This evening we are celebrating your sixty years at the head of the Ismaili community. Sixty years also of commitment to the most vulnerable people wherever they are. Sixty years devoted to bringing different peoples closer together, to promoting dialogue between cultures and religions. Sixty years spent working to achieve tolerance and peace.
And on this occasion, the President of the Republic wants to elevate you the rank of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in order to pay tribute to your special character, which is recognised by all.
The vision that you embody, of a pluralist, open and modern Islam, shows you are a man of peace, a genuine symbol of the role that Ismailis can play in the reconciliation of their opposing brothers and in the fight against radicalisation. We know the extent to which we still value your help in every place where extremism infiltrates minds and causes terrible tragedies. Syria and Afghanistan in particular come to mind.
Your commitment to peace is also evident in the international activities you lead via your Network and your Foundation and its many agencies. The Aga Khan Development Network has a reputation for excellence that is universally recognised in the fields of health, education and culture. Your Network represents a truly stabilising and healing force.
Since France signed the partnership agreement with your Foundation ten years ago, our collaboration has gone from strength to strength, finding concrete expression in the development of some fifty projects, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia - which we mentioned just a moment ago - and the Middle East. This partnership is a source of pride and I am looking forward to the future initiatives that we can work on together. By choosing to settle in France, Your Highness, you have shown yourself willing to promote the influence of France's heritage abroad, so please accept our thanks once again this evening. I hail especially the work done by your Foundation to Protect and Develop the Chantilly Region, which has to a large extent helped make the region a shining example in the global cultural landscape, as can be confirmed by David Darcos, whom I greet this evening. We are also grateful to you for the constant support given by your Trust for Culture to the work of the French archaeological delegation in Afghanistan. Last but not least, we acknowledge the value of the support you have given to the Académie Diplomatique Internationale, and in the presence of Hubert Védrine whom I also greet, I want to thank you for that. As you can imagine, this is an institution that this Ministry holds dear. We greatly appreciate the commitment you have shown to promoting the prestige of this institution over many years.
Your Highness, you are a man who is loyal to his commitments, a man of his word and a man of peace. And for everything that you have accomplished in your life for our country, and for stability in the world, France, this evening, would like to warmly express its gratitude by bestowing on you the honour of the Grand Cross in the Order of the Legion of Honour.
Your Highness, on behalf of the President of the Republic, and by virtue of the powers vested in me, we have the privilege to award you the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.