Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:07 pm Post subject: Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the 49th Imam
Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee to be celebrated in 2017-18
11 July 2016
11 July 2016 — Mawlana Hazar Imam has graciously consented to marking the 60th year of his Imamat as the Diamond Jubilee. The news was announced on the occasion of Imamat Day by the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum and the national Ismaili Councils in Jamatkhanas around the world.
The Diamond Jubilee will be a celebration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s vision and tireless work, which have steered the Ismaili community through 60 years of sweeping changes in the global landscape at a scale that is unprecedented in history, and which has posed massive social, political and economic challenges.
Designated to be held between 11 July 2017 and 11 July 2018, the Diamond Jubilee year commemorates an epochal milestone of the Ismaili Imamat. It will be celebrated in keeping with the historic Jamati tradition of expressing shukrana — happiness and gratitude for the Imam’s benevolence, guidance and protection, as well as by reaffirming the Shia Ismaili Muslim ethic of contributing to social and human development, both within the Jamat and among the societies within which it lives.
A number of commemorative events are expected to take place to mark the Diamond Jubilee, and Mawlana Hazar Imam has also signified his intention to visit as many Jamats as possible during the period.
Preparations for the celebratory period are beginning, and the Jamati institutions are expected to announce further details in due course.
His Highness the Aga Khan: A Visual and Textual Celebration, 1957-2017 @Barakah
SIMERG LAUNCHES BARAKAH TO CELEBRATE INSPIRING LIFE OF 49TH ISMAILI IMAM
In fifty-two weeks, on 11th July, 2017, Ismailis around the world, along with the wider societies within which they live, will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the accession to the Imamat of His Highness the Aga Khan. Over the course of the next year, Simerg’s new website, Barakah, will illustrate the remarkable and inspiring life of His Highness the Aga Khan through a unique project titled “His Highness the Aga Khan: A Visual and Textual Celebration, 1957-2017.”
Barakah will include rare photographs, eyewitness accounts, descriptive essays, in-depth articles, insightful interviews, detailed timelines, as well as audio and video recordings.
His Highness the Aga Khan, direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, became the forty-ninth hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims at the age of twenty on 11th July, 1957.
Some reflections on the activities of Imamat since 1957
Upon becoming the Imam, MHI took a year off from Harvard where he was a student and undertook an extensive and intensive visit of the Jamat around the world. In the extract of his speech below he describes his visit to various centers in East Africa.
"It seems to me that having just completed a very comprehensive and very concentrated tour of my community in East Africa, you might be interested to hear my impressions of the progress and problems of Islam in this important corner of that vast and turbulent continent. My tour covered the greater part of the three territories of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, as well as the Protectorate of Zanzibar. In fifty-four days we travelled 15000 miles, mainly by air, and visited all the principal centres of population and some that scarcely seemed to be populated at all. For those who are interested in statistics of this kind I might add that this somewhat strenuous itinerary cost me eighteen pounds in weight!"
It is heartwarming to hear from many many Ismailis who have undertaken personal projects to be released for Diamond Jubilee in dedication to their Imam-e-Zaman. This Jubilee will be grand, not only because of the celebrations but because of the contribution to the Imamat from various field, not only Time and Knowledge and Resources but also new documents and content creation.
Diamond Jubilee to renew a tradition of enduring legacy
12 May 2017
Sixty days ahead of the commencement of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee on 11 July 2017, TheIsmaili is pleased to launch the first in a series of Jubilee-related articles. Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum, talks about the Ismaili tradition of commemorating Jubilee anniversaries of our Imams, and the legacies that they leave behind.
In the lifetime of each Ismaili murid, there are special moments when we rejoice in our individual, spiritual connection with the Noor of Imamat. Similarly there are occasions in the history of the Jamat when we collectively celebrate the living presence of the Imam of the Time, and commemorate the continuity of the rope of Imamat that has guided and protected us since the time of Hazrat Ali.
The Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam will be such an occasion. The 11th of July 2017 will mark 60 years — a milestone anniversary for our 49th hereditary Imam, Shah Karim al-Hussaini Aga Khan IV.
“The anniversaries of the Imam of the Time's Imamat are opportunities and occasions for the Jamat to reflect and to commemorate what the Imam of the Time has done for the Jamat,” says Aitmadi Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum.
The Ismaili tradition of Jubilees is well established. The upcoming Diamond Jubilee was preceded by Golden and Silver Jubilees that marked 50 and 25 years respectively of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat. Four Jubilees were celebrated during the lifetime of Hazar Imam’s grandfather, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, including his Platinum Jubilee commemorating 70 years of his Imamat.
Jubilee years are looked upon by the Jamat and the Imam as particularly special.
“For the Diamond Jubilee, the leaders of the Jamat made a submission to Mawlana Hazar Imam that for this 60th anniversary, the Jamat would like to commemorate this as a Jubilee,” explains the LIF Chairman. “Hazar Imam graciously accepted, and in doing so mentioned that if we were going to commemorate it as a Diamond Jubilee, then we should look at certain goals.”
Past Jubilees have been catalytic in realising significant goals and initiatives, and have left behind legacy programmes. For example, the Jubilee Insurance Company and Diamond Trust Bank were founded in the 1930s and 40s in response to the financial needs of the Jamat at that time. They’ve persisted over the decades, and grown to become important pillars in the East African region.
The goals for the Diamond Jubilee encompass a range of issues: early child development, strengthening our religious education system, and expanding access to Jamatkhanas. They also include building capacity of the institutions established by the Ismaili Imamat over the past six decades to ensure they grow and flourish in the years ahead.
Jubilee legacy projects are intimately connected with values that also reach back many centuries. The Aga Khan University, which is a Silver Jubilee project, and the more recently established University of Central Asia, are cases in point.
“The notion of education is historical within the Shia Ismaili tariqah of Islam — it goes back 1 400 years,” explains Chairman Eboo. “The Imam's ancestors built Al-Azhar a thousand years ago because of the ethical precept of valuing knowledge, of valuing the notion of education as being central to human development.”
Another example is the Time and Knowledge Nazrana, which was established during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee as a way for murids to make a gift of their time and knowledge towards building institutional capacity. In the Diamond Jubilee, it is evolving into a permanent mechanism for harnessing the intellectual capacity of the worldwide Jamat within an ethical framework of service that has long been part of the Ismaili tradition.
These are not projects whose horizons are limited to a few years or decades. “They are programmes that are designed to impact the quality of life of the Jamat for generations to come,” says Chairman Eboo.
Poverty, however, is a more immediate concern. Addressing it will involve bringing to bear the entire capacity of Imamat institutions, says the LIF Chairman, and the time horizon is much shorter.
“We are hopeful that within the next generation, we will be able to improve and address issues of poverty,” he says.
Four main factors have been identified as critical in eliminating poverty: ensuring access to education from early childhood onwards; access to healthcare and quality medical facilities; ensuring that families live in quality homes with clean water, electricity and sanitation; and the ability for individuals to tap economic opportunities to be able to support themselves and their families.
It is critical that these factors be addressed for Ismailis living in rural and urban settings, as well as for the wider populations amongst whom the Jamat lives, says the LIF Chairman. If these efforts are successful, they should result in a marked difference in the levels of poverty over the next 10 years or so.
As far reaching and ambitious as the aspirations of the Diamond Jubilee are, the spiritual foundations of the commemoration remain central: the renewal of that special bond that links each of us with our Imam in this time, and the Noor of Imamat across all time.
It is this legacy that has always been, and shall always be, the most enduring.
On Tuesday, July 11, the Jamat will gather together to commemorate the launch of the Diamond Jubilee for a special half-day program beginning at 2:00 p.m. This historic event will include a Homage Ceremony Broadcast from Aiglemont.
We warmly invite family members of other faiths to join us for jaman and celebration on this special occasion.
To assist with planning for Jubilee activities, we are conducting a registration drive in all Jamatkhanas from May 19 to June 4 for residents of Canada. Registration desks will be set up in Jamatkhana and each family is asked to register. Canadian Jamati members living outside the country will be registered at a later date.
Any family member who is 18 years or older may register on behalf of family members living in the same household. This family member should bring a valid Photo ID showing the current address and also the current identification for each person being registered. Family members of other faith backgrounds living in the same household and caregivers should also be registered.
Acceptable forms of identification are:
Driver's licenceProvincial health cardPhotocopy of student ID card, if student is studying away from homeCanadian birth certificate for child under 18Canadian passport/permanent residence (PR) cardUtility bill for proof of address
Please note that the Canadian Jamat Survey will also be conducted during this period through an online system that allows Jamati members to provide their information conveniently and anonymously. We ask all Jamati members to complete this important survey, which is critical for planning purposes. More information can be obtained at the registration desks.
Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:38 pm Post subject: Ottawa Diamond Jubilee Program
Ottawa Diamond Jubilee Program.
July 11 Imamat Day Program
To mark this auspicious Diamond Jubilee year, our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam has graciously agreed to have an Homage Ceremony at his residence in Aiglemont, France, on Tuesday, July 11, 2017.
The Homage Ceremony is an historic event. This ceremony marks the official inauguration of the Diamond Jubilee year, commemorating 60 years of Imamat. It is an opportunity for the global Jamat to reaffirm our allegiance to our Imam, and offer shukrana for his guidance and blessings.
On behalf of the Global Jamat, senior Jamati leaders from around the world will gather to pay homage to the Imam, to commemorate the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee. Niyats for Nazrana, pledged prior to Tuesday, July 11, 2017, will be presented to Mawlana Hazar Imam during the Homage Ceremony. Niyats will continue to be accepted until Wednesday, July 11, 2018, the end of the Diamond Jubilee Year.
Jamats around the world will be able to participate in the commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee, and to view the Homage Ceremony as part of the Imamat Day program.
For Imamat Day commemorations in Canada, doors will open at 2:00pm with a light lunch. The formal program will begin at 3:00pm. At approximately 8:00pm, Jaman and celebration will begin and we warmly invite family members of other faiths to join us at this time. A dedicated space will be provided for family members of other faiths who wish to arrive earlier.
Mansoor Ladha: Ismailis mark Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee
Pictures and story Mansoor Ladha
On June 11, 2017, Ismailis all around the world will be celebrating 60th years since the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather as the imam of the Shia Muslim community. The Diamond Jubilee will highlight the Aga Khan’s tireless work around the globe and his vision to steer the Ismaili community during the last 60 years.
Canada’s close, strong and successful association with the Aga Khan began more than five decades ago with the arrival of thousands of Ismailis who were forced to flee from Ugandan dictator Idi Amin’s anti-Asian regime. This relationship with Canada has been strengthened with several joint ventures between the Canadian government and the Aga Khan’s international development agency, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
AKDN is involved in 30 countries around the world, employing 80,000 people, majority of whom are based in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Its projects include hospitals, universities, schools, media outlets, hydroelectric projects, factories, hotels etc. – all aimed at benefitting the local populations.
The Aga Khan has several times publicly thanked Canada for its generosity in accepting and opening its doors to Ismailis. However, his admiration for Canada goes beyond that. He has described Canada as “a model for the world.” It was therefore befitting that the Aga Khan and the Canadian Governor General David Johnson this year opened the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa as a sign of their longstanding partnership.
The Global Centre for Pluralism is an independent, not-for-profit international research and education centre. Inspired by the magnificent example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, Ottawa was chosen as a site for the centre, committed to advance respect for diversity internationally and “believing that openness and understanding towards the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.”
At the opening ceremony, Mr. Johnson said: “In a diverse, globalized, high-tech world, nothing could be more pragmatic than an inclusive, pluralistic society. Diversity helps us to enrich our society, to better understand other countries and to forge connections with people around the planet.”
But the focal point of all the Aga Khan projects in Canada has been the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre in Toronto, which is dedicated to portraying artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions that Muslim civilisations have made to world heritage. The museum and its surrounding park, which sits majestically on Wynford Drive, has not only become a major educational and tourist attraction, but it also provides a remarkable environment of relaxation and contemplation for local residents. The museum and the Ismaili centre have become a place that commands respect of all those who have visited them.
The third major and notable Ismaili institution in Canada is the Ottawa-based Delegation of Ismaili Imamat which represents the Imamat institutions and its non-denominational, philanthropic and development agencies such as the Aga Khan Development Network. The Delegation also has an ambassadorial role with a resident ambassador with responsibilities to maintain and foster external relations. With all these high-profile projects, Canada can proudly regard itself as the Ismaili headquarters of the world.
The Aga Khan as a great lover of architecture has established in 1977, the Aga Khan Award for architecture, the world’s largest architectural award totalling US$500,000. The award encourages architecture that reflects pluralism and enhances understanding and appreciation of Muslim architecture. Another agency, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, focusses on the revitalization of communities in the Muslim world.
The Aga Khan can be compared to a king, but without a kingdom. The Ismailis have their own anthem played when the Aga Khan visits a foreign country and a flag fluttering on his limousine. His influence, authority and power surpasses leader of any stature. He meets more foreign heads of state, presidents and prime ministers than even president of United States.
The Aga Khan is one of the six foreigners accorded honorary Canadian citizenship in 2010 and he was invited to address the Canadian parliament, an honour usually accorded to heads of state, in 2014. He has also been awarded several honorary degrees by universities all around the world and bestowed national honours by numerous countries in recognition of his humanitarian activities.
This charismatic and dynamic imam of the Ismailis, a minority sect among the world’s 20 million Shia Muslims, ascended to the throne of Imamat on July 11, 1957, on the demise of his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah, at the age of 21 while still a student at Harvard University. He was chosen, as his grandfather said in his will, because he wanted to be succeeded by “a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age and who brings new outlook to life in his office as Imam.”
In his speech to the Canadian parliament, the Aga Khan outlined his role: “The role of the Ismaili Imam is a spiritual one; his authority is that of religious interpretation. It is not a political role. I do not govern any land. At the same time, Islam believes fundamentally that the spiritual and material worlds are inextricably connected. Faith does not remove Muslims — or their Imams — from daily, practical matters in family life, in business, in community affairs.
“Faith, rather, is a force that should deepen our concern for our worldly habitat, for embracing its challenges, and for improving the quality of human life. This Muslim belief in the fusion of Faith and World is why much of my attention has been committed to the work of the Aga Khan Development Network.”
Although he refrains from making comments on political issues, his advice and counsel is sought by governments and heads of state. He has been a regular delegate at international conferences on Syria and other world trouble spots, and recently he was in Moscow to discuss Afghanistan and other world issues with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
During his Diamond Jubilee, Ismailis from around the world will pledge to volunteer to donate their time and knowledge, an initiative initiated during his Golden Jubilee in 2007 – whereby an immense pool of expertise involving tens of thousands of volunteers have been enlisted, which included doctors, accountants, teachers, nurses and other professionals. Many of these Ismaili professionals – one third of whom are Canadians — will travel to developing countries as part of this outpouring of service in the name of their Imam.
During his Imamat, the Ismailis have progressed educationally and prospered economically, becoming a successful model community, which has been an envy of the world. Ismailis have participated enthusiastically in major cities of Canada as volunteers and have contributed in civic, provincial and national institutions. As we look into the future, it is fair to predict that the community will progress on the solid foundations laid by the Aga Khan for years to come.
Mansoor Ladha is a Calgary-based journalist, travel writer and author of A Portrait in Pluralism: Aga Khan’s Shia Ismaili Muslims (Detselig) and Memoirs of a Muhindi (University of Regina Press).
Account of the Homage ceremony from one of the past leaders.
Mubarakbadis to you all on the occasion of Diamond Jubilee. I am on the plane on the way back to New York. I had meant to write this email on the day of the Homage ceremony but with the time constraint, this was a challenge. I did want to share my experiences with you, however. I remembered everyone, including the Jamal's and prayed for all of us (Amen).
On the day of the homage ceremony, breakfast was served at 6.00 a.m., instead of the hotel's normal policy of 7.00 a.m. as we were required to board the bus for Aiglemont Secretariat at 7.10 a.m. for the start of the ceremony. It was amazing how many people came to the breakfast, all very upbeat and in good spirits and some of them already decked in their fineries.
We were assembled in four lines to board the bus, in the alphabetical order of our names. Once we arrive at the Secretariat (about half an hour ride), Shafik and Mahamoud Eboo were there to greet us. It was drizzling.
At the Secretariat, there were refreshments and opportunities to freshen up as well as a photo shoot for each delegate. We stayed there for around 45 minutes or so, mingling, etc. At around 9.20 or so, the lines for the procession started to be assembled. Each one of us had a number where we were to stand in the row/line. I was standing next to Aziz Tejpar and his wife and we had fun talking about past days. The rain had stopped.
It was such an amazing sight. In the front line were Mahamoud, Shafiqua, Zulie, etc. carrying the insignia of the Imamat (the Holy Quran, the Constitution, the Robe, the Crown, the Chain of the Office, the Inkwell, the Parasol, the Sword, the Banner). Along the lines you could see beautiful colours with specks of teal and gold for those wearing the regalia.
Most of the women were wearing colorful Bandhnis. It was a sight to behold. I will forever cherish that and felt particularly very blessed and prouThe procession once assembled started walking slowly to MHI's residence and on the way we passed performers who were reciting beautiful and melodious Qasidas and Ginans.
At the entrance of MHI's residence, there were a different set of performers and we recited Ya Ali Agisani. Mahmoud and Shafik went to bring the Noorani family and then we walked inside MHI's residence past beautiful tapestries and pictures of many leaders on the table, including Obama, etc. The Deedar hall was beautiful with fresh flowers and very elegant. We were seated at the hall according to our rows/numbers. I was again seated next to Aziz Tejpar on one side and a past ICAB member with me in my first term, Habibullah Kadwani (Naz Virani's cousin) on the other side. The aura was very spiritual. Once MHI arrived, he was presented with the Imamat Insignia of the Office.
Zulie was very happy as she was one of the presenters. Quranic -Ayat was recited including its translation, followed by Qasidas (Syrian, Iranian, Afghan and Tajk tradition) and Munajat and then Mahmoud's Homage and Loyalty Address (Mubarakbadis and Oath of Allegiance on behalf of the entire Ismaili community).
He then made a speech and subsequently also thanked the Noorani family. Hazar Imam was very emotional when he spoke and one could hear some in the audience crying.
MHI was subsequently presented with Mehmani on behalf of the global Jamal and He blessed the dried fruit and Abe Shafa. Mowlana Hazar Imam was then presented with mementos and Token Gift (a gold coin with the Diamond Jubilee logo with 60 diamonds around it was one of the token gift). The smaller version of the same type of gold coin was presented to the Imam's family. Each delegate at the ceremony will also receive a gold coin.
After the ceremonies, Mowlana Hazar Imam left the hall amidst salwats. We then went outside where delegates assembled according to their regions for a photo ceremony with Mowlana Hazar Imam. I was in the group of past National Council Presidents, LIF and ICAB. Noordin was sitting next to Mowlana Hazar Imam and Shamsh Bhaloo was in a special turbo wheel chair. After the photo was taken, Mowlana Hazar Imam went to Shamsh.
We then returned to the Secretariat where sherbet and microns were being served. This also gave delegates an opportunity to freshen up. The delegates returned to Mowlana Hazar Imam's residence for the lunch. This was a lunch directly offered by Mowlana Hazar Imam and the invitation was also from Mowlana Hazar Imam. Each delegate was seated according to a predesignated table. The lunch included chicken and vegetables samosas, green asparagus and langoustines, rack of lamb, chicken and vegetable biryani, strawberry coulis, mango and pistachio kulfi, baklava, etc. Each delegate was given a lovely souvenir of a paper weight in a beautiful box with Mowlana Hazar Imam's crest and Diamond Jubilee's logo. Princess Yasmin was sitting in the table directly in front of me and Princess Zahra was sitting immediately on the table next to me (on my left). The CEO of AKF thanked Mowlana Hazar Imam and his family.
Prince Amyn Mohammed spoke next and then Mowlana Hazar Imam gave a beautiful speech.
After the lunch, we walked back to the Secretariat to pick up our juras with Abe Shafa and a beautiful, beautiful tasbih in a very elegant box. In the evening, most of the delegates went to Paris, where a hall was rented, to join the Paris Jamat to watch the homage ceremony and in celebrating the Diamond Jubilee Imamat Day celebrations.
I am so thankful and feel so blessed that I was invited to this very historic and dreamlike celebration, and to all if you for your friendship and support. My deepest appreciation and prayers to all of you.
Last edited by Admin on Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total
Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:54 am Post subject: Diamond Jubilee start - Joint press release July 2017
HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN IV
[1957 – 2017]
The Diamond Jubilee
What is the Diamond Jubilee?
The Diamond Jubilee marks the 60th anniversary of His Highness the Aga Khan’s leadership as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community. On 11th July, 1957, the Aga Khan, at the age of 20, assumed the hereditary office of Imam established by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), following the passing of his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan.
Why is the Community celebrating His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee?
The commemoration of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee is in keeping with the Ismaili Community’s longstanding tradition of marking historic milestones.
Over the past six decades, the Aga Khan has transformed the quality of life of hundreds of millions of people around the world. In the areas of health, education, cultural revitalisation, and economic empowerment, he has inspired excellence and worked to improve living conditions and opportunities in some of the world’s most remote and troubled regions.
The Diamond Jubilee is an opportunity for the Shia Ismaili Muslim community, partners of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and government and faith community leaders in over 25 countries to express their appreciation for His Highness’s leadership and commitment to improve the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable populations. It is also an occasion for His Highness to recognise the friendship and longstanding support of leaders of governments and partners in the work of the Imamat and to set the direction for the future. This would include laying foundations for and launching major new initiatives and programmes, founded upon partnerships based on the principles of ethics in action, peace and pluralism.
When will the Diamond Jubilee be commemorated?
This historic commemoration will begin on the 11th of July 2017 and conclude on the 11th of July 2018.
What are the major objectives of His Highness’ Diamond Jubilee?
Objectives for the Diamond Jubilee reflect His Highness’ continued commitment, demonstrated in landmark accomplishments over the past six decades, to improve living conditions and opportunities in developing countries in Asia and Africa, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized. Numerous new projects and initiatives will be launched during the Jubilee, encompassing coordinated programmes to alleviate poverty, increase access to finance for education, health and housing, early childhood development, and infrastructure (principally, water,
energy and telecommunications) projects in developing countries.
Additional resources and capacity will be added to the institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network, including the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia. It is hoped that the Diamond Jubilee will also provide occasion to improve understanding of Islam and Muslim civilizations, as well as the contributions of Muslim communities, historically as well as in contemporary times, and to foster collaboration between different peoples and faith communities around the world.
Why is this such an important event?
The Jubilee marks 60 years of the Imamat of His Highness the Aga Khan. Over the last 60 years, His Highness has guided the Shia Ismaili Community, the Muslim Ummah and the societies within which they live towards addressing key challenges relating to human development. He has enabled successful collaborative endeavours among Muslims, across different faiths, and between developed and developing countries. The past six decades have been a time of turbulent change for the countries in the developing world where the majority of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community lives. Throughout this time, His Highness’ guidance and efforts have enabled the Ismaili Community to establish institutions and to work collaboratively with others, to assure the security, welfare and progress of its members and those of other communities they live amongst. He has guided the Community in the practice of its faith and has worked to improve the understanding of Islam by others.
His Highness the Aga Khan
Who is His Highness the Aga Khan?
The Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and Ali’s wife Fatima (the Prophet's daughter).
He is Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), one of the world’s most comprehensive development organizations. Guided by the ethics of Islam and the Imam’s hereditary mandate and responsibility to improve the quality of life of his community and of those amongst whom they live, the Aga Khan has been at the forefront of innovation in development during his 60 years as Imam.
What is the role of the Imam?
In Islam’s ethical tradition, religious leaders not only interpret the faith but also have a responsibility to help improve the quality of life of their community and the societies among which they live. For the Aga Khan, this has meant a deep engagement with the concerns of the developing world and efforts to improve living conditions and opportunities through the agencies of the AKDN
What is the Imamat?
The Imamat is the institution (office) of the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. In the Shia tradition of Islam, the Imamat is the hereditary institution of spiritual and moral authority established by Prophet Muhammad, when he designated and appointed his cousin and son-in-law Ali as the first Imam. With a history that spans over 1400 years, the Ismaili Imamat is a non-political transnational office, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
What is the Aga Khan Development Network?
The Aga Khan Development Network is one of world’s most comprehensive development organizations. It operates in over 30 countries, principally in Central and South Asia, Eastern and Western Africa and the Middle East.
Inspired by the Islamic ethic of compassion and responsibility to care for the needy, the AKDN works for the common good of all citizens, regardless of their gender, origin, or religion, to alleviate poverty and foster self-reliance. The Network’s individual agencies have mandates ranging from health and education to rural development, microfinance, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise, architecture and the revitalisation of historic cities—all of which are catalysts for development. Together, they contribute towards building a vibrant civil society that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations.
AKDN spends US$ 925 million dollars annually on non-profit social and cultural development activities and employs 80,000 people.
The Network works in partnership with international and multilateral organizations (including the World Bank and agencies of the UN), development agencies of governments globally (including Canada, Europe and the U.S.), leading universities and private development organizations around the world, and local, state and national governments as well as the spectrum of civil society in each country where the AKDN is active.
The Shia Ismaili Muslim Community
Who are the Ismailis?
The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, known as the lsmailis, belong to the Shia branch of Islam. Like the wider Muslim world as a whole, the Ismaili Community encompasses a rich diversity of cultures, languages, and nationalities. Residing primarily in Central and South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America and the Far East, members of the Community around the world are united in their spiritual allegiance to His Highness the Aga Khan as their 49th hereditary Imam.
Joint Press release By AKDN & TheIsmaili July 2017
A special event was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam, a 60-year period during which the Imam has dedicated efforts to improving the quality of life around the world.
Dhaka, 27 July 2017 — Members of the Jamat were invited to participate in an event hosted by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which brought together leaders of government and civil society, and representatives of the diplomatic community, for an evening of celebration and friendship.
Imamat Institutions have been present in Bangladesh since 1955, when Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah directed investments towards what became a thriving jute mill industry. Today, the AKDN works in the areas of early childhood development, pre-tertiary education, and financial services. Building upon the Protocol of Cooperation signed by Mawlana Hazar Imam with the government in 2013, the AKDN in Bangladesh is engaged with the government and a variety of development partners to help bring social and economic progress to all people of Bangladesh.
AKDN’s Resident Representative in Bangladesh, Mr Munir M. Merali, welcomed over 300 guests including the Chief Guest, His Excellency Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In his speech, Mr Mahmood Ali stated that, “The Aga Khan’s work is underpinned by an emphasis on Islam as a spiritual faith which cherishes the role of the intellect, teaches compassion and tolerance, and upholds the dignity of humankind.”
Mr Merali in turn remarked that the historic Jubilees of Mawlana Hazar Imam “serve as important milestones for His Highness to recognise the friendship and longstanding support of leaders of state, governments, and other partners in the work of the Imamat, and to set the direction for the future including the launching of major new initiatives and programmes that are guided by the social ethic of concern for those vulnerable in the society”
The Diamond Jubilee year, which began on 11 July 2017, also provides an opportunity to focus on a number of global objectives, including an emphasis on education through establishing new centres of learning and strengthening existing ones. One such endeavour is the Aga Khan Academies, a network of residential schools offering girls and boys an international standard of education from pre-primary to secondary levels with a rigorous academic and leadership experience, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Each Academy also includes a Professional Development Centre, which aims at strengthening the profession of teaching in the respective region. Aga Khan Academies currently operate in Mombasa, Hyderabad and Maputo, while plans are in place for an Academy to open in Dhaka in the coming years.
Staff of the Aga Khan Academies and other AKDN agencies, including the Aga Khan Foundation and Aga Khan Education Services were present at the event to discuss their current activities in the region, along with leadership from the Ismaili Council for Bangladesh and other Jamati leaders, to explore the possibility of expanding programmatic activities for the ongoing support towards the development of Bangladesh.
Diamond Jubilee Polo Tournament underway in Yasin valley
Organized by the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Pakistan, the tournament is part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the current Aga Khan’s sixty years of Imamat (leadership).
On first day of the tournament, Chitral dominated, by defeating polo teams from Hunza and Gilgit. Team Hunza couldn’t score a single goal against Upper Chitral’s 9 goals, while Gilgit was able to score one goal only, against Lower Chitral’s 9 goals.
The opening ceremony of the tournament was attended, among thousands of others, by MLA Raja Jahazaib and Shahmez Mukhi, the Chairman of AKYSB,P.
A reception was hosted by the Aga Khan Development Network at the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee year of Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Vazir Nazim Ahmad, AKDN Diplomatic Representative to Portugal and Mozambique, welcomed over 200 guests to the Serena, including the official Representative of the Government of Mozambique, the Vice Minister of Education and Human Development; President of the Supreme Court; Vice President of the Assembly; Deputy Attorney General; and the Vice Minister of Energy. The event was also attended by members of the diplomatic community, including representatives from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. Officials of bilateral and multilateral agencies of co-operation were also in attendance.
The reception was hosted in collaboration with the Ismaili Council for Mozambique, while leaders of Jamati and AKDN institutions were present to discuss development projects, which contribute to improving quality of life in the region. Nazim Ahmad took the opportunity to deliver a speech detailing the work of the Ismaili Imamat and goals of the Diamond Jubilee year in general, and the work of AKDN in Mozambique in particular.
AKDN agencies have been present in Mozambique for a number of years, working towards achieving the considerable potential for progress and socio-economic development in the country, specifically in the areas of tourism, agriculture, education, health, civil society and infrastructure. Projects include the rehabilitation of the Polana Serena Hotel, one of Africa’s grandest colonial era hotels; and the Coastal Rural Support Programme supporting entrepreneurship and skills development in the country’s poorest northern districts. In addition, the Aga Khan Academy, Maputo has been in operation since 2013, providing an international standard of education to an increasing student body; and the Moztex garment factory employs over 500 employees, of which 90% are women, trained in-house. More recently, the Aga Khan Foundation Mozambique is managing and upgrading a vocational secondary school in the northern province of Cabo Delgado – the Agrarian Institute of Bilibiza – with over 500 students.
Mr Ahmad also explained to guests the landmark agreement to establish the global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon, Portugal, signed in 2015. This is the first such accord in the modern history of the Imamat, and it is hoped the agreement will provide an enabling framework to bring visible benefits especially to Lusophone countries, including Mozambique.
In his remarks, the Representative of the Government of Mozambique, Professor Armindo Ngunga stated “I have the honour and privilege of taking part in the celebrations of Imamat Day during the Diamond Jubilee year of His Highness the Aga Khan … and would like to address our fraternal and cordial congratulations to the global Ismaili Community.” Professor Ngunga went on to say: “I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation and recognition for the important contribution that the AKDN has made in our country in improving the well-being and living conditions of Mozambican.
On Wednesday 18 October, The Ismaili Centre, London will host its inaugural Diamond Jubilee lecture entitled Mediation: Pluralistic Discourses. Guests will be addressed by Dr Christophe Bernasconi, the fourth Secretary-General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Dr Bernasconi will consider how mediation can take into account different legal systems and laws in today’s interconnected world. This event will be broadcast online, commencing at 20:15 BST (GMT+1).
Mediation Awareness Week 2017 runs from 14 to 20 0ctober in the UK. The aim is to spread awareness of mediation as an effective method in settling disputes and avoiding further conflict. Groups across the UK will be hosting different events to promote mediation and considering the benefits to individuals, communities and sectors, from healthcare to architecture. For further information visit mediationawarenessweek.uk.
Dr Bernasconi will be joined by Jean Ayoub, Secretary General and CEO of The International Social Service, Marian Roberts, a social worker, barrister and guest teacher at LSE, Dr Yasmin Dhanji MBE, Chairman of the National Conciliation and Arbitration Board for the UK and Shainul Kassam, a corporate lawyer. The event will be moderated by lawyer and author Dr Mohammed Keshavjee.
The session will explore the benefits of pluralistic discourses in mediation – in approach, culture, methodology and demographics. The speakers will consider some of the universal ethics informing the practice of mediation, from compassion to tolerance, as well as how a non-adversarial approach towards dispute resolution plays a significant role in improving quality of life.
The lecture will also mark the 30th anniversary of the Conciliation and Arbitration boards of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community.
This event will be broadcast online, commencing at 20:15 BST (GMT+1).
In a speech at the Canadian Parliament in 2014, Mawlana Hazar Imam spoke of the contributions made by Time and Knowledge Nazrana (TKN) volunteers and said “The importance of contributing one’s individual energies on a voluntary basis to improving the lives of others is not a matter of philanthropy, but rather of self-fulfilment... their impact has been enormous in helping us to achieve best practice standards in our institutions and programmes”
Ismaili artists worldwide will unite to showcase talents through Jubilee Arts
Jubilee Arts is a new international programme to be established during the Diamond Jubilee year to celebrate the Jamat’s vast artistic skills and cultural traditions.
Whatever your creative passion — painting, architecture, filmmaking, dance, or musical performance — Jubilee Arts will unleash these talents and celebrate them in countries all over the world. If you are an established or aspiring artist or performer, Jubilee Arts is an opportunity for you to exhibit your talents in front of your peers, in celebration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee.
Celebrations will take place across the world over the course of the Diamond Jubilee Year, and global digital platforms will be used to share and showcase these artists on a global stage. More details including entry requirements will be shared with the Jamat in the coming weeks. Updates will be posted on the.ismaili.
In Montreal, it has been days after days of celebration after Jamatkhana ceremonies with food, music parties, live music, Rasra, Dandia, dance and happiness till midnight with the participation of all Jamats from different background.. One day to go for the much anticipated Didar!
In Toronto, our Imam said that nothing makes him happier than to see a smile on the face of his Jamat. Smile Montreal, tomorrow is your day!
Old and young, the ladies have put Henna (Mehendi) on their hands!
Prince Amyn graced an Imamat Day reception on 23 November at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon, held to honour Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee.
The event was hosted by the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal in collaboration with the Ismaili Council for Portugal, and was attended by leaders of Jamati and AKDN institutions, members of government and the diplomatic corps, development partners, and members of the Jamat. Prince Amyn was welcomed to the Ismaili Centre by Portugal’s Ismaili Scouts group. While there, he officially opened the Ethics in Action exhibition, a Diamond Jubilee initiative.
Addressing the gathering, Prince Amyn remarked that the Ismaili community was fully integrated into the life of Portugal, noting that the activities of the Ismaili Imamat are based on shared values and that joint efforts are being made toward creating a more pluralistic outlook. “At a time of conflict and sectarian tension, what we are doing, shows we share a common culture and that we are all brethren, whether born here or elsewhere” he said.
At the event, Prince Amyn also announced the contribution of €100,000 made by members of the Ismaili community, towards the reforestation of Leiria’s ‘mata nacional’ — one of the areas worst hit by the forest fires in October that devastated large amounts of land and claimed the lives of several people, and forcing others to flee from towns and villages.
The donation will allow the clearing of over 75 hectares of land located in the northern part of the National Forest of Leiria in the region of Pedrógão Grande, and the subsequent planting of close to 200,000 trees. The commitment follows an earlier contribution announced by Mawlana Hazar Imam of €500,000 last June, towards the support of victims of the deadly forest fire in Pedrógão Grande in central Portugal.
Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to the Portuguese Republic, also delivered a speech to guests. In his remarks, Mr Ahmad detailed the long and deep relationship between the Ismaili Imamat and the Portuguese Republic. “The unique and likeminded values in development, underpinned in a relationship of deep dialogue and understanding, has led to the establishment of several agreements towards the improvement of quality of life, culminating in the agreement for the establishment of the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal.”
AKDN agencies have been present in Portugal since 1983, with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) working in the areas of early childhood education, social inclusion, and urban poverty. Across all of its activities, AKF has sought to help communities drive their own progress, connecting people from all walks of life, and working with them to help identify and realise their aspirations.
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