Berlin, Germany, 3 October 2006 – His Highness the Aga Khan, founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), today commended Viktor Yushchenko, President of the Ukraine, as “a perceptive student of human institutions, an ardent advocate of cultural traditions, and a courageous voice of democratic aspirations.
The Aga Khan was delivering a laudatory address as he presented the Die Quadriga Award to President Yushchenko, this year’s “United We Care” recipient, at Berlin’s renowned opera house, the Komische Oper. Past recipients of the “United We Care” Prize are called upon each year to present the Award to the new winners.
In 2005, the Aga Khan received the Die Quadriga Prize in recognition of his life’s work in helping the poorest regions of the world through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The 25,000 Euro gift which accompanied the Die Quadriga Award was matched by the Aga Khan and allocated towards microfinance projects in Tanzania.
In his laudatory address, the Aga Khan praised President Yushchenko’s service to his country especially through the creation of economic institutions necessary for an independent economy, including financial institutions, a new national currency and the Central Bank. He noted that Viktor Yushchenko became an expert in the ways that complex institutions work, “reconciling a pluralism of perspectives with a unity of purpose”.
“We all remember how the integrity of democratic processes was threatened, defended and finally vindicated with Mr. Yushchenko’s election to the presidency,” said the Aga Khan. “The world was watching those events – and drawing inspiration from them, as the words ‘Orange Revolution’ were entered forever into the global vocabulary of freedom.”
The Die Quadriga citation recognised Mr. Yushchenko for his fight for democracy in the Ukraine. The citation stated: “the stirring of hearts for democracy, rule of law and freedom of Press, lighted the way for this hero of the revolution to the position he holds as the first freely elected president in the history of Ukraine”.
The Die Quadriga Awards are presented every year on the day of German Unification to honour personalities from the political, economic and cultural fields who have shown a commitment towards vision, courage and responsibility. The Award also recognises individuals who have shown far-sightedness, pragmatism, pioneering-spirit and the power of conviction”.
The other Die Quadriga 2006 Award winners were Mr. Shimon Peres, deputy Prime Minister of Israel; Dr. Riccardo Illy, President of the autonomous region of Friuli-Venezia and President of the Assembly of European regions; and the team of Mr. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (German screenwriter and film director) and actors Mr. Sebastian Koch and Mr. Ulrich Muhe, for their contribution to the highly acclaimed film, Das Leben der Anderen, about the East German regime.
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His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A Harvard graduate in Islamic history, the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather as Imam of the Ismailis in 1957. He is the Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) 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 Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) was established in 2005 and consolidates over 25 years of microfinance activities and programmes previously administered by sister agencies of the AKDN. AKAM commenced microcredit operations in the most marginalised areas of mainland Tanzania last year. The programme offers working capital loans for the establishment and expansion of micro and small retail and commercial enterprises in the urban centres and agriculture loans in the rural areas.
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