Webcast: Ismaili Centre International Lecture with Dr Athar Sultan-Khan - October 11th 2019
Join us from the Ismail Centre, Lisbon, for an International Lecture to be delivered by Professor Athar Sultan-Khan, Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Geneva School of Diplomacy. The theme of the lecture will focus on Multilateral Diplomacy in a Complex World. The event is due to begin at 5:00 PM UTC and will be webcast at the.ismaili/live.
During his 38 years of service with the United Nations, Professor Athar Sultan-Khan served as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General, Chief de Cabinet of UNHCR for the last 15 years, and held several senior diplomatic postings in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Currently, in addition to his role as Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, Dr Sultan-Khan still advises the UNHCR on diplomatic matters.
Google translation of the article originally in Portuguese
A treasure for future generations
This week we feature a new garden inhabitant: New Zealand Blueberry or Eugenia myrtifolia.
It is an exotic shrub, originating in Oceania, namely the central coast of New South Wales. It belongs to the blueberry family and its fruits are similar to blueberries (hence their common name), although it belongs to another family. There are many other Eugenias from other parts of the world, namely Brazil.
It was introduced here for a very specific purpose: to form a closed hedge in a short time, a function that this species easily fulfills: it has persistent and dense foliage, grows at a very fast pace when compared to the native ones, and is resistant to urban conditions.
In addition to the bright foliage and elegant bearing, it has a beautiful flowering, formed by sets of delicate white flowers. In the fall, it fills with red berries that are now beginning to ripen and serve as a meal for small birds. See if you can distinguish it from the rest of the bushes that completely surround the garden!
Mahatma Gandhi's 150th Anniversary Celebration at Ismaili Center
Last Sunday, October 6th, an event organized by various Indo-Portuguese institutions in collaboration with the Ismaili community took place at Centro Ismaili, which marked the culmination of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.
In a spirit of unity, there was the presence of the Hindu community, and institutions such as the Embassy of India, House of India, House of Goa, among others. Also present were the High Commissioner for Migration, Dr. Pedro Calado, and the President of the Portuguese Yoga Confederation, Jorge Veiga and Castro - HH Jagat Guru Amrta Súryánanda Mahá Rája.
The event featured an introductory note from the President of the Ismaili Community National Council, Rahim Firozali, who in his speech highlighted the values ​​shared by Gandhi and Mawlana Hazar Imam, such as “peace, integration and global citizenship, (...) fraternity, respect and tolerance for cultural, social, religious diversity and mother nature ”.
Part of Jamat shares roots with Gandhi, who comes from the town of Porbandar in the Gujarat region. The links between Gandhi and the community extend so far that in 1969, during a visit to India, Mawlana Hazar Imam donated the palace built by his grandfather, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, to the Indian government. The same palace hosted the memorial and exhibited an exhibition dedicated to Gandhi, and, on the 150th anniversary, was completely illuminated in memory of the peace mediator.
The stage was lit by various performances, from devotional and traditional dances, to musical pieces performed by the various Ismaili community choirs, to yoga demonstrations. Followed by a coffee break, the event also included a guided tour by the President of the House of India to the photographic exhibition provided by this institution depicting the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
The celebrations were very well received by both the community and the guests. Pedro Calado, High Commissioner for Migration, left us the following testimony:
"At the close of the celebrations of the week marking the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birth in the magnificent Ismaili Center, we were able to celebrate an afternoon of communion around values. Hope, Peace and Interculturality Beyond geographical, social, cultural or religious origins, this communion deserves to be highlighted, especially by the inspiring example that reminds us that it is possible to live together in diversity. permanently remind us and demonstrate that
This celebration was not only a way of celebrating the achievements of a celebrated man, but also of uniting various communities under one set of values, with peace at their center.
October 18-25, 2019, at the Ismaili Center, Lisbon
The opening of the Smartstore will take place on October 18th, at 5:15 pm, at the Ismaili Center Noble Room, Lisbon, and will be open every day from 5:15 pm to 7:15 pm and from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
The collection of fashion clothes and accessories that took place in September was a success thanks to the participation of all Jamat!
The Social Welfare team thanks all those who contributed to this campaign and made it possible to open the Smartstore.
Through the Smartstore, Jamat members can choose the items they most need, reusing fashion apparel and accessories and giving them a new life. This will help those who need it most, while contributing to a safer and more sustainable environment.
All Jamat are invited to participate in this initiative.
Even for those who regularly visit the gardens of Ismaili Center, there are always surprises and news. This time we highlight the flower of Osmanthus fragrans, a very discreet ornamental shrub, famous for its aroma (as the name implies) but which had never flowered here.
It belongs to the same family as jasmine and olive tree (oleáceas) and is known in English as fragrant olive or tea olive. However, it is more similar to holly and aderno, species very common in Portugal.
Originally from the Himalayas and southern China, this shrub or small tree is characterized by persistent and leathery foliage, with a jagged cut, forming small “thorns”. The flowers are small, white, sometimes clustered, and with a peach-like aroma.
It has slow growth, but in compensation is very resistant to pests and diseases, which makes it an excellent choice in any garden. Next time you visit Ismaili Center, look for Osmanthus near the flagsticks and get to know this species better.
Students in Portugal inspired by the fragile beauty of the sea
Prince Hussain visited the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon yesterday to inaugurate an exhibition of artwork designed by students from the Portugal Jamat’s Talim (religious education) classes, inspired by The Living Sea photo exhibition currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History and Science in Lisbon.
The visit followed a series of events in which Prince Hussain offered guided tours to Ismaili youth and children visiting his photographic exhibit at the museum. The exhibition features over 100 photos depicting the beauty, fragility, and diversity of marine life, reflecting Prince Hussain’s ecological and environmental concerns.
Last month, Prince Hussain accompanied three groups of youngsters of different ages, made up of over 130 young members of the Jamat, to raise awareness of ocean ecosystems and the imminent threats they face through excessive plastic waste, pollution, overfishing, and climate change.
Each group had the opportunity to ask questions, and hear the story behind each picture, each species, and each region represented. In the process, they learned more about Prince Hussain’s passion for sea life and photography, and later depicted this in their own art.
Inspired by the exhibition, the students’ artwork displayed at the Ismaili Centre brings attention to the necessity and urgency to protect, conserve, and manage our oceanic heritage and resources.
The faith of Islam teaches followers to care for Allah’s creation, encouraging us to look after the natural resources which have been gifted to us, and not to waste or disrupt the delicate balance of nature. Since we only inhabit the earth for a relatively short time, each of us has a responsibility to leave behind a better environment for the next generation.
Mawlana Hazar Imam has often spoken of the importance of caring for the environment. In Ottawa in 2013, he said, “Our faith constantly reminds us to observe and be thankful for the beauty of the world and the universe around us, and our responsibility and obligation, as good stewards of God’s creation, to leave the world in a better condition than we found it.”
From a young age, Prince Hussain has been interested in marine life, and began scuba diving at the age of 14, which further developed his keen interest in nature conservation. His photographs have been featured in multiple exhibitions in the USA, France, Switzerland, and Kenya.
During the first tour, Prince Hussain said: “I’ve loved animals since I was really small, and I am really worried some of them are going extinct, at some point, possibly in our lifetimes.”
The exhibition features underwater photos of dolphins, sea lions, turtles, sharks, and other sea creatures, and aligns with many of the themes that students explore in the Talim and Secondary curriculum at religious education classes, including Allah’s creation, a sustainable environment, stewardship, social conscience, humility, and generosity.
One of the young participants, Noor Francisco said, “We learned about important subjects, like the mass extinction of living creatures, in this specific case, sea creatures. Prince Hussain told us that, in some circumstances, animals that had been photographed on previous dives, are almost impossible to find today, like the coral reefs.”
Another participant, Alyanna Bhanji spoke of her newly-found interest in wildlife conservation, saying, “I never had much interest in this topic, but after this tour I want to know more about sea life and I want to know more about everything. This was an amazing and unique opportunity and I am very thankful for having been a part of it.”
Prince Hussain’s photographs have been published in two books, Animal Voyage in 2004 (a new edition was printed in 2007) and Diving into Wildlife in 2015. Prince Hussain's recent photographs have also featured in several National Geographic blogs. For more information on The Living Sea exhibition, visit Focused On Nature.
In a speech delivered in Stockholm earlier this year, Prince Hussain asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have a chance to see dolphins, turtles, sharks, and whales in the wild for years to come? To breathe clean air. To be able to keep growing our crops and feed ourselves. To drink clean water and not waste it. To be measured and thoughtful. To reduce our impact. And to roam plastic-free beaches and witness clean deserts and plains.”
As the young students learned, respecting the gifts of creation and finding new ways to adapt to and care for our shared planet, can allow us to thrive and grow alongside the natural world, enabling us to hand over a sustainable environment to those who will inherit the world after us.
Celebrating culture, diversity, and pluralism at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon
On 18 December 2019, the Aga Khan Master Musicians with special guest Jasser Haj-Youssef delighted an audience at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon. They highlighted the unity between different countries and continents, and between the present and the past by exploring various forms of classical, folk, jazz, and contemporary music.
Rooted in various different parts of the world, the Aga Khan Master Musicians are a collective group of leading artists who compose, arrange, and perform new music inspired by the cultural heritage of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, South and Central Asia, and China. They appear on the world’s most prestigious stages while also serving as teachers, mentors, and curators who enrich the Music Initiative’s interregional network of education programmes.
Formed in 2016, the Aga Khan Master Musicians contribute greatly to the work of the Aga Khan Music Programme and its mission to reinvigorate cultural pluralism and tolerance.
While introducing the artists, Fairouz Nishanova, the Director of the Aga Khan Music Programme, affirmed that, “The Aga Khan Master Musicians group bring together artists who represent the highest level of artistry in their respective traditions - different and distinctive, but interconnected through cultural exchange that existed during the time of the great Silk Route.”
The Aga Khan Programme consists of an interregional initiative for music and arts education, comprising worldwide performances, mentoring and artistic productions. The programme promotes the revitalisation of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians, and as a way to reinforce pluralism in countries where social, political, and economic constraints prevail.
The concert was also an opportunity for distinguished guests, including Mrs Edite Estrela, Vice President of the Portuguese Republic Assembly; the Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal, Mr Dom Ivo Scapolo; members of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as members of the Portugal Jamat and civil society, to gather and commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Foundation Stone Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre Lisbon.
As Mawlana Hazar Imam said during the Ceremony on 18 December 1996, “Dedicated to the preservation of spiritual values, the promotion of social development and the enhancement of intellectual discovery, the Ismaili Centre, will seek to contribute to the enjoyment by citizens of Lisbon, and visitors alike, of spaces and buildings whose inspiration will aim to empathise, as well as expand our cultural horizons.”
The celebratory concert was the second event for which the Ismaili Centre opened its doors under the Christmas in Lisbon programme, after hosting two concerts from the UDJAT group and three guided tours of the building the previous weekend, emphasising the ideals of gathering, dialogue, and pluralism.
The UDJAT are an ensemble inspired by Mediterranean musical heritage, with a repertoire of influences by Iberian and Eastern roots, and also Jewish heritage. Their music, where voice cohabitates with the Portuguese guitar and percussion, evokes old sounds with a modern approach.
Nazim Ahmad, the Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to the Portuguese Republic, said during his remarks, “And I emphasise the dynamism and the spirit of inclusion of the Lisbon City Council, represented through EGEAC, to whom I also express our gratitude for associating and including us in the Christmas in Lisbon initiative, together with other institutions.”
Organized by EGEAC, the entity formed by the Lisbon City Council more than 20 years ago to promote, preserve, and reinvigorate cultural activities in the city, the Christmas in Lisbon programme comprises of a series of concerts and cultural events that take place in several multicultural spaces in Lisbon, and aim to celebrate the holiday season.
What if you could finish high school in another corner of the world?
Would you like to finish high school abroad, live in another country, communicate with others and learn about a new culture while studying and participating in various extracurricular activities, volunteering and sports?
United World Colleges (UWC) is a network of 17 international secondary schools for 16- to 19-year-olds that offer you the opportunity to join this unique experience in your life.
These schools, present in the four corners of the world, bring together students from all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds from over 100 countries in two-year courses, supporting students with scholarships of up to 100%.
As a formal curriculum, these colleges are taught and awarded the Diploma of the International Baccalaureate (IB), or International Baccalaureate, a curriculum of excellence emphasized on several occasions by Mawlana Hazar Imam: “The IB curriculum provides international standards of assessment, which allows students to enter higher education in renowned institutions of their choice, with the capabilities for creative and independent thinking and research, ”he says. “It has become a curriculum of choice adopted by international schools around the world.”
At the heart of the UWC spirit is the conviction that education can be the connecting link between young people of all backgrounds and ethnicities, who on the basis of their shared humanity can commit themselves to bringing about social change through bold and concrete actions. , personal example and selfless leadership, working for peace and a sustainable future.
Based on values ​​such as “the celebration of difference”, “compassion and service” and “personal action and example”, you will be able to live an enriching and unique experience in your life that combines high quality teaching with new socio-cultural experiences.
If you are interested, you would like to apply or hear testimonials and experiences of alumni attend the session to be held at the Ismaili Center on 10 January 2020 at 8.30 pm.
The session is intended for all interested students (ismailis and non-ismailis) as well as their carers. The session will be preceded by a coffee break.
We all enjoy the beautiful architecture or the charms of nature, but if we can put them both together… it's perfect!
At Ismaili Center, the relationship between living structure and inert structure is very strong and permanent, being a fundamental concept throughout the project conception.
In the various courtyards there is always the presence of vegetation, whether in pots or small gardens, but this situation has to be managed so as not to cause inconvenience to the building. In the case of Patio Primavera, the stone walls are dressed in green and flowers for part of the year. But let us not forget that the plants have a structure that can be significantly heavy ... So it is essential to manage the excess material and try to combine the aesthetic level with the technician.
In this image, we can see the climbing fig tree or cat's claw (Ficus pumila, also called F. repens), a permanent foliage plant that covers the central part of the east-facing facade of Pátio Primavera. It is originally from East Asia (China, Japan, Taiwan and N Vietnam), but has adapted well in our country and is widely used for ornamental purposes.
This species has the particularity of developing in two distinct phases: it grows slowly and discreetly during the first years of life, with small ovate or triangular leaves that adhere to inert surfaces, creating a very interesting plastic structure; after 9-10 years, the leaves become much larger (twice or triple in size), the stem becomes robust and woody with many branches and can bear fruit with small green figs (this plant belongs to the group but not edible, even toxic).
At this point it will be necessary to prune it so that its structure does not damage the patio covering and its fixing structure. But until then, we can continue to appreciate the way she hugs the stone and surrounds the windowpanes, creating suggestive living paintings.
For those who imagine the gardens in winter sad and monotonous, it is best to visit the Ismaili Center these days. From rosemary to hibiscus, to camellias and azaleas, there is a diversity of colors and flowers to enjoy. Not to mention some winter fruits, which also enliven the landscape!
This week we give special emphasis to the dwarf rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'prostratus'), a particular form of rosemary, a very common species in Mediterranean landscapes, associated with sunny and bright environments. Perhaps because of this, it was surprising to find this small shrub in full bloom, enjoying the milder days of this winter in Lisbon…
Rosemary is known mainly for its aromatic and food properties, and is also explored as an ornamental, medicinal and cosmetic industry. In addition to these properties, the dwarf rosemary is also very appreciated for its rusticity and creeping size, forming true green “cushions”, even in difficult terrains (steep, rocky and poor in organic matter). It is also perfectly adapted to high pH soils (calcic plant).
On the other hand, and like many Mediterranean species, the dwarf rosemary supports hot and dry summers, being an important ally when we want to reduce the consumption of water for irrigation in a garden. This characteristic results from some morphological and chemical adaptations, such as the shape and size of the leaves, their coating and the production of essential oils. The dense tuff configuration itself reduces evapotranspiration, one of the fundamental functions in any plant species, relative to water balance.
Finally, it is worth watching carefully the small lipped flowers (so named because they always have a very visible “lip”) - they are authentic miniature works of art!
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