EDMONTON, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ - His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual
leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan
Development Network (AKDN), will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree
from the University of Alberta on June 9th in recognition of his efforts to
improve the lives of millions of the world's poorest people and build a global
culture of tolerance.
During his visit to Edmonton, the Aga Khan will meet with Premier Ed
Stelmach and University of Alberta President, Dr. Indira Samarasekera as well
as witness the signing of an agreement to enhance collaboration with the
University of Alberta
The Ismaili Imamat has a long tradition of leadership in educational
development, going back to the founding of Al-Azhar University and the Academy
of Science, Dar al-Ilm, in Cairo, over 1000 years ago. Today, AKDN operates
two universities, the Aga Khan University, which was founded in Pakistan over
25 years ago and has campuses in 8 countries, and the University of Central
Asia with campuses in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The Network's multiple endeavours in the areas of education currently
include over 300 schools and advanced educational programmes that provide
quality pre-school, primary, secondary, and higher secondary education
services to students throughout the world.
AKU has enjoyed more than a quarter century of close associations with
several universities in Canada and across the world including University of
Alberta, McMaster University, the University of Waterloo, University of
Toronto, Harvard University and Oxford University.
The partnerships with Canada extend well beyond education: Aga Khan
Foundation Canada, (AKFC) has been active with the Canadian International
Development Agency for over 25 years in leading edge development initiatives
in Africa and Asia.
His Highness the Aga Khan
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual leader)
of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan
Development Network (AKDN). The AKDN is a group of private, non-denominational
development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve
living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central
and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network's nine development agencies
focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens,
regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN's underlying ethic is
compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic
activity is in excess of US$500 million.
Recent Canadian Initiatives
In 2006, the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada signed a funding
agreement towards the development of a new international initiative, the
Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, dedicated to the creation of successful
societies. The Centre is founded on cherished Canadian values of tolerance,
openness and understanding towards the cultures, social structures, values and
faiths of other peoples and that these values are now essential to the very
survival of an interdependent world.
The Aga Khan, an Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, last visited
the country in December 2008, as part of the commemoration of his fifty years
as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. During
the commemorative visit, the Aga Khan inaugurated the Delegation of the
Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Canada, the
Right Honourable Stephen Harper.
The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, serves a permanent representational
role for the activities of the Imamat in Canada, and as stated by His Highness
the Aga Khan represents "a new creative link between the spiritual dimensions
of Islam and the cultures of the West, and even more particularly, it
represents another new bridge between the peoples of Islam and the peoples of
Other projects under development in Canada are the Aga Khan Museum,
housing exceptional collections of Islamic art, the gardens and the Ismaili
Centre in Toronto.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
members of the media/
For further information:
For further information: Mohib Samnani, Aga Khan Council for Edmonton,
(780) 964-2944, firstname.lastname@example.org; Laurie Peters, Aga Khan Foundation
Canada (AKFC), (613) 237-2532 X 120, email@example.com; Semin Abdulla, Department
of Communications, Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, +33 3 44 58 40
00, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.akdn.org