"For many centuries, enlightened people have argued that democracy was the key to social progress. But today, that contention is in dispute... The sad fact - hard to swallow and difficult to deny - is that nearly forty percent of UN member nations are now categorized not merely as failed states - but as 'failed democracies'... Our challenge is not to find alternatives to democracy, but to find more and better ways to make democracy work."
His Highness the Aga Khan, Columbia University, New York, USA , 15 May 2006
His Highness the Aga Khan Speaks at Commencement Ceremonies at Egyptian and US Universities; Receives Tolerance Prize in Germany
Dr. Friedemann Greiner, Director and Chairman of the Jury (left), presenting the Tolerance Award 2006 to His Highness the Aga Khan as Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs (right), looks on. In a series of major addresses in North America, Europe and the Middle East, His Highness the Aga Khan appealed for cultural understanding and tolerance, called for a renewal of democracy and urged graduates to seek knowledge beyond cultural and political borders. Speaking at the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing (Evangelical Academy of Tutzing) in Germany, where he received the Tolerance Award, the Aga Khan noted that "societies which have grown more pluralistic in makeup are not always growing more pluralistic in spirit," and called for a new "cosmopolitan ethic" rooted in a strong culture of tolerance. For more information, please see the speech in English and Deutsch and the press release in English. Please also see the laudatory speech delivered by Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs, in English or Deutsch. Please also see the photographs.
At Columbia University in New York, USA, His Highness spoke to the challenge of failed states, noting that 40 percent of the members of the United Nations were categorised as "failed" democracies. "Our central challenge in this new century - as leaders and future leaders of our world - is to renew the democratic promise", the Aga Khan remarked, and called for "first, the need for greater flexibility in defining the paths to democracy; secondly, the need for greater diversity in the institutions which participate in democratic life; thirdly, the need to expand the public’s capacity for democracy; and finally, the need to strengthen public integrity - on which democracy rests". For more information, please see the full text of the speech.
At the American University in Cairo, the Aga Khan called for a renewal of the tradition of intellectual exchange that characterised periods of progress in the Islamic world. Speaking to over 400 graduates and their parents and friends, the Aga Khan recalled that "at various times in world history, the locus of knowledge has moved from one centre of learning to another... Europe once came to the Islamic world for intellectual enrichment - and even rediscovered its own classical roots by searching in Arabic texts. I believe that pattern must be our model today ... In keeping with our past traditions, and in response to our present needs, we must go out and find the best of the world’s knowledge - wherever it exists.” For more information, please see the press release and the speech.
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment Launched
The activities of the Bellerive Foundation were integrated into the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), on 31 May 2006, in the form of the “Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment”. The US$ 10 million fund will be dedicated to practical solutions to environmental problems, and concentrate in six main areas: environmental education; natural resource management in fragile zones; nature parks and wildlife reserves; environmentally and culturally appropriate tourism infrastructure; environmental health; and research. For more information, please see the press release or communiqué de presse and the new "Environment and Development" Brochure.
Mali: Restoration of Mopti Mosque Completed; AKTC Signs Collaboration Agreement with National Museum
On 19 June, the keys to Mopti's Great Mosque were handed over to His Excellency Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Mali’s Minister of Culture. The ceremony marked the completion of work carried out between November 2004 and June 2006 by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). For more information, please see the press release in English and version francaise.
AKTC also signed a Collaboration Agreement with the National Museum. Under the agreement, AKTC will provide a new information technology system and support improved conservation facilities. For more information, please see the press release in English and version française.
New Websites for the Aga Khan Schools and Hospitals
Two new AKDN websites are now in service:
Aga Khan Schools web site provides information on Aga Khan schools in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Uganda, Tanzania and Tajikistan. Information on the sites encompasses admissions, curriculum and news. The site currently features a selection of the over 300 schools and advanced educational programmes run by Aga Khan Education Services, at the pre-school, primary, secondary and higher secondary education services.
The Aga Khan Hospitals website offers information on a network of international hospitals, including those in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam), India (Mumbai), Kenya (Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi) and Pakistan". The Hospitals are managed by the Aga Khan Health Services, one of the most comprehensive non-profit healthcare systems in the developing world.
The Career Centre is an on-line service which allows people interested in working for the Aga Khan Development Network to browse through job descriptions of current vacancies. The service also allows users to submit resumes and create and update a personal profile within an active database. Even if the current opportunities do not correspond to an applicant's field of expertise, a Job Alert Service sends email alerts when new positions are posted. For more information about current opportunities, please see the AKDN Career Centre.
© 2007 The Aga Khan Development Network. This is the only authorised Website of the Aga Khan Development Network.