MHI himself provides an answer to your question in his interview with the CBC television programme 'Man Alive'.
Q: There seems to be a contradiction here - with your jet set hotels, horses and your concern for the environment in the third world and yet you don't, really seek much publicity for the development work you do!
A: I think it would be extremely unwise to spend ones time correcting images which were images of the Western world which is not primarily my area of concern. I think it's much more productive frankly that I devote the time that 1 have to the Developing world to the mandate which I have to complete the work or try to complete the work that needs to be done. 1 think if you were to ask questions about what the Aga Khan does in India or Pakistan or East Africa, you'd get a totally different answer from what you would here. That must be my concern.
The University of Cambridge has today announced the names of 12 distinguished people, to be submitted for approval to the Regent House for the conferment of honorary degrees.
Ten eminent individuals from the worlds of religion, business, science, music, history, philanthropy, politics and economics are proposed for Honorary Doctorates, and two nominations are made for the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts.
Those submitted are:
His Highness Prince Karim Al-Hussayni, the Aga Khan (Doctor of Divinity)
Mrs Melinda Gates, Philanthropist (Doctor of Law)
Mr Bill Gates (William Henry Gates III), Philanthropist and Chairman of the Microsoft Corporation (Doctor of Law)
Baroness (Shirley) Williams of Crosby, Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Public Service Professor of Elective Politics Emerita in the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Doctor of Law)
Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, Professor of Biology and Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco (Doctor of Science)
Professor Wallace Broecker, Climatologist, Columbia University (Doctor of Science)
Professor Sir Peter Crane, the John & Marion Sullivan Professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, former Director of Kew Gardens (Doctor of Science)
Professor Amartya Sen, Fellow and former Master of Trinity College. Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Nobel Laureate in Economics (Doctor of Letters)
Professor Wang Gungwu, Director of the East Asian Institute, Singapore. Historian of China and the Chinese (Doctor of Letters)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Composer and conductor (Doctor of Music)
Mr Allan Brigham, Local historian and guide (Master of Arts)
Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh (Master of Arts)
It is expected that that the honorary doctorates will be conferred at a Congregation to be held on Friday, 12 June. The honorary MA degrees for Allan Brigham and Sir Miles Hunt-Davis are expected to be conferred at a Congregation on Saturday, 18 July.
Oxford Literary Festival is 'bigger and better than ever'
5:21pm Thursday 19th March 2009
MORE than 25,000 book lovers are expected to give the Oxford economy a boost as they arrive for the city’s annual literary festival.
This year, the festival at Christ Church has been extended to run for an extra day from Sunday, March 29, to Sunday, April 5.
Tei Williams, a spokesman for the literary festival, said: “The festival is in its 14th year and can now attract world-class names including AS Byatt and Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.
“We are now firmly on the literary festival map and can’t be far behind Cheltenham and Hay.”
Festival organiser Sally Dunsmore added: “I think this is our best line-up ever and reflects the international status of Oxford. People are coming from all over the world to talk at this festival.”
Sponsors include the Sunday Times, The Oxford Times, Blackwell’s, The Randolph Hotel and the Aga Khan.
City councillor Colin Cook, executive member for the city centre, said: “The Oxford Literary Festival is a real financial boost for the city because many visitors use hotels and restaurants and spend money in the shops.
“I’m sure it’s an event that businesses in the city look forward to every year because they know it will give them a lift.
“It’s great to see the festival bigger than ever this year and that certainly bodes well for the future.”
Philip Pullman, award-winning author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, is among the 350 writers taking part. This year’s line-up includes Ian McEwan, AS Byatt, PD James, Jeffrey Archer, Kate Atkinson, Joan Bakewell, Raymond Blanc, Martin Bell, Louis de Bernieres and Donna Leon.
Richard Blair, George Orwell’s adopted son, will speak in public for the first time about life with his father.
And on Monday, Melvyn Bragg will host a Royal dinner in honour of PD James, with the Duke of Kent.
Lord Bragg will talk about her contribution to crime writing.
The adult programme includes debates and writing masterclasses with Philip Pullman, Joanne Harris, PD James and poets Bernard O’Donoghue and Craig Raine.
The children’s programme includes Philip Ardagh, Malorie Blackman, Shirley Hughes, Michael Morpurgo, and Francesca Simon.
Further details can be obtained from the Oxford Playhouse, on 0870 343 1001, or online at sundaytimes oxfordliterary festival.co.uk or ticketsoxford.com email@example.com
He was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. On October 2nd, 2000, he stood with other dignitaries including Cuban strongman Fidel Castro and former US President Jimmy Carter in Montreal's magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica, the only Muslim in a sea of Christians. But no one could tell he was an outsider. For all appearances, the Aga Khan looked and acted like a rich white man, down to his thousand-dollar suit and his mannerisms and his Prince Charles-like English accent.
But Prince Karim Aga Khan, 70, a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima who was born in Switzerland, is a self-admitted Asian and one with a most unusual status.
Among the developing nations, from Pakistan to Tanzania, he is accorded the status of a head of state. And indeed he rules more people than many small countries. The Aga Khan – a hereditary title first bestowed on his great great-grandfather by the Shah of Persia in 1818 – is the 49th Imam (spiritual and general leader) of the Ismaili Nizārīs, a sect of the Shi'a Ismaili formed in 765 AD, which now has up to 20 million followers scattered all over the world.
The Ismailis are well educated, self-contained, model citizens in their host countries and totally dedicated to the Aga Khan. The tributes they regularly give to their leader – in one famous incident, they put his grandfather Mohammad Aga Khan, on one end of a large scale and balanced the other with his weight in gold and diamonds as a birthday present – enables the current Aga Khan to invest up to US$150 million each year in projects helping developing nations.
Before Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the Aga Khan had been working hard to reduce poverty and to raise education levels, especially that of women, in the Third World.
In 1957, at age 20, he unexpectedly inherited the title and all its responsibilities because his grandfather decided to bypass his father (a playboy who was once married to Hollywood star Rita Hayward) and pass the mantle to his Harvard-graduate grandson.
Prince Karim founded the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), today one of the largest private development networks in the world. His connections opened doors to AKDN in the Third World that are close to other agencies.
In war-torn Afghanistan, the AKDN has raised US$400 million for various development projects, with a large chunk of money coming from its own resources. In Pakistan he founded the first private university. Two months ago he visited Tanzania and promised to spend US$450 million to build a university there.
As religious leader, the Aga Khan is a moderate voice in a world increasingly divided by Bush-like anti-terrorist countries and the Islamic world. The Aga Khan has openly chided the West for not trying to understand Islam and gone on record to state that many of today’s so-called fundamental Islamic movements are more political than religious in nature.
Unlike other Islamic leaders, his voice is heard in the West, since he hobnobs with western leaders in public and private occasions. Pierre Trudeau, for example, was a personal friend who opened the door to Canada for Asians, among them many Ismailis, when Idi Amin chased them out of Uganda in the 1970s. Today there are 45,000 Ismailis in Canada, some occupying high government positions. So far the Aga Khan has kept a low profile. But in time to come, this King Without A Throne may find himself in much demand as a moderator.
The Global Philanthropy Forum aims to build a community of donors and social investors committed to international causes, and to inform, enable and enhance the strategic nature of their giving and social investing.
By continually refreshing a lasting learning community, the GPF seeks to increase the number of philanthropists who will be strategic in pursuit of international causes. We share a conviction that individuals are not only capable of advancing human security, environmental stewardship, and improved quality of life, but that they must.
Washington, DC, 23 April 2009 - His Highness the Aga Khan delivered a keynote speech at the 8th annual Global Philanthropy Forum. The Aga Khan also met with The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Secretary of State, at the State Department prior to delivering the address to participants at the Global Philanthropy Forum.
Please also see Related Speech
His Highness the Aga Khan meeting with The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Secretary of State, at the State Department.
Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Global Philanthropy Forum
23 April 2009
President Jane Wales, thank you for those very generous comments.
I’d like to say how happy I am to share in this year’s Global Philanthropy Forum.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a special pleasure for me to be with you tonight, for I look upon you as particularly serious and informed partners in the work of global understanding and international development.
As you may know, I recently marked my 50th anniversary in my role as Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. This responsibility connects me intimately with the traditions of the Islamic faith and cultures, even while my education and a host of personal and professional associations have acquainted me with the non-Islamic West. The relationship of these two worlds is a subject of considerable importance for me – a relationship which some define, regrettably, as an inevitable Clash of Civilizations. My own observation, however – and my deep conviction – is that we can more accurately describe it as a Clash of Ignorances.
It is not my purpose tonight to detail the misunderstandings which have plagued this relationship. Let me only submit that educational systems on both sides have failed mightily in this regard – and so have some religious institutions. That – at this time in human history – the Judeo Christian and Muslim societies should know so little about one another never ceases to astonish – to stun – and to pain me.
As a Muslim leader speaking in Washington this evening, it seems appropriate that I cite the words of President Obama, in his recent speech in Ankara. As he put it, pledging a “broader engagement with the Muslim world, we will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground.” I know that the vast majority of the Islamic world shares these objectives.
Among the areas where we can find common ground is our mutual effort to address the problem of persistent global poverty, especially the endemic poverty of the developing world. Surely this is an area where we can listen and learn and grow together – establishing ever-stronger bonds of understanding. One of the great principles of Islam, in all its interpretations, is the elimination of poverty in society, and philanthropy's centrality in this duty.
When I succeeded my grandfather as Aga Khan in 1957, I was a student at Harvard – but speaking mostly French. I got extra English practice, however, from my new official routine of regular communication with Africa and Asia – and, in the bargain, was kept in great good humour by the amazing typographic errors which inevitably arose. But then computerized spell check programs came along - and all those charming idiosyncrasies disappeared!
I recently noticed, to my joy, however, that this new invention is not a fail safe protection. Consider this recent item in the publication “The Week: “Bad week for spell-check: Several Pennsylvania high school students had their last names changed in their yearbook by an automatic computer program, Alessandra Ippolito was listed as Alexandria Impolite, while Max Zupanovic was rechristened Max Supernova. And Kathy Carbaugh’s photo appeared next to the name Kathy Airbag.”
After reading this, I decided that maybe I should act prudently and spell check my own name. And I found that, while there was no “Aga Khan”, there was an “Aga” Cooker. It was defined as one of England’s oldest stoves and ovens – now somewhat outdated – but with a distinctive whistle every time it frizzled the food within!
But returning to a more serious topic let me submit this evening a few of my own reflections on the developing world that I know a central focus of my interests over fifty years. For, in coming to understand the life of widely dispersed Ismaili communities across the globe, I have also become immersed in their host societies.
The essential goal of global development has been to create and sustain effective nation states – coherent societies that are well governed, economically self-sustaining, equitable in treating their peoples, peaceful amongst themselves, and sensitive to their impact on planetary sustainability.
This is a complex objective, a moving target, and a humbling challenge. Sadly, the response in the places I know best has often been “one step forward and two steps back.“ Today, some forty percent of UN member nations are categorized as “failed democracies” – unable to meet popular aspirations for a better quality of life. The recent global economic crisis – along with the world food crisis – has sharply accentuated these problems.
But why have our efforts to change that picture over five decades not borne greater fruit? Measured against history, where have things gone wrong? Given the progress we have made in so many fields, why have we been so relatively ineffective in sharing that progress more equitably, and in making it more permanent?
My response centers on one principal observation: I believe the industrialized world has often expected developing societies to behave as if they were similar to the established nation states of the West, forgetting the centuries, and the processes which molded the Western democracies. Forgotten, for one thing, is the fact that economic development in Western nations was accompanied by massive urbanization. Yet today, in the countries of Asia and Africa where we work, over 70 percent of the population is rural. If you compare the two situations, they are one and a half to two and half centuries apart. Similarly, the profound diversity of these impoverished societies, infinitely greater than that among nascent European nation states, is too often unrecognized, or under-estimated, or misunderstood. Ethnic, religious, social, regional, economic, linguistic and political diversities are like a kaleidoscope that history shakes every day.
One symptom of this problem has been the high failure rate of constitutional structures in many developing countries, often because minority groups – who often make up the bulk of the population – fear they will be marginalized by any centralized authority. But did today’s developed countries not face similar challenges as they progressed toward nationhood?
If there is an historic misperception here, it has had several consequences for development activities.
The first concerns what I would call the dominant player fallacy – a tendency to place too much reliance in national governments and other institutions which may have relatively superficial connections to life at the grass-roots level.
Urban-based outsiders often look at these situations from the perspective of the city center looking out to a distant countryside, searching for quick and convenient levers of influence. Those who look from the bottom-up, however, see a much much more complex picture. The lines of force in these rural societies are often profoundly centrifugal, reflecting a highly fragmented array of influences. But was this not also true during the building of Western nation states?
Age old systems of religious, tribal or inherited family authority still have enormous influence in these societies. Local identities which often cross the artificial frontiers of the colonial past are more powerful than outsiders may assume. These values and traditions must be understood, embraced, and related to modern life, so that development can build on them. We have found that these age-old forces are among the best levers we have for improving the quality of life of rural peoples, even in cross frontier situations.
Nation building may require centralized authority, but if that authority is not trusted by rural communities, then instability is inevitable. The building of successful nation states in many of the countries in which I work will depend – as it did in the West – on providing significantly greater access for rural populations, who are generally in the majority.
If these reflections are well founded, then what is urgently needed is a massive, creative new development effort towards rural populations. Informed strategic thinking at the national level must be matched by a profound, engagement at the local level. Global philanthropy, public private partnerships and the best of human knowledge must be harnessed. As the World Bank recognized in its recent Poverty Study, local concerns must be targeted, providing roads and markets, sharpening the capacities of village governments, working to smooth social inequalities, and improving access to health and education services. The very definition of poverty is the absence of such quality of life indicators in civil society among rural populations.
It is in this context that I must share with you tonight my concern that too much of the developmental effort – especially in the fields of health and education - have been focused on urban environments.
I whole-heartedly support, for example, the goal of free and universal access to primary education. But I would just as whole-heartedly challenge this objective if it comes at the expense of secondary and higher education. How can credible leadership be nurtured in rural environments when rural children have nowhere to go after primary school? The experience of the Aga Khan Development Network is that secondary education for rural youth is a condition sine qua non for sustainable progress.
Similarly despite various advances in preventive medicine, rural peoples – often 70% of the population – are badly served in the area of curative care. Comparisons show sharp rural disadvantages in fields such as trauma care and emergency medicine, curbing infant mortality, or diagnosing correctly the need for tertiary care. Building an effective nation state, today as in earlier centuries, requires that the quality of rural life must be a daily concern of government. Ideally, national progress should be as effective, as equitable, and as visible, over similar time-frames, in rural areas as in urban ones. Amongst other considerations, how else will we be able to slow, if not stop, the increasing trend of major cities of Asia and Africa to become ungovernable human slums?
From this general analysis, let me turn to our own experience. The Aga Khan Development Network, if only as a matter of scale, is incapable of massively redressing the rural-urban imbalances where we work. It is possible, however, to focus on areas of extreme isolation, extreme poverty and extreme potential risk - where human despair feeds the temptation to join criminal gangs or local militia or the drug economy. The World Bank refers to these areas as “lagging regions”. We have focused recently on three prototypical situations.
Badakhshan is a sensitive region of eastern Tajikistan and eastern Afghanistan where the same ethnic community is divided by a river which has now become a national border, and where both communities live in extreme poverty and are highly isolated from their respective capitals of Dushanbe and Kabul. There is a significant Shia Ismaili Muslim presence in both areas.
Southern Tanzania and Northern Mozambique is a region of eastern Africa where large numbers of rural Sunni Muslims live in extreme poverty. A third case, Rural Bihar, in India, involves six states where the Sachar Committee Report, commissioned by the Indian government, has courageously described how Muslim peoples have been distanced from the development story since 1947.
All three of these regions are works in progress. The first two are post conflict situations, relatively homogeneous, and sparsely populated, while the third is densely populated, and culturally diverse. All three have acute potential to become explosive, and our AKDN goal is to identify such areas as primary targets for philanthropy.
We have also developed a guiding concept in approaching these situations. We call it Multi-Input Area Development – or MIAD. An emphasis on multiple inputs is a crucial consequence of looking at the development arena from the bottom up. Singular inputs alone cannot generate, in the time available, and across the spectrum of needs, sufficient effective change to reverse trends towards famine or towards conflict.
Similarly, we want to measure outcomes in such cases by a more complex array of criteria. What we call our Quality of Life Assessments go beyond simple economic measurements – considering the broad array of conditions – quantitative and qualitative – which the poor themselves take into account when they assess their own well-being.
Secretary Clinton echoed the concern for multiple inputs and multiple assessments when she mentioned to you yesterday the need for diversified partnerships among governments, philanthropies, businesses, NGO’s, universities , unions, faith communities and individuals. The Aga Khan network includes partners from most of these categories – sustaining our Multi-Input strategy. I applaud her concern – and yours – for the importance of such alliances.
Northern Pakistan provides another example, in a challenging high mountain environment, of a complex approach to rural stabilization. Innovations in water and land management have been accompanied by a new focus on local choice through village organizations. A "productive public infrastructure" has emerged, including roads, irrigation channels, and small bridges, as well as improved health and education services. Historic palaces and forts along the old Silk Route have been restored and reused as tourism sites, reviving cultural pluralism and pride, diversifying the economy and enlarging the labor market. The provision of micro credit and the development of village savings funds have also played a key role.
For nearly 25 years, we have also worked in a large, once-degraded neighborhood, sprawling among and atop the ruins of old Islamic Cairo – built 1000 years ago by my ancestors, the Fatimid Caliphs. This is an urban location – but occupied by an essentially rural population, striving to become urbanized. The project was environmental and archaeological at the start – but it grew into a residential, recreational and cultural citiscape – which last year attracted 1.8 million visitors. The local population has new access to microcredit and has been trained and employed not only for restoring the complex, but also for maintaining it – as a new expression of civil society.
Because historic sites are often located among concentrations of destitute peoples, they can become a linchpin for development. We work now with such sites as Bagh-e-Babur in Kabul, the old Stone Town in Zanzibar, the Aleppo Citadel in Syria, the historic Moghal sites at New Delhi and Lahore, and the old mud mosques of Mopti and Djenne and Timbuktu, in northern Mali. Altogether, more than one million impoverished people will be touched by these projects. Such investments in restoring the world’s cultural patrimony do not compete with investing in its social and economic development. Indeed, they go hand in hand.
In all these cases, it is the interaction of many elements that creates a dynamic momentum, bringing together people from different classes, cultures, and disciplines, and welcoming partners who live across the street – and partners who live across the planet. Each case is singular, and each requires multiple inputs. And it is here that those present tonight can have such an important impact. Working together on programme development, on sharing specialized knowledge, and on competent implementation, we can all contribute more effectively to the reduction of global poverty.
Let me say in closing, how much I admire the work you are doing, the commitment you feel, and the dreams you have embraced. I hope and trust that we will have many opportunities to renew and extend our sense of partnership as we work toward building strong and healthy nation states around our globe.
If we are to succeed we will need, first, to readjust our orientation by focusing on the immense size and diversity of rural populations whether they are in peri-urban or rural environments. For no-one can dispute, I think, that a large number of the world’s recent problems have been born in the countrysides of the poorest continents.
Finally, we will need to address these problems with a much stronger sense of urgency. What we may have been content to achieve in 25 years, we must now aim to do in 10 years.
His Highness the Aga Khan makes a trip to Portugal
Posted: 07 May 2009 02:46 PM PDT
In Portuguese – Thursday, 7 May 2009
Prince Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, coming tonight to Portugal. His agenda includes meeting with the Foreign Minister Luis Amado and the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, D. José Policarpo. On this occasion an agreement will be signed on religion, education and culture, to be followed by a working lunch.
In the afternoon, Prince Aga Khan will be honored at the Academy of Sciences.
(government website) mne.gov.pt – (Expresso News) aeiou.expresso.pt
His Highness the Aga Khan awarded Grand Patron and Grand Donor
May 29, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan IV, Europe, Paris.
The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world’s Shiite Ismaili Muslims poses after being honoured by France’s Culture Minister Christine Albanel (L) with the Great Patron and Contributor medal of the French Culture ministry, on May 28, 2009 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET
Aga Khan granted the distinction of “Grand Mécène” and “Grand Donateur” by the French Ministry of Culture
Please also see: Communiqué de presse
May 28th 2009, Paris - France’s Minister for Culture, Christine Albanel, honoured the Aga Khan with the titles of Grand Patron (Grand Mécène) and Grand Donor (Grand Donateur) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural development in France through the Foundation for the Preservation and Development of the Chantilly Domain (Fondation pour la sauvegarde et le développement du domaine de Chantilly) as well as the numerous cultural programmes implemented by the cultural agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network throughout the world.
The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's Shiite Ismaili Muslims poses after being honoured by France's Culture Minister Christine Albanel (L) with the Great Patron and Contributor medal of the French Culture ministry, on May 28, 2009 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Aga Khan Awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Cambridge University; UCA Scholars to Study at Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom, 12th June 2009 - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, today received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Cambridge’s Pembroke College – the third oldest of the Cambridge colleges.
The Aga Khan becomes the first Muslim to receive the distinction in the University’s 800 year history.
“As we celebrate our eight hundredth anniversary, it is perhaps fitting that we first honour a man who traces his ancestry to the sixth century, and to the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him,” said Dr Rupert Thompson, classicist and Fellow of Selwyn College, in a citation read out in Latin in keeping with the College’s tradition.
He went on to say: “Since becoming the fourth Aga Khan, he has worked tirelessly through his Development Network to ensure that those who are oppressed by the worst poverty should enjoy a reasonable standard of healthcare, education and financial security.
And this is not humanitarianism, as he says, but the requirement of his faith.”
“The Honorary Doctorate of Divinity is awarded to individuals who have made a global impact through their religious leadership," said Tim Winter, Academic Secretary in the Faculty of Divinity.
"I am delighted that His Highness the Aga Khan, whose charitable and spiritual leadership has a truly worldwide reach, and whose support for scholarship has impacted profoundly on Islamic Studies, should have been chosen for this well-deserved honour.”
The Aga Khan was among a distinguished group of 12 people who were presented Honorary Degrees by the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
Bill and Melinda Gates, who both received Doctor of Law degrees, and Professor Amartya Sen, who received a Doctor of Letters, were among the other recipients.
Honorary Doctorates are the University's highest honour.
Recent recipients of the Honorary Doctorate of Divinity include John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop of Cape Town, and the United Kingdom’s Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks.
The award of an honorary degree to the Aga Khan coincided with the signing of a scholarship agreement between the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the University of Central Asia (UCA).
The UCA will eventually comprise three campuses being built in moutnainous areas -- in Khorog, Tajikistan; Tekeli, Kazakhstan; and Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic.
The University of Central Asia Cambridge Scholarships, which are fully funded, will enable outstanding young students from Central Asia to study for higher degrees at Cambridge.
The agreement was signed by the Director of the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the Director of the University of Central Asia.
The signing was witnessed by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Alison Richard, and His Highness the Aga Khan.
While at Cambridge, the Aga Khan, who was accompanied by members of his family, visited the Pembroke College Library and a special exhibition of the College’s treasures.
OTTAWA (AFP) — Canada's parliament on Friday extended honorary Canadian citizenship to the Aga Khan, imam of the world's Shia Ismaili Muslims, said a statement.
"This is recognition of the Aga Khan's leadership as a champion of development, pluralism and tolerance around the world and of his remarkable leadership as Imam of the worldwide Ismaili community," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"In particular, we are grateful for the immense contribution the Aga Khan Development Network is making in Afghanistan, as we work together to help the people of that country build a better future," he said.
The Aga Khan, Prince Karim Al Husseini, 72, is the spiritual head of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims.
He is the fourth such person to hold the post since the 19th century.
Ismailis make up the world's second largest Shia grouping and are spread throughout 25 countries.
Previously, only four people have ever been extended honorary Canadian citizenship: Myanmar pro-democracy activist and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi last year, and before that Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the Second World War.
Most Canadian Ismaili Muslims arrived in this country after being forced out of Uganda by its former ruler Idi Amin in the 1970s. They now number roughly 70,000 in Canada.
Canada has partnered with the Aga Khan's agencies on development projects in Asia, Africa and Afghanistan, as well as to promote ethnic, cultural and religious tolerance.
Prince Aga Khan to help renovate National Monument in Portugal
July 21, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan IV, Europe, Portugal.
Prince Aga Khan and Vasco Pereira Coutinho help replace the roof of the Cathedral in Silves
Translated from Portuguese, source via http://www.barlavento.online.pt
Prince Aga Khan and the Portuguese businessman Vasco Pereira Coutinho are two of the sponsors that will help pay for the work of replacing the roof of the three naves of the Cathedral of Silves, which will cost 350 thousand euros.
The Cathedral of Silves, owned by the State, classified as National Monument since 1922, had shown visible signs of degradation in the lining of the roof, more than six years, ‘having been made the draft proposal for diagnosis and intervention in 2006.
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