Photos: The 32nd Annual Aga Khan Foundation World Partnership Walk in Vancouver @Simergphotos

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:  If you are in any photo(s) and wish to receive a high resolution image, please write to Simerg@aol.com, subject: World Partnership Photo. We request that you provide your phone number where we can contact you. The Jpeg image will be emailed to you absolutely free of charge. We look forward to hearing from you and responding to your request promptly.

Please click: In Vancouver’s World Partnership Walk, Participants Take Millions of Steps to Fight Global Poverty and Give Hope to Countless

Children lead the way at the World Partnership Walk held in Vancouver on Sunday, May 29, 2016. Photo: Malik Merchant. Simerg. Please click on image for more photos

Children lead the way at the World Partnership Walk held in Vancouver on Sunday, May 29, 2016. Photo: Malik Merchant. Simerg. Please click on image for more photos


Date posted:
May 30, 2016.

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The Fulfilment of a Mother’s Wish: Visiting the Aga Khan Foundation’s Together-Ensemble Exhibition in Vancouver

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
Editor, Simerg

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Together-Ensemble Truck at the parking lot across from the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby, where over 300 visitors got a glimpse of the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

It was my mother’s fond wish to view the large 53 foot truck hosting the Aga Khan Foundation’s mobile Together-Ensemble exhibition at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby. The truck with 1000 sq ft of space has clocked 19,000 kms across Canada in the past 13 months. For her, to climb the steps leading into the exhibition area would have been a little bit challenging, so seeing the truck and walking around it, she felt, would be fulfilling. What a treat, then, for her when we arrived at the exhibition site, and to be told that she would be lofted into the exhibition space on a wheelchair lift! Like hundreds of other visitors, we were welcomed into the exhibition by the tour manager, François Grenier. I visited the exhibition last year when it was launched in Ottawa, and found the latest version to be more inviting and aesthetically appealing. This was also noted by Grenier who granted me a short interview with some great insights (see bottom of page).

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This incredible piece of art work done by Shamya Jaffer is showcased at the entrance of the exhibition, along with two other winning entries, see below, in the Aga Khan Foundation’s art competition to complement the exhibition. Shamya has called her winning piece “Hidden Complexities” and notes as follows in her artist’s statement: “My piece of art work is a map of the world filled with different, detailed patterns that connect and overlap each other, symbolizing inter-connectedness between countries and continents. The patterns are inspired from Swahili and Indian designs. The incorporation of different forms of art into one piece is a representation of global diversity. At first glance, it may seem like a simple concept but it has depth and complexity just like global development and diversity.” Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

Gesture by Safira Lakhani, 2nd winning entry. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg. Note: Photo has reflective light from camera flash and exhibit lighting.

Gesture by Safira Lakhani, 2nd winning entry. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg. Note: Photo has reflective light from camera flash and exhibit lighting.

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Calypso by Queenie Wong, 3rd winning enty. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg. Note: Photo has reflective light from camera flash and exhibit lighting.

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Visitors, including my mother at foreground, learn about the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada at its mobile exhibition at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby,on May 27, 2016. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

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“God created Man from One Soul. Everybody Should Help Each Other” – a thought by a visitor to the exhibition. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

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A visitor responds to a question in an interactive display exhibit that includes a large topographical map of the world. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

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A close up of the topographies of Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe and Asia. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

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A visitor watches displays of Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s projects in Asia and Africa. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

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Voices of Change. Photo: Malik Merchant, Simerg.

An Interview with François Grenier, Tour Manager, Aga Khan Foundation Canada Together-Ensemble Exhibition

The truck was scheduled to leave on Saturday morning (May 28) for Stanley Park where thousands of Canadians are expected to participate in the  Aga Khan Foundation’s 2016 Partnership Walk.

Date posted: May 28, 2016.

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“Together-Ensemble”: The Aga Khan Foundation Exhibition on 18 Wheels is now in Vancouver

BY ABDULMALIK J. MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor, Simerg

The bus is travelling across Canada and offers perspectives of Global Development to thousands of Canadians. Photo: Aga Khan Foundation.

The bus is travelling across Canada and offers perspectives of Global Development to thousands of Canadians. Photo: Aga Khan Foundation.

Editors’ note: After being on the road for the past 12 months, the “Together-Ensemble” is now in Vancouver. The mobile exhibition, which has covered a distance of 19,000 kms, is housed in a 53-foot truck with over 1,000 square feet of exhibit space. It will be at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby on May 26 and 27 from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm, and at Stanley Park on Sunday, May 29 from 8:00 am until 2:30 pm when thousands of Canadians are expected to participate in the Aga Khan Foundation’s Annual World Partnership Walk. The following piece was written when the exhibition was launched in Ottawa in 2015.

“Development is ultimately about people, about enabling them to participate fully in the process and to make informed choices and decisions on their futures.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam speaking in 2013, excerpt on a panel display at the exhibition.

Launched on April 27th, 2015, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building by the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Khalil Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the collaborative exhibition of Global Development under the theme “Together” (French “Ensemble”) arrived at the city’s famed Le Breton neighbourhood, located by the new War Museum on Thursday, May 7, 2015 for a 7-day stop over.

I took an opportunity to visit the astonishing bus filled with educational and inspiring exhibits today (Sunday, May 10th), a much cooler day than the previous few days when the temperatures in the city had surged to 30 Celsius, not taking humidex into consideration. While thousands of local Ottawa residents and tourists were enjoying the marvellous and colourful annual tulip festival by Dow’s Lake, hundreds of parents with their children took to the Le Breton grounds to visit the Ottawa International Children’s Festival as well as take a tour of the exhibition in the “Together/Ensemble” bus, just metres away.

Before reaching the Aga Khan Foundation's magnificent Together bus, I was politely confronted by

Before reaching the Aga Khan Foundation’s magnificent Together bus, I was politely confronted by “a past British Monarch” who was measuring my loyalty to her rule. I excelled as a fine citizen, for which she offered to crown me with some kind of an Order named after the Ottawa’s River Parkway, a fine and scenic road running by the Ottawa River one hundred metres behind her! Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Together Exhibition Bus just metres away from activity tents set up for the Ottawa International Children's Festival. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Together Exhibition Bus just metres away from activity tents set up for the Ottawa International Children’s Festival. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A youth takes the time to view the interactive global map and test out his knowledge. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A youth takes the time to view the interactive global map and test out his knowledge. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A panel introducing the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and its founder, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation offices around the world are now agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network created by His Highness the Aga Khan to serve millions on this planet in all areas of human endeavour. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A panel introducing the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and its founder, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation offices around the world are now agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network created by His Highness the Aga Khan to serve millions on this planet in all areas of human endeavour. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Children exchange their ideas and thoughts on global matters on these little leaves. They are invited to take away with them any leaf containing the though of another child. When the leaf is cut open at home it contains wild flower seeds that children can plant in their gardens. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Children exchange their ideas and thoughts on global matters on these little leaves. They are invited to take away with them any leaf containing the thought of another child. When the leaf is cut open at home it contains wild flower seeds that children can plant in their gardens. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A young child's aspirations and hopes for a better world:

A young child’s aspirations and hopes for a better world: “No hunger, child labour, everyone being treated equally.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another child, 8 year old Hannah Saikaley, describes her thoughts of helping others:

Another child, 8 year old Hannah Saikaley, describes her thoughts of helping others: “Donating food, money, drinks and clothes and by cleaning the earth.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another informative section of panels inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another informative section of panels inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The centre panel is the actual width of the bus. The two side panels show the extensions for this bus, giving the exhibition space inside the bus the feel of an actual museum gallery. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

The back of the Together-Ensemble Bus. The centre panel is the actual width of the bus. The two side panels show the collapsible exhibition extensions on the bus, giving the space inside the bus the feel of an actual museum gallery. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Inside the bus, an exhibit. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik

Voices of Change exhibit inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik

The

The “Together-Ensemble” Exhibition Bus at the Le Breton neighbourhood at the Canadian War Museum grounds. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A display inside the bus under the theme

A display inside the bus under the theme “Stronger Together.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Stephanie, coordinating the media on behalf of the Aga Khan Foundation, was eager to participate in an interview with me, though she felt before the interview that she was a little bit nervous. “Simerg is the first media I am talking to,” she explained. But any apprehension that she felt quickly dissipated as she enthusiastically explained the exhibition with all her charm and grace. Please watch her excellent interview by clicking on the link below.

Date first posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015.
Date updated: May 26, 2016.

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We invite your feedback and comments. Please click Leave a comment.

Please also visit the Aga Khan Foundation Canada Website http://www.akfc.ca for more details and schedules about the Global Development Exhibition, which will be touring Canada in 2015/2016.

This piece has been simultaneously published under a different format at Simerg’s photoblog. Please click Photoessay and Interview: Aga Khan Foundation’s Unique Global Development Exhibition on 18 Wheels

The Text of Resolution by Portugal’s Council of Ministers Authorizing the Sale of Palácio Henrique de Mendonça to the Ismaili Imamat

Lisbon’s Palácio Henrique de Mendonçae is a historical building located in an extremely exclusive neighbourhood, and is part of a panoramic green area of three hectares in the heart of the city. The turn-of-the-century palace combines stunning architecture and traditional Portuguese interiors. It was designed between 1900 and 1902 by Ventura Terra and completed in 1909, when it was awarded the Valmor Prize. The prize is named after the Viscount of Valmor, Fausto Queirós Guedes (1837-1898), who was a protector of the arts. The prize is one of the most prestigious national awards in Portugal for architecture and distinguishes reputable works and projects.

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Bird’s eyeview, Palácio Henrique de Mendonça, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo Credit: Lisbonmeeting.org.pt.

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The Official Gazette of Portugal contains all up-to-date enacted laws, decree-laws and ministerial orders. The following is a resolution by Portugal’s Council of Ministers published in the Gazette that authorizes the sale of the palace to the Ismaili Imamat. We hope to provide our readers with an accurate English translation of the Portuguese text in the near future. Readers may wish to utilize Google translate to obtain a free translation in English or other languages.

Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 27/2016 – Diário da República n.º 89/2016, Série I de 2016-05-09. Presidência do Conselho de Ministros

Determina como de excecional interesse público e autoriza a venda do imóvel denominado Palácio Henrique de Mendonça, ou Ventura Terra ao Imamat Ismaili, com vista ao estabelecimento da sua sede em Portugal.

PRESIDÊNCIA DO CONSELHO DE MINISTROS

Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 27/2016

O Palácio Henrique de Mendonça/Casa Ventura Terra, situado na Rua Marquês da Fronteira, em Lisboa, é um edi-fício de características únicas, tendo sido galardoado como Prémio Valmor e Arquitetura e classificado como Imóvel de Interesse Público, em 1982. Neste Palácio, encontra -se instalada parte da Faculdade de Economia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

O Imamat Ismaili, que a Fundação Aga Khan tem representado, celebrou, com a República Portuguesa, o «Protocolo de Cooperação entre o Governo da República Portuguesa e o Imamat Ismaili», assinado em Lisboa, em 19 de dezembro de 2005, aprovado pelo Decreto n.º 11/2006, de 15 de março.

Adicionalmente, foi celebrado o «Protocolo de Cooperação Internacional entre o Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros da República Portuguesa e o Imamat Ismaili», assinado em 11 de julho de 2008.

Em 8 de maio de 2009, foi assinado, em Lisboa, o «Acordo entre a República Portuguesa e o Imamat Ismaili», que foi aprovado pela Resolução da Assembleia da República n.º 109/2010, de 24 de setembro, e ratificado pelo Decreto do Presidente da República n.º 94/2010, de 24 de setembro.

Posteriormente, a 3 de junho de 2015, foi assinado o «Acordo entre a República Portuguesa e o lmamat Ismaili para o Estabelecimento da Sede do Imamat lsmaili em Portugal», aprovado pela Resolução da Assembleia da República n.º 135/2015, de 27 de outubro, e ratificado pelo Decreto do Presidente da República n.º 124/2015, de 27 de outubro.

O artigo 3.º do mesmo Acordo refere que «[a] República Portuguesa assegurará as condições para o estabelecimento da Sede do Imamat Ismaili no seu território assim como para o exercício das suas funções». Já o artigo 16.º do citado Acordo prevê, expressamente, como compromisso do Imamat Ismaili, que este «[…] apoiará ativamente os esforços da República Portuguesa para melhorar a qualidade de vida de todos aqueles que vivem em Portugal, nomeadamente através do desenvolvimento em Portugal de projetos de investigação de nível mundial naquela área e, em termos mais gerais, em matérias de interesse comum da República Portuguesa e do Imamat Ismaili», providenciando este «[…] que as suas Instituições Dependentes de mais elevado nível criem as condições destinadas a atingir os objetivos definidos acima, em cooperação com os ministérios relevantes ou outras entidades do Governo Português».

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Palace interior. Photo credit: Lisbonmeeting.org.pt

Considerando que a Universidade Nova de Lisboa pretende alienar o Palácio Henrique de Mendonça/Casa Ventura Terra e que o Imamat Ismaili ali pretende instalar a Sede.

Considerando que, no âmbito da «Iniciativa Conhecimento para o Desenvolvimento», o Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior e o Imamat Ismaili se encontram a estabelecer os termos de referência para a celebração de um «Protocolo de Cooperação em Ciênciae Tecnologia».

Considerando, também, que a venda por ajuste direto do imóvel supra descrito ao Imamat Ismaili em Portugal reveste-se de excecional interesse público, que decorre da natureza e das finalidades da parte interessada na aquisição e dos compromissos bilaterais assumidos, podendo o respetivo procedimento de alienação ser autorizado por Resolução do Conselho de Ministros, como resulta da conjugação da alínea l) do n.º 2 e do n.º 3 do artigo 81.º do Decreto -Lei n.º 280/2007, de 7 de agosto.

Considerando, finalmente, que o imóvel se encontra classificado como de interesse público pelo Decreto n.º 28/82, de 26 de fevereiro, pelo que o Estado e o Município de Lisboa gozam do direito de preferência na sua alienação, nos termos do artigo 37.º da Lei n.º 107/2001, de 8 de setembro, e que o Município de Lisboa declarou que não o pretende exercer.

Assim:

Nos termos da alínea l) do n.º 2 e do n.º 3 do artigo 81.º do Decreto-Lei n.º 280/2007, de 7 de agosto, e da alínea g) do artigo 199.º da Constituição, o Conselho de Ministros resolve:

1 — Reconhecer o excecional interesse público da venda, por ajuste direto, ao Imamat Ismaili em Portugal do imóvel denominado Palácio Henrique de Mendonça/Casa Ventura Terra, sito na Rua Marquês da Fronteira, n.ºs 18 a 28, em Lisboa, inscrito na matriz predial urbana sob o artigo 2415, da freguesia de Avenidas Novas (anterior artigo urbano 754 da extinta freguesia de São Sebastião da Pedreira), descrito na Conservatória do Registo Predial de Lisboa sob o n.º 1407 da freguesia de São Sebastião da Pedreira.

2 — Autorizar a venda, mediante ajuste direto, do imóvel identificado no número anterior ao Imamat Ismaili em Portugal, pelo preço de € 12 000 000,00, correspondente ao valor base homologado pela Direção-Geral do Tesouro e Finanças.

3 — Determinar que o produto da alienação reverte, na sua totalidade, para a Universidade Nova de Lisboa, nos termos do disposto no n.º 1 e na alínea a) do n.º 4 do artigo 13.º da Lei n.º 82 -B/2014, de 31 de dezembro, alterada pela Lei n.º 159-E/2015, de 30 de dezembro, e na alínea c) do n.º 9 do artigo 109.º da Lei n.º 62/2007, de 10 de setembro, o qual deve ser integralmente destinado a despesas de investimento no património próprio da Universidade, para reforço das instalações.

4 — Determinar que o Estado não exerce o direito de preferência previsto no artigo 37.º da Lei n.º 107/2001, de 8 de setembro.

Presidência do Conselho de Ministros, 17 de março de 2016. — Pelo Primeiro-Ministro, Maria Manuel de Lemos Leitão Marques, Ministra da Presidência e da Modernização Administrativa.

Date posted: May 12, 2016.
Last updated: May 14, 2016.

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To view the original text of the resolution in the official Portuguese Gazette, please click https://dre.pt/application/file/74385362.

Related:

“Seat of the Ismaili Imamat” — Text of the Historic Agreement Between the Ismaili Imamat and the Portuguese Republic

 

 

The Work of the Ismaili Imamat at a Glance, and the Most Famous Logos of the Aga Khan Development Network

University of Ottawa confers an Honorary Degree on His Highness the Aga Khan

“His Highness has used his own faith background to speak directly to the goodness of all people.” — President Alan Rock, University of Ottawa, January 13, 2012. Photo: University of Ottawa. Copyright.

For over 60 years the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), under the leadership of His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismailis in direct lineal descent of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him), has been building institutions and delivering essential services by creating schools and hospitals, newspapers and electricity generation plants, and social programmes of all kinds. These services have helped improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people of all races and faiths in places as varied as Cairo, Kabul, Delhi and Bamako.

We provide an organizational chart highlighting the breadth of the work of the Ismaili Imamat, and compile a piece about the most identifiable emblems, logos and seals of the AKDN.

Please click on image to enlarge

Work of Ismaili Imamat and AKDN

Credit AKDN*

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FAMOUS LOGOS, SEALS AND EMBLEMS OF AKDN AGENCIES AND INSTITUTIONS

1. Aga Khan University (AKU)

aku-seal

The Seal of Aga Khan University is a visual representation of the principles which underlie the founding of the University. The circular form of the Seal, with its different levels of imagery contained in concentric circles, has its visual roots in the rosettes of early Islamic periods. The circle also symbolises the world and reflects the international presence of the University.

At the centre of the Seal is a star, or sun. Light is a universal symbol for the enlightenment that education provides.The light emanating from the star is also symbolic of Nur (Divine light).

The star incorporates 49 points to commemorate the University’s founding by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan. The outer ring circumscribes a Qur’anic ayat rendered in classic thuluth script and reads as follows:

“And hold fast, All together, by the rope
Which God (stretches out for you),
And be not divided among yourselves,
And remember with gratitude
God’s favour on you:
For ye were enemies
And He joined your hearts
In love, so that by His grace
Ye became brethren” — Sura 3, Ayat 103.

2. Aga Khan Foundation (AKF)

akf-logos

In every language there are idioms and proverbs illustrating the importance of the right hand as an instrument of human skill, achievement and caring.

The Aga Khan Foundation logo is based on the right hand, and represents the humanitarian and positive philosophy underlying the Foundation and its activities.

In Islam, the hand has a number of meanings: its shape reflects its comprehensive and positive character, while its constituents represent the five principles of Islam and the five senses of the human body. The stylized fingers represent “Allah” in the Kufic script, and the interlacing beneath the fingers correspond to the anatomy of the hand and also delineates the sign, which in Chinese stands for Wisdom.

The logo of the Aga Khan Foundation was designed by Mr. Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq of Pakistan.

3. Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS)

Aga Khan Health Services

Photo: Isabelle Prondzynski. Copyright.

The emblem of the Aga Khan Health Services shown on the cup and saucer represents health care and compassion. The crescent is an ancient icon which, when used in red, has become the equivalent of the International Red Cross. The three-crescent design in its simple, poetic form creates an internal space symbolising how institutions and programmes using the symbol surround, attend and care for those in need.

4. Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)

AKAA Logo

The logo of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was designed by Karl Schlamminger, a German Muslim of the Shia tradition.

The Name of Allah in Kufic script, reflecting Itself and repeating Itself, forms the basis of the logo design.

Date posted: April 7, 2016.

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*For original chart and related material please visit the Aga Khan Development Network link at http://www.akdn.org/publications/2015_akdn_overview.pdf.

An Anecdote Illustrating the Wisdom and Judgement of His Highness the Aga Khan: “I was Serving No Ordinary Man” by the Late Michael Curtis

Aga Khan Photos by Azhar Chaudhry - 004

His Highness the Aga Khan being greeted by Mr. Michael Curtis of the Nation Group. Photo: Azhar Chaudhry. Sultan Jessa Collection.

Mr. Michael Curtis, a British Fleet Street editor and executive, was introduced to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, just as he had been proclaimed the 49th Ismaili Imam by his grandfather, Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III.  His recruitment as a staff of His Highness was intended as a short term assignment as a speech writer and publicity organizer during a series of public appearances in Asia and Africa related to the Aga Khan’s installation as Imam. This brief assignment, however, grew into an engagement with His Highness that spanned several decades. The visionary Michael Curtis — who was noted by UK’s Guardian Newspaper as being 50 years ahead of his time in the paper’s obituary to the journalist — was asked to establish the Nation Media Group, which started publishing the Sunday Nation and subsequently the Daily Nation in Kenya, competing successfully with the existing colonial newspapers, the Tanganyika Standard and the East African Standard. At the culmination of the process of Africanising the Nation Group, Michael Curtis stepped down in 1977, after pioneering the introduction of the first web-offset presses installed outside the United States as well as increasing the Nation’s circulation to 165,000 and a readership reputed to touch three million.

Mr. Curtis moved to His Highness the Aga Khan’s Headquarters in Aiglemont, France, where he oversaw the Ismaili Imamat’s rapidly expanding non-denominational health and educational activities throughout South Asia and East Africa, until his retirement in 1994.

Michael Howard Curtis, who was born in Cambridge in 1920, died from cancer in 2004 at the age 84.

The following is an excerpt from a piece written by Mr. Michael Curtis for the Daily Nation’s special souvenir published on the occasion of His Highness the Aga Khan’s wedding in 1969 to Princess Salimah.

“I was Serving No Ordinary Man”

BY MICHAEL CURTIS (1920 – 2004)

It was 12 years ago in Dar-es-Salaam in October 1957. Prince Karim, His Highness the Aga Khan, was to be installed as successor to his grandfather in the first of a series of elaborate ceremonies to be held that year throughout Africa and Asia.

As personal aide to His Highness, I had gone ahead as part of an advance party and was greeted by the local leaders who told me that a serious problem had arisen. The only other such ceremony in living memory had taken place 72 years before in Bombay, when Aga Khan III had succeeded to the Imamate.

Not surprisingly, there was some doubt about the form the service would take and it seemed that an acute difference of opinion had arisen as to which verses of the Koran should be included. There was clearly nothing to be done but to await a ruling from the Aga Khan himself.

It was an unforgettable scene and took place in one of the state rooms of Government House where the Aga Khan was guest of the Colonial Governor at that time, the late Lord Twining. The Ismaili leaders were seated, as is their custom, cross-legged in a semi-circle around their young Imam and the two factions elaborated their different points of view.

To a non-Muslim the arguments were difficult to follow, but it was clear to me that a strong difference of opinion existed and that the Aga Khan would be called upon to resolve a ticklish point of theological doctrine.

This was the first occasion on which he had been called to exercise the responsibilities bequeathed to him by his grandfather. Still an undergraduate at Harvard, he looked very young, a trifle pale and tense as he listened to the rival claimants. There was a pause as they finished. Then the Aga Khan asked a question which obviously puzzled his followers. “Who,” he asked, “will recite the verses you wish me to decide upon?”

A chorus of voices assured him that a young man from Zanzibar had been procured for the recitation and that his fame as a psalmodist of the Koran was acclaimed far and wide.

“If that is so,” said His Highness, “let this young man suggest those verses in which his ability is most outstanding and thereafter I shall decide which particular chapters and verses will be selected.”

It was a solution that delighted everyone. The opposing factions accepted it gladly, for neither had lost face. The choirboy for certain would sing as he had never sung before — which in truth he did the following afternoon. It was a decision which reflected the instinctive simplicity of true wisdom and first revealed to me that I was serving no ordinary man.

I have related this tale before, and if I repeat it today it is because I know of no other anecdote which more aptly illustrates his wisdom and judgement.

Date posted: February 15, 2016.

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Profile of Mr. Michael Curtis compiled from Wikipedia, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. Please click on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Curtis_(journalist), and the references cited in the article.

In London Conference, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam, Calls for ‘Islands of Stability’ in War-Torn Syria

In remarks made at an International Conference under the theme “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference”, in London, England, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, today called for the establishment of ‘islands of stability’ in war-ravaged Syria that could provide areas of relative safety in the midst of conflict. The conference, co-hosted by Germany, Kuwait, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United Nations. was attended by representatives from sixty countries, including 30 world leaders.

“The situation in Syria is a close to hell as we are likely to find on this earth,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Referring to the Geneva meeting between the Syrian Government and the opposition parties that had broken down just a day earlier, he said the talks were “undermined by the continuous lack of sufficient humanitarian access, and by a sudden increase of aerial bombings and military activities within Syria”. He urged the warring sides to “get back to the table, not to secure more gains on the battlefields”.

Aga Khan 2016 Support Syria Conference London

Deploring the devastation in war-ravaged Syria, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, called for the establishment of “islands of stability” to provide areas of relative safety in the midst of conflict. The 49th Shia Ismaili Imam, pledged $200 million towards achieving peace, stability, and reconstruction in the country.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that “if ever there was a moment to take a new approach to the humanitarian crisis in Syria surely it is now,” mentioning the huge number of Syrians who “fear they have no alternative than to put their lives in the hands of evil-people smugglers in search of a future”.

The following are the transcript and video of the remarks made by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference.

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

Co-hosts of the Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the co-hosts for organising this much-needed initiative to deepen the understanding of, and garner international support for the peoples of Syria, Alongside all those present here today, I am deeply distressed over the indiscriminate and widespread devastation of life and property, including that of irreplaceable cultural assets which are the manifestation of Syria’s stunningly rich pluralistic history.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which is the Ismaili Imamat’s global agency for supporting development, is fully engaged with the peace process under UN leadership, and is firmly committed to helping build a Syria that continues to respect pluralism, remains secular, and embarks on a political process led by Syrians.

AKDN’s development and humanitarian work in Syria began many years before the war. In the present situation, we have committed resources and efforts to ensure that Internally Displaced People receive humanitarian assistance, and are supported to sustain their livelihoods. We are taking two approaches:

First, we are supporting local community leaders, teachers, doctors, engineers and others to foster stability, protecting their families and their communities. We are thus building and strengthening civil society to take as much responsibility as possible for their own future.

Second, we are investing in communities, by supporting agriculture, income generation, early childhood education, schools, and hospitals. We also provide vocational training to create skills. Our goal is to sustain hope.

We aim to meet the urgent needs of the present, but where also possible to protect and strengthen the foundations for the future. We seek to create “islands of stability”, where there is public consensus, in the face of war. It is my conviction that “islands of stability” can be replicated wherever security permits. Investing in them will help prevent displacement of people and anchor communities that would otherwise flee as refugees.

Since the onset of conflict in 2011, AKDN has dedicated $50 million towards these endeavours in Syria and is now committing to increasing this investment to $200 million over the next four years. Our efforts will expand to wider areas of the country. Our goal is peace, stability, and reconstruction.

Thank you.

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Date posted: February 4, 2016.

Aga Khan’s Speeches in the UK and USA Tell Marvellous Stories About Cairo’s Al-Azhar Park and Convey Profound Messages of Our Common Humanity

PLEASE CLICK: His Highness the Aga Khan’s 2015 Speeches in the UK and USA Tell Stories About the Al-Azhar Park and Convey a Profound Message of Our Common Humanity

Aga Khan Mawlana Hazar Imam 2015 VisitsPlease click on image for His Highness the Aga Khan 2015 Visits to UK and the USA

A Marvellous Collection of Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to Canada, India and Greece

Editor’s note: In Part II of a special series on the 49th Ismaili Imam’s visits to numerous countries that he undertook during 2015, we cover India (April), Canada (May) and Greece (September). Please click A Marvellous Collection of Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to Canada, India and Greece.

Please click on photo for complete story and more pictures. Photo: Ontario Liberal Part. Copyright. Published with permission.

Please click on photo for complete story and more pictures. Photo: Ontario Liberal Part. Copyright. Published with permission.

A Reflection on the Land Grant Ceremony of the New World Class Aga Khan University Hospital to be Built in Uganda

Partnership for Change

Aga Khan and Musoveni at the Land Grant CeremonyBY SHARIFFA KESHAVJEE

The sacred space is set
The energy is invoked
The earth’s ochre red
Makes a path through the green.
Reflected in the Ismaili and Uganda flag
The logo of the university
Radiating, rippling outwards

Our world of rapid change
Meets in Uganda to break the ground
Nakawa is chosen to propel
the University Hospital

To reach beyond its borders
The frontiers of Science
Radiation ever outwards

Decades of decay at Mulago
A new seed of hope is planted
Pioneering pluralism
In Uganda’s rich soil
Revitalizing the land
For life long learning
Radiating ever outwards

Coat of Arms Uganda, AKU Logo, Flags Uganada and Ismaili ImamatThe President and Imam’s vision
Bringing to the region
Appropriate advanced Health Care
The people can access
Here at home the very best
The youth empowered to remain
Here at home to give their best practices
Expanding ever outwards

The people rejoice with lush voices
Their partners join hands to celebrate
This great milestone laid by the red bricks
That fulfills the words of the anthem
That ever propel outwards

Aga Khan Musoveni Kampala

Salute to the President and Imam for
Their vision, their respect
For national progress
Global standards of excellence
To be in the frontier of scientific
and humanistic knowledge

The best in the world
Propelling expanding ever outward
An emblematic crown over Uganda

Date posted: December 18, 2015.

Copyright: Shariffa Keshavjee/Simerg

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Nakawa – an area in the city of Kampala.
Mulago – The hospital located on Mulago Hill in Kampala.

Links to stories and videos of the Land Grant Ceremony of the new Aga Khan University Teaching Hospital to be built in Uganada:

Please also visit:
http://www.theismaili.org
http://www.akdn.org
http://www.ismailimail.wordpress.com.

Also, http://www.nanowisdoms.org is an excellent resource for speeches of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

We welcome your feedback. Please click Leave a comment.