Lisbon, Portugal, 20 December 2005 - The Patriarchate of Lisbon and Aga Khan Foundation Portugal today signed a Partnership Agreement that provides the framework for cooperation in support of an innovative urban community support programme to address problems of social exclusion and poverty alleviation. The Agreement was signed in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, by His Eminence Dom José Policarpo, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, and Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of His Highness, and Director of Aga Khan Foundation.
The Agreement reflects the shared commitment of the Patriarchate and Aga Khan Foundation, Portugal, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), to an improvement in the quality of life of marginalized and disadvantaged populations. It is established under the framework of the Urban Community Support Programme (UCSP), an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation Portugal.
The UCSP aims to help improve the quality of life of marginalised groups (including cultural and ethnic minorities) in urban contexts by enhancing the capacity of communities to assess and address needs and to manage their own social and economic development efforts. The programme promotes sustainable local development initiatives based on community empowerment and participation, ensuring the promotion of choice, diversity and pluralism.
The Agreement follows eight years of dialogue and co-operation between institutions of the Catholic Church and agencies of the AKDN in Portugal and Mozambique. Cooperation has included the provision of material resources and technical assistance for higher education in Mozambique and a programme to create opportunities for professional and educational interchange in Portugal.
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$300 million.
The Ismaili Imamat is the institution (office) of the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, His Highness the Aga Khan.
The UCSP has developed partnerships with the House of Mercy of Lisbon, the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Municipality of Lisbon, the Municipality of Sintra, Hewlett Packard, Central Business, Associação Criança and Associação de Comércio e Indústria de Sintra. The UCSP is co-funded by the European Commission.
For further information, please contact:
Patriarcado de Lisboa (Patriarchate of Lisbon)
Tel: 218 853 665
Aga Khan Foundation Portugal
Tel: +351 217 229 001
Fax: + 351 217 229 011