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www.ismaili.net :: View topic - Aga Khan receives the Citizenship Award. 21th Sept 2016
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Aga Khan receives the Citizenship Award. 21th Sept 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject: Aga Khan receives the Citizenship Award. 21th Sept 2016 Reply with quote

H.H. The Aga Khan will arrive today in Toronto, Canada at 17:00 EST. He will receive The Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship at an event on Wednesday 21 Sept 19:30 Toronto time. His speech will be webcast live. More news to follow.

http://www.6degreesto.com/article/prize/

Winner of Inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship Announced

September 19, 2016 | 9:55 am



MEDIA ADVISORY

Attention: Global leader honoured for lifetime commitment to ideals of belonging and inclusion

At 7:30 pm on September 21, 2016 at Koerner Hall in Toronto the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship will be awarded at the marquee event of 6 Degrees — the new public initiative of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The prize will be given annually to an individual who has, through thought and dialogue, encouraged approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect.

The symbolic importance of this prize has never been greater. In a time of unprecedented movement, displacement and re-settlement by immigrants and refugees, one of the central challenges we face is how we all live together.

We are pleased to announce that His Highness the Aga Khan is the first recipient of this globally relevant prize. The 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, His Highness has dedicated his life’s work to improving living conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations, and to fostering an understanding of the importance of pluralism to global harmony. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), founded and chaired by His Highness, is active in 30 countries and employs over 80,000 people. Its non-denominational agencies work in areas ranging from health and education to rural development, architecture, culture, economic sustainability and strengthening civil society.

At the award ceremony, His Highness the Aga Khan will receive the prize from the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, and will share his wisdom and experiences with the audience on issues confronting the world today. He will then be joined on stage for a conversation with Madame Clarkson.

Remarking on the prize and the selection of the recipient, Adrienne Clarkson says: “Through his words, through his actions, and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has pioneered, he is a beacon of light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness.”

The internationally-acclaimed vocalist and songwriter Rufus Wainwright will perform in honour of the prize recipient.

The jury for the 2017 Adrienne Clarkson Prize has also been announced. It will consist of The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C., The Hon. Bill Graham, C.M., P.C., John Ralston Saul, CC, and the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson. The prize will be awarded on Sept 27, 2017.

For more information about the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship, and on 6 Degrees, please visit 6degreesto.com

For more information on the Aga Khan Development Network, please visit akdn.org

Media contact:

Dishni Jayasuriya
Phone: 416-342-1827
Mobile: 647-920-5478
dishni.jayasuriya@mediaprofile.com


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mawlana Hazar Imam to receive Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

TheIsmaili.org

19 September 2016

Toronto, 19 September 2016 — Mawlana Hazar Imam will receive the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship on the evening of Wednesday, 21 September in Toronto. As part of the ceremony, Mawlana Hazar Imam will deliver a speech that will be webcast live on TheIsmaili.org at 7:30 PM EDT (Toronto time).

The awarding of the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship will culminate the 6 Degrees Citizen Space 2016 conference presented by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The annual award recognises a leader whose life has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the ideals of belonging and inclusion. Through their words, actions and results, a recipient will have encouraged thought and dialogue, approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect.

https://www.theismaili.org/news-events/mawlana-hazar-imam-receive-adrienne-clarkson-prize-global-citizenship

******
Special Edition Prairies Al-Akhbar - Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship | Monday September 19, 2016

Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

We are pleased to announce that Mawlana Hazar Imam is scheduled to receive the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship on the evening of Wednesday, September 21st. The award ceremony, including Mawlana Hazar Imam’s address, will be webcast live on theismaili.org, akdn.org as well as on the website of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship beginning at 5:30pm MST.

A summary video showing excerpts of the awards ceremony, speech and other visit clips will be shown after Jamatkhana Ceremonies on Friday, September 23rd.

The Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship will be the marquee event of the 6 Degrees Citizen Space conferences coordinated by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The award is to be conferred annually to a leader whose life has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the ideals of belonging and inclusion. Through words, actions and results, this award recipient will have encouraged thought and dialogue, approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect.


Mubaraki to all on this special occasion.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/09/20/aga-khan-wins-global-citizenship-prize-at-6-degrees.html


Aga Khan wins Global Citizenship prize at 6 Degrees

By Megan DolskiStaff Reporter.
Tues., Sept. 20, 2016


The Aga Khan — spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims worldwide and renowned for his leadership of a global network of organizations working in education and development — will be presented with the first annual Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship on Wednesday in Toronto.

Clarkson, Canada’s former governor general, said that when picking a recipient for the new award in her name she was looking for an international figure who models the qualities of a good citizen and who makes the lives of others better.

In an interview with the Star, she highlighted the need to welcome newcomers from other countries, with the displacement and resettlement of millions now a pressing issue around the world.

“Basically we have a situation in the world now where we are seeing movement, and we have to take the traits of good citizenship wherever we go,” Clarkson said.

She noted that Ismaili Muslims have their own experiences of diplacement — many were expelled from East Africa in the early ’70s.

“The Aga Khan has taught all the people of Ismaili belief that wherever you go, you become a citizen of that country. Not only do you belong to your own group, but you reach out to a new society in which you are found.”

That approach, Clarkson said, is the basis of Canadian citizenship and can serve as an example for people around the globe.

She praised in particular the work of the Aga Khan in the area of education.

Clarkson said the award is intended to be based on the recipient’s lifetime of work, not just contributions in the past year.

The Aga Khan chairs the Aga Khan Development Network — a group of organizations that do a range of development work in more than two dozen countries around the world, with a staff of more than 80,000 people.

The Aga Khan Museum opened in Toronto two years ago, with a mission to promote an understanding of contributions made by Muslim societies and to encourage tolerance.

The winner of the initial award was chosen by Clarkson and the board of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (of which she’s a co-founder) — the charity presenting Toronto’s 6 Degrees Citizen Space series, where this is the closing event.

After he receives his award — a medal designed by Ottawa-based sculptor Anna Williams — at the ceremony at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall on Wednesday evening, the Aga Khan will join Clarkson to discuss global issues in front of the crowd. Rufus Wainwright is slated to perform at the event.

Tickets are sold out, but the event will be streamed online. Next year’s prize will be awarded in September 2017.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/6865937-the-aga-khan-awarded-inaugural-adrienne-clarkson-prize-for-global-citizenship/

The Aga Khan awarded inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship


North York Mirror

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV will be awarded the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship Wednesday, Sept. 21 at a ceremony downtown.

The prize, to be handed out at the Royal Conservatory of Music, will be given annually to an individual “who has through thought and dialogue, encouraged approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect,” according to a release.

The 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan is head of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and in 2010 was made an honourary Canadian citizen.

He also funded the development of the Aga Khan Museum, which is situated in the Don Mills Road and Wynford Drive area of North York.

In a release, Clarkson, who will present the 79-year-old Aga Khan with the award, said “through his words, through his actions, and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has pioneered, he is a beacon of light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness.”
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/canadian-honour-for-aga-khan/17627155

Canadian honour for Aga Khan
By Aparna Shukla | Posted 21-Sep-2016

The Aga Khan will receive the award in a ceremony in Canada on Wednesday


Even as the northern hemisphere’s Islamophobia is scaling new heights following the recent New York bombings, its neighbour Canada has awarded the current and 49th head of the Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan, with the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship that recognises leaders committed to the ideals of belonging and inclusion. The Aga Khan will receive the award in a ceremony on September 21 in Canada.

“Globally, the amount of tolerance and love for the other religion is rapidly decreasing. The Aga Khan receiving this award comes as a symbol of peace since there is more need for the world to know what Islam is really about,” said Akbar Merchant, a member from the community.

Contributions in Mumbai
However, other members are not so quick to conclude that Mumbai falls under the same bracket of intolerance. “Mumbai, I think is extremely pluralistic; people are very giving and forgiving. We Mumbaikars are still very peaceful at heart,” said Riyaaz Makaniy, another community member.

In Mumbai, The Diamond Jubilee School and the Prince Aly Khan Hospital — both in Mazgaon — are the two institutes that are under the aegis of the Aga Khan Development Network, which also recently conducted restoration of the Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. Not just in Mumbai, but the Aga Khan has institutes all over India, and abroad as well. “His highness the Aga Khan has been working in countries all across the world and an award like this will only inspire others to be more tolerant and giving,” another member Reshma Lakhani added.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://twitter.com/IsmailiHeritage

On Twitter

#Ismaili #AgaKhan received The Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship on Wednesday 21 Sept 19:30 Toronto time. BRAVO!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moments from the Event
21 September 2016, Toronto, Canada
The 2016 Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship goes to H.H. The Aga Khan











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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:50 pm    Post subject: global citizenship video Reply with quote

http://livestream.com/accounts/21069386/events/6381902/videos/136478112

its a 2hr video.

the first hour is just music so fast forward to the 1hr mark on the player.

not sure how long it will stay up.


enjoy !!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AUDIO of the Speech of H.H. The Aga Khan at the Global Citizenship Ceremony on 21 September 2016 in Toronto, Canada


http://ismaili.net/timeline/2016/2016-09-21-speech-audio.m4a


VIDEO Link for the whole program

https://youtu.be/LRgpyrXeJJ0




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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.akdn.org/speech/his-highness-aga-khan/accepting-adrienne-clarkson-prize-global-citizenship

Accepting the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

SPEECH DELIVERED BY His Highness the Aga Khan
Toronto, Canada (21 September 2016)

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

Madame Adrienne Clarkson
Dr. John Ralston Saul
Premier Kathleen Wynne
Madame Reid, First Lady of Iceland
Your Honour Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Your Worship John Tory
Ministers
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

This is a deeply memorable moment for me. My warmest thanks go to Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship for this wonderful Award, and to all of you for sharing in this important moment in my life.

Imagine the honour one feels - to receive an Award named after Adrienne Clarkson, presented by Adrienne Clarkson, and dedicated to the ideals of which Adrienne Clarkson is such a leading example.

As you know, Madame Clarkson has experienced, in her own life, what the concept of Global Citizenship really means. Arriving as a two-year old refugee from outside Canada, she became a Canadian citizen in the fullest and best sense. And she also became an extraordinary advocate for what Global Citizenship truly means. In so many roles over so many years, as a thoughtful journalist and broadcaster, as Canada’s distinguished Governor General, and as a forceful national matriarch, she has continually been reaching out to diverse peoples in Canada, and around the world, not only in eloquent words but also in decisive action.

Madame Clarkson ne s'est pas contentée d'être une amie et une inspiratrice ; elle a aussi été pour moi un partenaire pour qui j'ai la plus grande estime. Sa contribution aux travaux de notre Réseau de Développement a été marquée par son mandat d'Administratrice du Centre Mondial du Pluralisme à Ottawa, l'un des nombreux projets collaboratifs dans lesquels mes institutions, avec une profonde reconnaissance, se sont engagées aux côtés du gouvernement canadien.

One might say that to receive an Award for Global Citizenship from Adrienne Clarkson is a bit like receiving an Excellence in Hockey Award from Wayne Gretzky!

As for the concept of Global Citizenship, that was something I began to think about seriously when I became the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims almost 60 years ago. Happily, I was able to share my thinking about Global Citizenship with the dedicated people of the Aga Khan Development Network - with whom I want to share this honour today. What we learned from the very start was that advancing our development agenda, we would be required to respect the immense diversity of ethnicities, of languages and of cultures, of faiths, of philosophies. In short, we learned to embrace the values of Global Citizenship.

As we discuss this concept, and the spirit of Pluralism on which it rests, it is only realistic, in my view, to acknowledge an increasing frustration concerning the pluralism story. We talk sincerely about the values of diversity, about living with complexity. But in too many cases more diversity seems to mean more division; greater complexity, more fragmentation, and more fragmentation can bring us closer to conflict.

The stakes seem to be getting higher as time goes by, but so do the obstacles. And that is why I will focus my brief remarks today on the continuing challenges to the ideals of Global Citizenship.

One enormous challenge, of course, is the simple fact that diversity is increasing around the world. The task is not merely learning to live with that diversity, but learning to live with greater diversity with each passing year.

One aspect of this changing reality is the challenge of human migration. More people are moving, willingly and unwillingly, across national frontiers than ever before. In country after country, the migration question is a central issue of political life. Often it is THE central issue. And old habits of mind, including narrow, exclusionary definitions of citizenship, have not met the challenge.

That was true three months ago when Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. It is true in pre-election debates in France, where I now live, and in the United States, where I went to university. It is true in Canada, as you well know, though Canada has certainly been a world leader in expanding the concept of citizenship. But the challenge is felt everywhere. Nor is the migration challenge likely to dissipate any time soon, especially as war, and violence, and economic deprivation, displace more and more people.

In such a world, the “Other” is no longer a distant someone whom we encounter primarily in the pages of a magazine, or on a video screen, or an exotic holiday trip. The “Other” increasingly is someone who appears in what we think of as “our space”, or even, “in our face.” And that reality can be hard to handle.

When the Other is seen as a potential competitor, for a job for example, even when this fear is unfounded, then the challenge of pluralistic attitudes becomes even more difficult. For those who feel insecure, it is tempting to look for scapegoats, for someone to blame, when their self-esteem seems threatened. Often, we then find it easier to define our identity by what we are against, than by what we are for.

Such fears may be culturally based, or economically driven, or psychologically rooted. But they should not be underestimated. And they will not be driven away by nice sounding words proclaiming lofty ideals.

This is why I would emphasize, as Adrienne Clarkson has always done, our responsibility to improve the quality of life in places throughout the world where that quality is unsatisfactory - fighting poverty, improving health and education, expanding opportunity - as the first manifestation of a healthy pluralistic ethic. Pluralism means responding to diversity not only at home, but on a global basis, creating genuine “visions of opportunity” wherever constraints or reversals are in the air.

But the growing challenge to pluralistic values does not happen only when people move physically from one place to another. As new technologies shrink the planet, distant forces become dire threats. We worry about the perils of environmental degradation, for example, including the spectre of climate change. We see how every local economy can be affected by distant economies. We realize how dangerous forces can spread across national borders - deadly diseases, or deadly weaponry, criminal networks or terrorist threats. And often, the human impulse is not to work across borders to meet these dangers, but to withdraw from a threatening world.

One element that complicates this challenge is the way in which we communicate with our global neighbours. We think sometimes that the new technologies can save us. If we can connect faster, at lower cost, across greater distances, with more people, just think what could happen! We would all learn more about one another and perhaps understand one another better. But I am not sure that things are working out that way. The explosion of available information often means less focus on relevant information, and even a surfeit of misinformation. Thoughtful leadership often gives way to noisy chatter.

Media proliferation is another challenge: what it often means is media fragmentation. Many now live in their own media bubbles, resisting diverse views. New technologies can make communication seem easier, but they can also make pluralism much more difficult.
Yet another dimension of the challenge has to do with the realities of human nature. We often hear in discussions of Global Citizenship that people are basically alike. Under the skin, deep in our hearts, we are all brothers and sisters - we are told - and the secret to a harmonious world is to ignore our differences and to emphasize our similarities.

What worries me, however, is when some take that message to mean that our differences are trivial, that they can be ignored, and eventually erased. And that is not good advice. In fact, it is impossible. Yes, our understanding and our underlying humanity should motivate our quest for healthy pluralism. But such a quest must also be built on an empathetic response to our important differences. And that, again, is a point which Adrienne Clarkson has emphatically articulated.

Pretending that our differences are trivial will not persuade most people to embrace pluralistic attitudes. In fact, it might frighten them away. People know that differences can be challenging, that disagreements are inevitable, that our fellow-humans can sometimes be disagreeable. As Madame Clarkson has famously said, and I am quoting her here: “the secret to social harmony is learning to live with people you may not particularly like.”
My fear is that talking only about our common humanity might seem to threaten people’s distinctive identities. And that can complicate the challenge of pluralism.

Who am I? Qui suis-je? We all must pose that question. Answers will grow out of basic loyalties - to family, faith, community, language, which provide a healthy sense of security and worth. But if the call for pluralism seems to dilute those old loyalties, then that new call may not be effective. Embracing the values of Global Citizenship should not mean compromising the bonds of local or national citizenship. The call of pluralism should ask us to respect our differences, but not to ignore them, to integrate diversity, not to depreciate diversity.

The call for cosmopolitanism is not a call to homogenization. It means affirming social solidarity, without imposing social conformity. One’s identity need not be diluted in a pluralistic world, but rather fulfilled, as one bright thread in a cloth of many colours.

When Adrienne Clarkson gave the Massey Lectures on CBC two years ago, she used a phrase that became her book’s title: “Belonging, the Paradox of Citizenship.” The word “paradox” expresses precisely the challenge I have been discussing.

Perhaps the key to resolving the Paradox of Citizenship is to think about layers of overlapping identity. After all, one can honour a variety of loyalties - to a faith, an ethnicity, a language, a nation, a city, a profession, a school, even to a sports team! One might share some of these identities with some people, and other identities with others.

My own religious community identifies proudly as Ismaili Muslims, with our specific interpretation of Islamic faith and history. But we also feel a sense of belonging with the whole of the Muslim world, what we call the Ummah. Within the Ummah, the diversity of identities is immense - greater than most people realize - differences based on language, on history, on nationhood, ethnicity and a variety of local affiliations. But, at the same time, I observe a growing sense within the Ummah of a meaningful global bond.

When the question of human identity is seen in this context, then diversity itself can be seen as a gift. Diversity is not a reason to put up walls, but rather to open windows. It is not a burden, it is a blessing. In the end of course, we must realize that living with diversity is a challenging process. We are wrong to think it will be easy. The work of pluralism is always a work in progress.

Some of that work will be done in our schools. What I have called the Cosmopolitan Ethic is not something that we are born with, it is something that must be learned. Similarly, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, under the inspirational leadership of Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul, has been working to give people who are new to Canada a sense of belonging. But this process does not simply take care of itself. It requires planning, it requires persistence and ever-fresh thinking. It is work that is never finished.

Finally, advancing the cause of Global Citizenship is not only a matter of building healthy, diversified societies, but also of maintaining them. Inevitably, new challenges will arise. Canada’s Chief Justice, the Right Honorable Beverly McLachlin, spoke of such challenges last year when she delivered the annual Lecture for our Global Centre for Pluralism. She spoke of how a cosmopolitan society needed, continually, to sort out the balance between healthy diversity and social cohesion. To do that well, she said, required a respect for human dignity, strong legal institutions, and a pluralistic institutional environment.

For me, that latter strength implies a broadly diversified civil society - a healthy array of private organizations that are dedicated to public purposes. For pluralism to thrive will require the successful integration of diverse institutions and diverse leadership.

These are just a few thoughts as I look to the future of Global Citizenship. The challenges, in sum, will be many and continuing. What will they require of us? A short list might include these strengths: a vital sense of balance, an abundant capacity for compromise, more than a little sense of patience, an appropriate degree of humility, a good measure of forgiveness, and, of course, a genuine welcoming of human difference.

It will mean hard work. It will never be completed. But no work will be more important.

Thank you.

AUDIO of the Speech of H.H. The Aga Khan at the Global Citizenship Ceremony on 21 September 2016 in Toronto, Canada


http://ismaili.net/timeline/2016/2016-09-21-speech-audio.m4a
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Aga Khan wins global award for his peace efforts worldwide Reply with quote

http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Aga-Khan-wins-global-award-for-his-peace-efforts-worldwide/1056-3390326-4li8sz/

Aga Khan wins global award for his peace efforts worldwide

Thursday September 22 2016

By PETER LEFTIE

The Aga Khan is the winner of the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.

The annual award recognises individuals who through thought and dialogue encourage approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect.

“We are pleased to announce that His Highness the Aga Khan is the first recipient of this globally relevant prize.

"The 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, His Highness has dedicated his life’s work to improving living conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations, and to fostering an understanding of the importance of pluralism to global harmony,” read a citation accompanying the announcement by the 6 Degrees, a new public initiative of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

The prize is named after Madam Adrienne Clarkson, a former Canadian governor-general.

LIFETIME COMMITMENT

“The symbolic importance of this prize has never been greater. In a time of unprecedented movement, displacement and resettlement by immigrants and refugees, one of the central challenges we face is how we all live together,” the statement added.

At the ceremony presided over by Ms Clarkson in Toronto on Wednesday, The Aga Khan shared his experiences with the audience on the issues confronting the world today. He was then joined on stage by Ms Clarkson.

Toronto, Canada, 21 September 2016 - His Highness the Aga Khan was presented with the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship at a ceremony at Toronto's Koerner Hall.

Remarking on The Aga Khan’s lifetime commitment to ideals of inclusion, Ms Clarkson stated: “Through his words, through his actions and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has pioneered, he is a beacon of light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness.”

The ceremony took place at the end of the 6 Degrees conference, developed to bring together leaders to discuss issues which threaten co-existence.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mawlana Hazar Imam receives the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

https://www.theismaili.org/news-events/mawlana-hazar-imam-receives-adrienne-clarkson-prize-global-citizenship

TheIsmaili.org


21 September 2016


Toronto, 21 September 2016 — Before a distinguished gathering at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson presented Mawlana Hazar Imam with an award bearing her name and representing the convictions that she has long championed.

“Tonight, this prize for Global Citizenship is recognising and celebrating His Highness the Aga Khan, whose entire life demonstrates steadfast unchanging commitment to the ideals of belonging and inclusion,” said the 26th Governor General of Canada and co-founder of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

Also see:
» Speeches by Mawlana Hazar Imam and Adrienne Clarkson
» Video message from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship recognizes an individual who has, through thought and dialogue, encouraged approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect. Hazar Imam became the inaugural recipient.

“Through his words, through his actions, and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has founded and encouraged and nourished, he has become a light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness,” continued Madame Clarkson.

Canada’s Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, expressed his own warm sentiments in a video message that was played during the ceremony.

“I am honoured to call him a dear friend and a mentor,” the Prime Minister said of Mawlana Hazar Imam. “And I could not imagine a more deserving recipient of the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.”

“I often say that Canada is stronger, not in spite of its differences, but because of them,” continued the Prime Minister. “Well, for half a century, the Aga Khan has shown that about the world.”

Challenges facing global citizenship

Mawlana Hazar Imam thanked Madame Clarkson, her husband John Ralston Saul and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship for the honour that they bestowed upon him. He then shared some thoughts on global citizenship and the ways in which it is being challenged today.

“The concept of global citizenship,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam, “was something I began to think about seriously when I became the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims almost 60 years ago.” Implicit in the concept was a respect for many diversities — whether ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, or philosophical.

But as diversity in human societies is increasing, learning to live with it is becoming more difficult observed Hazar Imam.

“We talk sincerely about the values of diversity, about living with complexity. But in too many cases, more diversity seems to mean more division… more fragmentation.”

“And more fragmentation can bring us closer to conflict.”

Fear of the Other

Human migration is one dimension of this challenge. As more people move between countries, they are bumping up against narrow definitions of citizenship in which the Other becomes a source of fear and a scapegoat for insecurity.

“Such fears may be culturally based, or economically driven, or psychologically rooted,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam. “But they should not be underestimated. And they will not be driven away by nice sounding words proclaiming lofty ideals.”

Healthy pluralism must allay these fears by seeking to improve quality of life by fighting poverty, improving health and education, and creating opportunity for people around the world.

Mawlana Hazar Imam also touched upon the complications of connectivity. Although technology has significantly improved our ability to communicate, it has also brought misinformation and a growing resistance to diverse views.

Healthy pluralism

Indeed, it can be difficult for societies to make room for differing views, especially when they are in disagreement with one another. But ignoring our differences is not advisable, said Hazar Imam.

“Our understanding and our underlying humanity should motivate our quest for healthy pluralism,” asserted Mawlana Hazar Imam. “But such a quest must also be built on an empathetic response to our important differences.”

Pluralism, he points out, must not dilute or erase our identities. Family, faith, community, and language are basic loyalties that “provide a healthy sense of security and worth.”

“My own religious community identifies proudly as Ismaili Muslims, with our specific interpretation of Islamic faith and history,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam. “But we also feel a sense of belonging with the whole of the Muslim world, what we call the Ummah. Within the Ummah, the diversity of identities is immense — greater than most people realise — differences based on language, on history, on nationhood, ethnicity and a variety of local affiliations. But, at the same time, I observe a growing sense within the Ummah of a meaningful global bond.”

Following his speech, Mawlana Hazar Imam sat down with Madame Clarkson to engage in a wide ranging conversation. They touched upon the conditions and barriers to opportunity faced in different countries, ignorance about Islam and Muslim civilisations in the Western world, the importance of planning and predictability when looking ahead, and the need for greater generosity in society.

The ceremony also featured a video tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam that looked back on his life and accomplishments. Internationally-acclaimed vocalist and songwriter Rufus Wainwright performed in his honour.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://globalnews.ca/video/2955983/his-highness-the-aga-khan-receives-adrienne-clarkson-prize-for-global-citizenship/

A 2 minutes interesting video is provided in the link above
.

His Highness The Aga Khan receives Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

His Highness The Aga Khan, leader of the world’s 50 million Ismaili Musilms, receives the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship. The annual award, earmarked for individuals who work to remove barriers and support the principles of tolerance and respect, is part of the 6 Degrees initiative. Among the dignitaries at the event were Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory. Farah Nasser reports.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Defining Moment – His Highness the Aga Khan Shortlists the Strengths of a Global Citizen; and the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson in Conversation with the Ismaili Imam

21 September 2016

But of all the absorbing moments that the event offered, there was one defining moment in Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech that I took to my heart. In concluding his speech, Mawlana Hazar Imam defined what it takes for each one of us to be a Global Citizen. He said:


“These are just a few thoughts as I look to the future of Global Citizenship. The challenges, in sum, will be many and continuing. What will they require of us?

“A short list might include these strengths: a vital sense of balance, an abundant capacity for compromise, more than a little sense of patience, an appropriate degree of humility, a good measure of forgiveness, and, of course, a genuine welcoming of human difference.”

It was with reference to this last sentence that Madame Clarkson then began her conversation with Mawlana Hazar Imam. The following is a transcript that Simerg has prepared from a tape recording of the event, and we invite our readers to listen to the video of the wonderful event through the link that we have provided at the bottom of this page.

Adrienne Clarkson: Thank you so much for those words. They are so well thought out, and over the years as we have known each other, I am always impressed by your deep sense of humane commitment and feeling that you have when you talk about things like forgiveness, and that, that is part of what we are as a society……One of the things I am very interested in, and I think everybody here is interested too, is in the fact that you put so much faith in Canada; that you have put institutions in Canada, like the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa….And you have also put the Imamat in Ottawa. And when I think about it, I think: Is that because in 1972, we welcomed so many Ismailis. Is that the beginning of it, or is there something else about us: Is it that you are a secret fan of MacKenzie (inaudible).

Mawlana Hazar Imam: No, I think the answer to that is that as I look at the world around us, and I ask myself what would define countries where I would like to see my community reside. The first word that comes to my mind is countries of opportunity. And I believe Canada is one of the greatest countries of opportunity.

Adrienne Clarkson: I think that is true, and certainly the Ismaili community in Canada has made the most of the opportunities which all people who come to this country have. And that is the reason why I think people understand once they get here: that there lives are going to be different. And that is one of the interesting things too about what you talk about to the Jamat, to the community. And I think something that people should realise in the rest of Canada that you have your community, and it is very important; but that you emphasise how important it is to be part of the world outside your community. And why do you do that?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Well, I have to go back to 1957. In 1957, many of the countries where my community was living were colonies. And those countries needed to go through the process of independence, needed to find the pathways forwards towards peace, towards development. And I have asked myself: How do countries achieve that? And if you go back to 1957, you look at the map of our world, and you try to define where all these countries that have now become independent, have created opportunity; I think one has to say that that has not been very successful.

Adrienne Clarkson: What have been the barriers? What are the barriers?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Oh, I think there is a multitude of barriers. First of all, I suppose national resources would be a major issue. The second would be the level of human ability within a given country, whether it has a human ability to develop its resources, to build opportunity. So in that sense we are looking at processes of change. And they have occurred; they have occurred. There are today countries of opportunity which either did not exist or one would not have thought of as being countries of opportunity in 1957 when my grandfather died.

Adrienne Clarkson: And that has changed.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: That has changed.

Adrienne Clarkson: Well, you have had a lifetime of opportunity to see that. It is very rare to meet somebody who has had such an effect on the world, not only on a group of people, but in the world. Because that is what you have made it in sixty years. Next year will be your sixtieth anniversary as the Imam. And in sixty years, you have seen development, you have made development happen, you made resources available to places where there were absolutely no resources. And in doing that, it cannot have been easy to decide where that would happen, to decide who would be the collaborators, to bring along people who could understand and have the capacity to help with that development. How did you go about doing that?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: [I think] what you try to do is look at circumstances on an on-going basis. And then you work through what I would call predictability, and you try to project into the future what countries have the ability to follow the path of peace and development. And where there are situations which are potentially difficult, and that, of course, is something which changes practically every day; and, of course, it has changed a lot since 1957.

Adrienne Clarkson: And they did not teach you that at Harvard.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I am not sure what they taught me at Harvard.

Adrienne Clarkson: We all wonder what we learned at university and how that was relevant to anything that we are doing today. But I think what is interesting in what you have been saying over the last, particularly over the last decade in your speeches, in your writings is that ignorance that we have. And I am always struck by the fact that we are, we speak out of such ignorance in a so-called western developed world, particularly about Islam. We do not know the varieties of the Muslim world at all, we seem not to be even interested in it, and the more people shout about it, the worse it becomes, because it is as though we shut out everything that could be various, that could be different, that could have any kind of nuance in it. How do you mitigate against that?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I think probably the first step would be to extract from Islamic history, from Islamic philosophy the great names, the great thinkers, the great astronomers, the great scientists, the great medical figures, who have influenced global knowledge. I remember courses which taught general humanities. And those general humanities caused one to read in French, or Italian, or German, or English. Arabic! Never heard of it; Urdu! Never heard of it; Farsi! We do not even know what that is. So, it was a frightening vacuum in general education at the time. And I think that that vacuum has had terrible results.

Adrienne Clarkson: No, of course it has. It is ridiculous. I mean, we met only a few years ago, William Polk who was the first translator of the great epic Bedouin poem. And to think that only practically in the 21st century did we have access to that in translation is frightening, almost. A lacunae of knowledge. Not even accessible to us in any way.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: And that I think is one of the really serious issues – is that the cultures of Islam, of the Islamic world are not present in global cultural (let us say, how would I call it) presence.

Adrienne Clarkson: Well, of course, you have given us an enormous gift to Toronto in the Aga Khan Museum and the Jamatkhana, which is now virtually the geographic centre of Metropolitan Toronto. And I think by those wonderful Islamic gardens with the pools of water, but using native Canadian trees, and native Canadian plants. I always think of you as somebody with a motto of: No idea too big, no detail too small. Because I know how you look at everything: you know, the grouting in the marble, the bulbs that will be planted, the colours of the bulbs. And, of course, that is an enriching thing for you to have that detail in your life, but also I think it enriches us. And when I think of the role that beauty and culture play in the message that you have to the world, I think we are enormously grateful to you…..

(The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson then went on to describe the restoration work carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture at the Humayun Gardens in New Delhi and the Babur Gardens in Kabul as well as the creation of Cairo’s new Al-Azhar Park from a site that had been used for many centuries as a landfill. The description is being skipped here. – Editor).

Adrienne Clarkson……..Why do you think beauty is so important to us, even when there are so many other needs around?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Well, I think, all faiths express themselves in some cultural form or the other. And Islam is a faith which has expressed itself in cultural manifestations over centuries in different parts of the world. And I think it is very important that those manifestations should be seen and should be, I hope, admired, and that they should inspire young people who are talented young architects, land planners, whatever it may be. So that they can inspire their own buildings with a sense of continuity, but of our time. And I think it is very important that we not try to plagiarise history. (Laughter). I would get a, what would it be, a D or an E at Harvard for plagiarization.

Adrienne Clarkson: Well, of course, when you restore things or you make things new, you have to always avoid that. You have to say I am making something new. And that does not seem to fill you with any kind of fear.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: No, I think that every people in every given time should be encouraged to express themselves. And I remember that when the Pyramid was built in the Louvre, in the courtyard of the Louvre, there was immense debate as to whether this was appropriate or not. Well, it is there!

Adrienne Clarkson: Yes, yes, it is there. When we look at the world today……The rise of the Hard Right, of the really almost Fascist movements, reminds us sadly of times in the 1930s, and we have to really watch that because all that is to raise fear in people. And once fear rules people, they become blinded to all kinds of things. How do you deal with that? How do we deal with the fear?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I think in this particular case, the issue is whether these countries have been willing to prepare themselves for this situation. Canada is a country that has permanent preparation. It is the way the country thinks. It welcomes people to come from outside, it has the institutions to support them when they arrive. It helps them integrate into Canadian society. That is not true of many western European countries, because they are facing economic constraint, because there are social tensions in various European countries also. Northern Europe does not speak the same language as Southern Europe, nor do they face the same problems. So I think we are living at a time when there are real difficulties, and my sense is that they are going to have to be analysed and solutions are going to have to be found. Because the movement of people is not going to stop. I do not see that stopping. It is driven by a number of factors, and I think in many of the countries which are sending people to Europe today, are dealing with populations who are seeking opportunity. There is a great sense of lack of opportunity. Opportunity is next door, it is not (around).

Adrienne Clarkson: (You know) When you were named as Imam in your grandfather’s will, he said he felt that he had to appoint somebody who was a young man, a man who was born in the atomic age, that is, the age of the 20th and 21st century. Has that influenced the way you think of things? Do you think of things in terms of a kind of millennial way, because you were appointed so young and you took on those duties so young. You knew you were expected to do something different. That is implicit in that will.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Right. At the time and even today, many of the questions that I ask myself and that I discuss with members of my community is medium- and long-term projecting. Where are we going? And are we going in the right direction in various countries? Are we being equitable in relation to the demography of the community? Are we over-committing in certain parts of the world and under-committing in others? Are there circumstances in regions which make it impossible for our institutions to function? Or, on the contrary, are there countries that would welcome them? So we are looking at, let’s say, a semi-global situation on an on-going basis. So, in that sense, we are looking at how to plan. And planning, I think, in our case requires institutional initiative. We need to get our institutions in place before people decide to move.

Adrienne Clarkson: Well, that is the point. You are there before!

Mawlana Hazar Imam: We try.

Adrienne Clarkson: You are there before, because you have to then predict and you have to then say we are going to be out front, and when the tide is ready we will have the port built, so that the ships can arrive. How do you do that?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: You pray that Idi Amin never comes back!

Adrienne Clarkson: Yes. Well, let’s hope that that was only once in a hundred years, at least. But the idea of a threat to so many people comes up over and over again. I mean we know more about it now, because we have instant communications. So we know when whole groups are threatened, when things happen like that. But, you know, the ignorance that I talked about earlier is almost terrifying. That people do not understand the Muslim world whatsoever. And they do not understand, as you touched on in your speech, they do not understand the differences in the Muslim world. They have never read the Koran, they would not think of reading it or taking a study course in it. And I think that sort of thing really means that ignorance is promulgated and continued. And then, you know when very careless media add to that, then you really do not understand. Also, the other thing that I always like to point out is that Islam is six hundred years younger than Christianity. So, Christians should think, you know, what was Christianity like in the 15th century. And who was talking then? And how were they divided? It is very interesting to think of it in the cycles of history, as opposed to, just thinking, it is now and we are all the same and we are all equal, etc. We are not, really, because we have different heritages.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: That is true, but there was also a lot of inter-faith communication in the Middle Ages.

Adrienne Clarkson: That is right. The inter-faith communication is..

Mawlana Hazar Imam: A great deal [of inter-faith communication], particularly in the field of mystic faith.

Adrienne Clarkson: Mysticism!

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Yes.

Adrienne Clarkson: Linking Sufism and so on with Christian mysticism.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Yes. Personal search.

Adrienne Clarkson: Why have we lost that?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Probably, the requirements of modern life.

Adrienne Clarkson: Can we do anything about it? Should we be trying? Is that one of the things we should be trying, besides thinking of development, besides thinking of, you know, creating universities and schools. Can we do that?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I think we need to reflect over is generosity in society. Our faith, the faith of Islam teaches generosity. But, I think it is very important that generosity should be part of public psyche.

Adrienne Clarkson: And that means being brought up with it.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Means being brought up with it. Means recognising those in need of help. Means creating institutions to deliver that help. And, obviously, in poor countries, it is very difficult to achieve. But it should be a goal.

Adrienne Clarkson: Well, the problem is that the gap between rich and poor is growing and growing and growing, and not just in the developing world, but in the developed world. That is one of the real problems now for us, I think, as a society in the West is that disparity between the haves and have-nots. And the more that grows, the more unjust society becomes. And there seems to be very little that people want to do about that, very little that they really want to do about it. And things become charity. Charity is not the right way to go about it; development is the right vehicle now, surely.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Yes. Well, in the faith of Islam the best charity is to give, to enable an individual or a family to become independent of their economic destiny. That is known as the best charity.

Adrienne Clarkson: How often is it? Does it happen?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I honestly do not know. I would have to ask our bankers.

Adrienne Clarkson: As a final thing, I would like to ask you: What do you really think will happen now in the medium term for our future as we see Britain wanting to leave Europe, as we see the rise of very hard Right in the European countries, as we see what is happening in the United States, which is hardly even mentionable. What can we hope for now? How can we as individuals who really want to make things better, as we are faced with all of this, how does it happen, for us now?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I think we have to offer rational people, options. I think it is very important to put in front of public opinion, good options. Alternatives.

Adrienne Clarkson: Different ways of behaviour.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Different ways of behaving.

Adrienne Clarkson: And how do we do that? How do we make that? Is that through education? Is that through incentives? What is it? How is it done?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I think it is through men and women coming forward to take positions of leadership. I think it is institutions who need to engage, rather than let the field open to anything. And, I have been very impressed since 1957 in developing countries, when elections had to be held or were held in circumstances where you would assume that the population did not have access to the information they would have, in our view, needed to express themselves rationally and competently. Well, I got it wrong. They are very, very wise. Public wisdom is not dependent on education.

Adrienne Clarkson: You are practically talking about Jung’s collective unconscious there. Is that, that there is a kind of wisdom that people share.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Yes.

Adrienne Clarkson: Because of their common humanity.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Because of the common humanity. Because of the common circumstance in which they are living.

Adrienne Clarkson: But does that bring us hope – as, you know, a collection of your speeches as ‘Where Hope Takes Root”. Is that where hope will take root?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Yes. I believe so. But it means that decision makers have to be responsive.

Adrienne Clarkson: Well, it is very discouraging often when you look at the people who are elected in public office in different countries and the countries seem to vote for people that will harm them the most. Often, this is the most discouraging when you see in a democratic situation, even in free ones, where people will vote for something that is going to really harm them, and they do not seem to realise that it is very, very difficult, very difficult even because we have freedom of the press, we have enormous freedoms, particularly in North America and most of Europe. We have all those freedoms and yet we are in the dilemma that we are…Does that come back to the individual and their ability to do things?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: I think it comes back to the way the individual, or the family, rather than the individual, evaluate their position in society at a given time. Ultimately, the basic issue is: How does a family feed itself and educate the children, generation after generation? It is that clear, it is that important. And if society is able to provide that for the totality of the population in a given country, that is already a very sound foundation. But that is a condition sine qua non for a country to move ahead. If you have pockets of poverty, if you have populations or groups of populations who are marginalised, you are looking at a series of issues that one year are going to blow up. The predictability of crisis, in my view, in Third World countries is much higher than people would believe.

Adrienne Clarkson: You could predict them.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: You can predict them.

Adrienne Clarkson: Then why do not we avert them?

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Ah, that is a different question. I think predicting them is something that you can do, averting them does depend on a lot of different issues. That is not always easy.

Adrienne Clarkson: Thank you so much, Your Highness.

Mawlana Hazar Imam: Thank you. Thank you.

~~~~~~~

STATEMENT BY ANNA WILLIAMS, SCULPTOR OF THE MEDAL PRESENTED TO HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN

STATEMENT BY ANNA WILLIAMS, SCULPTOR OF THE MEDAL PRESENTED TO HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN


The medal presented to His Highness the Aga Khan for the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship was sculpted by Anna Williams. The photo and her statement (below) are from the program booklet “Six Degrees Citizen Space 2016,” published by 6DegreesTO.com.


“Adrienne Clarkson asked me to create a medal for the Prize for Global Citizenship. I had the idea of bringing together the world of creation with that of the great mythological winged deities. Sedna is the Inuit goddess from whom all creatures of the sea spring. Atlanta, Nike, Lilith and the winged bearers of souls in Norse lore, the Valkyrie, each exist in an imperfect world. But through their strength, intelligence, independence, and compassion, they have created an iconography of champions and dissenters. Each in their own way is unyielding and stands apart as they chart a new course against buffeting waves. In the narrative of this medal, Sedna the creator emerges from the waves to pass a vulnerable world to the outstretched arms of our winged guardian.” — Anna Williams, sculptor.


Date posted: September 22, 2016.
Last updated: September 23, 2016, 15:25 (new photos added, completion of interview transcript and artist statement for Global Citizenship Medal).


simerg.com/2016/09/22/defining-moment-his-highness-the-aga-khan-shortlists-the-strengths-of-a-global-citizen-and-the-rt-hon-adrienne-clarkson-in-conversation-with-the-ismaili-imam/


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rizwan-mawani/inaugural-adrienne-clarks_b_12140312.html

Inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship Awarded to the Aga Khan for His Commitment to Advancing Pluralism

09/22/2016 09:26 pm ET

Rizwan Mawani

His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam of the worldwide Shi’a Ismaili community and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network addressed an audience of change makers, political leaders and keen observers of the global condition on the evening of September 21st at Toronto’s distinctive Telus Centre for Performance and Learning. The marquee event of the inaugural Six Degrees Citizen Space conference organized by the Institute of Canadian Citizenship brought together luminaries, artists and prominent voices from Canada and around the world to debate, discuss and reflect upon the core issues of our contemporary world: inclusion, belonging and citizenship.

The Aga Khan was in Canada to receive the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship for his life’s contributions and steadfast commitment to the ideals of inclusion and belonging. The prize awarded to a true global citizen, one who transcends the narrow ties of nationalism in hopes of improving the lives of people around the world, honoured the Aga Khan’s commitment to helping the world understand pluralism better as well as the ability to realize this vision through his multi-agency Aga Khan Development Network, which operates in more than thirty countries in the domains of health, education, social and economic development, culture and disaster relief.

His Highness the Aga Khan accepts the Inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship from Former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson

In her opening remarks, former Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, for whom the prize is named, referred to the Muslim leader as a beacon. “He has become a light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness,” she remarked, speaking of the Aga Khan’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life of millions of people from around the world at a time when poverty and displacement from war and natural disasters are ravaging many of the world’s underprivileged regions, stripping peoples and families of of their dignity, contributing to a deep sense of uncertainty about their futures and ultimately confiscating from the most marginal of communities, their right to hope and optimism. For the Aga Khan, development is not charity, but rather an enabler, a participatory process that empowers its beneficiaries, putting the destiny of families and communities in their own hands, ideally with life changing, generational consequences.

At the policy level, the Aga Khan continues to create spaces for dialogue, respect and understanding in an increasingly fractious world. This is not only true in Asia and Africa, where many programmes of the Aga Khan’s development network operates, but also in Western Europe and North America, where insular forces and sentiments are reversing years of progress in making these regions inclusive and welcoming.

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Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Giving the 2013 Global Centre for Pluralism Lecture

In Canada, which His Highness described as a “country of opportunity,” he has invested in a number of significant institutions whose outlooks have far reaching aspirations. The Global Centre for Pluralism, a partnership with the Government of Canada located in the nation’s capital, seeks to advance pluralist mindsets around the world, to understand how pluralism operates and under what conditions it fails, and to find ways to export the values of cosmopolitanism to places where it is most needed. The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, while showcasing the arts and cultures of Muslim civilizations, past and present, aims to educate Muslims and non-Muslims alike about the sheer diversity, beauty and richness of artistic production that is and has been a hallmark of the Muslim world. The Museum also attempts to highlight moments of exchange and cooperation between the Muslim world and other civilizations which have resulted in new forms of artistic production, knowledge and expression. Through initiatives such as these, the Aga Khan aims to redress the clashes of ignorance so prevalent in the world, instead bridging the divides in knowledge that have separated peoples of different cultures, languages and religions rather than bringing them together.

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The Award-Winning Aga Khan Museum

For His Highness, pluralism is an essential value, not unlike human rights, and is the precursor to global citizenship. Approaching his sixtieth anniversary in his office as Shi’a Imam, a position he inherited from his grandfather in 1957, the Aga Khan has been witness to massive transformations in the world, not only in the spheres of technology but equally so in the political realm. More than 60 nations have appeared on the global map since that period; what were once colonies are now countries and what was once one peoples sharing a common culture and landmass have now been bifurcated into multiple territories and national identities. As these states march forward into the future, they face their own challenges. One of which has been that entire regions, cultures and populations within these countries do not have access to the basic needs of security, health and education. Nor do many aspirant families feel that things will get better. As a result, more mobile citizens are increasingly looking for opportunities outside the continents of their birth, sometimes at great risk. Coupled with the massive acceleration of human movement due to war and natural disasters, migration has become one of the most challenging issues of our time. Not everybody is open to welcoming “the other” within their midst.

“The task is not merely learning to live with that diversity, but learning to live with greater diversity with each passing year.”

“One enormous challenge, of course,” observed the Aga Khan, “is the simple fact that diversity is increasing around the world. The task is not merely learning to live with that diversity, but learning to live with greater diversity with each passing year.” The Aga Khan fully recognizes the frustrations of the pluralism story. The challenge, he noted, was that as we become aware of the diversity of the world we live in and come into contact with people who are different than us, difference becomes a source of conflict rather than an opportunity. “We talk sincerely about the values of diversity, about living with complexity. But in too many cases more diversity seems to mean more division; greater complexity, more fragmentation, and more fragmentation can bring us closer to conflict.”

It is not just proximity that creates this awareness, and often tension. Technology and media, while seemingly bringing us together, recognized the Aga Khan, often pull us apart, feeding ignorance and insularity. The antidote, however, isn’t ignoring difference. “We often hear in discussions of Global Citizenship that people are basically alike. Under the skin, deep in our hearts, we are all brothers and sisters - we are told - and the secret to a harmonious world is to ignore our differences and to emphasize our similarities. What worries me, however,” said the Aga Khan “is when some take that message to mean that our differences are trivial, that they can be ignored, and eventually erased. And that is not good advice. In fact, it is impossible.”

“Pretending that our differences are trivial will not persuade most people to embrace pluralistic attitudes. In fact, it might frighten them away. People know that differences can be challenging, that disagreements are inevitable, that our fellow-humans can sometimes be disagreeable,” he continued.
Too often people think that embracing the values of Global Citizenship means diluting or compromising one’s own bonds to country or peoples. This is not the case emphasized His Highness. Rather, “the call of pluralism should ask us to respect our differences, but not to ignore them, to integrate diversity, not to depreciate diversity. The call for cosmopolitanism is not a call to homogenization. It means affirming social solidarity, without imposing social conformity. One’s identity need not be diluted in a pluralistic world, but rather fulfilled, as one bright thread in a cloth of many colours.”

How one goes about achieving this is no easy task. He ended the evening with a recipe-of-clarity-and-wisdom in charting a future for global citizenship: “a vital sense of balance, an abundant capacity for compromise, more than a little sense of patience, an appropriate degree of humility, a good measure of forgiveness, and, of course, a genuine welcoming of human difference.”

The Aga Khan’s full speech can be found here: http://www.akdn.org/speech/his-highness-aga-khan/accepting-adrienne-clarkson-prize-global-citizenship
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