BY ABDULMALIK J. MERCHANT
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 “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.
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.
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: “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: “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.
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
Voices of Change exhibit inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik
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 “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.
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