Key Themes of His Highness the Aga Khan's Speeches Made During His Golden Jubilee Celebrations

by Mohib Ebrahim

11 July 2007, Aiglemont, France: His Highness the Aga Khan addresses leaders of the Ismaili community who had come to pay homage, on behalf of his worldwide followers, on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah


In part one of this series (link provided below), I summarized His Highness the Aga Khan’s speeches made between 2000 and 2007, focusing on factors that the Aga Khan suggests impact, positively or negatively, the development of peaceful, progressive, enlightened societies, particularly in the 21st century. In this sequel (please download PDF file below), I summarize the speeches and interviews he made between July 2007 and December 2008, during his Golden Jubilee celebrations.

In these, he draws attention to new issues, and elaborates on earlier ones, particularly the objectives and principles behind many of the Aga Khan Development Network’s activities. What stood out for me was a juxtaposition of his definition of poverty as “a lack of access” with his objective, over the past 50 years, of creating opportunity – not just economic opportunity, but opportunity in its broadest sense, as captured by his concept of “Enabling Environments,” and the full spectrum of benefits these bring to developing countries. These perspectives, supported by Islam’s ethic that aid must facilitate self-sufficiency and independence, are among the key principles that underpin the Aga Khan’s approach to effective development.

The issues and pressures of contemporary life, particularly the accelerating pace of change, were another area the Aga Khan addressed, observing that change is the inevitable response to new knowledge. Given this, it follows that modern society’s exponentially increasing knowledge is fuelling its own accelerating pace of change. The Aga Khan advises that in such an environment, “the race of life has gone increasingly to the nimble and the knowledgeable,” and that “the ability to anticipate, connect and respond” are among key qualities needed to cope.

Hazrat Ali noted that “[w]hen wisdom reaches the climax, words become fewer.” Indeed.


Themes of Aga Khan Golden Jubilee speeches

Editor’s Notes:

1.The Author:

An honours graduate of Simon Fraser University in Computer Science and Mathematics, Mohib Ebrahim has been involved in software development and the IT industry since the ’80s. His current IT project, MasterFile (see, is a state-of-the-art evidence system for academic researchers, investigators, and litigators.

Mohib is assembling a comprehensive database of His Highness the Aga Khan’s speeches and interviews. He can be reached at: mohib [at]

2. Other articles by Mr. Ebrahim published on this Web site:

Literary Reading: Key Themes of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Speeches Between 2000 and July 2007 (includes author’s full profile)

Literary Reading: Timeline of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Awards and Honours

3. These readings are part of Simerg’s special series on His Highness the Aga Khan IV. See Special Series: His Highness The Aga Khan IV

Please visit our Home page for quick links to recently posted articles, and  What’s New for all the articles published on this Web site.

4. External Link(s):

For an excellent textual and photographic coverage of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee celebrations held from July 11, 2007 to December 13, 2008, please visit the following page of the Ismaili community’s official Web site:

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