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His Highness the Aga Khan in Canada to Discuss Development Partnerships, Celebrate Golden Jubilee


Please also see: Communiqué de presse and Photographs

Ottawa, Canada, 18 November 2008 - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) arrives in Ottawa today at the start of an 8-day visit to Canada to discuss development collaborations with the Government of Canada and Canadian institutions.

The Aga Khan Development Network has a long-standing relationship with Canada and Canadians. Over the past 25 years, the AKDN, particularly through Aga Khan Foundation Canada, has collaborated with a diverse set of institutions, including universities, government departments, the private sector and civil society organizations.

The Aga Khan, who is in Canada as a guest of the Government, is celebrating his Golden Jubilee, which commemorates fifty years of leadership as Imam of the Ismaili Muslims. He will be met by The Honourable John Baird, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on behalf of the Government of Canada.

During the visit, His Highness will be welcomed by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada and will meet with senior government officials to discuss areas of active collaboration between Canada and the AKDN.

The Aga Khan will travel to Toronto, where he will meet with The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. He will also preside over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between McMaster University and the Aga Khan University (AKU), which has campuses and programmes in eight countries in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

During his stay in Calgary, the Aga Khan will meet with The Honourable Norman L. Kwong, Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta; Dr. Indira Samarasekera, the President of the University of Alberta, and Dr. Carl Amrhein, Provost and Vice President.

In Vancouver, the Aga Khan will meet with the Mayor of the City of Burnaby, His Worship Derek Corrigan, as well as The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia.

The Aga Khan will meet and address gatherings of the Ismaili community in each city. 

His Highness is scheduled to return to Ottawa for the official inauguration of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building on Sussex Drive, on December 6, 2008. The Delegation will serve a representational role for the activities of the Imamat including the AKDN, and will mark a new phase in the Imamat’s partnership with Canada.

For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Morrow
Aga Khan Foundation Canada
E-mail: Jennifer@akfc.ca  
Tel: 1-613-237-2532 ext. 107
Cell: 1-613-697-9532

Amir Karim
Aga Khan Council for Canada
E-mail: amir.karim@polykar.com  
Tel: 1-514-574-3754

Dr. Iqbal Ahmed
Aga Khan Council for Canada
E-mail: drihahmed@gmail.com  
Tel: 1-604-218-7864

Notes
Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan
His Highness the Aga Khan completed his 50th year as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims on 11th July 2007, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah. The Aga Khan leads a community of 15 million Ismaili Muslims living in some 25 countries around the world and is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family).

As part of the commemoration of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee which began on 11th July 2007, he has been paying official visits to some 35 countries, using these occasions to recognize the friendship and longstanding support of leaders of state, government and other partners in the work of the Ismaili Imamat, and to set the direction for the future, including the launching and laying of foundations for major initiatives and programmes.

The Aga Khan Development Network
His Highness the Aga Khan is founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals and 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 social development is in excess of US$500 million.

Aga Khan Foundation Canada
Aga Khan Foundation Canada is a non-profit international and non-denominational agency that supports social development programs in Asia and Africa. As a member of the world-wide Aga Khan Development Network, the Foundation works to address the root causes of poverty: finding and sharing effective and lasting solutions that help improve the quality of life for poor communities. AKFC programs focus on four core areas: health, education, rural development and building the capacity of non-governmental organizations. Gender equity and protecting the environment are integrated into every program. Established in 1980, the Foundation has built a reputation in Canada as an effective development organization that acts as a catalyst for increasing awareness and understanding of key global issues (Find out more).

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