OTTAWA, Feb. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - His Highness the Aga Khan, founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, arrived in Canada today to deliver an historic address to the Canadian Parliament at the invitation of The Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper.
His Highness the Aga Khan joins a handful of individuals who are not a head of state or government to address a joint session of Parliament. He is also the first faith leader to address the Canadian Parliament.
Speaking about the invitation in a press release issued by the Canadian government, Prime Minister Harper stated that "Our Government is honoured to once again welcome His Highness the Aga Khan to Canada. Our country has a warm and lasting friendship with His Highness, who was granted honorary Canadian citizenship for his leadership as a champion of international development, pluralism and tolerance around the world."
The Aga Khan, the AKDN and the Ismaili community have long-standing ties to Canada. The Government of Canada and the Aga Khan Development Network collaborate on development projects around the world. Partnership has been particularly strong in promoting maternal, newborn and child health - one of Canada's key development priorities. His Highness has launched several institutions in Canada, which stem from his admiration of Canada's success as a pluralistic nation.
These include the Global Centre for Pluralism - a joint initiative of the Canadian government and the Ismaili Imamat - as well as the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. In May 2010, Prime Minister Harper and His Highness presided over the Foundation Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, and the Aga Khan Museum, the first museum in North America dedicated exclusively to Islamic arts and cultures.
His Highness the Aga Khan will deliver the historic address to a joint session of the Canadian Parliament on February 27, 2014 at 11 am EST. For information or pictures, please see AKDN.org.
SOURCE: Aga Khan Council For Canada
For further information:
Senior Communications Officer
Aga Khan Development Network
Aga Khan Council for Canada