya Popatia, a Silver Award Recipient, is also a member of the Girl Guides, and represented her group during the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. “Receiving my Silver Duke of Edinburgh award gave me a great sense of accomplishment, confidence and satisfaction,” she said.
“In the journey to get this award, I was able to make new friends, participate in physically challenging activities and learn about and appreciate nature. Many of the skills I developed- teamwork, leadership, discipline and serving others - will help me to succeed in life.”
Rashid Fatehali is recognised by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia for 25 years of outstanding service to the Duke of Edinburgh programme. Photo: Azim Verjee
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was established as a challenge from Prince Philip to all youth between the ages of 14 to 25. Participants have to satisfy the requirements of four sections of the programme: service, adventurous journeys, skills and physical recreation. The Award represents a personal commitment to constructive endeavour, promoting qualities of self-discipline, self-help and self-reliance, and seeks to play a role in grooming the leaders of tomorrow.
During the ceremony, Rashid Fatehali — who has been instrumental in leading the Ismaili youth through the Duke programme since 1986 — was honoured for his 25 years of outstanding service. Fatehali along with the expedition leaders, Fahreen Sovani, Al-Karim Virani, Ebrahim Bawa, Shane Virani, Aly Sachedina and Zahra Ramji have had the privilege of guiding numerous Award recipients, and watching them develop into outstanding individuals.
“I was very honoured to have been recognised for my 25 years of time and energy,” explained Fatehali. “I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that I was a part of helping the youth achieve their goals through this programme, which has been very rewarding for me.”
Eighty-five youth from 38 different groups across British Columbia received their certificates of recognition from the Lieutenant Governor, including 12 Ismailis. The youth had successfully completed a variety of unique adventurous journeys that included kayaking, hiking, cycling, and mountain climbing.
“The programme has helped me develop a variety of different skills,” says Matina Kamdar, who received her Silver Award at the ceremony. “Over the many camps and expeditions that I have taken part in, I have felt myself grow as a person and have been able to connect and share new ideas with others within the community.”
Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award recipients and leaders from the Ismaili community gather for a group photograph at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Azim Verjee
As construction continues along Wynford Drive, BC Premier visits exhibition at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby
More Stories About
News and Events Ismaili Centre Burnaby British Columbia Duke of Edinburgh Award 25th Anniversary
Tour of Ismaili Jamatkhana & Centre, Burnaby, B.C. on November 7th, 2011.
Monday, November 7, 2011 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM (PT)
Burnaby, British Columbia
The Ismaili Jamatkhana & Centre, designed by Bruno Freschi, is a synthesis of traditional Islamic architectural principles and modern construction techniques. From reports of people who have visited the Jamatkhana & Centre, we can assure you a most memorable day. The Jamatkhana, inaugurated in 1985, is one of BC’s best kept architectural secrets.
Join Naz Rayani C.M., and Mona Goode of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society CSRS (Uvic) to tour The Ismaili Jamatkhana.
Meet at 8:30 - 8.40 a.m. At Swartz Bay Terminal to depart as foot passengers on the 9 a.m. to Tsawwassen.
Please dress casual and comfortable for the weather.
Burnaby's Ismaili Centre will get a sneak peek at a unqiue cross-cultural musical collaboration.
Afghanistan's legendary Homayun Sakhi Trio will be performing a private concert at the centre on Nov. 4, as a lead-up to a major concert on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.
Sakhi is a master of the rubâb, a lute-like instrument from Afghanistan.
"During the country's long years of armed conflict, when music was heavily controlled, censored, repressed and, finally, totally banned, the classical rubâb style to which Homayun devoted his career not only survived but reached new creative heights," a press release notes.
The day after his Ismaili Centre performance, Sakhi brings his renowned trio to the stage at the Chan Centre to share the spotlight with the celebrated Kronos Quartet - featuring David Harrington and John Sherba on violin, Hank Dutt on viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello.
The musicians will offer up individual sets and then join forces to perform Sakhi's composition Rangin Kaman, translated as "rainbow" in Farsi - which takes listeners on a musical journey through different regions of Afghanistan.
"It can be said that all music is a type of dialogue, with interweaving melodies and rhythms functioning like a conversation," said Joyce Hinton, co-managing director of the Chan Centre, in a press release. "In Rangin Kaman, we experience the most exciting variant of this discourse: one where cultures collide, boundaries blur and traditions fuse. The resulting collaboration is a piece of rich depth, breathtaking passages and soaring melodic beauty."
Their concert is set for 8 p.m. in the Chan Shun Concert Hall at the Chan Centre, at the University of British Columbia.
Monday, November 21, 2011
TRIP TO THE ISMAILI JAMATKHANA IN BURNABY
Mention the words Islam and Muslim to many in the street these days and their thoughts turn to Sharia Law condoning the cutting off of hands, suicide martyrs dreaming of virgin in paradise, raped women being stoned...and many more negative images.
Eight parishioners from St. Philip's-by-the-Sea decided on Tuesday November 15th to accept the free invitation of Naz Rayani and Mona Goode from the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (CSRS) at the University of Victoria to tour The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Burnaby. We sought the truth behind those stereotypes.
The Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, BC hosted a keynote speech by Prof. Toope on 31 January, marking the inauguration of The Ismaili Centre Lectures, a series of intellectually stimulating speaker-based events.
Titled Pluralism and Pragmatism: The Role of Universities in Developing Human Potential, the emphasis of Prof. Toope’s speech is the importance of fostering global citizenship in order to support pluralism within the greater community.
The Lectures will encourage exchange and mutual understanding between diverse peoples, communities, and faiths while broadening intellectual horizons and fostering an appreciation of pluralism.
Prof. Toope’s remarks are also available under Speeches & Op/eds
Universities have a role in encouraging pluralist encounters says UBC President at inaugural Ismaili Centre Lecture
Video presented by TheIsmaili.org, the official website of the Ismaili Muslim community.
Video by Jamil Mawani and Jalal Karim» Also see text of President Toope’s speech (PDF)
“Communities are built on common interest, shared histories, need for information, the desire for connection and for a safe place to disagree,” said Professor Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, speaking at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby, on Tuesday, 31 January 2012.
Praising Mawlana Hazar Imam for his passionate articulation of pluralism and his call to action, President Toope suggested that for students, it is through individual experience and learning — not only about themselves, but others — that they encounter people whose views and backgrounds differ from their own. A university education, he suggested, can be a “transformative experience.” Students need to be able to build successful networks and collaborations that are diverse and global in order to pragmatically understand and experience pluralism.
President Toope emphasised that creating an environment that fosters “global citizens” is crucial to seeing pluralism in action: “We transform ourselves into citizens, and that transformation is sustained by a recognition, that, as moral beings, we are here to help one another. That we cannot set someone outside our circle, we cannot turn our back on someone less fortunate than ourselves without in some way compromising ourselves and our own humanity.”
The inaugural Ismaili Centre Lecture in Burnaby was attended by civil society leaders, members of academia, and representatives from the government and diplomatic corps. Photo: Azim VerjeePresident Toope’s address marked the inauguration of The Ismaili Centre Lectures, a series of intellectually stimulating speaker-based events held at the Centre. The lectures encourage exchange and mutual understanding between diverse peoples, communities and faiths, while broadening intellectual horizons and fostering an appreciation of pluralism.
Speaking at the Foundation Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby in 1982, Mawlana Hazar Imam expressed a vision for the Centre: “This will be a place of congregation, of order, of peace, of prayer, of hope, of humility, and of brotherhood. It has been conceived and will exist in a mood of friendship, courtesy, and harmony... it is my hope, a very deep hope, that it will become a symbol of a growing understanding in the West of the real meaning of Islam.”
The Ismaili Centre Lectures aim to raise consciousness on issues of universal importance and relevance through dialogue and community engagement. Commencing the programme, Ismaili Council for Canada President Mohammed Manji welcomed guests to the Ismaili Centre.
Ismaili Council for Canada President Mohammed Manji presents UBC President Stephen J. Toope with a gift — the Bismillah Whale by Sherazad Jamal. Photo: Azim Verjee“Today is a very special day for us, as it marks the launch of the Ismaili Centre Lectures, and continues a long-standing tradition within Islam of bringing people together to share knowledge and wisdom,” said President Manji to an audience that included leaders of civil society, members of academia, and representatives from the government and diplomatic corps. “In today’s world, gatherings and dialogues are more important than ever before, and we must continue to know one another and celebrate our shared values.”
An international Law scholar, President Toope’s academic interests include public international law, legal theory, human rights, international dispute resolution, and family law. He continues to conduct research on many aspects of international law including human rights and culture, and the origins of international obligation in international society.
President Toope said that universities have a role in developing human potential through what he described as the “twin lenses” of pluralism and pragmatism. “A university should be the place where students, staff, faculty, and alumni begin to discover both the common humanity and the deep difference between them, and where it’s safe enough to explore the discomfort and the vulnerability inherent in such encounters. It should be the place where open, authentic engagement with people whose appearance or customs or worldviews are different from ours becomes a habitual practice, part of our daily lives.”
UBC President Stephen J. Toope receives a standing ovation at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. Photo: Azim Verjee“It is the task of our lives to find out [what our potential is], and to help others to do the same,” said President Toope. “And it is the task of our universities along with our partners to create, together, a global community of practice in which that may happen — for our students, staff, and scholars, and for all of the people we serve. The time for the best of deeds has come.”
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