Lisbon, Portugal, 8 May 2009 - His Highness the Aga Khan made a one-day visit to Portugal to meet with the His Eminence D. Jose Policarpo, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon and Chancellor of the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP), and Portugal's Foreign Minister, Luis Amado, amongst other senior officials.
The Aga Khan was also invested as Foreign Member, Class of Humanities, by Lisbon’s prestigious Academy of Sciences. The Academy, founded in 1779 by Queen Mary I of Portugal, is committed to promoting scientific research and stimulating the enhancement of thought, literature, language and other forms of national culture. Other Foreign Correspondent Members include Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, Jose Sarney, former President of Brazil, and some 70 other prominent scholars, writers and diplomats from over 20 countries.
The Academy of Sciences was represented by Arantes e Oliveira, President, and Adriano Moreira, who is Vice-president of the institution and president of the Class of Humanities. The Government was represented by the Minister of Culture, Pinto Ribeiro, and the Minister of Defense, Severiano Teixeira. Also in attendance were the former President of the Republic, Jorge Sampaio, and Maria Barroso, who represented her husband, the former President, Mário Soares. Several former leaders, religious authorities, diplomats and members of the Ismaili community living in Portugal were also in attendance.
The meetings follow the signing of several accords in recent years, including a Memorandum of Understanding between the Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) in 2008. The agreement of academic collaboration was signed as part of efforts to foster international understanding and scholarly cooperation between diverse cultures and faiths. In 2005, the Patriarchate of Lisbon and Aga Khan Foundation Portugal signed a Partnership Agreement that provided the framework for cooperation in support of an innovative urban community support programme designed to address problems of social exclusion and poverty alleviation.