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  • Dr. Tom Kessinger, Deputy Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, addressed the opening plenary at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 18-19.
    AKDN / Malik Hashim
AKDN at the Governors Global Climate Summit

Los Angeles, California, USA, 19 November 2008 - Prince Hussain Aga Khan, accompanied by his wife, Princess Khaliya Aga Khan, Dr. Tom Kessinger, Deputy Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, President of the Aga Khan Council for the USA, represented His Highness the Aga Khan at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 18-19.

The Summit, which drew over 700 participants, was organized by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to facilitate a high-level dialogue among international leaders and help create a framework for negotiators to use when they meet for the next round of climate talks in December 2008. The Summit is also intended to create an alliance of states, municipalities and non-state actors to pursue solutions to climate changes issues. Governor Schwarzenegger co-hosted the event with Governors from Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois and Kansas.

Following remarks by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, President-elect Barack Obama stated in a video message: “My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process. That will start with a federal cap and trade system. We will establish strong annual targets that sets us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 percent by 2050.”

Dr. Tom Kessinger, Deputy Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, addressed the opening plenary on behalf of His Highness the Aga Khan. Dr. Kessinger remarked that “the Aga Khan Development Network will join in the scientific effort to document and understand climate change by collecting and sharing data on areas in which it operates, continue to work on mitigating the effect of changes that are already apparent, expand efforts to find sustainable solutions for rural energy supply, and strengthen its work on disaster preparedness in remote communities. In doing so, it is seeking partners here in the United States and elsewhere that can share scientific knowledge, technology and practical experience that will support these efforts.”

His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the AKDN, met with Governor Schwarzenegger during a visit to the United States in April 2008. Both expressed interest in collaborating in areas of education, technology and the environment. Over the last 40 years, AKDN has been working on coordinated, multi-input approaches to sustainable development -- combining economic, social and cultural development in ways that not only improve economic standards, but also the overall quality of life.

The Summit took place a month before the United Nations holds its next round of international negotiations in Poland on a new global climate treaty.

For more information on the AKDN, contact:

Martha Sipple
Communications and Public Affairs Officer
Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A.
1825 K Street, NW #901
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 203-0838

Shaheen Kassim-Lakha
Communications & Publications
Aga Khan Council for USA
Phone: (213) 447-3398


The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) ( was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. It 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$500 million.

The AKDN’s Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment is dedicated to practical solutions to environmental problems. Its major programs focus on the link between the scarcity of natural resources and poverty in the developing world; the preservation of fragile mountain ecosystems; animal protection; and initiatives in environmental education. The Fund will concentrate its activities in six main areas: environmental education; natural resource management in fragile zones; nature parks and wildlife reserves; environmentally and culturally appropriate tourism infrastructure; environmental health; and research.