New York, NY, USA, 23 October 2018 - The World Monuments Fund tonight honoured Prince Amyn Aga Khan, and Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, historian of the city of Havana, Cuba, at the 31st annual Hadrian Gala held at the Rockefeller Center Plaza in New York City.
“Prince Amyn and Dr. Leal represent the impact that steadfast leadership can have on cultural heritage sites and their communities around the world,” said Lisa Ackerman, Interim Chief Executive Officer, World Monuments Fund (WMF). “We are thrilled to honour their extraordinary accomplishments this year.”
Prince Amyn Aga Khan, brother of His Highness the Aga Khan, was presented with the Hadrian Award in recognition of his lifelong support of cultural heritage in all its forms. Prince Amyn holds multiple leadership roles within the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) — a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, tourism, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. He also serves on several boards and in committee positions at cultural institutions around the world.
In a private ceremony before the reception, Hersh Parekh, Director of Downstate Regional Affairs for the Office of New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, presented Prince Amyn with a citation issued by the Governor, that stated: "Prince Amyn has made a profound and positive impact on the world by undertaking monumental activities in the areas of music, heritage, arts and culture, through the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Silk Road Project, the World Monuments Fund, the Aga Khan Museum, the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as numerous other esteemed institutions."
"Culture is something we share, as a way of rediscovering our dignity, rediscovering what unites us, rediscovering that there is a human heritage, which is a world heritage - a world heritage which binds us," said Prince Amyn.
Introducing Prince Amyn, WMF Chair, Lorna Goodman, noted that as a trustee for WMF for 20 years, he is "... generous, thoughtful, responsible and engaged. He can always be counted on for sage advice and counsel and he is always there for WMF when needed." She went on to describe his role with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, where he has "helped pair conservation with social and economic concerns to improve community, health, education, housing and infrastructure around the world. He is also an advocate for beauty and for aesthetic values as well."
Accepting the Hadrian Award, Prince Amyn explained that a use needs to be found for monuments so that they can be self-sustainable, and when accepted by local communities, they can be encouraged to modernise the infrastructure around the monument, "and to upgrade or create an educational facility and possibly a medical facility”. He went on to note that with microfinance, and financial assistance, these monuments come to life. “Suddenly a monument, a thing of the past, has become an essential part of the present, and what was dead has given life. So I think it's one of the best activities one can engage in.”
Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler also received the Hadrian Award in recognition of his unmatched contributions to the preservation of the historic center of Havana. Dr. Leal has served as the historian of the city of Havana since 1967, and is responsible for the comprehensive rehabilitation of Havana’s historic centre, which is inscribed on the World Heritage list. He is a professor at more than thirty prestigious universities, and has received the highest honours, medals, and commendations from countries around the world.
In his remarks, Dr. Spengler also paid tribute to Prince Amyn, saying, "I wish to express, also, my honour to have shared this day and these hours, with Prince Amyn Aga Khan, who has been an example of love for beauty, because beauty is as important to man as life itself."
Among the 275 guests at the Gala were Francisco Duarte Lopes, Permanent Ambassador for Portugal to the United Nations, Modest Jonathan Mero, Permanent Representative for Tanzania to the United Nations, Representatives of the Mexican and Cuban Governments and donors and trustees of the World Monuments Fund.
About the Hadrian Gala
Each year, the World Monuments Fund’s Hadrian Gala honours Champions of Conservation for their passionate commitment and extraordinary contributions to preserving and protecting the world’s shared cultural heritage.
His Highness the Aga Khan, brother to Prince Amyn, received the Hadrian Award in 1996. Past honorees recognised for leadership that advances the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of the world’s art and architecture, include: Deborah Lehr (2017); The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (2016); Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain (2015); Mica Ertegün (2014); Roberto Hernández Ramírez (2013); Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express (2012); Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder (2011); Ratan Tata and the Tata Family (2010); David Rockefeller Jr. (2009); Houghton, Doreen and Graeme Freeman (2008); Rahmi Koç and the Koç Family (2007); His Highness The Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur (2006); John Julius, 2nd Viscount Norwich (2005); Carlos Slim Helú (2004); Eugene V. Thaw (2003); Hélène and Michel David-Weill (2002); James D. Wolfensohn (2001); Harvey Golub (2000); Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover K.G., Hon. Simon Sainsbury, and Sir Timothy Sainsbury (1999); Richard Hampton Jenrette (1998); Phyllis Lambert (1997); His Highness The Aga Khan (1996); Lord Rothschild (1995); David Rockefeller, Sr. (1994); Dominique de Ménil (1993); Marella and Giovanni Agnelli (1992); Mrs. Vincent Astor (1991); His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (1990); Paul Mellon (1989); and Carlo De Benedetti (1988).
The World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organisation devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. For more than 50 years, working in over 100 countries, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to the preservation of important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF seeks to inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture works to improve the quality of life through the physical, social, cultural or economic revitalisation of communities. It includes the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, the on-line resource Archnet.org and related programmes.
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