Government of Alberta Is First Canadian Province to Have an Agreement with the Ismaili Imamat
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Edmonton, Alberta, 24 October 2012 – Premier Alison Redford and His Highness the Aga Khan today signed an Agreement of Cooperation to expand collaboration in the areas of health sciences, education, the environment, forestry and natural resources management, culture, and private sector and economic development.
Alberta is the first province in Canada to sign an Agreement of Cooperation with the Imamat.
The historic agreement was signed in a ceremony that took place at Government House, and was attended by senior cabinet Ministers, representatives of the province’s leading universities as well as corporate and civil society leaders from across Alberta.
“One of the things that I am so proud of in our province is that there are so many people that understand that we have challenges around the world and we need to be part of connecting and building partnership, sharing skills, sharing experiences and learning from each other,” commented Premier Redford during the ceremony. The agreement notes that the Province and the Imamat share a commitment to confronting persistent, varied and large scale material poverty, recognizing it as one of the great challenges facing the global community. It further stipulates that Alberta and the Aga Khan Development Network will collaborate and learn from each other in fields of mutual interest, so as to further their common goal of equitable human advancement and social justice, based on the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity.
“Alberta is seen as a world leader in health, environmental management and energy development on the international stage and partnerships like these give us yet another opportunity to share that expertise with the world,” said Premier Redford. “The Government of Alberta and the Imamat share a commitment to ensuring that the impoverished in our communities have access to the supports they need. This agreement allows us to build relationships beyond our borders in order to combat the problem of poverty not only here at home but across the globe.”
“In the last decades I have come to an important conclusion about governance, about the fragility of governance in the developing world and what people can do to protect themselves from governance which is not effective. I think that history is beginning to show that civil society in its complexity, but also in its ability to impact the way people live, is probably the most important single feature that I know. Building civil society is a complex exercise that needs multiple inputs that I hope we will develop with your institutions in Alberta,” said the Aga Khan speaking at the ceremony.
Several partnerships already exist between agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network and key Alberta institutions. In 2009, the Aga Khan University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Alberta that has resulted in a project to develop an Islamic Garden at the Devonian Botanical Gardens. Further joint initiatives are currently underway in the area of healthcare and education. The University of Central Asia has equally benefitted from strong partnerships with the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.
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About His Highness the Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Development Network
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$600 million.
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