Lisbon, Portugal, 9 July 2008 - His Highness the Aga Khan arrives in Lisbon tomorrow at the invitation of the Government. The Aga Khan is visiting the country as part of a series of visits around the world to mark his Golden Jubilee year – the 50th anniversary of his becoming the Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims – an ethnically diverse community whose members reside in more than 25 countries, including Portugal.
The Aga Khan will meet with the President of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Cavaco Silva, who will host a lunch in his honour.
The Aga Khan will also meet with the President of the National Assembly, Dr. Jaime Gama, the Prime Minister, Engº. José Socrates, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Luís Amado as well as the Minister of Justice, Dr. Alberto Costa.
His schedule also includes meetings with the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Dr. Jorge Sampaio – former President of the Portuguese Republic.
The Aga Khan will also attend a congregational event with members of the Ismaili community.
During the past 50 years, the Aga Khan has overseen the growth of one of the largest private development networks in the world. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is engaged in a wide range of activities in the fields of education, healthcare, rural development, cultural and economic development. These activities undertaken in some of the world’s poorest regions are aimed at the common good for all citizens, regardless of their race, gender or religion. The work of the Aga Khan Development Network is well recognised internationally and is undertaken under the auspices of its nine agencies as well as in partnership with Governments and leading multilateral agencies.
In 2005, a protocol of cooperation was signed between the Ismaili Imamat and the Government of the Republic of Portugal. In the same year, the Aga Khan Foundation Portugal and the Patriarchate of Lisbon signed a Partnership Agreement that provides the framework for cooperation in an innovative urban community support programme designed to tackle social exclusion and urban poverty.
Agenda for the 10th of July 2008
12:00 Arrival at Figo Maduro Military Airbase
12:30 Meeting with the President of the Republic, followed by lunch at the Official Residence of the President of the Republic
17:00 Meeting with the High Representative of the UN for the Alliance of Civilizations
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). In the Ismaili tradition, the Imam’s Jubilee celebrations are a premise to launch new social, cultural and economic development projects. In keeping with the ethics of the faith, these projects aspire to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable in society. During the Jubilee year, the Aga Khan is expected to travel to a number of countries to meet with members of the Ismaili community and to visit projects of the AKDN. He is also likely to announce the creation of new development institutions and projects and the significant expansion of existing ones.
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. Their annual budget for social development is in excess of US$ 300 million.