Media Advisory - Historic Cities Exhibition launches in Canada

    MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ - The Historic Cities Programme launches
its Canadian Tour starting in Montreal on April 1, 2008 and thereafter,
touring Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. An initiative of the Aga
Khan Trust for Culture and brought to Canada in partnership with His Highness
Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Canada, the Exhibition provides
a unique lens on the role of culture in development. For the past 25 years,
the Programme has promoted the conservation and re-use of buildings and public
spaces in historic cities in the Muslim World. The work is undertaken in ways
that spur social, economic and cultural development and builds community
participation, trains local professionals and institutions.
    "The Exhibition shows five projects, each undertaken within a different
context in Egypt, Syria, Mali, India, and Afghanistan, while the underlying
approach and philosophy cuts across all of the locations," said Karim
Rahemtulla of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. "Each shows how conservation and
revitalization of cultural heritage - often the only asset available to the
community - can provide a trampoline for social development. Our experience
suggests that such projects have a positive impact on conservation,
strengthening of local civil society and governance, increase in incomes and
economic opportunities, greater respect for human rights and better
stewardship of the environment."
    While culture is often thought of as a "luxury", the Exhibition offers a
perspective that looks at culture as an asset that can transform communities.
Many of these communities have a rich cultural heritage, yet live in poverty.
Over 1/3 of cities designated by UNESCO as world heritage sites are in the
Muslim world and the work of the Historic Cities Program instills a sense of
pride in those cities and communities in their own histories. In war-torn
Afghanistan, the Programme has undertaken three projects including the Garden
of Babur, the Timur Shah Mausoleum, which have been anchors for a range of
related human development initiatives.

         The Exhibition will be on display to the public as follows:

    CITY            DATE                 LOCATION
    Montreal        April 1 - 14         McCord Museum
    Toronto         April 16 - 19        Metro Hall
                    April 20 - 25        Ontario Science Centre :
    Cambridge       Apr 26 - Apr 28      University of Waterloo School of
    Vancouver:      May 11 - 29          Pendulum Gallery
    Calgary         July 4 - 14          Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre 4623
                                         11 ST. N.E.
    Edmonton        To be confirmed      To be confirmed

    The Historic Cities Exhibition is an international initiative
commemorating the Golden Jubilee of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan as the
Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. The Aga Khan Trust
for Culture is part of the Aga Khan Development Network, The Aga Khan
Development Network (AKDN) is a group of development agencies with mandates
ranging from health and education to architecture, culture, microfinance,
disaster reduction, rural development, the promotion of private-sector
enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities. The work of AKDN is
inspired by the ethics and seeks to uphold the dignity of humankind.
    His Highness the Aga Khan is Founder and Chairman of the Network. For
more information on the AKDN, visit

    The Ismaili Muslims are a community of ethnically and culturally diverse
peoples living in over 25 countries around the world, united in their
allegiance to the Aga Khan as the 49th hereditary Imam and direct descendant
of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

For further information:

For further information: please visit or contact: Dr.
Iqbal Ahmed, (604) 218-7864, or Amir Karim, (514) 574-3754 or Sheherazade
Hirji, (416) 560-2447

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Aga Khan Council for Canada

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