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  • His Highness the Aga Khan delivers remarks upon having received the Key to the City of Porto.
    AKDN / 4See
His Highness the Aga Khan conferred with the Keys to the City of Porto

Your Worship the Mayor,
Honourable Guests,

I would like to begin my comments this afternoon by saying how touched I am by the recognition that you have given to me this afternoon.

In my work I look at peoples from all environments — cities, rural urban areas, deserts, industrialised areas — and I look at how people live, and I ask myself, “How can we improve the living conditions of people in all these environments?”

And we learn, all the time, from all our contacts in all the cities we work with, and Portugal has set an example of a pluralist society, which is remarkable, which should be honoured, which should be recognised, which should be copied. So I want to take this occasion to congratulate you for creating a functioning, happy, pluralist society.

The world over — Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America — there isn’t a geography in our world which would not benefit from learning from the Portuguese experience. It’s a historical experience, it’s not a new experience. It’s something which Portugal has defended over the years in different parts of the world, establishing healthy premises for civil society and I want, on behalf of all of us who live in the developing world, to express to you our gratitude and our recognition for the exemplar leadership which you have been giving for decades here in Western Europe, but also in many other parts of the world.

We have inherited, in many parts of the world, from your leadership, and I'm thinking in particular of a country where my community and I have done a lot of work and that is Mozambique. And the foundations that you have laid in Mozambique — the importance of discussion, of talking, of sharing thoughts, of discussing issues — is exemplar. So, I’m happy to recognise that this afternoon, and thank you for setting that wonderful global example.

I also want to thank you for the keys of this magnificent city. This is an old, historic tradition that has existed in many countries in many parts of the world, but I’m going to use these keys to open as many doors as possible. Doors to happiness, doors to peace, doors to unity, doors to human progress. So I thank you, and I treasure those keys very much indeed. And I will not make copies of them.