OTTAWA — Four years after the federal government agreed to give the Aga Khan’s Global Centre for Pluralism $30 million, the project is finally about to get off the ground.
The Aga Khan — a hereditary title applied to the imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims — is expected to be in Ottawa next month for the Centre’s first board of directors meeting, of which he is the chair.
That meeting will give the green light for the centre's activities to finally begin.
Organizers had expected the centre to “become operational” in early 2008 but a lack of agreement over who to appoint to the Board of Directors kept the project at a standstill.
Documents obtained by researcher Ken Rubin through access to information requests show bureaucrats were concerned an audit, or media, would reveal a gap between the requirements of the funding agreement signed with Canada on Oct. 25, 2006, and the centre’s lack of “actual activities” in the first two years.
The centre’s first corporate plan was so deficient that then Heritage Minister Josee Verner agreed to keep it out of public view and did not table it in Parliament.
Staff at Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC), who are shepherding the project, were aware of the problem.
“The Centre has an obligation to demonstrate progress,” they wrote in their initial 2008-2009 corporate plan, promising to appoint a 12-member Board by the end of the fiscal year.
Every corporate plan since has made the same promise.
Without a Board of Directors, the centre was unable to recruit and appoint its executive team or rent temporary office space. It could not even begin to redevelop 330 Sussex Drive, the asbestos-plagued historic site where old national war museum stood that will serve as the Global Centre for Pluralism’s world headquarters.
Canada had hoped the list of Board candidates would be finalized by the end of 2007.
Revisions were brought to include more Quebec candidates.
The shortlist was then bounced back and forth between the Government of Canada and six other members of the corporation. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney also suggested “several alternative candidates,” according to documents.
“The Government of Canada [should] be given time to provide additional input before a final slate of candidates is agreed,” members agreed at one meeting.
But officials at Heritage Canada and then Citizenship and Immigration blamed the “involvement of HH” for much of the time delay, saying it was “difficult to find time” to meet with the Aga Khan and he was responsible for “delays in approval” of Board members, according to documents.
AKFC’s CEO Khalil Shariff said he doesn’t believe the Aga Khan “was uniquely responsible for the delay” and neither was the government to blame for holding up the process.
“His Highness did take this seriously and did review the candidates and the suggestions seriously, and took time to do that. As did the other members,” he said.
Shariff admitted getting the centre up and running took longer than he expected but said he was very happy with the members of Board of Directors who will be announced next month.
The 10th annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium
October 15, 2010
This year's lecture will be delivered by His Highness the Aga Khan. The lecture will be presented at The Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, on Friday October 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm.
Ticket price of $25 or $12.50 for Cultural Access Pass holders, students or seniors verifiable at ticket pick-up by presenting a CAP and/or valid photo ID.
Maximum 2 tickets per person
Second block of tickets on sale September 30th at noon.
Due to overwhelming demand for tickets, please be advised that you will experience delays in making purchases online and over the telephone. These delays are the direct result of the number of people trying to access these sales channels simultaneously. In the case of the telephone you will hear a busy signal; in the case of the internet, you will receive a message saying that the server is unavailable.
Ottawa, 6 October 2010 — Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Ottawa today to chair the inaugural meeting of the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism. He was received at the airport by Jason Kenney, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Mohamed Manji, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada.
The Global Centre for Pluralism, a new international research and education institution dedicated to the study and practice of pluralism worldwide, is an initiative of the Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network in partnership with the Government of Canada.
For more information on the Global Centre for Pluralism please visit www.pluralism.ca.
2010, October 7 - Media Advisory: Governor General Welcomes His Highness the Aga Khan at Rideau Hall. OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2010) -
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will welcome His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network. His Highness is in Ottawa on the occasion of the inaugural board meeting of the Global Centre for Pluralism. His Excellency will welcome the Aga Khan in the Reception Room at Rideau Hall on Thursday, October 7, 2010, at 7 p.m. There will be a media opportunity upon arrival. Accredited media who wish to cover the greetings must contact the Rideau Hall Press Office and arrive at the Princess Anne Entrance by 6:50 p.m.
GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM HOLDS INAUGURAL BOARD MEETING
Newly-Appointed Directors Gather in Ottawa
OTTAWA, Oct 7 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism, Canada's new international research and education centre dedicated to the study and practice of pluralism worldwide gathered in Ottawa today for its inaugural two-day meeting .
Chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan, Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, the Board is composed of renowned Canadian and international leaders and thinkers. They include The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada and Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Other members are: Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Head of the AKDN's Social Welfare department, Iain Benson, Canadian lawyer and Professor of Law at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein; Yash Ghai, leading Kenyan constitutional expert; Rudyard Griffiths, co-founder of the Dominion Institute; Huguette Labelle, Chancellor, University of Ottawa; Azim Nanji, Senior Associate Director for the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Stanford University; Margaret Ogilvie, Chancellor's Professor of Law, Carleton University; and Khalil Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).
The Global Centre for Pluralism is an initiative of His Highness the Aga Khan in partnership with the Government of Canada. The Centre takes inspiration from Canada's experience with pluralism and will focus on bringing knowledge about the benefits and practice of pluralism to other countries around the world.
The new Board is charged with establishing an institutional framework to support and implement the founding vision for the Centre as a global resource for research, education and exchange about the values, practices and policies that underpin pluralist societies.
The mission of the Global Centre for Pluralism is to promote pluralism as a fundamental human value and cornerstone of peace, stability and development. Ensuring that every individual - irrespective of cultural, ethnic or religious differences - has the opportunity to realize his or her full potential as a citizen is a vital part of this mission.
When fully operational, the Centre will serve as a global repository and source for knowledge and know-how about fostering pluralistic values, policies, and practices in a variety of settings. It will enable international policy dialogue; academic and professional development; provide advisory services; and support research and learning.
The Centre will eventually occupy 330 Sussex Drive in Ottawa. Situated between the National Gallery of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint, this landmark heritage building was purpose-built to house the Dominion Archives of Canada and later served as the home of the Canadian War Museum.
The building, which has been vacant for several years, requires extensive renovation and rehabilitation - expected to take some years to complete. Preliminary work to guide the long-term, multi-phased revitalization of the heritage property and the site has already been undertaken and will continue in the coming months.
For more information, including biographical notes of the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism, please visit www.pluralism.ca.
.The inaugural Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism brings together a group of eminent individuals representing diverse backgrounds and experiences.
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary spiritual leader (Imam) of the Ismaili Muslims, and founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Over the past 40 years the AKDN has grown to encompass development agencies, institutions and programs with mandates ranging from health and education to economic development and the revitalization of cultural heritage. All AKDN programmes are conducted without regard to the faith, origin or gender of the people they serve. The Aga Khan has emphasized the view of Islam as a thinking spiritual faith, one that teaches compassion and tolerance and that is inherently pluralistic.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan is the Head of the Social Welfare Department with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), where she has policy and management responsibility for the health, education, and planning and building services institutions, including Aga Khan Foundation. She is on the Board of Trustees for the Aga Khan University. Over the course of her career, she has been particularly active in ventures to promote economic empowerment and self-reliance amongst women in South Asia. Princess Zahra is the eldest child of His Highness the Aga Khan. She holds a degree in Development Studies from Harvard University.
Kofi A. Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving from 1997 to 2006. While at the UN Mr. Annan established the Peacebuilding Commission and played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. He championed responsibility of states to protect people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Mr. Annan was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace jointly with the United Nations. Since leaving the UN, Mr. Annan has continued to advocate for better policies to meet the needs of the poorest, particularly in Africa. Mr. Annan is the Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation.
Iain T. Benson is a lawyer, writer, lecturer and consultant. He is a Senior Associate Counsel for Miller Thomson LLP and is Professor Extraordinary in the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. His writing on the nature of the “secular” and “secularism” has been cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Constitutional Court of South Africa. For several years he has been one of eight members of a Continuation Committee to create the South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms.
The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, PC, CC, CMM, COM, CD, was Canada’s 26th Governor-General from 1999-2005. She was the first visible minority Canadian to occupy the position. Originally born in Hong Kong, the Rt. Hon. Mme. Clarkson and her family settled in Canada as refugees in 1942. She has had an impressive career in the arts as a journalist, novelist, publisher, public servant and television personality, and has received numerous honorary degrees. Her interest in Canada’s North framed much of her tenure as Governor-General as she attempted to forge stronger ties between Canada and northern aboriginal people. Since her time in office she has published an autobiography, Heart Matters and founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) with her husband, the author and scholar John Ralston Saul.
Yash Ghai is the head of the UNDP Constitution Advisory Support Unit in Nepal. Formerly he was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia. Mr. Ghai has had an international academic career as a professor of law and as a constitutional expert, beginning with the establishment of East Africa’s first law school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In 1989, he was appointed Professor of Public Law at the University of Hong Kong. He has advised many countries on draft constitutions, including Afghanistan, Iraq and his home country Kenya, where he was chairman of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission from 2000-2004.
Rudyard Griffiths is the Executive Director of the Centre for Civic Engagement, as well as the director of the Munk Debates and the Grano Speakers Series. He is a co-founder of the Historica-Dominion Institute, and sits on numerous boards including the Canadian Institute for Citizenship. In 2008, he was appointed Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Canadian Forces College. He is the author of Who We Are: A Citizen's Manifesto, and the editor of numerous books on Canadian history, politics and international affairs. Mr. Griffiths is a columnist with the National Post and co-host of the daily Business News Network television show Squeeze Play.
Appointed Chancellor of the University of Ottawa in 1994, Huguette Labelle holds a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Ottawa, and has honorary degrees from a number of Canadian universities. Dr. Labelle was president of the Canadian International Development Agency from 1993 to 1999. From 1973 to 1993 she held several senior positions within government. Among other activities, she chairs the board of Transparency International, is an external advisor to the Implementation of the World Bank Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy and sits on the World Health Organization’s Migration Technical Working Group. Dr. Labelle has been awarded the Companion to the Order of Canada for her work.
Dr. Azim Nanji is the Senior Associate Director for the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University. He previously served as the Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies for ten years (1998-2008). He has also held a number of academic and administrative appointments at various American and Canadian universities, and has been the recipient of awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Canada Council, and the National Endowment for Humanities. Dr. Nanji has served as Co-Chair of the Islam section at the American Academy of Religion, and on the Editorial Board of the Academy's Journal. He is currently preparing the Historical Dictionary of Islam to be published by Penguin Press.
Professor Margaret Ogilvie is Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University, Ottawa. Dr. Ogilvie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1993) and a recipient of the David W. Mundell Medal (1996) for legal scholarship, the Law Society Medal (2001) from the Law Society of Upper Canada, and numerous honourary doctorates in recognition of her contributions to the legal profession, both in Canada and abroad. She has served on several boards in the not-for-profit sector in Canada, such as the Centre for Cultural Renewal. In 2008 she was invested into the Order of Ontario in recognition of her lifelong achievement as an educator and legal scholar.
Khalil Shariff is Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC). Prior to joining AKFC, Mr. Shariff was a consultant with McKinsey & Company where he advised governments, financial institutions, and health care providers on strategy, organization, and operational improvement. He is a graduate, J.D. magna cum laude, of the Harvard Law School. Mr. Shariff served on AKFC’s National Committee for five years, and has cultivated his interest in international development and conflict resolution issues through a variety of activities including as: Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Negotiation Law Review, and Policy Co-ordinator and Research Associate, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, who became the 28th Governor General of Canada on October 1, 2010, welcomed His Highness the Aga Khan, 49thHereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, at Rideau Hall on the evening of October 7th, 2010. The Ismaili Imam is in Ottawa on the occasion of the inaugural board meeting of the Global Centre for Pluralism. John W. MacDonald, an Ottawa based freelance photographer, was at Rideau Hall to capture memorable photos of the event. Please click www.simerg.com to view the images. Please note the photos are Copyright, John W. MacDonald.
Minister Kenney Welcomes new Global Centre for Pluralism Board of Directors
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2010) - On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today issued the following statement:
"I applaud His Highness the Aga Khan's announcement of a Board of Directors for the Global Centre for Pluralism. I am very pleased to meet the members of the Board, who are gathering in Ottawa for an inaugural two-day meeting.
"The Government of Canada supports efforts to encourage pluralism as part of our policy to build an integrated and socially cohesive society and we are honoured that Ottawa was selected as the site of the Global Centre for Pluralism.
"I am confident that the renowned and skilled individuals who will sit on the Centre's Board of Directors will enhance the important work that the Global Centre for Pluralism will carry out on the international stage."
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network. His Highness is in Ottawa on the occasion of the inaugural board meeting of the Global Centre for Pluralism.
Date: October 7, 2010
Photographer: Sgt Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall
MILLER THOMSON LAWYER JOINS WORLD DIGNITARIES ON INAUGURAL BOARD OF GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM
Iain Benson joins His Highness the Aga Khan, The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Kofi Annan and others on board of prestigious international research and education centre
TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - Iain Benson, Senior Associate Counsel in the Litigation Practice Group at Miller Thomson LLP, has been appointed to the inaugural Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism, Canada's new international research and education centre dedicated to the study and practice of tolerance, openness and diversity.
The Global Centre for Pluralism is an international initiative of His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, and was established jointly with the Government of Canada. Chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Board consists of leaders from around the world who have been selected for their diverse experiences and backgrounds. Board members include The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada; Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; and Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Head of the Social Welfare Department with the Aga Khan Development Network.
"Iain's appointment to the board of the Global Centre for Pluralism recognizes his immense contribution to resolving issues involving secularism and pluralism around the world," said Gerald Courage, Chair, Miller Thomson. "As an internationally-respected authority on issues relating to human rights, pluralism, secularism, and constitutional law, Iain brings a wealth of global experience to this prestigious role."
The Global Centre for Pluralism was created to help societies around the world embrace pluralism as a way to avoid costly conflict and as a means to harness the power of diversity in solving human problems. It is hoped that the Centre will become a vital force for research, learning, dialogue and education in the field.
Iain Benson is a Senior Associate Counsel in the Litigation Practice Group at Miller Thomson, practicing in the areas of administrative, judicial review (labour and human rights), and constitutional law with a focus on advice in the area of rights and freedoms.
Benson has appeared before all levels of Court in Canada including the Supreme Court of Canada in cases involving human rights and constitutional law and has been a witness before a wide variety of Professional Organizations, Commissions and Parliamentary committees.
His writing on the nature of the "secular" and "secularism" has been cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Benson, who also serves as Professor of Law at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, is one of eight members of a Continuation Committee to create the South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms.
About Miller Thomson
Miller Thomson LLP is one of Canada's most respected national business law firms with more than 450 lawyers working from nine offices across Canada. The firm offers a complete range of business law, advocacy and personal legal services, working regularly with in-house legal departments and external counsel world-wide to facilitate cross-border and multinational transactions and business needs. Miller Thomson offices are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Toronto, Markham, and Montréal. For more information please visit www.millerthomson.com
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