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Aga Khan to Visit USA (Media Advisory)


10 April 2008 - His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims arrives in Austin, Texas tomorrow, April 11th 2008 for an eight-day visit to the United States. The Aga Khan will visit Texas, California, Illinois and Georgia.

During meetings with US state and city officials the Aga Khan is expected to discuss the work of the institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network – one of the world’s largest private system of development agencies. The discussions will also explore ways in which the core competencies of the AKDN in education, economic development, health care, culture, and social development, together with the experience of the members of the Ismaili community in the United States could further enhance their contribution to American society.

On April 18, His Highness the Aga Khan will deliver the Peterson Lecture on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB). IB education programs, currently offered at over 900 schools in the USA and over 2200 schools world wide, are offered at the Aga Khan Academies, an integrated network of residential schools currently planned in 14 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central and South Asia.

Leveraging collaborative partnerships with international academic institutions, including college preparatory schools such as Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and Shule Schloss, Salem in Germany, the Aga Khan Academies are dedicated to offering talented girls and boys, regardless of socio-economic background, education and leadership development at the highest international standards of excellence.

During his visit in the United States, the Aga Khan will also meet with members of the Ismaili Muslim community. The Shia Ismaili Muslims are an ethnically and culturally diverse community whose members reside in over 25 countries. The Aga Khan’s visit to the U.S. is scheduled as part of the Ismaili community’s commemoration of his Golden Jubilee - 50th year as Imam of the community. His Highness the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as Imam of the Ismaili Muslims in 1957.

For more information, please contact:
Dr Mansoor Saleh
+1 404 272 7222

Semin Abdulla
Information Officer
Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan
E-mail: semin.abdulla@aiglemont.org

Notes:
The Aga Khan is the founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), 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 development activities is in excess of US$ 350 million. A direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Aga Khan has emphasized the view of Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith, one that teaches compassion and tolerance and that upholds the dignity of man.

AKDN’s program partners in the U.S. include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Getty Grant Program, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft, Rockefeller Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of State as well as multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and various agencies of the United Nations. Institutional affiliates of the AKDN in the U.S. include the Aga Khan Foundation USA located in Washington, D.C., Focus Humanitarian Assistance USA in Falls Church, Virginia, and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT.

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