His Highness the Aga Khan, the chairman of the Global Centre for Pluralism, on 15 November, presented the inaugural Global Pluralism Award. Among the three winners is Kenyan conflict mediator and gender equity advocate Alice Nderitu. The other two are Leyner Palacios of Colombia and Daniel Webb of Australia. They were recognised for their commitment to building more inclusive, peaceful societies.
Pluralism seeks to balance by demanding that society actively embraces difference. "Some people make the mistake of thinking that pluralism requires them to dilute or de-emphasize their own distinctive identity,” said His Highness the Aga Khan in remarks at an award ceremony on Ottawa last week. “That’s not true. What it requires is to ensure that one’s individual identity is strong enough to engage confidently with those of other identities as we all walk together along the road to a better world."
The list of countries where Aga Khan institutions operate features countries where life is hard, poverty is dire and more help is needed. Because of the institution’s excellent reputation, other development agencies appreciate cooperating with them. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) are important institutions. Missions include setting up clinics, hospitals, banks, universities, schools, and even programmes in agriculture, food security, economic inclusion, microfinance and the empowerment of civil society.
On 14 November, a three-day learning event started in Bishkek (Kyrgyz Republic) to review achievements of the Central Asian Health System Strengthening (CAHSS) programme. In his welcome address, Minister of Health, Dr. Talantbek Batyraliev, said he sincerely appreciated the collaboration with the Aga Khan Development Network to improve access to quality health care in the Kyrgyz Republic. Through the CAHSS programme, partner health facilities in Naryn Oblast and Bishkek were provided modern medical equipment. Dr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, AKDN Diplomatic Representative in Kyrgyzstan mentioned this initiative reflected a shared commitment to human development in the region, in particular its remote mountain areas.
His Highness the Aga Khan received the Champion for Global Change Award in September at the UN Foundation’s Global Leadership dinner in New York. He was honoured in October by the Asia Society for his pioneering and charismatic service to humanity. His Highness the Aga Khan is a towering personality and volumes can be written about him and his foundation’s humanitarian services and socio-economic development efforts spanning all corners of the globe.