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Congressional remarks on His Highness the Aga Khan in recognition of his life of services to humanity

“…The driving force behind each of the Aga Khan’s endeavors is his desire to foster progress and peace through hope. For hope, he says, is the most powerful source of human motivation.”

Welcoming the Aga Khan to Texas

By HON. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON OF TEXAS

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Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.

IN THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a man who has dedicated his life in service to humanity. It is my pleasure to welcome His Highness the Aga Khan IV, the 49th  hereditary Imam of the world’s 20 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, to my home state of Texas in celebration of his Diamond Jubilee.

The ethics of compassion and care, tolerance and equality, selflessness and service center His Highness’ deeply held belief in and practice of the Muslim faith. Particularly in recent years, the Aga Khan has pledged his voice to articulate the values of peace, generosity and brotherhood that unquestionably compose the core of Islam. He often says his obligations to his community and to humankind are inseparable. This has driven the Aga Khan to call on us to celebrate our differences of religion, culture, language and ethnicity as evidence of humanity’s great beauty. Our inherent diversity, he says, should propel humankind to embrace pluralism.

Ismaili Muslims have a deep connection to Texas, the DFW Metroplex and myself. For more than a decade, I have partnered with the Ismaili Muslim community to host the Youth Summit and Diversity Dialogue, which we held first in 2007 during the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee. It brings together students from my district with youth of all backgrounds to think critically about the challenges we can address through global citizenship. The program brings to light the positive impact young Ismaili Muslims make on the world around them.

Alongside his role as Imam, the Aga Khan has established many global humanitarian organizations, one of which is the Aga Khan Development Network. The AKDN promotes human dignity and self-sustaining growth by administering education and healthcare in many of the most impoverished and isolated parts of the developing world. Three of the most distinguished AKDN projects are the Aga Khan Academies, which offer world-class educations to children in remote, school-deprived regions. When I visited the Aga Khan Academy in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015, I was emotionally struck by the undeniable love of humankind evident in the AKDN’s work to help those children reach their full potential. It became clear to me that the driving force behind each of the Aga Khan’s endeavors is his desire to foster progress and peace through hope. For hope, he says, is the most powerful source of human motivation.

It is this spirit, born of the example of the Aga Khan, which led 2,500 Ismaili Muslim volunteers to help their neighbors in Houston recover from the devastation triggered by Hurricane Harvey last August. For this selfless generosity, they were presented one of the five Points of Light awards by the five living former presidents. The Ismaili Muslim community’s response to the unsounded call of duty exemplifies their unrelenting effort to serve humanity at large.

Mr. Speaker, His Highness the Aga Khan–through his work, rooted in the Muslim faith–is a testament to Islam being a religion of both the intellect and humility, of both tradition and progress. The celebration of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee is a monumental occasion for Ismaili Muslims across the world. I wish to congratulate the American Ismaili Muslim community and convey to His Highness the Aga Khan that he and the values of tolerance, diversity and pluralism that Ismaili Muslims uphold will always be welcome in the United States of America.

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON’S remarks appear in Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 47, Monday, March 19, 2018, Extensions of Remarks, Page E337. For PDF version please click CREC-2018-03-19-pt1-PgE337-4

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EARLIER REMARKS (JULY 2012)

Congratulating the Aga Khan on his 60th year as Imam of the Ismaili Muslims

By HON. PETE OLSON OF TEXAS

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Congressman Pete Olson

IN THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mr. OLSON. Mr. Speaker, I’m proud to represent one of the most diverse districts in America. Our diversity is an important part of  what makes the greater Houston area such a unique example of the fabric of the American experience.

The Ismaili Muslim community is a great contributor to Texas’ cultural richness and economic growth. I appreciate the Ismaili Muslim community’s engagement with the community as a whole, from public affairs to business to education.

Sixty years ago today, the Aga Khan became the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. The role of the Imam is to interpret the faith to the community, as well as improve the quality and security of their daily lives. Aga Khan has accomplished this role with success and pride for many years.

The Aga Khan emphasizes the view of the religion of Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith: one that teaches compassion and tolerance, promotes the role of intellect and upholds the dignity of a man, God’s noblest creation.

I congratulate the Aga Khan on his Diamond Jubilee as Imam and wish both he and the U.S. Ismaili Muslim community continued success in their efforts to improve the lives of people around the world.

Mr. OLSON’S remarks appear in Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 117, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, Extensions of Remarks, Page E970

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Commemorating the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee for the Ismaili Muslim Community

By HON. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON OF TEXAS

IN THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee for the North Texas lsmaili Muslim community, and the broader Ismaili Muslim community across the world.

On July 11, 1957, The Aga Khan became the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Nizari Ismaili Muslims. In these past six decades, the Aga Khan has guided the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims in both their spiritual and material lives, providing religious interpretation, ensuring their safety, and improving the quality of life for the community.

While serving as the leader of the Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan has also played a major role in the philanthropic arena. The Aga Khan Foundation, established by the Aga Khan in 1967, works on projects such as disaster relief and historical restoration of cities and artifacts through the various programs in the Aga Khan Development Network. The  AKDN along with its partners across the globe provides quality education and healthcare, along with promoting social and economic development to some of the world’s most impoverished and isolated communities.

The Ismaili Muslim community has contributed greatly to the cultural diversification and economic development in North Texas. Their volunteers have served the North Texas community by participating in local cleanups efforts after severe weather. The volunteers have also  worked alongside other faith based groups and local nonprofits to
provide meals to those who are less fortunate.

Mr. Speaker, the Diamond Jubilee presents an opportunity to the Ismaili Muslim community to reaffirm their faith and serve the communities in which they live through various programs established by the Aga Khan. I congratulate the Aga Khan and the Ismaili Muslim community on this momentous milestone.

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON’S remarks appear in Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 117, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, Extensions of Remarks, Page E968

Date posted: April 18, 2018.
Last updated: April 19, 2018 (More remarks added).

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EBJ-official-photo v smallCongresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (born December 3, 1935) is a Democrat who currently represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.  She was the first registered nurse elected to Congress in 1992 and is currently serving her 13th term in the United States House of Representatives. Congresswoman Johnson was elected as the first African-American and the first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She also serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

She formerly served in the Texas state house, where she was elected in 1972 in a landslide, the first black woman to win electoral office from Dallas, Texas. She also served for three terms in the Texas senate before being elected to Congress.

Johnson had a career in nursing before entering politics. She served for 16 years as the first African-American Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee is an occasion for all Canadians to celebrate by Ruth Ramsden-Wood

I have been humbled to experience the AKDN’s deep commitment to social, economic, and educational projects in some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world…..When I want to be inspired, I think about Molodad in Gilgit who is the head of the Professional Training Development Centre there. He is from a farm family of 9 children and was the only one to attend school until grade 8. He eventually attained a PhD. from the University of Toronto and returned to work in Gilgit. When he goes to bed at night, he asks what else he can do to give back. He told me, “I give with my heart, my soul, my mind, and everything I have so we can all be successful” — Ruth Ramsden-Wood.

Ismaili Muslims promote equality, justice and education

By RUTH RAMSDEN-WOOD
(Current Board Member Institute for Canadian Citizenship)

Ruth Ramsden-Wood

Ruth Ramsden-Wood

This year is the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan, the leader of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims. I would like to express my gratitude to the Ismaili community for their exceptional commitment, under the Aga Khan’s leadership, to the betterment of the human condition globally and for their many achievements in Calgary and in Canada.

It has been my privilege and honour to witness this work in Calgary and to travel to Pakistan to provide due diligence on some International educational projects operated by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). This Network is a politically neutral, non-denominational agency, founded by and operating under the leadership of the Aga Khan. I have been humbled to experience the AKDN’s deep commitment to social, economic, and educational projects in some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world.

In a barren, forlorn region outside of Karachi, we stood on the site where a modern University for health and research now stands. We traveled to a region called Gilgit in the far north of Pakistan, between India and China, bordered by the Himalayas, where we visited a school for girls, started by the AKDN. The students, daughters of illiterate local farmers, study in the bleak and cold in a school that is heated by smelly, portable kerosene heaters. We arrived on an 8° Sunday afternoon and encountered them studying outside in the afternoon for light. They shared their dreams of attending Yale University or Stanford, to become astronauts, engineers, pilots and teachers. We all know what having hope, goals, mentoring and role modeling do to contribute to achievement.

The Ismaili Muslims promote equality, justice and education. As long ago as 1947, the grandfather of the current Aga Khan announced in India, “If you can only educate one child, educate your daughter for she will teach the others.” Their strong belief system is that ignorance, poverty, despair and, indeed, terrorism itself, are best tackled through education and improved literacy. This is why the AKDN’s initiatives span 30 developing countries, including 10 of the poorest countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Afghanistan and why the AKDN works to improve literacy rates. They promote health care by training young women to go into rural areas to counteract prevailing myths about health and nutrition. The AKDN also focuses on economic development and revitalization in these countries to improve quality of life.

Ismaili Muslims share our values of service, ethics, civic responsibility, and inclusiveness. In 2014, the Aga Khan instituted the gift of Time and Knowledge as a legacy of his Golden Jubilee whereby many Ismailis travel to spearhead and build capacity of new projects, such as dentistry programs, schools and the like.

They have enriched our Canadian mosaic by helping us to bridge divides. The Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, and the soon to open Aga Khan Gardens in Edmonton are testaments of the contributions of His Highness throughout the world.

The Aga Khan received the first Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship in 2016 in recognition of his lifetime of work on improving the levels of education and health around the world. The Institute for Canadian Citizenship, co-founded by Madame Clarkson and John Raulston Saul, of which I am a board member, works on the principles of inclusion to enhance active citizenship among our new Canadian citizens.

In Calgary, I have experienced how community service and “giving back to one’s community” are part of the Ismaili DNA. Ismaili youth are raised with the expectation of doing volunteer service and they are involved in a myriad of projects. When 2400 Afghan refugees came to Calgary, not only did the Ismaili community pledge to support them but they promised to stick with arriving families until they were functioning successfully in Calgary. This included helping with their accommodations, accompanying them to school parent-teacher interviews, helping to translate our Western culture to them, instilling pride in Canadian institutions among the new immigrants and helping them to learn or improve their English.

When I want to be inspired, I think about Molodad in Gilgit who is the head of the Professional Training Development Centre there. He is from a farm family of 9 children and was the only one to attend school until grade 8. He eventually attained a PhD. from the University of Toronto and returned to work in Gilgit. When he goes to bed at night, he asks what else he can do to give back. He told me, “I give with my heart, my soul, my mind, and everything I have so we can all be successful”.

In the context of our current political climate, I look to the Ismaili community, intent on helping people reach their personal potential through education, as a shining example of hope and optimism for the future of our world. This Diamond Jubilee is certainly occasion for us all to celebrate.

Date posted: April 13, 2018

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Credit: This piece first appeared on April 11, 2018 in WireService.ca.

Ruth Ramsden-Wood

Ruth Ramsden-Wood

Ruth Ramsden-Wood is actively engaged in the Calgary community. Formerly a teacher and Principal in the Calgary Board of Education, Ruth recently completed 14 years as President and CEO of United Way of Calgary, where she oversaw the organization’s mandate to raise $54M annually and build community solutions to some of the most intractable social issues.

Ruth has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Calgary, the Strategic Leadership Forum’s President of the Year, and Consumers’ Choice Business Woman of the Year. A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteer service and the Alberta Centennial Medal, Ruth has dedicated her life to creating conditions for people to reach their full potential and to creating lasting change. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

 

 

Expressions for the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan: Calligraphy; Ya Mawla you are there; Someone is coming; and Darbar 2018

Ya Mawla You are There…

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By NADIM PABANI

When we are suffering and afraid
Ya Mawla You are there
When we fall and need your aid
Ya Mawla You are there

When we look for light in the dark of night
Ya Mawla You are there
When we struggle and fight and nothing feels right
Ya Mawla You are there

Our desires are fulfilled at the glory of your sight
The stars retreat because you shine so bright
You raise our souls to the uppermost height…

And when we reach our goal

Ya Mawla You are there

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Someone is Coming

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By ZAFEERA KASSAM

Can you hear that?
A unique symphony – 
the cadence of rain
prelude privy murmurs
of seniors’ acknowledging:
“dharti naram thai chhe
ena Kadam Mubarak vaaste” 
(Earth is becoming tender
that may His feet not meet arid ground)

And can you feel it?
the soil once parched, now
softens, quells;
a bride perched on the precipice – 
avidity and precipitation,
such is the wait;

Someone is coming…

Even nature adorns her lushest green.
Can you see that?
The euphoric zest
with which Nairobi rejuvenates;
the rush to prepare, to accommodate,
to cater, to appease, to please – 
blinking lights festoon the walls;
blooms and decorations deck the halls;
the hustle and bustle of Volunteers;
the surge of Congolese, South Africans,
Malagasy, Burundians and Rwandans – 
oh, how the city comes alive!

Can you hear that?
The day packed with
the cacophony of networks connecting,
committees in continual assembly,
discussions abound, deadlines accomplished;
The evening abuzz with 
zikr in brimming jamatkhanas,
the spiritual musicality sublime
elevating the soul supreme;
The night resonant with
the clackety-clack of dandia sticks,
the chorus of catchy geets – 
Mowla’s praises and chants
reverberating right into our restless dreams.

Someone is coming…

Someone is coming,
And we cannot wait
to see His beatific countenance – 
those twinkling eyes, that dazzling smile,
His majestic frame cloaked
in the special Diamond Jubilee Khil’at 
and astrakhan cap up top.

Someone is coming,
And we cannot wait
to hear His enchanting voice
infused with love and happiness
as He blesses us all to keep to Sirat al-Mustaqim
as He shares a joke or two to invoke laughter
as He coaxes the dormant spirit awake
inspiring love and compassion in the depths of us.

Someone is coming,
And we cannot wait
to feel the indescribable – 
that fullness; a certain kind of contentment
in the very root of our consciences;
a cosmic-sized epicentre of gratitude 
that overflows in our rendered tender hearts
and rivulets down the flushed cheeks;
a collective sense of transcendental bliss
that only you know and I know
cannot be captured succinctly in words.

He is coming…
We cannot wait,
but prepare we do
for our Lord and Murshid
to grace our humble home.

Karibu Kenya, Ya Shah Karim Hazar Imam!

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Darbar 2018

By SHARIFFA KESHAVJEE

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An inner anticipation
Only Intezar can explain
A pulse, a momentum
Is building up in heart
In our minds,our spirit
Is agog with a longing

What is the Intezar
A two way silence

The premises once plain
Now glittering in splendour
Of the sixty year history
Memories of Takhtnashini
Embedded in the very earth
And in the hearts of murids

This Intezar
A silent prayer

So many countries, towns
The old and babes in arms
Preparation is in motion
A movement a silent notion
A fertile spirit in Zikr all day
Meeting to enforce our love

This Intezar
A silent tribute

Our Murshid approaches
Steady footsteps unheard
Magnetic field felt unseen
Words subside tears whel
Salwats rise to the dome
To the sky to the universe

This Intezar
One universe

Then the world stands still
The very silence is pregnant
The ocean of grace opens up
A sacred space contains all
The murid and Murshid unite
In one universal symphony

The intezar
Now Didar manifest

No diamond can glitter thus
Blinding thoughts of dunya
Only the inner world of Din
In now manifest in the heart
Murids now in supplication
To receive gems of wisdom

The Intezar
Completes its circle
At last

Date posted: April 12, 2018.

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CONTRIBUTORS

  • Karim Ismail (Calligraphy at top of page) is a pharmacist by profession. Currently in Toronto, he has contributed to the Ismaili community in the UK and Canada as a teacher and mentor for many decades;
  • Nadim Pabani (Ya Mawla You are There) holds a Masters in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Edinburgh University. Currently, he is a Secondary Teacher and Educator, having undertaken the Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP) at the Institute of Ismaili Studies and UCL, both in London, UK.
  • Zafeera Kassam (Someone is Coming) a teacher by profession, lives in Nairobi.  She hopes to be continuously inspired to write praises of Mawlana Hazar Imam;
  • Shariffa Keshavjee (Darbar 2018), is a Nairobi based philanthropist and helps women empower themselves. Raised in Kisumu, she considers herself a “pakaa” Kenyan.  She takes a keen interest in writing,  bird watching and  painting.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

 

The Aga Khan in Kenya: A thorough and comprehensive coverage of his Diamond Jubilee visit

“Every year, the AKDN touches the lives of over 7.5 million Kenyans directly and 4 million indirectly. The visit to Kenya marks the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee— 60 years since his accession to his role of spiritual leadership, and is part of a year-long celebration which commenced on July 11, 2017. The Diamond Jubilee celebrations represent both a recognition of the Aga Khan’s work over the last 60 years and an opportunity to launch new initiatives”  — Excerpts from Daily Nation report, Friday, April 13, 2018.

Prepared and compiled by ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
with special coverage by ZAFEERA KASAAM and TAZMINA KASSAM

The purpose of this post is to provide external links as well as special reports and photos prepared for Barakah on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s current Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya.

Aga Khan upon his arrival in Nairobi for his Diamond Jubilee

Mawlana Hazar Imam waves to members and leaders of the Jamat upon his arrival in Nairobi. Walking with him are President Nawaaz Gulam of the Aga Khan Council for Kenya (left) and Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, with Azim Lakhani, the Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Kenya following immediately behind. Photo: The Ismaili/Hussein Jiva.

Most recently, we provided coverage of His Highness the Aga Khan’s visits to the USA and India, and in an earlier must read post Barakah covered his travels to 7 countries that he undertook between July 11, 2017 to January 31, 2018 clocking at least 80,000 kms.

Barakah: Coverage of His Highness the Aga  Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Visit to Kenya

Aga Khan Departs Kenya

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Nawaaz Gulam, President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Kenya, bids farewell to Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Zafrani Mansurali.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam grants Darbar

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Mawlana Hazar Imam addresses the Jamat during the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Nairobi. Photo: The Ismaili/Aziz Islamshah.

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Aga Khan meets President Uhuru Kenyatta

VIDEO

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MEDIA REPORTS

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His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta meets with His Highness the Aga Khan at the State House in Nairobi.

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Aga Khan Arrives

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan,  arrived in Nairobi on Thursday April 12, 2018 to commence his Diamond Jubilee visit. He plane landed at 5:27 PM local time.

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His Highness the Aga Khan waves to his well-wishers from his car after his arrival at Nairobi airport.

MEDIA REPORTS

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An image from a special multi-sheet coverage in the Daily Nation for His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya.

Aga Khan presented with bouquet upon Diamond Jubilee visit arrival in Nairobi

Upon arriving in Nairobi on Thursday April 12, 2018, His Highness the Aga Khan is presented with a bouquet of flowers by a young member of the Ismaili Volunteer Corps. Photo: The Ismaili/Hussein Jiva, via Facebook.

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AGA KHAN LANDS: VIDEO BY ZAFEERA KASSAM

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RELATED PHOTOGRAPHS

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A billboard at a school in Nairobi welcoming His Highness the Aga Khan to Kenya for his Diamond Jubilee.

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A jubilant crowd waves the flags of Kenya, the Ismaili Imamat and the Diamond Jubilee as they prepare welcome His Highness the Aga Khan to Kenya.

IMG_5881-Aga Khan Volunteers at Nairobi airport

A group photo of Ismaili volunteers who served at the Nairobi airport in various capacities, including receiving visitors from abroad.

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His Highness the Aga Khan in Kenya: Pre-Arrival

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE AGA KHAN COUNCIL FOR KENYA

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EXCITEMENT BEFORE VISIT

Aga Khan Visit Kenya Mehndi

Girls celebrate His Highness the Aga Khan’s forthcoming visit to Kenya by having their hands decorated with Henna (Mehndi). Photo: Zafeera Kassam.

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Banners in Nairobi welcoming His Highness the Aga Khan to Kenya for his Diamond Jubilee visit.

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Banners in Nairobi welcoming His Highness the Aga Khan to Kenya for his Diamond Jubilee visit.

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Illuminations for the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya.

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Illuminations for the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya.

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Illuminations for the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya.

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Volunteers register members of the Jamat visiting from outside Kenya for the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan’s visit.

The Saadhri Reed Mat Aga Khan Jubilee Arts Festival Kenya Featured Image

For Kenya’s National Jubilee Arts Festival to commemorate the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee, the Saadhri (reed mat) was selected as its branding symbol.

MEDIA REPORTS:

Date posted: April 11, 2018
Last updated: April 18, 2018.

Note: An earlier version of this post included Zafeera Kassam’s wonderful poem “Someone is Coming.” This poem has now been moved to Expressions for the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan: Calligraphy; Ya Mawla you are there; Someone is coming; and Darbar 2018

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

In October 1957 Nairobi speech, His Highness the Aga Khan asked younger generation to stand by the faith of their forefathers and meet future challenges in the spirit of humility and tolerance

Prepared and compiled by ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Barakah, Simerg and Simergphotos; .com)

Commencing this week, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at the invitation of the Kenyan Government will arrive in the country to engage in activities related to initiatives of the Ismaili Imamat as well as to celebrate his Diamond Jubilee with Ismailis living in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia, South Africa, Malagasy Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We present the following historical speech he made on October 22, 1957 in Nairobi on the occasion of his Takhtnashini or ceremonial installation. Similar symbolic coronation ceremonies were also held in Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Karachi and Mumbai following his succession to the Hereditary Throne of Imamat on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20.

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October 22, 1957: The Aga Khan’s Takhtnashini speech, followed by an audio recording of proceedings and video of arrival in Nairobi

BY HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN

Aga Khan IV., Prinz Karim - Imam der Ismaeliten, GB

His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims (Copyright. 1960 photo by Ullstein bild via Getty Images).

Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses, Your Worship, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, My Spiritual Children

I am most grateful for your kind address. On behalf of the Ismaili community and myself, I would like to thank all those in Nairobi who have contributed to such a wonderful welcome here.

I have been very moved by everyone’s kindness, especially by the hospitality given me by His Excellency the Governor and Lady Baring.

How beautiful your city is looking! The decorations along the streets and here on this ground are truly magnificent. I remember Nairobi as a boy and most of you know how much it has changed since the war. Yet this is only a symbol of the still greater changes which are taking place throughout Kenya.

Under the guidance of His Excellency Sir Evelyn Baring, Kenya is developing fast and prospering today as never before in its history. If wise counsels continue to prevail, if the people here face their problems with mutual forbearance, still greater prosperity and expansion will lie before you.

Please click on image for endearing stories of His Highness the Aga Khan and Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan during their childhood years in Kenya.

Never before in the history of man has there been such an age of technical progress. Only thirty years ago, it was an adventure to fly in an aeroplane. Today, there are machines that travel faster than sound. Before long the oceans will be scattered with atomic-powered ships travelling on and beneath the sea. New and undreamt of changes in the means of transport and communication lie in the future.

All of this will create new markets and new fields of enterprise for Africa. Fresh outlooks and unforeseen influences will follow in their train. It is most important for the future of this country that the various races face these changes together and with mutual understanding.

How do we Ismailis fit into this picture? Our faith keeps us a united community. This is essential to our spiritual welfare. But in every other way, you must remember that you are citizens of Kenya. It is to this government that you owe allegiance.

Although as a community the Ismailis will never be involved in politics, individually they may well play a constructive part in their country’s political developments. Some of your leaders here are doing this with great distinction. They should remember above all how important it is to encourage and promote good relations among the different races who live here together.

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The Aga Khan Platinum Jubilee Hospital was built with funds raised by the Ismaili community, together with a contribution from the Kenya Government, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the installation of His Highness Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah as the Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili community.

Let me give you a practical example. Behind, you can see the structure of a great new hospital which is almost completed. It will be one of the best equipped hospitals in East Africa. Half of it has been paid for by the Ismaili community and half by the Government. It will be, like our schools, available for all races. I hope that this will be only one of many other ventures in which the spirit of partnership will always prevail.

The years of development and change which lie ahead are certain to throw up many new problems. We should not be afraid of these. You will surely surmount them if you stand by your faith and meet your difficulties in the spirit of humility and tolerance that your religion demands of us. This is specially important for the younger generations who will have to carry the future on their shoulders.

Only the Faith of your fathers can sustain you and enable you to live in peace here, in this world, and the next.

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British Pathe Video: The Aga Khan’s arrival in Nairobi for his Ceremonial Installation

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Audio recording of the proceedings of the installation ceremony, with Aga Khan’s speech

Date posted: April 10, 2018.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

Seat of the Ismaili Imamat: What’s happening inside the Palacete Mendonça? Photos of restoration work and the palace’s 3 hectares of gardens

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His Highness the Aga Khan and Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete on 3 June 2015 sign a landmark agreement establishing a formal Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte

We publish below a slightly abridged and revised version of an official English translation of a piece in Portuguese by Lina Santos that appeared in Lisbon’s daily newspaper Diário de Notícias (DN) under the title O que se passa dentro do  Palacete Mendonça? (What’s happening inside the Palacete Mendonça?). The piece includes a selection of photographs that appeared in DN as well as some images of the gardens that occupy the Palace’s property. We are indebted to Iqbal Motani of Ottawa for assisting us in preparing this  article.

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The Seat of the Ismaili Imamat

What’s happening inside the Palacete Mendonça?

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Henrique Mendonça Palace. Photo: Marco Verch, taken on March 21, 2017. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

By LINA SANTOS
(Author of original Portuguese article published in Diário de Notícias)

We entered the Henrique de Mendonça Palace to observe the restoration work taking place there. Once the restoration is complete, the Palace will house the Seat  of the Ismaili Imamat. The first phase of the restoration is expected to be completed in July 2018, in time for the conclusion of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee anniversary, as Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

Henrique Mendonça Palace, designed by architect Miguel Ventura Terra in the early 20th Century, appears to be temporarily converted into a construction site during the building’s rehabilitation project that should restore it to its glory.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

For the moment, in the front of the mansion overlooking the Eduardo VII Park with the river in the background, there is a huge hole. When asked what will appear there, the architect leading the project, Frederico Valsassina, cognizant of Forum Citizenship Lx questioning the rehabilitation plans since the acquisition of the property, in 2016, stated that “I do not do projects to please the Citizenship Forum, we do projects to address the principles of our client and, in compliance with the regulations.”

The client is the Ismaili Imamat and this is where the global headquarters of the Ismaili Imamat, (the Institution or Office of the Imam) will be housed. The closing celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of the present Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan, will take place in Lisbon, between July 5 and 11, 2018.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

By that time, the grand hall and the former dining room of the Mendonça family, which remain as noble zones of the building, will be ready, promises Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat, in Portugal. Standing before the peeled walls, frameless windows and tiles under restoration, it may seem an impossible task. But Nazim Ahmad remains confident.

 “We don’t do anything, without the support of the technicians involved.” An investment of between 10 to 20 million euros, depending on the course of the project, is estimated.

Frederico Valsassina explained that his task simply stated is: “My role is to ensure the least intervention possible”, and went on to explain: “This is a national monument, it was in a very good state, but had undergone a very heavy utilization load, because it had been used more than was expected, by the MBA of the Nova University”. 

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Facade of Henrique Mendonça Palace in Lisbon. Photo: Ricardo Filipe Pereira – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62792244

Completed in 1909, and recipient of the Valmor prize in the same year, the Mendonça Palace  was bought two years ago by the Ismaili Imamt for Euros 12 million.

Frederico Valsassina ensures that the adaptations, in response to the Ismaili Imamat’s plans, are minimal. “That is why it was approved, almost unconditionally, by the DGPC (General Cabinet of the Cultural Heritage), and subsequently by the Lisbon City Council”. These plans include a parking space and two lifts.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

The architect explains: “The only thing we are creating inside the Palace, is a column to fit a lift”. Doing this from the exterior “would be a more economic and more interventive solution. What we are doing is giving us more work; it was necessary to understand, from the art historians, which were the least important rooms, to be able to implement these lifts”. The original lift in the house, one of the first in Lisbon, will be kept, but will not be used. “It is steam-operated, and there aren’t technicians who can make put it in working order”, Valsassina states. “The cabin will be restored, and permanently parked on the first floor, as a museological area”. He notes that “Another, more simple solution, would be to use the original lift column, but that would also depreciate the building’s character”.

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A photo that illustrates the dominant presence of vehicles at the front entrance of Henrique Mendonça Palace. His Highness the Aga Khan intends that this should not be the case.

We return to the large-scale excavation site, which is the future parking space. “Above all, what His Highness intended, is that the vehicles should not have a dominant presence. We had to identify an area in the gardens, considered as the least sensitive. Within the next two months, this area “will be fully covered with the initial quota of the garden”. He adds: “And I really think that, had Nova University been able to afford it, they would have certainly done this intervention. I remember visiting some times, and seeing the grounds full of cars. It is the opposite of what we intend to do”.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

The easiest of the answers for Valsassina is, what is being recovered — “Everything”.

“The stonework is being restored, the original plaster and all the frescos, woodworks and interior paintings are being carefully recovered”. The facades, everything will remain intact. “We have subjected the building to thermal conditions”.

Put in a different way, “we are not installing double glazed windows, or substituting the window frames. The iron frames will remain iron frames, and the wood frames are being recovered; in terms of the luster works and the hardware, we were able to contact the French company, Remy Garnier who originally supplied these, and is currently in operation ”.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

It is very interesting to understand that when Mr. Henrique Mendonça built this house, after returning to Lisbon from São Tomé with his wife (who was from São Tomé), he wanted to make a statement to society. There are seven or eight buildings in Lisbon, of former landowners, and all these buildings showcase the best architecture in Lisbon at the time.  Henrique Mendonça hired the best architect at the time.

Miguel Ventura Terra (1866-1919) studied in Paris, and worked with the Victor Laloux atelier, one of the most prominent French architects of the time. It is for this reason that he “works with French companies, namely in the details”, states Frederico Valsassina.

A three hectare garden with a space for events related to religion and culture

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An external view of the Palace grounds. Photo: Ricardo Filipe Pereira – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62792246

Iñaki Zoilo, Proap landscaper, joins the conversation to talk about the almost 3 hectares surrounding the palace: “It is an opportunity for the recovery of a historic garden”. They began by understanding in which point the garden was. All the natural elements, paths, fountains, sculptural elements were inventoried. “The maintenance that has been given over the last 50 years has led to a state of the garden being of spontaneous growth,” he summarizes. The project is “dynamic and has a time strategy”.

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The three hectares of gardens of Henrique Mendonça Palace are truly extensive and dense as if they were a private forest within Lisbon. Scattered in the beaten tracks of the garden are three works of art scattered among the vegetation. One these art works is shown above. Three hectares would be the equivalent of 3 rugby fields or in a perfect square 300 metres by 300 metres.

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A view of the garden at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

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A view of the garden at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

Iñaki Zoilo adds that, in the surroundings of the Palace, programs, which are tied to the events requested by the client, related to their religion and culture, will be implemented. “These will take place in the rear end of the grounds, on a grassy patch destined to host the celebrations, with a water cascade, instead of on the current area of spontaneous growth. A water mirror for the front of the Palace, reflecting the vegetative surroundings, is being prepared”, says the landscaper.

Textiles on Demand

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Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal, is confident that the grand hall and the former dining room of the Mendonça family, which remain as noble zones, will be ready by the closing celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan which will take in Lisbon, between July 5 and 11 2018. He adds that the work is being filmed on a 24 hour basis to create a film.

Before entering the Palace, duly fitted with reflective vests and boots, as mandated by the security rules, Nazim Ahmad comments that the works are being filmed on a 24-hour basis, to create a film, and leads towards an improvised atelier of woodwork, in the gardens, where a craftsman is finishing a new window frame. It is a solution for those situations, where there is no remedy, explains Conceição Amaral, Director of the Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Foundation (FRESS). “The commitment is that everything that has to be substituted, be crafted”.

Such is the case with the textiles. “We believed that some (textiles) were from a manufacturer in Lyon, however they do not exist anymore”. Therefore, they are in touch with a manufacturer in England. “We are waiting for the samples”, refers Conceição Amaral. “It will take a year to produce” she foresees. “In the meantime, we will use a similar fabric, in order to restore dignity to the rooms”.

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

At this stage, around “60 pieces are under the Foundation’s care”, and this will also include the chandelier in the grand hall. All of the Foundation’s teams are involved – in consolidating the tile work by Manuel Gustavo Bordallo Pinheiro, the wood panels, bronze fixtures, decorative painting, plaster work, textiles. The Palace is a manual of the 20th century Portuguese decorative arts”, emphasizes Conceição Amaral.

“The Foundation [FRESS] is completing its 65th anniversary and has a portfolio of great works; Seteais [a neoclassical Palace in Sintra, Portugal] was an enormous challenge however, in terms of quality and variety of techniques, I believe that we have never had a project like this”.

Date posted: April 7, 2018.

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A MUST visit post, if you have not yet read it: To Ismailis of Portugal — We are now preparing to be with you in Lisbon to celebrate the “highest point” of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan

Credits: Palace image in featured photo at top of page was taken on March 21, 2017 by Marco Verch. Creative commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

For location of palace and nearby attractions, please click Palacete Henrique Mendonça: Mapa – Portugal – Mapcarta.

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

 

Canadian Ismaili artists showcase their skills in a nationwide festival in Toronto to celebrate Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Editor: Barakah, Simerg and Simergphotos)

CLASS, BEAUTY AND TALENT INSPIRE VAST CROWDS IN ISMAILI JUBILEE ARTS NATIONAL FESTIVAL

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Dancers Rehana Meru (left) and Azaz Hussain who figure in the series of 5 photos shown above. Azaz uses a wheelchair to move due to his condition. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Months of hard work by hundreds of Ismaili artists across Canada culminated in Toronto on the weekend of March 24-25, 2018 with beautiful and thoughtful stage performances, films, literary recitals as well as the display of intriguing works of art at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The Fraser Elliot Hall was filled to capacity on both days for its main stage performances, while the floor areas areas of the entire building were filled with hundreds of works of magnificent art encompassing all forms of the visual art. It was a mesmerizing event whose impact will continue to be felt for decades as the remarkable artistic talent within the Ismaili community continues to blossom.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

A selection of Canadian works of art and performances showcased over the past weekend will now travel to Lisbon where an International Jubilee Arts Festival will bring together Ismaili artists from all over the world from July 5 to July 11, 2018. His Highness the Aga Khan will be in Lisbon during the same period as part of the final phase of the year long celebration of his Diamond Jubilee year that commenced on July 11, 2017.  We present here glimpses from the festival based on the author’s presence at the Four Season’s Centre on Sunday March 25th.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibits. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibits. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Captive audience. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

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Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Shams Surani

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Stage performance. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Crowd viewing art exhibits. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Crowd, Sunday March 25, 2018. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit, reverse side of previous image. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Performers (collage). Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

NEWS: To Ismailis of Portugal — We are now preparing to be with you in Lisbon to celebrate the “highest point” of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan

Stage performance; Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

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Art exhibit. Photo: Barakah/Shams Surani

Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee National Arts Festival Canada 2018.

Festival theme: The Spirit of Connection. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

Date posted: March 28, 2018

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of ContentsAlso join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

Note: This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

To Ismailis of Portugal: We are now preparing to be with you in Lisbon to celebrate the “highest point” of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos)

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Friends meeting friends at the magnificent Lisbon Ismaili Centre during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of His Highness the Aga Khan in 2008. Photo: Nurin Merchant.

Note: This post will be continuously updated as more details are forthcoming.

Lisbon: The “highest point” of Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

Flights to Lisbon are becoming harder to find on specific travelling dates in early July, and hotels are now quickly filling up as Jamati members respond to the official LIF (Ismaili Leaders International Forum) announcement made on Navroz, March 21, 2018 that, with Mawlana Hazar Imam’s approval, the Jamats around the world would be welcome to join the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Lisbon. Some weeks earlier, Nazim Ahmed, the AKDN representative to Portugal and one of the 5 senior officials of the Imamat to Portugal, made a statement to Portugal’s Ministry of External Affairs that the celebrations in Lisbon would be the highest point of the celebrations of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee. This set off a flood inquiries about what form the celebration would take, and many even started preparing for the trip then.

We want to tell you not to despair about flight and hotel bookings yet, but urge you NOT TO DELAY despite the fact that registration details for the Portugal Darbar have yet to be be announced on the official Ismaili community website. There are still seats available on Air Canada’s return flights from Toronto; and TAP, the Portuguese airline, and United Airlines fly directly from Boston and New York respectively. Please get in touch with your airlines or travel agents, many of whom are offering complete packages from various cities around North America. Of course if you are in Europe, distances are shorter and many residing there may drive or take the train, as alternatives to flying!

My recent searches at some of the hotel booking sites that I have provided below — and that I have used many times — show that there are rooms available in all quarters of Lisbon at varying prices — from as low as CAD $55.00 per night to a high of CAD $1700.00 per night. There are lots of apartments at decent prices on Airbnb that are ideal for couples, families as well as friends who wish to share and save on accommodation costs.

(Note: There may be visa requirements to travel to Portugal from your country, so you have to resolve that before making any kind of booking).

From the Jamat’s perspective, while the Darbar would undoubtedly be the high point of the visit, we want to say that there are plenty of interesting activities such as the Diamond Jubilee Festival that will be staged in Lisbon during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s presence in Lisbon. The official community website, the Ismaili, mentions that the Festival will include concerts featuring world-renowned performers; an international Jamati Talent Showcase; an Art Gallery; a Film Festival; and a general Imamat Day celebration. Also, a carry forward from the Golden Jubilee is the Rays of Light exhibition depicting Mawlana Hazar Imam’s commitment to improve the human condition during his 60 years of Imamat. A Mela (get together) space for friends and family to meet, relax, and share experiences will be the central hub of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

The Portuguese Jamat, as we learn, are very excited about welcoming the world wide Jamat for the “high point of the Diamond Jubilee celebration.”

Reasons to be in Lisbon

Over the weekend of March 24-25, 2018, I attended in Toronto the Canadian Jubilee arts festival and was impressed with stage performances and visual art exhibits. Now, that talent will converge in Lisbon from Ismaili Jamats who held local and national Jubilee events in their respective countries.

National Ismaili Arts Festival Canada

A painting at the Jubilee Arts National Festival held in Toronto on March 24-25. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

Canada Jubilee Arts Festival

An amazing and graceful performance by Azaz Hussain (in wheelchair) and Rehana Meru at the Canada Jubilee Arts National Festival on March 25, 2018 in Toronto. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

Lisbon hosts the third high profile Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre to be built after the London and Burnaby Ismaili Centres. So visiting the Festival and seeing the Ismaili Centre during Hazar Imam’s presence, meeting thousands at the Festival grounds, enjoying Portuguese delicacies at the site and Lisbon restaurants, visiting historic sites in and around Lisbon as well as shopping are some of the wonderful memories that you will take back with you, Darbar aside.

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The exquisite Henrique Mendonça Palace in Portugal that will house the Seat of Ismaili Imamat. Situated in an extremely exclusive neighbourhood, the Henrique Mendonça palace won the Valmor Prize in 1909, and is part of a panoramic green area of ​​three hectares in the heart of Lisbon.

Moreover, the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat is being established in Lisbon, and we would all be very excited to visit its location in the heart of Lisbon.

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The Time Out Market in Lisbon has 35 kiosks selling regional specialities. Five top chefs have restaurants here.

The city of Lisbon itself is enchanting and has a lot to offer. Not far from Lisbon, approximately 300 kms away, is Portugal’s Algarve, one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Spain’s Cordoba is 500 kms from Lisbon. Then, from there it is another 2 hours to the architectural wonder of Alhambra, in Granada.

My Past Memories

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The Benfica and Portuguese superstar Eusébio in action in the 1960’s. Photo: Fifa

Lisbon has been at the centre of my heart for almost 56 years and it all started with Eusébio (1942-2014), the football player, who was essentially “kidnapped” from Mozambique by the great Portuguese team of the time, Benfica. Soon after joining Benfica he led the team to a 5-3 win over Real Madrid in the finals of the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions Cup) on May 2, 1962 in Amsterdam. As an 8 year old, I stayed awake to listen to the live commentary in Lourenço Marques (LM) at my friend Aziz Noorali’s place at the other end of the apartment complex where we stayed. “Golo de Benfica” – yes that was when I first fell in love with Lisboa! Eusébio broke the 3-3 tie, scoring the last 2 goals that made Benfica victorious, and a side to be reckoned with for the next few years with him as its superstar, like today’s Portuguese Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid.

Alwaez Merchant with Loureco Marques Friends large 2

The author’s father, Jehangir Merchant (2nd from left) with friends including the late Noordin Ahmed Keshavjee (left), Haider Ali Issa (right) and Tajdin Hussein (centre with glasses, second row) at the gate of Lourenço Marques Jamatkhana. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Nizar Ahmed Mahmed (d. appx 1960)

A portrait of Ismaili soldier Nizar Ahmed who died when the ship he was sailing in sunk off the coast of Mozambique around the year 1960. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Chaganbhai of Lourenco Marques

Remembering Chaganbhai of Lourenço Marques Jamatkhana. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Lourenco Marques Aga Khan Club Cricket Team

The Lourenço Marques Aga Khan Club cricket team. Jehangir Merchant is in the front row at extreme right and standing behind him is the great Ismaili football player, Satar, who represented the Mozambique national team as a defender on many occasions including in a game against Benfica (and Eusébio). Photo: Late 1950’s, Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Ismaili Ladies Volunteers Lourenço Marques Jamat late 1950's

Ismaili lady volunteers of the Lourenço Marques Jamat, late 1950’s. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

A few years later in the 1970’s the small Ismaili Jamat started leaving Mozambique for settlement in Portugal, and my first glimpse of Lisbon was in 1977 when I travelled there from London. The Keshavjee family hosted me, and Lutafbhai spent hours showing me the city, taking me to its most historical and charming sites. His older brother, the late Madatbhai, took me to other points of interest as well as to a coastal restaurant, where I enjoyed the tiger prawns that I had missed in Tanzania and London since leaving Mozambique.

Alwaez Merchant joining in a student recitation in Lourenco Marques

A recitation by Ismaili students at a Jamati gathering in Lourenço Marques. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

I vividly remember one night during that first trip to Lisbon when more than a dozen family members from the Keshavjee clan took me to a very traditional Portuguese restaurant where I experienced a wide variety of local delicacies. The weight gain from that meal has not been lost to this day! During my subsequent visits, I was welcomed to Lisbon with hugs and kisses, because my parents had served the LM Jamat admirably and with distinction during their 8 year tenure there in the 1950’s! Then, in 2008, I took my daughter with me to Lisbon for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee.

Prince Aly Khan admiring a needlework by an Ismaili Student during his visit to Lourenco Marques

Prince Aly Khan admiring needlework by an Ismaili student during his visit to Lourenço Marques in 1957. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

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Prince Aly Khan bids farewell as he leaves the Lourenço Marques Jamatkhana during his visit in 1957. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

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In May 1958, Mawlana Hazar Imam visited the Jamats in South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar. Here he is shown a display of needlework and crafts prepared by Ismaili students during his visit to Lourenço Marques. His beloved father, Prince Aly Khan (13 June 1911 – 12 May 1960), had visited the Jamat in 1957, a few months before Mawlana Hazar Imam became the Imam on July 11, 1957. See previous 2 photos. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

His Highness the Aga Khan, in front row in white suit, seen with leaders and teachers of the Lourenço Marques during his 1958 visit to Portuguese East Africa

1958, Lourenço Marques: Mawlana Hazar Imam, then 21 years of age, pictured with leaders and teachers of Lourenço Marques at the front staircase of the Jamatkhana entrance. Mrs. Merchant is in second row at left, and Mr. Merchant is seen immediately behind Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Mawlana Hazar Imam entering a classroom in Lourence Marques

Mawlana Hazar Imam meets with Ismaili students during his visit to Lourenço Marques in May 1958. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Lisbon and Mozambique today

Cristiano_Ronaldo_20120609

Today’s Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, pictured playing against Germany at Euro 2012. Photo: Football.ua [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

What about today’s Mozambique and Portugal Jamats? I am happy to share a warm and gracious letter from Aly Faruque in response to this post. He writes:

“As a Portuguese citizen currently residing in Mozambique, I would like to, in the first instance to welcome you to Portugal. We all look forward to receiving our brothers and sisters, and to experience together this incredible moment of history that our Community is celebrating.

“Your words, comments, and memories deeply touched us [referring to my Barakah post], by your humility and availability to share precious and valuable information. The history and the past that you shared from our Countries bring us nostalgia and willingness to remember even further our great memories from the past, as well as when looking at pictures that connect us back to our roots and traditions. This is indeed very heartwarming.

“But our history and tradition did not stop in the second half of the 20th century. Mozambique currently has a vibrant Ismaili community spread across the country, that includes 7 (and growing) Jamatkhanas, and, Portugal, where our community has prospered, is now the home of many brothers and sisters that are well integrated and without any doubt a part of the socio-economic fabric of the Portuguese society.

“In addition, and although Eusebio is still well respected, we are currently living the most glorious years of our football history. Portugal is the current holder of the European Cup and the best player in the world, perhaps of all times, is named Cristiano Ronaldo and started his career in Sporting Clube of Portugal, probably the best school of football talents in the world.

“As for the city of Lisbon, the highlights you mentioned are brilliant and definitely a must-see during a visit to our beautiful country and city. There are other places, those that are not on the itinerary of tour guides, and that could be a more genuine view of the Lisbon vibrant hospitality. Some of these places would be the Mercado de Campo de Ourique, where you can have a gourmet experience in an informal environment, the LX Factory, where you can visit some of the trendiest restaurants in Lisbon, and the Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Chiado and Cais do Sodre neighborhoods, suitable for both day and night experience.

“We look forward to receiving you all.”

Aly would like readers to note that his views about sightseeing and places to visit in Lisbon are personal. Readers who want more information about the city, from his perspective, may contact him at aly.faruque@gmail.com.

Aga Khan Arrives in Portugal

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan arrives in Lisbon on July 19, 2017, ahead of two ceremonies on July 20, when the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa in Portugal honoured the Aga Khan with a doctorate honoris causa and the President of Portugal bestowed upon him the Gra-cruz da ordem de Liberdade. Following him, at left, is Nazim Ahmed, the AKDN representative in Portugal and one of five senior Imamat officials introduced by His Highness the Aga Khan to Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousain in May 2016. Photo: The Ismaili.

Today, the city as well as the country have recognized Hazar Imam’s contribution and  bestowed him with honours. The Ismaili Imamat and the Portugese government signed a historical agreement to establish the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. Long before that, Lisbon already had established the third high profile Ismaili Centre in the world.

July 20 2017 Aga Khan and Portugal President

On July 20, 2017, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa presented His Highness the Aga Khan with the Gra-cruz da ordem de Liberdade in recognition of his service to uplifting lives around the world. Photo: AKDN/Antonio Pedrosa.

Enjoy Lisbon to the fullest!

There are plenty of things to do in and around Lisbon, and I would suggest that anyone travelling to the city experience its history and architecture by taking day tours or simply jumping on Tram 28 to see the best of Lisbon! Hop on and off buses are available! Aly Faruque has also provided unique insights in his letter, above.

Amin Jiná has sent me a link to the exclusive ground transportation that he offers through http://www.amiroad.pt. I normally don’t endorse services that I have not utilized myself but I would be inclined to use his services due to the extremely positive reviews and high ratings that Amiroad has received at https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g189158-d7134166-Reviews-Amiroad_Luxury_Transports-Lisbon_Lisbon_District_Central_Portugal.html.

1920px-Alfama-CCBY

View of Alfama from the Miradouro of Santa Luzia in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Wikipedia/Miguel Vieira. This image was originally posted to Flickr by MiguelVieira at https://www.flickr.com/photos/11563230@N04/1224473888. It was reviewed on 27 August 2007 by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

Lisbon’s subway system is great (see map, below). With regard to accommodations do not necessarily look for one closest to the Ismaili Centre. There are lovely hotels and charming Airbnb rooms and apartments available in centre city and other historical areas of the city such as Alfama. Taking a cab to the Ismaili Centre or the site of the Darbar from downtown Lisbon (or Baixa) will not take you more than 20 minutes! So be an intrepid traveller – not a boring one! Kids love excitement, remember that, if you are travelling with children and youth. And of course staying in the more traditional and popular areas of the city will allow you to walk to nearby restaurants for great coffees and pastries, and make sightseeing and shopping exciting as well as easier.

Hotel Booking Websites

I have made bookings over the past several years through all the websites listed below, with a very high level (95%) of satisfaction. Where a hotel has not met the expected star level or service as indicated at the site where the reservation was made, their customer service representatives have been extremely considerate in fixing the problem or applying credits for subsequent stays. I have also stayed at many Airbnb accommodations over the past 2 years that have been positively reviewed and I don’t have anything to complain about. With the oncoming rush many new properties will be listed that do not yet carry reviews. If they look good in photos and the person you communicate with is responsive, go for it. Here are the sites I have made bookings through. Note that many properties offer cancellations!

Tip: Use filters (eg. price range, dates of stay, star rating, location from city centre or major attractions etc) to narrow down search

  • http://www.booking.com (excellent, and one good thing is that it offers cancellations on many bookings or pay at property)
  • http://www.hotels.com (again, an excellent website)
  • http://www.trivago.ca (scans partner hotel booking sites for best rates, and lists the top few)
  • http://www.priceline.com (you can name your own price and, if lucky, be rewarded or get up to  60% off express deals; no refunds once booked for special offers)
  • http://www.hotwire.com (offers very competitive rates that once booked are not refundable)
  • http://www.tripadvisor.com (an amazing site that also provides reliable reviews of everything travel related — things to do, hotels, restaurants etc.)
  • http://www.expedia.com (excellent and offers special discounts for registered users)
  • http://www.airbnb.com (hosts who offer private rooms/apartments for short term or long term stays)
  • NOTE: The author has used all the sites listed above without any major issues; concerns raised, eg. incorrect property description/star rating, have been addressed satisfactorily!

Other Lisbon Notes

  • Sources indicate that the 1998 Expo World Fair site, PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES (Park of Nations), is where the Diamond Jubilee events will be taking place;
  • The site is appx. 9-10 kms and a 15-20 minute drive from the Ismaili Centre (Nº1, Av. Lusíada, 1600-001 Lisboa, Portugal);
  • Appx. distance to the Ismaili Centre from downtown Lisbon (or Baixa) is 9 km, 20 minutes by car; and from downtown to PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES, 10-12 kms, 26-30 minutes;
  • For a beginners guide to downtown Lisbon, please click: https://www.pousadasofportugal.com/a-beginners-guide-to-lisbons-downtown-district/;
  • Write to aly.faruque@gmail.com to get information on a more genuine and authentic view of Lisbon’s vibrant hospitality normally not found on guided tour itinerary;
  • Consider Amin Jiná’s http://www.amiroad.pt, highly rated on tripadvisor, for exclusive tours and ground transportation;
  • Avenide de Liberdade is one of the main streets through Lisbon and well known for designer shops. It is a good base for a hotel to have access to all parts of the city;
  • The Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. Its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning “hot fountains” or “baths”;
  • Details and registration procedures will be communicated to the Jamat globally on the official website of the Ismaili community, https://the.ismaili/ (NOTE: no Darbar registration information yet; info for Jubilee Arts Festival in Lisbon is now posted)

ENJOY Lisbon and Portugal. Make your plans, don’t delay!

Date posted: March 29, 2018.
Last updated: April 8, 2018.

__________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of Contents. Also join/like Barakahat http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

Note: This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

A message to Ismailis from 10 Downing Street for Navroz and for His Highness the Aga Khan’s special year

 Prime Minister Theresa May’s message to the Ismailis

Navroz and Diamond Jubilee message for Ismailis and the Aga Khan from UK PM Theresa May

Date posted: March 21, 2018

________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

For links to all the posts please click on Table of Contents.

Also join/like Barakahat http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

Note: This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan as he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years of Imamat.

 

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