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  • HE President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa greets His Highness the Aga Khan upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace.
    AKDN / Luis Filipe Catarino
  • The President of Portugal, His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa welcomes His Highness the Aga Khan during a dinner hosted by the President.
    AKDN / Luis Filipe Catarino
Aga Khan arrives in Portugal for first official visit after establishment of the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat

Lisbon, Portugal, 11 May 2016 – His Highness the Aga Khan is in Portugal for his first visit since a landmark agreement establishing the global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal came into effect.

Yesterday, the Aga Khan – Imam (leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) – met with Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva before meeting with the President of the Portuguese Republic, His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who also hosted a private dinner in his honour.

Welcoming His Highness to the dinner, President de Sousa spoke of the relationship between Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat.

“What really brings us together is a joint commitment to defend and apply the principles and values that honour the ethical importance of human life, pluralism of societies and respect for the dignity of human beings,” said the President.

“The values of your civil society are the same values that we defend,” responded His Highness. “We have therefore great commonality in the work we do, not only here in Europe, but in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.”

Today, the Aga Khan is expected to meet with the Portuguese Prime Minister, His Excellency António Costa and the President of Parliament, His Excellency Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, who will host a private lunch in his honour.

On 3 June 2015, the Ismaili Imamat and the Portuguese Republic entered into an agreement establishing Portugal as the global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat. It was subsequently adopted by the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic and ratified by the President of the Republic, coming into effect in November 2015.

Building on a long relationship and a series of earlier accords dating back to the first Protocol of Cooperation signed in 2005, the Agreement upholds the promotion of quality of life and the preservation of human dignity, while promoting economic and social development, interfaith dialogue, and the peaceful resolution of conflict as ways of achieving justice and peace.

Once its restoration is complete, the Henrique de Mendonça Palace will house the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat.


His Highness the Aga Khan introduces the first five Senior Officials of the Imamat, to Portugal’s President. Left to Right: Dr Shafik Sachedina, Head of Community Affairs, Jane Piacentini- Moore, Head of the Department for International Financial Affairs, Ambassador Arif Lalani, Head of the Department of Diplomatic Affairs, His Highness the Aga Khan, His Excellency President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Nazim Ahmad, Head of the Department of Portugal and other Lusophone Countries and Maitre Laurent Chambaz, Head of the Department for International Legal Affairs.
AKDN / Luis Filipe Catarino