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Speech by Princess Zahra Aga Khan at the Launch of the Oncology Programme

of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam

27 January 2014
Honourable Minister of Health and Social Welfare,
Dr. Seif Rashid,
His Excellency Marcel Escure,
Ambassador of France in Tanzania,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Please allow me first and foremost to welcome you all on this lovely day to the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam.
We are truly grateful for your presence in what is a very important and exciting day in the life of this institution.
I would like to start by congratulating the Honourable Minister on his appointment, (which I understand happened)
only a few days ago and as such I am truly grateful that in spite of his many commitments and only his first week in
office, he very graciously accepted our invitation to be the Guest of Honour at todays event. This truly is a
testimony of his commitment and of the excellent relations and partnership between the Government of Tanzania
and the Aga Khan Development Network. Thank you Honourable Minister. We truly appreciate your presence and
Today we are proud to launch the Oncology Programme, the first programme to be introduced as part of the Phase
2 expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam. This phase of expansion will see the development of
comprehensive programmes in cardiology, oncology, neurosciences, critical care, maternal and child health and
advanced diagnostics. The new facilities are being designed by leading international and Tanzanian based hospital
planners, architects and engineers, which will see new construction of almost 13,000 square meters, renovations of
almost 6000 square metres and will double the hospitals capacity to over 150 beds. The development will also
provide an opportunity for capacity building and additional recruitment resulting in a total staff complement of 800+
healthcare and other professionals who will be responsible for providing much needed and high-end clinical
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are committed to achieving the vision of the Aga Khan Development Network to be the
premier teaching healthcare system in Tanzania. Aside from the hospital expansion, and in addition to the 5 existing
Aga Khan Health Services Primary Health Care Centres in the country, we will establish an additional 30 outreach
health centres that will be closely linked in a hub and spoke model with the hospital to create a true integrated
system that provides access to quality affordable health care.
We know that we cannot achieve this ambitious agenda alone and we are most cognizant and grateful for all the
meaningful and value partnerships, in particular with the Government of Tanzania. An example of such public
private partnership is the Canadian-funded programme in maternal, newborn and child health whereby we work
with the Ministry of Health in 31 government health facilities spread over 15 districts with the aim of providing
access to good quality maternal and new born child health. We are grateful to the Canadian Government through
its Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development for their support.
Ladies and Gentlemen, health sciences education, both in the medical and nursing fields is an important part of our
vision. Led by the Aga Khan University, we will establish in the coming years, post graduate residency programmes
in all specialities at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar. There is also an ambitious agenda for nursing education
imparting specialized nursing skills across the programmes. As part of our overall phase 2 expansion plans, 42
Tanzanian healthcare professionals will travel oversees for training and further education including short trainings,
courses and fellowship programmes, for example, in interventional cardiology and oncology and cardiac surgery.

One of the central tenets to ensuring we achieve our vision is a strong focus on International standards of
healthcare. In October 2003, the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam, together with the Primary Medical Centres,
became the first and only healthcare system in the country to attain the ISO 9001:2000 Certification for high quality
standards in healthcare provision. The Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, part of the AKDN health system in
East Africa, is working towards achieving the prestigious Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCIA).
These rigorous international healthcare facility standards will ensure patients are receiving quality care provided by
well-trained staff in a safe environment. The Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi became the first healthcare
institution in East Africa to attain this certification in July 2013.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our investment in the expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam and the outreach
facilities represents $80 million, funded by way of a grant by the Aga Khan Development Network and a sizeable
concessional loan from LAgence Franaise de Dveloppement (AFD). AFD and the Aga Khan Development
Network have a long history of cooperation and we are extremely grateful to the French Government, represented
here today by the Ambassador and the Head of AFD responsible for Tanzania, Mr. Christophe Barat.
I am also delighted to inform you that work is on schedule for establishing our cardiac program, another integral
component of our Phase II expansion, to open in July this year. This program will include a state of the art cath lab
and other cardiac services.
I would like to conclude by once again thanking the Honourable Minister, the French Ambassador, and all our
dignitaries and invitees for being here with us and sharing in this occasion.
Thank you.

Address of His Highness the Aga Khan to both Houses of the Parliament of
Canada in the House of Commons Chamber, Ottawa
27 February 2014
Mr Prime Minister,
Speaker Kinsella,
Speaker Scheer,
Honourable Members of the Senate and House of Commons,
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Honourable Members of the Diplomatic Community
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Prime Ministers generous introduction has been very kind. I am grateful for this invitation, for our association,
and for so thoughtfully enabling leading representatives of our community and institutions, around the world, to join
us on this occasion. I am thankful they will have this opportunity to see for themselves why Canada is a leader in
the community of nations.
I must also thank you, Prime Minister, for inviting me to become an honorary citizen. May I congratulate you on the
gold medals of your remarkable hockey teams in Sochi. As an ex-player myself I was hoping you would require
your honorary citizens to join your team. I am convinced that the Dalai Lama and I would have been a formidable

I propose today to give you some background about myself and my role, and then to reflect about what we call the
Ummah the entirety of Muslim communities around the world.
I will comment, as a faith leader, on the crisis of governance in so much of the world today, before concluding with
some thoughts about the values that can assist countries of crisis to develop into countries of opportunity, and how
Canada can help shape that process.
First then, a few personal words. I was born into a Muslim family, linked by heredity to the Prophet Muhammad
(may peace be upon him and his family). My education blended Islamic and Western traditions, and I was studying
at Harvard some 50 years ago (yes 50 years ago actually 56 years ago!) when I became the 49th hereditary
Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
The Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet.
But let me clarify something more about the history of that role, in both the Sunni and Shia interpretations of the
Muslim faith. The Sunni position is that the Prophet nominated no successor, and that spiritual-moral authority
belongs to those who are learned in matters of religious law. As a result, there are many Sunni imams in a given
time and place. But others believed that the Prophet had designated his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, as his
successor. From that early division, a host of further distinctions grew up but the question of rightful leadership
remains central. In time, the Shia were also sub-divided over this question, so that today the Ismailis are the only
Shia community who, throughout history, have been led by a living, hereditary Imam in direct descent from the
The role of the Ismaili Imam is a spiritual one; his authority is that of religious interpretation. It is not a political role. I
do not govern any land. At the same time, Islam believes fundamentally that the spiritual and material worlds are
inextricably connected. Faith does not remove Muslims or their Imams from daily, practical matters in family
life, in business, in community affairs.
Faith, rather, is a force that should deepen our concern for our worldly habitat, for embracing its challenges, and for
improving the quality of human life.
This Muslim belief in the fusion of Faith and World is why much of my attention has been committed to the work of
the Aga Khan Development Network.
In 1957, when I succeeded my grandfather as Imam, the Ismaili community lived for the most part in the colonies or
ex-colonies of France, Belgium and the British Empire, or behind the Iron Curtain. They are still a highly diverse
community, in terms of ethnicity, language, culture, and geography. They continue to live mostly in the developing
world, though increasing numbers now live in Europe and North America.
Before 1957, individual Ismaili communities had their own social and economic institutions where that was allowed.
There was no intent for them to grow to national prominence, and even less a vision to coordinate their activities
across frontiers.
Today, however, that situation has changed, and the Aga Khan Development Network has a strong presence in
several dozen countries, where appropriate regional coordination is also useful.
The AKDN as we call it is composed of a variety of private, non-governmental, non-denominational agencies
implementing many of the Imamats responsibilities. We are active in the fields of economic development, job
creation, education, and health care, as well as important cultural initiatives.

Most of our AKDN activities have been born from the grass roots of developing countries, reflecting their aspirations
and their fragilities. Through the years, of course, this landscape has changed fundamentally, with the creation of
new states like Bangladesh, the horrors of ethnic cleansing in Uganda, the collapse of the Soviet empire and the
emergence of new countries with large Ismaili populations such as Tajikistan.
More recently, of course, we have faced the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria. But through all of these experiences,
Ismaili peoples have demonstrated an impressive capacity to persevere and to progress.
Our work has always been people-driven. It grows out of the age-old Islamic ethic, committed to goals with universal
relevance: the elimination of poverty, access to education, and social peace in a pluralist environment. The AKDNs
fundamental objective is to improve the quality of human life.
Amongst the great common denominators of the human race is a shared aspiration, a common hope, for a better
quality of life. I was struck a few years ago to read about a UNDP survey of 18 South American states where the
majority of the people were less interested in their forms of government, than in the quality of their lives. Even
autocratic governments that improved their quality of life would be more acceptable for most of those polled than
ineffective democratic governments.
I cite that study, of course, with due respect to governmental institutions that have had a more successful history
including certain very distinguished parliaments!
But the sad fact behind so much instability in our world today is that governments are seen to be inadequate to
these challenges. A much happier fact is that, in the global effort to change this picture, Canada is an exemplary
Let me now describe a few examples of a quarter century of close collaboration between AKDN and Canada.
One of our earliest collaborations was to establish the first private nursing school in Pakistan, in cooperation with
McMaster and the CIDA of that time. It was the first component of the Aga Khan University the first private
university in that country. The nursing schools impact has been enormous; many of those who now head other
nursing programmes and hospitals in the whole of the region not just Pakistan are graduates of our school.
Canada was also one of the first donors to the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Northern Pakistan, tripling
incomes in this remote, marginalised area. The approaches developed there have shaped our further collaborations
in Tajikistan, in Afghanistan, in Kenya, and in Mozambique. Canada has also helped establish the Aga Khan
Universitys Institute for Educational Development in Karachi and in East Africa, along with other educational
initiatives in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan, including pioneering
work in the field of Early Childhood Development.
I could speak about our close ties with Canadian universities also, such as McMaster, McGill, the University of
Toronto, and the University of Alberta, enhancing our own institutions of tertiary education the Aga Khan
University and the University of Central Asia.
The latter institution has resulted from the Imamats unique, tripartite treaty with the governments of Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It serves some 22 million people who live in Central Asia, in hillside and high mountain
environments, areas of acute seismic and economic vulnerability.
I could list many more examples in cultural development and in scientific research. And we are especially proud of
the Global Centre for Pluralism here in Ottawa, a joint project of the Imamat and the Canadian government.

In just three years, Canada will mark its 150th anniversary, and the whole world will be ready to celebrate with you.
Sharing Canada's robust pluralistic history, is a core mission of our Global Centre, and 2017 will be a major
opportunity for doing so, operating from its headquarters in the former War Museum on Sussex Drive. Perhaps
2017 and the celebrations can be a catalyst with our neighbours to improve the entire riverfront area around that
Our partnership in Canada has been immensely strengthened, of course, by the presence for more than four
decades of a significant Ismaili community. Like most historic global communities the Ismaili peoples have a
variegated history, but surely our experience in Canada has been a particularly positive chapter.
I happily recall the establishment of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat here in 2008 and the Prime Ministers
description that day of our collaborative efforts to make Canada the headquarters of the global effort to foster
peace, prosperity, and equality through pluralism.
We are deeply pleased that we can sign today a new Protocol with your Government further strengthening our
ongoing platform for cooperation.
As we look to the next 25 years of the AKDN, we believe that our permanent presence in the developing world will
make us a dependable partner, especially in meeting the difficult challenges of predictability.
Against this background, let me move on to the broad international sphere, including the role of relations between the
countries and cultures of Islam what we call the Ummah and non-Islamic societies. It is central to the shape of
global affairs in our time.
I would begin by emphasising a central point about the Ummah often unseen elsewhere: the fundamental fact of its
immense diversity. Muslim demography has expanded dramatically in recent years, and Muslims today have highly
differing views on many questions.
Essential among them is that they do not share some common, overarching impression of the West. It has become
commonplace for some to talk about an inevitable clash of the industrial West and Islamic civilizations. But Muslims
dont see things in this way. Those whose words and deeds feed into that point of view are a small and extreme
minority. For most of us, it is simply not true. We find singularly little in our theological interpretations that would
clash with the other Abrahamic faiths with Christianity and Judaism. Indeed, there is much that is in profound
When the clashes of modern times have come, they have most often grown out of particular political circumstances,
the twists and turns of power relationships and economic ambitions, rather than deep theological divides. Yet sadly,
what is highly abnormal in the Islamic world gets mistaken for what is normal. Of course, media perceptions of our
world in recent years have often been conveyed through a lens of war. But that is all the more reason to shape
global conversation in a more informed direction. I am personally aware of the efforts the Prime Minister has made
to achieve this. Thank you, Prime Minister.
The complexity of the Ummah has a long history. Some of the most glorious chapters in Islamic history were
purposefully built on the principle of inclusiveness it was a matter of state policy to pursue excellence through
pluralism. This was true from the time of the Abbasids in Baghdad and the Fatimids in Cairo over 1,000 years ago.
It was true in Afghanistan and Timbuktu in Mali, and later with the Safavids in Iran, the Mughals in India, the Uzbeks
in Bukhara, and Ottomans in Turkey. From the 8th to the 16th century, al-Andalus thrived on the Iberian Peninsula
under Muslim aegis but also deeply welcoming to Christian and Jewish peoples.
Today, these Islamic traditions have been obscured in many places, from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The work
of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and our Historic Cities

Programme, is to revive the memory of this inclusive inheritance. Another immediate initiative is the Aga Khan
Museum which will open this year in Toronto, an important testimonial in a Canadian setting to the immense
diversity of Islamic cultures.
Perhaps the most important area of incomprehension, outside the Ummah, is the conflict between Sunni and Shia
interpretations of Islam and the consequences for the Sunni and Shia peoples.
This powerful tension is sometimes even more profound than conflicts between Muslims and other faiths. It has
increased massively in scope and intensity recently, and has been further exacerbated by external interventions. In
Pakistan and Malaysia, in Iraq and Syria, in Lebanon and Bahrain, in Yemen and Somalia and Afghanistan it is
becoming a disaster. It is important, therefore, for non-Muslims who are dealing with the Ummah to communicate
with both Sunni and Shia voices. To be oblivious to this reality would be like ignoring over many centuries that there
were differences between Catholics and Protestants, or trying to resolve the civil war in Northern Ireland without
engaging both Christian communities. What would have been the consequences if the Protestant-Catholic struggle
in Ireland had spread throughout the Christian world, as is happening today between Shia and Sunni Muslims in
more than nine countries? It is of the highest priority that these dangerous trends be well understood and resisted,
and that the fundamental legitimacy of pluralistic outlooks be honoured in all aspects of our lives together
including matters of faith.
By Civil Society I mean an array of institutions which operate on a private, voluntary basis, but are motivated by
high public purposes. They include institutions devoted to education, culture, science and research; to commercial,
labor, ethnic and religious concerns; as well as professional societies in law, accounting, banking, engineering and
medicine. Civil Society encompasses groups that work on health and safety and environmental matters,
organisations that are engaged in humanitarian service, or in the arts or the media.
There is sometimes a tendency in the search for progress to focus solely on politics and government, or on the
private, profit-making sector. And surely they both have roles to play.
But my view is that the world needs to pay more attention much, much more attention to the potential role of
Civil Society.
We see it expanding in many places, from Sub-Saharan Africa to Tunisia and Egypt, from Iran to Bangladesh. At a
time of extreme danger in Kenya a few years ago the beginnings of a civil war the former Secretary-General
of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, led the way to a peaceful solution which rested heavily on the strength of
Kenyas Civil Society.
Increasingly, I believe, the voices of Civil Society are voices for change, where change has been overdue. They
have been voices of hope for people living in fear.
They are voices that can help transform countries of crisis into countries of opportunity. There are too many
societies where too many people live in a culture of fear, condemned to a life of poverty. Addressing that fear, and
replacing it with hope, will be a major step to the elimination of poverty. And often the call for hope to replace fear
will come from the voices of Civil Society.
An active Civil Society can open the door for an enormous variety of energies and talentsfrom a broad spectrum of
organisations and individuals. It means opening the way for diversity. It means welcoming plurality. I believe that
Canada is uniquely able to articulate and exemplify three critical underpinnings of a quality Civil Society a
commitment to pluralism, to meritocracy, and to a cosmopolitan ethic.

A cosmopolitan ethic is one that welcomes the complexity of human society. It balances rights and duties, freedom
and responsibility. It is an ethic for all peoples, the familiar and the Other, whether they live across the street or
across the planet.
The Aga Khan Development Network has worked over five decades to assist in the enhancement of Civil Society.
And as we look to its future, we are honoured that Canada views us as a valued partner. Thank you Prime Minister.
One key to Canadas success in building a meritocratic Civil Society is your recognition that democratic societies
require more than democratic governments.
I have been impressed by recent studies showing the activity of voluntary institutions and not-for-profit
organisations in Canada to be among the highest in the world. This Canadian spirit resonates with a cherished
principle in Shia Ismaili culture the importance of contributing ones individual energies on a voluntary basis to
improving the lives of others.
This is not a matter of philanthropy, but rather of self-fulfillment enlightened self-fulfillment.
During my Golden Jubilee and this is important six years ago Ismailis from around the world volunteered their
gifts, not only of wealth, but most notably of time and knowledge, in support of our work. We established a Time and
Knowledge framework, a structured process for engaging an immense pool of expertise involving tens of thousands
of volunteers. Many of them traveled to developing countries as part of this outpouring of service one third of
those were Canadians. Their impact has been enormous in helping us to achieve best practice standards in our
institutions and programmes, making us we hope an even better partner for Canada!
Such efforts thrive when multiple inputs can be matched to multiple needs, which is why Canadas immense
economic diversity is such a valuable global resource.
One of the foundational qualities of Canadas Civil Society is its educational emphasis. Studies show that Canadian
students whether native or foreign born perform in the very top tier of students internationally, and indeed, that
more than 45 per cent of the foreign born population in Canada has a tertiary degree.
This record of educational opportunity resonates strongly with the Shia Ismaili belief in the transformative power of
the human intellect, a conviction that underscores AKDNs massive commitment to education wherever we are
present not only education for our faith, but also of education for our world. To do this we are engaged in all
levels of education.
The Aga Khan University in Karachi and East Africa are expanding to create a new Liberal Arts faculty, and to
establish eight new post-graduate schools in collaboration with several Canadian universities.
We also share with Canada a deep appreciation for the potential of early childhood education. It is the period of the
greatest development of the brain. This education is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the quality of
life for rural as well as urban populations. Congratulations, Prime Minister, for your initiative on this.
In this regard, let me take a moment to salute the late Dr Fraser Mustard, whose work in Early Childhood
Development will impact millions of people around the world. The AKDN has been fortunate to have been inspired
and counselled by this great Canadian scientist and humanist.
Quality education is fundamental to the development of a meritocratic Civil Society, and thus to the development of
pluralistic attitudes.

The history of Canada has a great deal to teach us in this regard, including the long, incremental processes through
which quality civil societies and committed cultures of pluralism are built. One of the watchwords of our new Global
Centre for Pluralism is that Pluralism is a Process and not a Product. I know that many Canadians would describe
their own pluralism as a work in progress, but it is also an asset of enormous global quality.
What more will a quality Civil Society now require of us? Sadly, the world is becoming more pluralist in fact, but not
necessarily in spirit. Cosmopolitan social patterns have not yet been matched by a cosmopolitan ethic. In fact,
one harsh reality is that religious hostility and intolerance seems to be on the rise in many places from the
Central African Republic, to South Sudan, to Nigeria, to Myanmar, the Philippines and other countries both
between major religious groups and within them.
Again, Canada has responded in notable ways, including the establishment just one year ago of the Office of
Religious Freedom. Its challenges, like those facing the Centre for Global Pluralism, are enormous and its
contributions will be warmly welcomed. And surely it will also serve as a worthy model for other countries.
In sum, I believe that Civil Society is one of the most powerful forces in our time, one that will become an
increasingly universal influence, engulfing more countries, influencing, reshaping and sometimes even replacing
ineffective regimes. And I also believe that Civil Society around the world should be vigorously encouraged and
wisely nurtured by those who have made it work most successfully Canada first amongst all.
I am most grateful to the Prime Minister and to you who have given me this opportunity to share from a faith
perspective some of the issues that preoccupy me when looking ahead. I hope I have explained why I am
convinced about the global validity of our partnership for human development.
Let me end with a personal thought. As you build your lives, for yourselves and others, you will come to rest upon
certain principles. Central to my life has been a verse in the Holy Quran which addresses itself to the whole of
humanity. It says: Oh Mankind, fear your Lord, who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and
from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women
I know of no more beautiful expression about the unity of our human race born indeed from a single soul.
Thank you.

Speech by The Right Honourable Stephen Harper on the Occasion of His

Highness the Aga Khans Address to the Parliament of Canada at the House of
27 February 2014
Merci Monsieur le Prsident du Snat,
Merci Monsieur le Prsident de la Chambre des communes,
Mesdames et messieurs les parlementaires,
Distingus invits,
Mesdames et messieurs.
It is my honour to welcome to Canadas Parliament, His Highness the Aga Khan.
Im also pleased to recognise his family members and Ismaili leaders who have come from across the country, and
around the world, to hear His Highness address the Canadian people. Please colleagues, welcome them all.

As we all know, Canada is home to a well-established and fast-growing Ismaili community. His Highness has
therefore become an increasingly frequent visitor, and always a welcome one.
I remember well, Your Highness, the day you accepted honorary Canadian citizenship something agreed to by
all parties of this House.
It was during the foundation ceremony of Torontos Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Park.
Im told construction there has gone well, and that the Centre will soon portray Islamic contributions to the
enlightened pursuit of knowledge.
In any case, Your Highness, know this: When you are in Canada, you are home!
Our decision to extend Canadian citizenship to His Highness recognises the reality of values shared, and values
acted upon. His Highnesss lifelong advocacy for humanitarianism, pluralism and tolerance has gone far beyond
His Highnessss Global Centre for Pluralism, here in Ottawa, advances good governance and engages with
societies on the precipice of crisis.
Similarly, through the Aga Khan Development Network, His Highness has been tireless in humanitarian and
development initiatives in Africa, in Asia, including in Afghanistan, where the Network continues to be a brave
partner in Canadas efforts to secure and improve the lives of Afghan citizens.
Over the years, then, we have built together a solid record of genuine assistance to some of the worlds neediest
Today, that work goes on.
In particular, our Government and the Network cooperate on the development priority that Canada assumed at the
Muskoka G-8 the promotion of maternal, newborn and child health.
In this work, Your Highness, we are delighted to have your personal support, and the capable assistance of the
Aga Khan Foundation Canada, and the Aga Khan Development Network.
Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, colleagues, Canadians are strongest when we have the support of those who share our
Those who love freedom and democracy, those who desire peace, those who will uphold the basic rights of every
man and woman, and those who, such as His Highness, share our belief that pluralism, diversity within a united
country is the basis of all these things these are our friends.
Your Highness, we have met on several occasions, and, like our country as a whole, I value your counsel and your
You once said: We cannot make the world safe for democracy without first making the world safe for diversity.
This is a most Canadian way of seeing things.
Your Highness, the depth of our relationship suggests more frequent and deliberate dialogue between the Imamate
and the Government of Canada would be beneficial.

I am therefore pleased to announce that after the conclusion of these proceedings, the Imamat and the
Government of Canada will sign a Protocol of Understanding that builds upon our broad historic relationship.
Let me just conclude, Your Highness, by returning to the subject of Canadas Ismaili community, which began its life
here more than forty years ago as penniless refugees from Uganda. Yet, from that moment on, Canadas Ismailis
have become one of Canadas most successful immigration stories.
The Ismailis, the Ismaili combination of self-reliance, and their willingness to give of themselves for the betterment
of others, and of Canada itself, is a reflection of your teachings.
And, Your Highness, it was a good day a good day for all of us when you told your followers to make Canada
your home.
You must be very proud of them certainly we all are.

The 88th Stephen Ogden Lecture delivered by His Highness the Aga Khan at
Brown University
10 March 2014
President Paxson,
Ogden Family representatives,
Brown University Faculty, Students and Alumni,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you very much, Madame President, for your very kind introduction. It is a great honour for me to give the
Ogden Lecture, to be included in the distinguished company of past Ogden Lecturers, and to pay tribute to the
memory of Stephen Ogden.
I am also delighted to be present for the opening weekend of Browns 250th Anniversary, or one might say, the
happy conclusion of Browns first quarter of a millennium!!
I have long felt a close sense of belonging at Brown; my eldest son was a member of the Brown Class of 1995, and
I treasure the fact that I received an honorary degree from Brown, and was privileged at that time to give the
Baccalaureate Address.
My own education has blended Islamic and Western traditions. I was studying at Harvard some 56 years ago when
I inherited the Ismaili Imamat. It is not a political role, as has been mentioned, but let me emphasise that Islamic
belief sees the spiritual and material worlds as inextricably connected. Faith should deepen our concern for
improving the quality of human life in all of its dimensions. That is the overarching objective of the Aga Khan
Development Network, which President Paxson has described so well.
It has been said that giving an effective university lecture requires the boldness to make some strong predictions
about the future. I might suggest that President Paxson has put me in a slightly embarrassing position today, by
inviting me to return to speak on the Brown campus. The challenge with coming back to give a second such lecture
is that you have to explain what you got wrong the first time!

As I look back, over some 18 years now, to 1996, I think I actually under-estimated how many things would change
in the years ahead. If you were a student at Brown 18 years ago, you would not have had any Facebook friends
and you wouldn't be following anyone on Twitter. And, even more sadly perhaps, no one would be following you!
There was no instant messaging at that time; indeed, as I recall, people actually used their telephones primarily for
In fact, email itself was still quite a new thing in 1996. And those are only the most obvious examples of
transformative change in our world.
What has been the impact of such changes? We often think about technological innovation as a great source of
hope for the world. We hear about how the internet can reach out across boundaries, helping us all to stay in touch,
and giving us access to information from every imaginable source.
But it is worth remembering that the same affirmations have greeted new communication technologies for centuries,
from the printing press to the telegraph to television and radio. Yet in each case, while many hopes were fulfilled,
many were also disappointed. In the final analysis, the key to human cooperation and concord has not depended
on advances in the technologies of communication, but rather on how human beings go about using or abusing
their technological tools.
Among the risks of our new communications world is its potential contribution to what I would call the growing
centrifugal forces in our time the forces of fragmentation. These forces, I believe, can threaten the coherence
of democratic societies and the effectiveness of democratic institutions.
Yes, the Information Revolution, for individuals and for communities, can be a great liberating influence. But it also
carries some important risks.
More information at our fingertips can mean more knowledge and understanding. But it can also mean more
fleeting attention-spans, more impulsive judgments, and more dependence on superficial snapshots of events.
Communicating more often and more easily can bring people closer together, but it can also tempt us to live more
of our lives inside smaller information bubbles, in more intense but often more isolated groupings.
We see more people everywhere these days, standing or sitting or walking alone, absorbed in their hand-held
screens. But, I wonder whether, in some larger sense, they are really more in touch? Greater connectivity does
not necessarily mean greater connection.
Information travels more quickly, in greater quantities these days. But the incalculable multiplication of information
can also mean more error, more exaggeration, more misinformation, more disinformation, more propaganda. The
world may be right there on our laptops, but the truth about the world may be further and further away.
The problem of fragmentation in our world is not a problem of diversity. Diversity itself should be a source of
enrichment. The problem comes when diverse elements spin off on their own, when the bonds that connect us
across our diversities begin to weaken.
Too often, as the world grows more complex, the temptation for some is to shield themselves from complexity, we
seek the comfort of our own simplicities, our own specialities. As has often been said, we risk learning more and
more, about less and less. And the result is that significant knowledge gaps can develop and persist.
The danger is that knowledge gaps so often run the risk of becoming empathy gaps. The struggle to remain
empathetically open to the Other in a diversifying world is a continuing struggle of central importance for all of us.

The danger of having knowledge gaps grow into empathy gaps that was the theme of my address in 1996. I
discussed then what was becoming an enormous knowledge gap, nearly an ignorance gap, between the worlds of
Islam and the non-Muslim world. Since that time, to be sure, there have been moments of encouraging progress on
this front, including academic-centred efforts here at Brown, with your wonderful Digital Islamic Humanities Project.
But in many ways, that knowledge gap has worsened.
We have heard predictions for some years now about some inevitable clash of the industrial West with the Muslim
world. These multiplied, of course, in the wake of the 9/11 tragedies and other violent episodes. But most Muslims
dont think that way; only an extreme minority does. For most of us, there is singularly little in our theology that
would clash with the other Abrahamic faiths, with Christianity and Judaism. And there is much more in harmony.
What has happened to the Islamic tradition that says that our best friends will be from the other Abrahamic Faiths,
known as the People of the Book, all of whose faith builds on monotheistic revelation?
Of course, much of what the West has seen about the Muslim world in recent years has been through a media lens
of instability and confrontation. What is highly abnormal in the Islamic world thus often gets mistaken for what is
normal. But that is all the more reason for us to work from all directions to replace fearful ignorance with empathetic
Down through many centuries, great Muslim cultures were built on the principle of inclusiveness. Some of the best
minds and creative spirits from every corner of the world, independent of ethnic or religious identities, were brought
together at great Muslim centres of learning. My own ancestors, the Fatimids, founded one of the worlds oldest
universities, Al-Azhar in Cairo, over a thousand years ago. In fields of learning from mathematics to astronomy,
from philosophy to medicine Muslim scholars sharpened the cutting edge of human knowledge. They were the
equivalents of thinkers like Plato and Aristotle, Galileo and Newton. Yet their names are scarcely known in the West
today. How many would recognise the name al-Khwarizmi the Persian mathematician who developed some 1,200
years ago the algorithm, which is the foundation of search engine technology?
In the Muslim world itself, as is true outside of it, much of our history, culture and art, has been obscured, and with it
a clear sense of Muslim diversity. Among other in-comprehensions is the increasing conflict between Sunni and
Shia Muslims. In places like Pakistan and Malaysia, Iraq and Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain, Yemen and Somalia and
Afghanistan, the Sunni-Shia conflict is becoming an absolute disaster.
The harsh truth is that religious hostility and intolerance, between as well as within religions, is contributing to
violent crises and political impasse all across the world, in the Central African Republic, in South Sudan and
Nigeria; in Myanmar, in the Philippines and in the Ukraine, and in many other places.
Such hostilities, of course, represent the most sinister side of what I have described as the centrifugal, fragmenting
patterns of our times.
How can we respond to such tendencies? The response, I would emphasise today is a thoughtful, renewed
commitment to the concept of pluralism and to the closely related potential of civil society.
A pluralist commitment is rooted in the essential unity of the human race. Does the Holy Quran not say that
mankind is descended from a single soul? In an increasingly cosmopolitan world, it is essential that we live by a
cosmopolitan ethic, one that addresses the age-old need to balance the particular and the universal, to honour
both human rights and social duties, to advance personal freedom and to accept human responsibility.

It is in that spirit that we can nurture bonds of confidence across different peoples and unique individuals,
welcoming the growing diversity of our world, even in matters of faith, as a gift of the Divine. Difference, in this
context, can become an opportunity not a threat a blessing rather than a burden.
This brings us to the challenges for governance in our time. How do we organise our complex societies to achieve
harmony and perhaps some progress, even at this time of growing diversity? These have always been difficult
questions and they are not getting any easier. As you know, they were particularly difficult questions for the United
States back in this universitys earliest years, as 13 former colonies tried to write a new national constitution.
George Washington, who had presided over the Constitutional Convention, came to this campus in 1790, after just
one year as President, when Brown itself was only a quarter of a century old. He travelled to Providence to mark
the recent adoption of the new US Constitution by the state of Rhode Island the last of the original 13 states to do
so. His visit was to celebrate the completion of that constitution-writing process. You may have known about this
from reading the plaque that still hangs on the wall of University Hall, on the Brown Main Green, where Washington
strolled that day with the universitys president.
I am told, incidentally, that Washington was greeted here with the roar of cannons and the ringing of bells, and in a
spirit of great Decorum. I dont know about the cannon and the bells, but I must testify, as a current university
guest, that the great decorum has not changed at all! Thank you!
Washingtons visit in Providence marked a moment of historic constitutional significance. And the questions we
have raised today, balancing centrifugal, fragmenting realities on the one hand with the imperatives of national
bonding and governing on the other, were central concerns for Washington at that moment and throughout his
career. After eight years of coping with these issues as the first American president, he made them the major theme
of his famous Farewell Address.
He was worried, principally, he said then, about what he called the spirit of faction and its ability to undermine a
sense of democratic nationhood. He described faction as a spirit, that kindles the animosity of one part against
another, creating a fatal tendency to elevate a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community against
the whole. It threatened, he said, a frightful despotism, one that could render alien to each other those who ought
to be bound together
Such threats to bonding, and thus to balance, have long presented a central governance challenge, here and
elsewhere. And these issues are now being addressed with new intensity all across the world.
Amazing as it may seem, fully 37 countries have been writing or rewriting their constitutions in the last ten years,
with another 12 countries recently embarking on this path. This means that nearly 25 per cent of the member
countries of the United Nations have been rethinking these central governance concerns. And nearly half of these
49 countries have majority Muslim populations.
Clearly, many Muslim societies are seeking new ways to organise themselves. And there can be no one size fits
all. The outcomes obviously are going to be many and varied. The process will challenge the creativity of the
worlds best political and legal thinkers. Especially in the developing world, such matters will increasingly be in the
hands of younger, more educated men and women, provided the system allows them to come to the forefront.
These governance issues are frankly today, of global concern. And I believe that the great universities of the world
and Brown University in particular, can also play an especially creative role in responding to them.

The challenge, as we have said, will be one of balancing values and interests, honouring the importance of religious
and ethical traditions, for example, while also respecting the free will of individual human beings; accommodating
both the role of central governments and regional demands, reconciling the urban and the rural; providing for
democratic change, and institutional continuity.
Creating new governance frameworks is obviously not an easy task. But it can be accomplished. In Kenya just
three and a half years ago, for example, a new constitution ratified by two- thirds of the voters, redistributed power
dramatically from the central level to 47 county governments. In Tunisia, just a few weeks ago, a new consensus
constitution with 94 per cent approval from the elected Constituent Assembly reaffirmed the Islamic identity of the
Tunisian state, while also protecting the human rights of religious and ethnic minorities.
In these cases, and in other places such as Bangladesh, one of the fundamental constructive forces at work has
been the strength of civil society, it is a topic that is worth serious attention. And, I am happy to say, that it has been
getting increasing attention, including the exemplary, cutting-edge work here at Brown of the Watson Institute for
International Studies.
By civil society I mean an array of institutions that operate on a private, voluntary basis, but are motivated by high
public purposes. They include institutions devoted to culture, to science and to research; to commercial, labour,
ethnic and religious concerns; as well as a variety of professional societies. They include institutions of the media
and education.
I think the conclusion is the success of democratic societies will depend in the end on more than democratic
governments. The scale and the quality of civil society will become a factor, I believe, of enormous importance.
A quality civil society has three critical underpinnings: a commitment to pluralism, an open door to meritocracy, and
a full embrace of what I described earlier as a cosmopolitan ethic.
The voices of civil society will reflect and express the growing complexity of society, not as autonomous fragments,
but as diversified institutions seeking the common good. And I believe that the voices of civil society can be among
the most powerful forces in our time. Where change has been overdue, they can be voices for change. Where
people live in fear, they can be voices of hope.
One of the energising forces that makes a quality civil society possible, of course, is the readiness of its citizens to
contribute their talents and energies to the social good. What is required is a profound spirit of voluntary service, a
principle cherished in Shia Ismaili culture, and honoured, I know, here at Brown.
Progress is possible when the multiple, diversified needs of any society can be matched by multiple, diversified
inputs; that is also what civil society is all about. This is why great universities, with their broad, diversified
programmes, can be a resource of importance in the development of quality civil society, in their own countries but
also around the world. And again, Brown offers a powerful example.
Perhaps the biggest quandary we face in our economic and social development programmes is the problem of
predictability; knowing what changes are going to arise, and then deciding what is more or less likely to work in a
given situation. But again, progress is possible when complex issues are subjected to competent, intelligent,
nuanced and sophisticated analysis, free from dogmatism, and based upon what I would describe as empathetic
knowledge. This happens best in open, meritocratic societies, where peoples responsibilities are based on their
competence. It also happens best when the intellectual resources of the worlds great universities, like Brown, are
brought into play.

One of the important values of the Shia Ismaili tradition is the transformative power of the human intellect that
conviction underscores AKDNs strong commitment to education, at all levels, wherever we are present. These
activities include the Aga Khan University now thirty years old our newer University of Central Asia, our
Aga Khan Academies at the primary and secondary levels, and our major commitment to the potential of Early
Childhood Development.
The Aga Khan University in Karachi and East Africa is in the process today of creating a new Liberal Arts faculty,
while also establishing eight new post-graduate schools. I would emphasise both these initiatives. Professional
education is sorely needed in the developing world, but equally important is the capacity to integrate knowledge, to
nurture critical thinking and ethical sensitivity and to advance interdisciplinary teaching and research.
A quality civil society, in any setting, will require well-informed leaders who are sensitive to a wide array of
disciplines, and outlooks and cultures. It will require people with the ability to continue their learning in response to
new knowledge. I know these are central concerns for Brown University, articulated so well in its new Strategic Plan
and its call for Building on Distinction.
As we look ahead, in sum, we face a world in which centrifugal and fragmenting influences are of growing
importance, presenting new governance challenges all across the planet, and especially in fragile societies. In such
a world, the voices of pluralistic civil society can help ensure that diversity does not lead to disintegration, and that a
broad variety of energies and talents can be enlisted in the quest for human progress. Diversification without
disintegration, this is the greatest challenge of our time.
Over the past six decades I have been immersed in the problems of developing societies, grappling with ways to
assist their populations, despite both natural hazards and human errors. It is my conviction that a strong, highquality, ethical and competent civil society is one of the greatest forces we can work with to underwrite such
progress. And, if this is correct, then the role of great universities has never been more important.
I am convinced that Brown will be among the greatest universities stepping up to this challenge, as it finishes its
first 250 years, and embarks on its next quarter of a millennium!
Thank you.

Christina Paxson, President of Brown University, introduces His Highness the

Aga Khan at the 88th Stephen A. Ogden Jr Memorial Lecture on International
10 March 2014
Good afternoon. I am Christina Paxson, and it is my great pleasure to welcome you to Brown University for the 88th
Stephen A. Ogden Jr Memorial Lecture on International Affairs.
On Friday and Saturday last weekend, Brown launched its celebration of the Universitys semiquincentenary the
250th anniversary of Browns founding. This is a celebration that will continue for the next fifteen months, will figure
prominently in two Brown Commencements, and will reach Browns extended family across the United States and
from Europe to Hong Kong to Peru, and other countries as well.
The international calibre of our celebration would have delighted Stephen Ogden, because it points, to Browns
steadily increasing global engagement. Stephen, a member of the Brown Class of 1960, was what we would
recognise today as an international relations concentrator. He sought to understand the causes of friction between

nations and ideologies as well as the elements of international affairs that unite nations and peoples in the work of
peace, prosperity and human progress.
More than half a century has passed since Stephens student days here. Todays Brown is more broadly engaged
with the global community than ever not only in the excellent work of the Watson Institute for International
Studies, but in international collaborations across all the academic disciplines: In art and architecture, history,
literature, global health, mathematics, physics, and engineering.
Browns planetary geologists are involved in the exploration of the solar system with colleagues in Europe, India,
Russia and other nations. The Brown campus is home to more than 1,600 international students, scholars and their
families, representing more than 90 countries. And on average, at any given moment, more than 300 Brown
students and faculty are teaching, learning, or conducting research abroad on nearly every continent.
Deepening Browns engagement and service on a global level is an essential element of Building on Distinction, our
plan for the future.
Sadly, Stephen Ogden did not live to realise his dream of advancing world peace and understanding among the
nations of the world. He died in 1963 from injuries he had suffered in an auto accident during his junior year at
Brown. Two years later, the Ogden family created this lectureship as a tribute to Stephens aspirations. Across
almost five decades, the Ogden Lectures have brought nearly 100 of the worlds most prominent international
thinkers and agents of progress, including heads of state, prime ministers, diplomats, historians, and journalists to
Providence for presentations such as the one we are about to have this afternoon.
On behalf of the University and the Providence community, I thank the Ogden family for establishing this important
and productive part of Browns international reach. And I invite you to join me in recognising Susan Adler Kaplan
and Dr Robert Ackerman, who are here today representing Stephens family and friends, including his sister Peg
Today we welcome His Highness the Aga Khan to the Brown campus not as a newly arrived guest, but as a
returning friend of the University and a Brown parent. In May 1996, Brown conferred the honorary Doctor of Law
degree upon His Highness. At that time, President Vartan Gregorian said of him:
He has become a major activist for civilised humanity and universal values. Not in words but in deeds. Not in one
location but around the world. For he believes in the long tradition of Ismaili community values that education, selfreliance, solidarity, and character are the elements which keep a community vibrant and healthy and lead to
enlightenment and dignity.
In the 18 years since, His Highnesss critically important work has intensified and expanded. As the 49th hereditary
Imam the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, His Highness has been productively engaged with the
development of Asia and Africa, work he and his organisations have pursued for nearly 60 years. He is the founder
and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the worlds largest private development agencies,
which has improved living conditions and opportunities for people in 30 countries through work in healthcare,
education, architecture, rural development, the built environment, and the promotion of private-sector enterprise.
As an indicator of the scope of Aga Khan Development Network, consider that it encompasses more than 400
healthcare facilities and more than 200 schools. Its annual budget for non-profit development activities is
approximately $600 million. In 2012, project companies associated with those efforts generated close to $3 billion in
total revenue surpluses of which are reinvested in further development activities. The Aga Khan Development
Network enjoys close partnerships with public and private institutions, including governments, international
organisations, companies, foundations, and universities. About 80,000 people work for the Network.

The Networks efforts range from small the micro loans and financing that are so important to eager but
resource-poor entrepreneurs to two entire universities: The five campuses of the Aga Khan University, and the
University of Central Asia, whose School of Professional and Continuing Education has served nearly 50,000
students in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. His Highness once made the following remark:
Education has been important to my family for a long time. My forefathers founded Al-Azhar University in Cairo some
1,000 years ago Discovery of knowledge was seen by those founders as an embodiment of religious faith faith
as reinforced by knowledge of workings of the Creator's physical world. The form of universities has changed over
those 1,000 years, but that reciprocity between faith and knowledge remains a source of strength.
Whether for 250 years or a thousand, we at Brown recognise and celebrate the institutions and people throughout
the world who champion fundamental values like the discovery of knowledge and the notion that knowledge is a
globally shared source of strength.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming His Highness the Aga Khan.

Keynote remarks made at the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH)
Summit in Toronto.
29 May 2014
Thank you Ms Brown for that kind introduction.
Prime Minister Harper,
President Kikwete,
Your Majesty,
Your Excellencies,
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Like you, I am here today because of my conviction that improving maternal, neonatal and child health should be
one of the highest priorities on the global development agenda. I can think of no other field in which a well-directed
effort can make as great or as rapid an impact.
I am here, as well, because of my enormous respect for the leadership of the Government of Canada in addressing
this challenge. And I am here too, because of the strong sense of partnership which our Aga Khan Development
Network has long experienced, working with Canada in this critical field.
Leadership and partnership those are words that come quickly to mind as I salute our hosts today and as I greet
these distinguished leaders and partners in this audience.
Mr Prime Minister I recall how our partnerships were strengthened four years ago when you launched the
Muskoka Initiative. It led to an important new effort in which our Network has been deeply involved in countries
such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Mali.
In all of these efforts, weve built on our strong history of work in this field. It was 90 years ago that my late
grandfather founded the Kharadhar Maternity Home in Karachi. In that same city, for the last thirty years, the
Aga Khan University has worked on the cutting edge of research and education in this field including its new
specialised degree in midwifery.

One of our Aga Khan University scholars helped fashion the new series of reports on this topic that was released
last week an effort that involved more than 54 experts from 28 institutions in 17 countries. The reports tell us that
right intensified steps can save the lives of an additional 3 million mothers and children annually.
To that end, our Development Network has also focused on building durable, resilient healthcare systems. One
example is the not-for-profit health system by the Aga Khan Health Service in Northern Pakistan a communitybased network of facilities and health workers, including a growing number of nurse-midwives.
We have extended these approaches to other countries, including a remarkable partnership in Tanzania funded by
the Canadian government and implementing in close partnership with the Tanzanian government.
Such AKDN activity now serves some two-and-a-half million people in 15 countries, with 180 health centres both in
urban and rural areas, often in high-conflict zones, and embracing some of the worlds poorest and most remote
Last year alone, these facilities served nearly 5 million visitors, inpatients and outpatients, with more than 40,000
newborn deliveries.
So our experience has been considerable. But what have we learned from it? Let me share a quick overview.
First, I would underline that our approaches have to be long-term. Sporadic interventions produce sporadic results,
and each new burst of attention and activity must then start over again. The key to sustained progress is the
creation of sustainable systems.
Second, our approaches should be community-oriented. Outside assistance is vital, but sustainable success will
depend on a strong sense of local ownership.
The third point I would make is that our approaches should support the broad spectrum of health care. Focusing too
narrowly on high-impact primary care has not worked well improved secondary and tertiary care is also absolutely
Our approaches should encourage new financial models. Donor funding will be critical, but we cannot sustain
programmes that depend on continuing bursts of outside money. Let me underscore for example, the potential of
local savings groups and micro-insurance programmes, as well as the underutilised potential for debt-financing.
Also and I think this is very, very important indeed we have watched for many years as many developing
countries, and their economies of course, have created new financial wherewithal among their people. These
growing private resources can and I think should, help social progress, motivated by a developing social
consciousness and by government policies that encourage tax-privileged donations to such causes.
Our approaches should also focus on reaching those who are hardest to reach. And here, new telecommunications
technologies can make an enormous impact. One example has been the high-speed broadband link provided by
Roshan Telecommunications, one of our Networks companies, between our facilities in Karachi and several
localities in Afghanistan and in Tajikistan. This e-medicine link can carry high-quality radiological images and lab
results. It can facilitate consultations among patients, doctors and specialists at various centres. And it can
contribute enormously to the effective teaching of health professionals in remote areas.
Our approaches should be comprehensive, working across the broad spectrum of social development. The
problems we face have multiple causes, and single-minded, vertical interventions often fall short. The challenges

are multi-sectoral, and they will require the effective coordination of multiple inputs. Creative collaboration must be
our watchword. This is one reason for the growing importance of public-private partnerships.
These then are the points I would emphasise in looking back at our experience. I hope they might be helpful as we
now move into the future, and to the renewal and re-expression of the Post Millennium Development Goals.
As we undertake the new planning process, the opportunity to exchange ideas at meetings of this sort can be
enormously helpful. And potential partners must be able to talk well together if they are going to work well together.
I would hope such occasions will be characterised by candid exchange, including an acknowledgment of where we
have fallen short and how we can do better. The truth is that our efforts have been insufficient and uneven. We
have not met the Post Millennium Development Goals.
At the same time, we must avoid the risk of frustration that sometimes accompanies a moment of reassessment.
Our challenge as always is a balance [between] honest realism with hopeful optimism.
And surely there are reasons to be optimistic.
In no other development field is the potential leverage for progress greater than in the field of maternal and
newborn health.
I have spoken today about some of the approaches that have been part of our past work. But I thought I might close
by talking about some of the results. My example comes from Afghanistan a heartening example from a
challenging environment.
The rural province of Afghan Badakhshan once had minimal infrastructure and few health-related resources. Less
than a decade ago it had the highest maternity mortality ratio ever documented.
It was about that time that the Afghan government, supported by international donors, contracted with the Aga Khan
Health Service to create a single non-governmental health organisation in each district and in each province. Today,
the Badakhshan system alone includes nearly 400 health workers, 35 health centres, two hospitals, serving over
400,000 people. Its community midwifery school has graduated over 100 young women.
The impact has been striking. In Badakhshan in 2005, six percent of mothers died in childbirth that is 6,000 for
every 100,000 births. Just eight years later, that number was down twenty-fold for every 100,000 live births, death
has gone from 6,000 down to 300.
Meanwhile, infant mortality in Badakhshan has fallen by three quarters, from over 20 percent to less than 6 percent.
For most of the world, science has completely transformed the way life begins, and the risks associated with
childbirth. But enormous gaps still exist. These gaps are not the result of fate they are not inevitable. They can be
changed, and changed dramatically.
When government and private institutions coordinate effectively in challenging a major public problem, as this
example demonstrates, we can achieve substantial, genuine, quantifiable progress and fairly rapidly.
This is the story we need to remember, and this is the sort of action we need to take as leaders and as partners in
addressing one of the worlds most critical challenges.
Thank you.

Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan at the North-South Prize Ceremony,
Senate Hall, Parliament, Lisbon
12 June 2014
President of the Republic of Portugal
President of the Parliament
Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
Government Ministers and Members of Parliament
President of the Portuguese Parliaments Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Chair of the Executive Committee of the NorthSouth Centre
Fellow laureate, Suzanne Jabbour
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a singular pleasure for me to be here with you and to tell you how deeply honoured I am by this remarkable
This ceremony is particularly meaningful for me - for several reasons.
This award, first of all, has special significance because of who shares it - Madame Suzanne Jabbour. Her
dedication to those who are tortured is an example that inspires us all. I know she will agree when I mention the list
of those - from both South and North - who have received this award since 1995. It is a moving experience to have
ones work recognized alongside theirs.
In addition, of course, this prize has particular meaning because of those who organize it - the men and women of
the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, who contribute so much to advancing democratic citizenship in
our world. The Aga Khan Development Network has been proud to join with the Centre in distinguished projects
such as the annual Lisbon Forum held at the Ismaili Centre.
The significance of this award is also enhanced for me by the fact that it has been presented by the President of
Portugal, in the presence of so many eminent leaders, and in this splendid Parliamentary setting.
The Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network have had a long, close relationship with Portugal, built
on shared values. Over many centuries, Portugal has welcomed and integrated people of diverse cultures. It was
here on the Iberian Peninsula that Al-Andulus flourished for so long as a model of effective pluralism, a home for
Christian and Jewish peoples that was also part of an Islamic empire. This is surely an appropriate place for
celebrating the values associated with this award.
The North-South prize affirms principles which have long been animated and sustained by the work of the
Aga Khan Development Network. Our Network seeks in many ways to improve the quality of human life, in health,
education, in cultural and economic development. But our core conviction is that human progress depends on
human cooperation, even across difficult lines of division.
As I observe the world, I am struck by the insufficiency of well-informed debate, of richer dialogue, of deeper
education in our quest to avoid human conflict. That insufficiency often plagues relations between the North and

the South-- and increasingly between the North and the Islamic world. Some have called this a clash of civilizations
I think it is, essentially, a clash of ignorances. What it means, in any case, is that institutions such as the NorthSouth Centre have never been more important.
A related problem is the failure of so many to recognize that pluralism is not only a growing fact of life but also a
blessing for their communitiesan opportunity to be welcomed rather than a threat to be feared.
Since ancient times, great cultures have thrived because of their openness to diversity, and not because of their
exclusivity. It was to address this issue that the Government of Canada and I created a new Global Centre for
Pluralism in Ottawa in 2006.
Recently the Global Centre held its Third Annual Pluralism Lecturea platform for global leaders to reflect on this
topic. Our first two Lecturers in 2012 and 2013 were the former President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Roza
Otunbayeva, and the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan. This spring our guest lecturer was
Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 2005. One reason I mention him here, of
course, is because he was, for seven years, the Prime Minister of Portugal. Before that, as many of you know, he
also played a key role in the refugee affairs with the Council of Europe, and its Parliamentary Assembly. His recent
Lecture described, eloquently, the unprecedented scale and severity of the worlds refugee crises. He addressed,
passionately, the moral challenge this crisis presents, the tragic impulse of some to exploit it, and the critical
importance of standing together on behalf of human tolerance. I commend his words to you; they resonate
powerfully with the purposes of the North-South Centre.
We inhabit an overcrowded and interconnected planet and yet we share a common destiny. A weakness or pain in
one corner can rapidly transmit itself across the globe. The pervasive rejection of pluralism in all its forms plays a
significant role in breeding destructive conflicts.
An example is the current situation in the Middle-East, where conflict is having a profound destabilising impact in
the region but also well beyondincluding here in Europe.
Instability is infectious, but so is hope. And that it is why it is so important for us to carry the torch of hope as we
seek to share the gift of pluralism.
Pluralistic values have been articulated since ancient times. Profound expressions about our common humanity are
embedded in the worlds great religious traditions, including my own. But now it is for us to re-articulate those
traditions. As we do so, our support for one another can be a source of renewed and growing strength.
It is ironic that a sense of intensified conflict comes at a time of unprecedented breakthroughs in communication
technology. At the very time that we talk more and more about global convergence, we also seem to experience
more and more social divergence. The lesson it seems to me is that technologies alone will not save us-- the
critical variable will always be and will always lie in the disposition of human hearts and minds.
That, it seems to me, is what the work of the North-South Centre is all about, including our gathering today.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share with all of you in this experience - and in the great purposes to which it
calls us.
Thank you.

Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Opening of the Aga Khan Museum
and the Ismaili Centre, Toronto
12 September 2014
Prime Minister Harper,
Words fail me and thats not often the case but words fail me to thank you enough for your most gracious and
warm comments on this occasion.
Madame Clarkson,
Honourable Ministers,
Chancelier de Broglie,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is indeed a magnificent day.
It is not so often that we have an opportunity of this sort -- to come together in a beautiful setting, in a wonderful
spirit of friendship, and to dedicate such a splendid architectural accomplishment.
As we inaugurate this building, we also have the opportunity to contemplate what it represents: the inspiring
traditions of the past, the stirring challenges of the future, and the continuing search for peace through prayer.
Canada, of course, has become a significant newer homeland for our community, as Ismailis have come here from
so many places -- from East Africa, from Tajikistan, from Afghanistan, from Syria and from other parts of the world -all choosing to develop their destinies under the Canadian flag.
One of the ways in which Ismailis have expressed their identity wherever they have lived is through their places of
prayer, known today as the Jamatkhana. Other Muslim communities give their religious buildings different names:
from ribat and zawiyya to khanaqa. And, in addition, there are other places where Muslims of all interpretations can
come together, such as non-denominational mosques.
What we dedicate today is what we identify as an Ismaili Centre a building that is focused around our
Jamatkhana, but which also includes many secular spaces. These are places where Ismailis and non-Ismailis,
Muslims and non-Muslims, will gather for shared activities seminars and lectures, recitals and receptions,
exhibitions and social events. These meeting halls and lounges, work offices and conference rooms will serve the
organisational needs of the Ismaili community. But they will also, we trust, be filled with the sounds of enrichment,
dialogue and warm human rapport, as Ismailis and non-Ismailis share their lives in a healthy gregarious spirit!
Yes! We are a community that welcomes the smile!
And soaring above it all is the great crystalline dome that you have observed, through which light from the prayer
hall will provide a glowing beacon, symbolising the spirit of enlightenment that will always be at the heart of the
Centres life.
The size and complexity of what we celebrate today has been immense, and so is the list of those whom we salute
for having made it possible.

Certainly our list should begin with the Prime Minister, with whom we have shared so many magnificent moments
and so many worthwhile endeavours. On many fronts, in this country and beyond, the Canadian Government has
been a strong, significant partner for the Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network. And we recall
with special pleasure, of course, the Foundation Ceremony on this site, at which the Prime Minister so graciously
presented me with the enormous honor of Canadian Citizenship.
We are grateful as well, to all the officials who have facilitated this accomplishment, in the Federal government, and
in the Provincial government, where the Premiers unwavering enthusiasm has meant so much to us. And the same
thing is true of the City of Toronto, and its dedicated councilors and staff, as well as the Bata family, and the people
of this neighbourhood.
I am also deeply pleased to salute the donors who have so generously supported the building of outstanding Ismaili
Centres across the world, including this Centre here in Toronto, as well as the dedicated leaders, staff and
volunteers from the Ismaili community who have also played such a significant role.
And, of course, I want to recognise with special appreciation those who designed, built and decorated this space,
especially the eminent architects Charles Correa and his daughter Nondita. Let me underscore as well, the
important contributions of the Toronto firm of Moriyama and Teshima, of Gotham Notting Hill, and of the great
German-Muslim artist, Karl Schlamminger.
And, of course, it is with deepest admiration that I thank the person whose guiding hand has been so important at
every stage of this project: a member of my family, my brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan.
Our focus today is on two splendid new buildings here on Wynford Drive, but I would be remiss not to mention the
new public space that will tie these two new buildings together: the Aga Khan Park, which will have its official
opening when the vegetation matures next year.
When our planning for the Toronto Ismaili Centre started in 1996, we decided to ask the younger generation of
Ismailis about their vision for this building. What did they want it to represent? How did they see it functioning? In
response, young people from the ages of 18 to 27 generously shared their aspirations with us. They told us that
they wanted a building that would be forward looking, while also being anchored in traditional community values.
They also wanted a building in which they could strengthen their personal relationships - a place where they could
not only unite in prayer, but could also develop new life-shaping associations amongst themselves and with other
They hoped that the Centre would become, and I quote, ... a great avenue through which they could integrate into
society at large, a place that would command the respect of all those who would visit it.
It was with all of these thoughts in mind that we selected for the Centre a world-class architect who had designed
for many faiths, but always in an idiom for today and tomorrow. He was a man who deeply believes, as he puts it,
that tradition and modernity are not opposites. And the result, as you can see, is a building in which traditional
elements of Muslim architecture are given a confident, forward-looking vocabulary.
The young men and women whose views we sought back in the year 2000 are now between 32 and 41 years old
in the middle of their careers. It is my earnest hope that the formation of this Centre, which will now become
theirs, has responded to their hopes of 14 years ago.
Let me acknowledge, of course, that a part of that response is found in the entirety of this new complex on Wynford
Drive including the Aga Khan Museum welcoming the public with its unique concentration of cultural assets,

and the surrounding Park providing a remarkable environment for relaxation and contemplation for peoples of all
ages and backgrounds.
In sum, I am pleased to think that the complex being opened today does indeed meet the requests that were
articulated 14 years ago... even if I have not been able to concentrate them all in one building!
The fusion of tradition and modernity which this building achieves, and the blend of spiritual, educational and social
objectives that it embodies, have also characterised our other Ismaili Centres in Vancouver, London, Lisbon,
Dubai, and Dushanbe. All of them were designed by architects of great international standing, and, I would
emphasise, of great multi-cultural sensitivity.
Charles Correa, for example, comes from an Indian background and has also designed Hindu and Christian
buildings. The architect for our Vancouver Centre 30 years ago was Bruno Freschi, whose family is of Italian
background, and whose earlier work had included a Sikh place of worship. The new Aga Khan Park was designed
by an architect of Lebanese heritage, Vladimir Djurovic. And the Aga Khan Museum is the work of a superb
Japanese professional, Fumihiko Maki. How pleased we are that all of these fine artists are with us today.
In its origins, in its design, and in its programmes and activities, the complex we inaugurate today is animated by a
truly pluralistic spirit. In this respect too, it reflects the deep-set Ismaili values pluralistic commitments that are so
deeply embedded in Canadian values.
These commitments have been strikingly evident in a recent government initiative that I would like to mention today.
I refer to the establishment, less than two years ago, of the new Office of Religious Freedom, led by Ambassador
Andrew Bennett. We hope that our organisations in Canada can be helpful allies of the Office of Religious
Freedom, as it works to support people throughout the world who are targeted because of their religious affiliations.
Just a week ago, Ambassador Bennett and the Minister for Multiculturalism, Mr Kenney, received the leader of an
ancient religious minority as he arrived from Egypt for an extended visit to Canada. He was Pope Tawadros, of the
Christian Coptic Orthodox Church. Canadas effort to extend the hand of friendship to Pope Tawadros, whose
people have come through difficult times, confirms and renews the great Canadian message of universal welcome.
Let me conclude by returning to another context in which the hand of friendship has been playing a major role.
When I mentioned that our planning for this complex began 18 years ago, some of you probably wondered how
people sustained their enthusiasm through such a long process yes 18 years! My response is to say that
throughout these 18 years, we have been inspired by a great sense of common purpose, as we have sought to
create places and spaces of true enlightenment. And, in doing so, we have also been strengthened by a
pronounced spirit of friendship.
And what a joy it is to celebrate that spirit, at a time when so much of the worlds attention is focused on climates of
This first step in the planning of the Centre in the late 1990s was to find an appropriate building site, one that would
be convenient to a large number of Ismailis. This was a challenge in and of itself, as we tried to reconcile the needs
of more established Ismailis with the requirements of newly arriving and less settled immigrants. After a long
search, we selected a site which was little more than half of the site we have today it was located where the new
Museum is now standing. Happily, we were successful in acquiring that land, and it was evident that the hands of
friendship helped to make that acquisition possible.

As the project progressed, we learned that the Bata family was intending to give up its office building on a site
adjacent to ours an elegant building, but one where time had taken its toll. Once again the hand of friendship
was extended, and Mrs Bata made it possible for us to acquire that building. Because it stood on the highest point
in the area, we decided to move the Ismaili Centre to this site, and to redesign it accordingly.
The next step, of course, was to seek approval to remove the Bata building. As it became apparent over time that
the Bata building had little residual life, the spirit of friendship again was present and we were authorised to replace
As these events unfolded, my late uncle, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, passed away, and his widow, Princess
Catherine, invited me to become the owner of their remarkable Islamic art collection. Here again the hand of
generous friendship was extended, this time by my own family. Regrettably, Princess Catherine cannot be with us
today. But I might note in passing that the decisive role at critical junctures in this process was played by two
remarkable women: Princess Catherine and Mrs Bata.
And so it was that things came together. I was able to join my late uncles collection with part of the collection that I
had assembled for The Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and with some of my personal objects. But where
should this assembled collection then be situated? After numerous discussions with many thoughtful people, the
decision was made to build a museum on the very site that had been selected originally for the Ismaili Centre.
And here we are today. The story, over eighteen years indeed, has been one of deeply shared purpose.
I hope you will join in my profound happiness in recalling the cradle of friendship in which this Centre has been
born. And I know that all of you will also share my profound wish that the Centre will now prolong, decade after
decade, its beautiful legacy of friendship and enlightenment.
Thank you.

Speech by Prince Amyn Aga Khan at the Opening of the Aga Khan Museum in
Toronto on Friday, 12 September 2014
12 September 2014
Prime Minister Harper,
Your Highness, my brother,
Madame Clarkson,
Ms Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages,
Honourable Ministers,
Chancelier de Broglie,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
What a pleasure it is to welcome you to this exceptional place on this most special day. Exceptional because we
are inaugurating today not one but two new and unique buildings, facing each other across a new and unique park,
two utterly unusual pieces of architecture housing surprising reflections of beauty. This is also a special moment
because of the special role that we expect the Aga Khan Museum to play, as a gateway into the history and artistic

traditions of the Muslim world nearly a fifth of humanity for those non-Muslims and even Muslims who wish
better to understand that world.
The Aga Khan Museum will play this role at a time when such a gateway is profoundly needed. All across the
planet, political and economic developments, the forces of globalisation, are connecting Muslim and non-Muslim
societies ever more intimately and yet, at the same time, misunderstandings between those worlds are becoming
an increasingly dangerous threat. Expanded and improved means of communication can as easily be used to
cause divisions and fragmentation as they can to unify and breed understanding. Despite the advances we have
witnessed through improved technology and through globalisation, a knowledge gap continues to exist and perhaps
even grow, and the result of that gap is a vacuum within which myths and stereotypes can so easily fester, fed by
the amplification of extreme minority voices. Symbols become confused with emblems. Images of demagoguery or
despotism, of intolerance and conflict, come to dominate in such an environment with global repercussions.
That context is precisely the reason that the potential contribution of an institution such as the Aga Khan Museum
can be so important. I believe strongly that art and culture can have a profound impact in healing misunderstanding
and in fostering trust even across great divides. This is the extraordinary purpose, the special mandate, to which
this Museum is dedicated.
In its role to reveal and to stimulate dialogue between different cultures, the Aga Khan Museum will continue a long
history of cultural sharing between Islam and the West.
Historians tell us that as early as the 9th century, trade and commerce were bringing objects of art from the Muslim
to the European world from the far reaches of the Iranian region, for example, all the way to the Carolingian
courts of Northern Europe. A century later, rock crystal ewers and other Islamic art from North Africa, then part of
the Fatimid Caliphate, appeared in the collections of European courts and can be traced in the ledgers of the
treasuries of European churches. By the time you get to the Cabinet de Curiosits of the 16th century in Europe,
often partially open to the public and perhaps the precursors of the modern museum, numerous works of art from
the Muslim world are to be found. Of course, at that time, and indeed for centuries afterward, the acquisition of
cultural treasures in the West happened mostly in private settings, in aristocratic homes and palaces. Only later, as
the idea of the museum as a public institution began to take hold, especially after the opening of the British
Museum in London in the mid-18th century and the Louvre in Paris, art from the Muslim world began to find a wider
European audience. Colonialism inevitably increased that audience.
In the Muslim world, collecting and public displays of rare and beautiful objects were common. The notion of Waqf
itself, of property given for the public good and for religious purposes, engendered a widespread movement to
collect. Public displays of artefacts were a feature of the Fatimid period and precious objects from the treasure were
publicly paraded through the streets of Cairo. In Central Asia, in the middle periods many Muslim rulers collected
and displayed to visitors their finest objects. From as early as 1607, for instance, in Safavid Iran, Shah Abbas the
Great organised public displays of his collection and made a Waqf donation to his ancestral shrine of his gold, silver
and jade vessels, his Chinese porcelain, his Persian manuscripts and textiles, thus making them available to be
seen by visitors to that shrine. Like in the West, the largest collections were usually the possessions of kings,
caliphs and religious institutions. The oldest museum in Asia, I am told, was established in the late 18th century by
the Asiatic Society in Bengal and, of course, Khedive Ismail conceived the Cairo Museum in the late 19th century.
What should be noted is that there is a long history from the earliest courts across the Ummah such as the
Abassids in Baghdad in the 8th century, or the Fatimids in Egypt, of seeking out and bringing together the best
artists, scientists and scholars, the best creators, of the time, irrespective of their religious, ethnic or political
backgrounds. The pursuit of cultural excellence resulted in Western, as also Far Eastern art and learning becoming
important elements in Muslim life within an ethic of tolerance and collaboration. A manifestation of this approach

was, of course, Al Andalous in the Iberian Peninsula where Muslim leaders welcomed Christian and Jewish
participants in a rich cultural life, pluralistic so to speak. The same approach characterised the Mughal courts of
Hindustan, the Uzbecks of Bokhara, Ottoman Turkey.
One should not forget too that creating and maintaining libraries has always been part of the lifestyles of the
wealthier men and women in Muslim countries. And those libraries, as often as not, contained illustrations or
miniatures in their manuscripts. I cannot help wondering whether libraries and museums do not overlap in function
and whether the former do not inevitably lead to the latter.
I think it is accurate to say that in Muslim societies the pursuit of artistic and cultural excellence has for many
centuries been a hallmark of the life in those societies, just as for them the aesthetic experience has always been
seen as part of the learning process.
The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, that we are opening today, will differ slightly from the many famous institutions
that currently have impressive collections of Islamic art in the Western world. For this Museum will be one of the
very few institutions in the Western world, and indeed the only one in the Western hemisphere, that will be entirely
devoted to the acquisition, preservation, study and display of the arts of Muslim civilisations. The great majority of
the best known Western institutions have collections of Islamic art that are a smaller part of their larger international
Here in Toronto, visitors from all over the world will be uniquely able to experience and appreciate the intellectual,
cultural and artistic heritage of Muslim civilisations in all of its rich diversity. Simply by emphasising that diversity,
the Museum will make an important point that is so often now misunderstood by both the Muslim and non-Muslim
The thousand and more treasures gathered here come from Spain, the Maghreb, the Arab near-East, from the
Iranian world that stretched through Afghanistan and Central Asia, from the courts of Hindustan, now India and
Pakistan, and the Muslim communities of China. As I reflect on this diversity, the word connection comes to mind
for it will be the special opportunity of this Museum to connect a broad array of Muslim cultures with one another,
while also connecting visitors from other cultures to the richness of the Muslim past. Cultural connection will be at
the heart of the Museums mission: to increase and illuminate the dialogue between different Muslim civilisations
themselves and between those civilisations and non-Muslim civilisations.
It is my hope that this Museum will execute its mandate in a variety of ways which will go beyond what happens on
casual, cursory visits, although we know that even short visits in a place like this can become moments of powerful
inspiration: learning can happen consciously or unconsciously, understanding can be instinctive or reasoned. The
work of the Museum will follow in the best tradition of the venerable Islamic cultural centrer that I have mentioned
earlier, where great libraries and other collections became prodigious centres for a continuing process of intellectual
and artistic enquiry a process of exploration and edification, of dialogue and discovery. It is my hope and
expectation that this Museum will play an active and effective educational role, helping visitors to appreciate,
understand and empathise with an aesthetic and a culture new but no longer foreign or alien to them. Furthermore,
the Museum should endeavour to institute creative outreach activities into the schools and other educational
institutions in this area. Personally, I do not subscribe to the current theory, possibly chic, that study of our cultural
past by young artists limits, or even thwarts, their creativity and spontaneity. We are what we come from, and to
think we come from nowhere is both an intellectual and a natural fallacy.
Having said that, the Aga Khan Museum will regularly organise temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists too,
as it should reflect the evolution of the creative arts in the Muslim world.

In pursuing these objectives, the Museum will focus its attention not only on the acquisition, preservation and
display of visual artistic creations, but also on a wide range of other cultural expressions, including poetry,
philosophy and literature, music, architecture, science and social organisation. This is a Museum of Islamic Arts
with a broad definition of all that the arts include, and presenting these arts as best we can within their full cultural
context. Miniatures were not painted to be hung on white walls in rooms devoid of furniture or furnishings. Metalware was, for the most part, designed to be picked up and used or laid on furniture. In the sense that the arts reflect
the senses, all of them, that usually one hears as one sees, just as instinct leads us to want to touch what we want
to see most clearly, the interplay between the arts is as essential as the inter-relationship of the senses. The
challenge will be how best to reveal the dialogue between the different arts themselves.
On the website for the Museum (which I urge you to visit), our distinguished Director, Henry Kim, gives us a picture
of what we can anticipate: Visitors to the Museum, he says, are as likely to view our permanent collection as they
are to visit one of our many temporary exhibitions, to listen to a performance in the auditorium, attend a class, study
architecture, tour the gardens, or sample food from the great cuisines of Turkey, Iran, North Africa, Central Asia and
the Indian sub-continent. As you can see, Henry plans to showcase all the senses, or all the Arts, in this institution,
even if his personal emphasis would seem to lie in the kitchen and on taste.
An asset for the Museum in the fulfillment of its many-faceted mandate will be its close association with other
institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network, many of which are represented here today. Among them are the
Aga Khan Trust for Culture, The Historic Cities Program, the Aga Khan University, the Institute for the Study of
Muslim Civilisations, the University of Central Asia, the Institute of Ismaili Studies, and the Aga Khan Award for
Architecture. I am sure that many of you recall that day, just a little over four years ago, when we came to this site
to mark this projects transition from the planning stage to the building stage, from investigation to construction. And
today, we celebrate again as we move from construction to realisation, with an enormous sense of gratitude to all
those who have made this day possible.
Despite the difficulty of realising a project as complex as this, the years of imagination, anticipation and effort have
finally been rewarded by the joy of realisation and we can now, at last, enter a period of active participation in the
great work that this building will make possible. Je me souviens avec joie et satisfaction dune discussion tenue en
2000, avec un groupe de jeunes Ismailis denviron 25 ans dges, sur les priorits que nous devrions considrer
dans les annes venir, et ces jeunes gens ont placs lpoque, un muse, une facilit culturelle, une
bibliothque et une cours, allez savoir une cours, sur la liste de priorit. Maintenant, ces jeunes hommes et
femmes, dix ans plus vieux et sans doute trs nerveux lapproche de la vieillesse, sont jespre heureux et fiers
de ce que nous avons accompli.
There are so many people that I should thank today that it is difficult to know where to begin and I worry about
forgetting somebody. I should like to give particular thanks to Princess Catherine Aga Khan, the widow of my late
uncle, Prince Sadruddin. Not only has the collection that she and my uncle formed over the years constituted the
nucleus of the Museums collections today, but she has allowed us to repeat, within the Museum, an entire room
from their house in Geneva, which we call the Bellerive room, and which is a space I personally find as poetic as it
is illuminating. I must also thank my brother and all those who have lent or given works of art to enlarge and expand
our collections. And, of course, thanks go to our architects, Fumihiko Maki and Gary Kamemoto, Moriyama and
Teshima, Adrien Gardere, our contractors and sub-contractors, the Imara team who provided project management,
and to the many generous friends who donated their time, or already their resources, to ensure that this project took
Professor Makis inspiring building that we are opening today faces the new Ismaili Center, designed by Charles
Correa, across the Aga Khan Park designed by Vladimir Djurovic. As a whole, this entire site speaks to the unity in

Islamic thought the profound unity of three great dimensions of human life: the cultural, the spiritual and the
natural. There must also be symbolic value in the fact that the three architects who took the lead in designing these
spaces come from Japanese, Indian and Lebanese backgrounds brought together here in the spirit of
international partnership which is also such a proud part of Canadian culture.
Let me conclude by saying that if I were looking for a single word to sum up my intention and hope for the Aga Khan
Museum, it would be the word enlightenment. It is a word which has both cultural and spiritual significance. The
history of the thought and the creations of man can perhaps be said to be a long path from one period of
enlightenment to another. I would hope that this Museum will contribute to a new period of enlightenment, helping
visitors from around the world to rediscover the common symbols that unite us all across the globe, across all
civilisations, across time.
And so, it is in a spirit of immense gratitude that we open this Museum, respectful of the rich traditions that it
represents and hopeful about the role it can play in the great, continuing work of cultural connection.
Thank you

Speech by The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, at

the Opening of the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre, Toronto
12 September 2014
Greetings, members of His Highness family, colleagues from the Parliament of Canada: The Hon. Shelly Glover,
The Hon. Chris Alexander, The Hon. Joe Oliver, Senator Salma Ataullahjan, MP Joe Daniel, distinguished guests,
ladies and gentlemen, and of course, special greetings to those of you watching from all across the country.
Your Highness, four years ago, we stood together, on this very site, for the foundation ceremony of the Ismaili
Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Park.
I said then that these projects promise to be another stunning addition to Canadas growing array of architectural
We celebrate today the fact that that ambitious promise is now a splendid reality.
For generations to come, this site and these buildings, as well as the fabulous collection of art and artefacts
contained in the Aga Khan Museum, will be a source of inspiration, spiritual renewal and cultural awareness.
They will inspire not only Torontonians, but also all visitors to this place, Canadian and international.
I look forward to my first visit to the Aga Khan Museum in just a short while.
For all of this, and many more acts of goodwill, we will always be grateful to our esteemed fellow Canadian, His
Highness Karim Aga Khan.
We celebrate today, then, not only the harmonious meeting of green gardens and glass galleries, or of Italian
marble and Canadian maple.
We rejoice above all in the special spirit which fills this place and gives it its soul.
For a very, very long time this priceless gift will bring joy to the eyes and jubilation to the hearts of countless visitors.

partir daujourdhui, le Canada senrichit dun nouveau point de contact avec la riche civilisation de lIslam.
Je souhaite de tout cur que le plus grand nombre possible de nos concitoyens et concitoyennes prendront
avantage de cette avenue de connaissance et de partage qui souvre devant nous.
Since his accession to the Imamat in 1957, as hereditary spiritual leader of the worlds fifteen million Ismaili
Muslims, the Aga Khan has devoted an extraordinary amount of time, toil and resources to the ideals of Islamic
culture and history.
In doing so, His Highness has greatly contributed to demystifying Islam, throughout the world, by stressing its social
traditions of peace, of tolerance and of pluralism.
This is a vision of Islam of which all Canadians can be proud especially when a contrary and violent distortion of
that vision so regularly dominates the news.
Your Highness, I remember well the wise words you spoke in the House of Commons, last February.
Increasingly you said then, I believe the voices of civil society are voices for change, where change has been
overdue. They have been voices of hope for people living in fear. They are voices that can help transform countries
of crisis into countries of opportunity.
This is a message that is both universal and eternal.
And it does us great honour, as Canadians, that it is now being propagated so powerfully from our country, thanks
to you, Your Highness.
Indeed, the decision to establish this significant initiative in Canada reflects the deep and longstanding partnership
between the Imamat and Canada.
This partnership stems from our shared commitment to pluralism, to civil society, human dignity, peace and
And the impressive facility we are inaugurating today is not the first contribution the Aga Khan has made to the
Canadian urban landscape.
A first Ismaili Centre in Canada was opened in 1985, nearly thirty years ago, in Burnaby, British Columbia.
In December 2008, I had the pleasure, again in the company of His Highness, of inaugurating the Delegation of the
Ismaili Imamat on Sussex Drive, in Ottawa.
That building, which has also been singled out for its architectural elegance, is now the seat of the Aga Khan
Foundation Canada, and the Global Centre for Pluralism.
The Centre, however, will be moving to a new location, also on Sussex Drive, at the former site of the Canadian
War Museum.
By a happy coincidence, that move will be completed in 2017, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of
I see strong symbolism in the conjunction of these two events.

They remind us that Confederation was, in fact, an early political application of the sense of pluralism which still
guides today.
As many of you know, this year, 2014, happens to be the bicentennial of the birth of George tienne Cartier, along
with our first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, one of the principal architects of Confederation.
It was Cartier who most thoroughly articulated, and ultimately convinced, the other Fathers of Confederation that
this new country would only succeed if it could accommodate the common interests and needs of people of
different cultures and faiths through the development of a new, federal system.
Cest grce la vision de Cartier, grce sa foi dans le respect des diffrences et le partage des responsabilits
communes, que la Confdration est ne.
Et cest comme cela que le Canada va continuer de faire ladmiration et lenvie du monde entier.
The wisdom that Cartier advanced one hundred and fifty years ago, the wisdom of acceptance and tolerance, are
lessons that the Canadian Ismaili community teaches still.
In so doing, they, you, have contributed to keeping these fundamental values at the heart of our national identity.
And I am therefore delighted to join you in declaring the Ismaili Centre open.