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Very rare photos of Prince Aly Khan’s 1951 visit to Arusha, Tanganyika

Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth alight from their plane upon arrival at Arusha airport in 1951. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.

Introduced by AMIN JAFFER

Barakah’s appeal to readers to share their photo archives of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the Imam’s family prompted me to approach numerous individuals in Edmonton, Canada, to seek out rare historical photos. Mr. Jan Karmali, a long time resident of the city, willingly and, with immense enthusiasm, provided me with his unique collection featuring Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah and Prince Aly Khan that were published on this website. Sadly, Mr. Karmali passed away recently at the age of 86. He will always be remembered for his contribution which has been deeply appreciated by Barakah.

On behalf of the editor of this website, I take this opportunity to urge readers to go through their own albums and seek out khajanas (treasures) of rare and historical photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family. Please submit them to simerg@aol.com for publication.

Our community photos related to Mawlana Hazar Imam are scattered all over, and it is time to house important collections from individuals and families under one single library such as Getty Images for the entire world to see! Otherwise important collections will be lost forever as a result of neglect, oversight and damage.

Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth at Arusha airport. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.

I have been going through my own personal archives of photos that I’ve gathered in the last few years from numerous sources. I am delighted to share this first set of very rare photos of Prince Aly Khan’s visit in 1951 to Arusha, Tanzania (then Tanganyika). My next piece will be on Prince Amyn’s visit to Arusha in 1968.

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan
Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. Photo: Alzheimer’s Association.

Prince Aly Khan was accompanied on the visit by Rita Hayworth, whom he had married in the late 1940’s. They had one child from the marriage, Princess Yasmin, who has dedicated years and years of her life to bringing public attention to Alzheimer’s, which her mother started suffering from in 1981 when she was only 62. Princess Yasmin cared for her mother until she passed away in 1987. She had earlier founded the Rita Hayworth Gala that has raised more than $76 million for the Alzheimer’s cause since 1984.

Aga Khan III family.
The late 48th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, seated on a wheelchair with members of his family with his successor, the present Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan, standing at extreme right. Others in the photo (l to r), grandson Prince Amyn Muhammad, and the Imam’s two sons, the late Prince Sadruddin and Prince Aly Khan, who is seen holding his daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, from his marriage to Rita Hayworth. Photo: Zul Khoja Family Collection, Ottawa.

Princess Yasmin’s father, Prince Aly Khan died in 1960 in a motor car accident.

Prince Aly Khan was extremely fond of driving. After his visit to Arusha, it was learnt that the plane that was to take him and Rita Hayworth had mechanical issues. Rather than waiting for the repairs to be carried out, and as the distance to Moshi was only 50 miles, the Prince decided that they would drive, and he took on the drivers seat. My father, Abdul Jaffer, was among the Jamati members at the airport to see off Prince Aly Khan. He humbly offered to take the luggage in his new truck. He was accompanied by Sadrudin Hasham Kassam Ishani. When they arrived at the bungalow where the Prince and Rita Hayworth were staying in Moshi, Prince Aly Khan took a moment to thank both of them for the fast delivery of the luggage.

Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth in Arusha

Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Ismaili ladies awaiting arrival of Prince Aly Khan in Arusha in 1951. (From l. to r.): Mrs. Jenabai Noormohamed Nanji,  Kamadiani Fatmabai Kamru Hasham Jessa, Mukhiani Zerakhanu Noormohamed Natha Hirji, Mrs. Sherbanu Hassanali Natha Hirji, Mrs. Sherbanu Pyarali Nanji, Mrs. Jiwa Ali Tharani, Mrs. Sherbanubai Noormohamed Gillani, Mrs. Mariambai Husein Khimani, Mrs. Jenabai Subzali Sajan, Mrs. Hassanali Sajan, Mrs. Hasham Tharani, Mrs. Shiloo Noordin. The lone gentleman seen in the photo is Mr. Mohamed Suleman (third from right). Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan being greeting by Ismaili leaders Mohamedali Merali, Mr. Tharani, Subzali Sajan, Noormohamed Velsi Gillani (fez hat) and  Hassanali Sajan (wearing hat). Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth at Arusha airport. With the Prince is Noormohamed Natha Hirji  (Mukhisaheb of Arusha Jamat). The lady in the Girl Guide uniform is Malek N.V. Gillani. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth at Arusha airport. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Al Noor Kassum, a prominent figure in Tanzanian politics and the Ismaili community, greeting Prince Aly Khan, with Pyarali Hasham Jivraj (smiling) looking on at Al Noor Kassum. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
 Rita Hayworth being greeted at Arusha airport by Mukhi Noormohamed Natha Hirji and Kamadia Kamrudin Hasham Jessa. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth posing for a photo on steps of the bungalow of Hassanali Natha Hirji (in dark glasses). Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan at a foundation laying ceremony in Arusha in 1951. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan at a foundation laying ceremony in Arusha. Next to him is Al Noor Kassum, a prominent figure in Tanzanian politics and the Ismaili community for many years. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth at a social function held in their honour during their visit to Arusha in 1951. Also in picture are Mohamedali Dharsee (standing behind in dark glasses), Madat Vasanji Karmali, Amirali Dawood Suleman and Gulamhaider Bandali. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan at a social function held in Arusha in 1951. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan conducting a marriage ceremony. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.
Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth visit Arusha, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, in 1951
Prince Aly Khan arriving at Arusha Jamatkhana. Waiting to open the car door is Madatali Vasanji Karmali, with volunteer Jamal Mohamed Jivan looking at the cameraman. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection, Edmonton, Canada.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 190 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

Date posted: November 28, 2019.
Last updated: November 30, 2019.

Correction: In an earlier version of this post, the caption of the photo in which Prince Aly Khan is seen conducting a marriage incorrectly stated that the groom and the bride were Mohamed Jessa and Shirin Sulleman Jivraj. We have been asked to clarify that they are not the couple in the photo. We will update the caption when we are informed about the names of the couple. We apologize for this oversight.

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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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also 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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

2019 Global Pluralism Award Winners and Honourable mentions with Aga Khan

A comprehensive report of His Highness the Aga Khan’s visit to Ottawa for the 2019 Global Pluralism Award

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

November 20, 2019: His Highness the Aga Khan presides over the 2019 Global Pluralism Award

Aga Khan at 2019 Global Pluralism Award ceremony held on November 20, 2019 at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, Canada.
The Global Centre of Pluralism’s Director General Meredith Preston McGhie looks on as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, delivers remarks on November 20, 2019 during the Global Pluralism Award ceremony held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. The Global Centre for Pluralism’s was founded as a partnership between Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Government of Canada. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.

The Global Centre for Pluralism, founded by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the Government of Canada, recognized the three winners and seven honourable mentions at an award ceremony on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, Canada. The three winners each received a grant of $CAN50,000 and in-kind support to advance their work in promoting pluralism. The biennial Pluralism Award recognises the extraordinary achievements of organisations, individuals, and governments around the world who exemplify living peacefully and productively with diversity.

This year, the Global Centre for Pluralism received over 500 applications spanning 74 countries for the 2019 Global Pluralism Award—more than double the submissions to the inaugural awards in 2017. All nominees underwent a rigorous review and jury selection process.

2019 Global Pluralism Award Winner with Aga Khan
The Centre for Social Integrity founder Aung Kyaw Moe poses for a photo with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Global Centre for Pluralism Board Member The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.

The 2019 award recipients were the Center for Social Integrity, an organisation that provides youth from Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions with the skills to be leaders for change; Deborah Ahenkorah, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher; and ‘Learning History that is not yet History’, a network in the Balkans developing a new approach to teaching the history of conflict.

2019 Global Pluralism Award Winner with Aga Khan
Deborah Ahenkorah, co-founder of Golden Baobab, poses for a photo with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Princess Zahra, and Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.
2019 Global Pluralism Award Winner with Aga Khan
Igor Radulović, on behalf of the group Learning History that is not yet History, poses for a photo with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Global Centre for Pluralism Board Member Huguette Labelle, and Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.

The seven 2019 Global Pluralism Award Honourable mentions were Adyan Foundation (Lebanon); The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (Afghanistan); Artemisszió Foundation (Hungary); onBoard Canada; Rupantar (Bangladesh); SINGA (France); and Soliya (USA).

“Whether building peace, enabling youth leadership or bridging divides, the Award recipients are all committed to pursuing pluralism every day,” said Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie. “This is work that is challenging, sometimes dangerous. It too often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. But not tonight.”

Secretary General McGhie also took a moment to acknowledge the continuing work of the previous winners and the Centre’s role in facilitating international recognition to these accomplishments. The Centre presented screenings in Colombia and Canada of a documentary on the work of victims’ rights activist Leyner Palacios Asprilla, and has supported the production of a report on family reunification of refugees to Australia with Daniel Webb.

Aga Khan at 2019 Global Pluralism Award
Seated in front row, from left to right: Huguette Labelle, Princess Zahra, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson (all Board Members), John Ralston Saul, Award Jury Member Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Award Jury Chair The Right Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada. Ameerally Kassim-Lakha, President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council, is seen seated at left in second row. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.

In his remarks, Mawlana Hazar Imam reminded us of the power of individual action in advancing pluralism, noting that “A more inclusive, understanding approach to diversity is needed more than ever today. The Award offers examples to inspire how we take on that challenge. The Award should serve as a reminder that we can all take steps, in both our personal and professional lives, to foster a more positive and productive response to the changing diversity in our world.”

VIDEO: 2019 GLOBAL PLURALISM AWARD HIGHLIGHTS

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November 19, 2019: His Highness the Aga Khan and Princess Zahra Arrive in Ottawa

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arrived in Canada on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, accompanied by his daughter Princess Zahra, ahead of a ceremony to be held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat on November 20 to recognise the recipients of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award.

Aga Khan arrives in Ottawa for 2019 Global Pluralism Award
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and his daughter Princess Zahra are welcomed to Ottawa by Ameerally Kassim-Lakha, President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Jamat. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.

Mawlana Hazar Imam and Princess Zahra were welcomed in Ottawa by the newly appointed President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada, Ameerally Kassim-Lakha (see photo at top of post), AKDN Resident Representative for Canada Dr Mahmoud Eboo, and the new Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie.

Mawlana Hazar Imam announced Ameerally Kassim-Lakha as the new President on the occasion of his 62nd Imamat anniversary on July 11, 2019. His predecessor was Malik Talib, who served the maximum two terms as the President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada.

Aga Khan arrives in Ottawa for 2019 Global Pluralism Award Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is welcomed to Ottawa by Dr Mahmoud Eboo, AKDN Resident Representative for Canada, ahead of the Global Pluralism Awards 2019. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.
Aga Khan arrives in Ottawa for 2019 Global Pluralism Award Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is welcomed to Ottawa by Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Ms. McGhie assumed the role as the Centre’s new director on October 1, 2019, replacing John McNee on his retirement from the position. Photo: The Ismaili / Mo Govindji.

This year, the award is being granted to three recipients: the Center for Social Integrity, an organisation that provides youth from Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions with the skills to be leaders for change; Deborah Ahenkorah, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher; and Learning History that is not yet History, a network in the Balkans developing a new approach to teaching the history of conflict. The recipients will each receive $50,000 in support of their work to build more “peaceful, sustainable and successful societies.”

The winners were chosen from 10 finalists who will also receive honourable mentions during the ceremony. Readers will be able to see the live webcast at the.ismaili/live or by clicking on the link below.

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2017: Global Pluralism Award Winners

2017 Global Pluralism Award winners with Aga Khan
Clockwise from top left: 2017 Global Pluralism Award winners Leyner Palacios Asprilla of Colombia; Alice Wairimu Nderitu of Kenya; Daniel Webb of Australia; and winners as well as honourable mentions with His Highness the Aga Khan and Canada’s Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. The first edition of the Pluralism Award Ceremony was held on November 15, 2017 at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat (DII) building on Sussex Drive in Ottawa. The Global Centre for Pluralism headquarters is located 500 metres south of the DII. Formerly a war museum, the renovated building was inaugurated on May 16, 2017 – see photos, below. Photo: Copyright © Jean-Marc Carisse

Please see Barakah’s coverage of the 2017 Award Ceremony by clicking Exclusive photo essay – Aga Khan presides over ceremony to honour individuals dedicated to pluralism – the ideal of living together peacefully and respectfully

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2017: Global Centre for Pluralism Opening Ceremony

His Highness the Aga Khan and His Excellency David Johnston in a jovial mood joke as they unveil the commemorative plaque of the official opening on May 16, 2017 of the International Headquarters of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.
The international headquarters of the Global Centre for Pluralism located at 330 Sussex Drive in Canada's capital city, Ottawa.
The international headquarters of the Global Centre for Pluralism located at 330 Sussex Drive in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

Please see Barakah’s exclusive coverage of the opening ceremony by clicking Great photos of a “GREAT DAY” at 330 Sussex: Aga Khan and Canada’s Governor General open Global Centre for Pluralism

Date posted: November 21, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also 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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

Simerg and Barakah His Highness the Aga Khan is decorated on October 27, 1960 with Portugal's The Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator by Goa's Governor General H. E. Vassalo e Silva.

1960 and 2019 in the life of His Highness the Aga Khan: Honour by Portugal in Goa; and an inspirational wish in the City of Porto

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

In recent years, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, has received numerous honours from the Government and institutions of learning in Portugal. During his Diamond Jubilee visit to Portugal he established his Seat of Imamat in Lisbon, and declared on the morning of July 11, 2018, his 61st Imamat anniversary, that it be known as the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat. A darbar later in the afternoon was attended by more than 45,000 Ismailis from around the world, thus completing his Diamond Jubilee Year.

The Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator

Little is it known that Mawlana Hazar Imam was decorated by the Government of Portugal during his visit to Goa in October 1960, when Goa was still a Portuguese colony. India annexed Goa in December 1961, along with two other Portuguese territories of Daman and Diu in the Indian sub-continent. [1]

In going through the archives of my late dad, Jehangir Merchant, who passed away on May 27, 2018, I came across the complete English edition of a well preserved Goan newspaper called Heraldo. It is dated Monday, October 31, 1960 and records the honour of the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator that was bestowed on Mawlana Hazar Imam on October 27, as well as a detailed 2-page report of his visit.

Aga Khan in Goa Heraldo October 31, 1960, Simerg and Barakah
Report and a photograph of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Goa in the English edition of Heraldo dated October 31, 1960. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Archives.
Report on page 3 of Heraldo, dated October 31, 1960. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Archives.

Heraldo reported as follows on page 3 (see image, above):

“At a reception held at Cabo Palace in the night of October 27, His Excellency the Governor General [of Portuguese India], General Vassalo de Silva, decorated Prince Karim Aga Khan IV with the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator, which has been conferred on His Royal Highness by the Portuguese Government.

“In this connection, it is recalled that the family of the Aga Khan, notably his grandfather, and father, always showed friendly sentiments towards Portugal. When the late Prince Aly Khan [d. May 12, 1960], Prince Karim’s father, visited Lisbon he told journalists: ‘I have great admiration for the Portuguese and for Portugal’s mission in the world. I have no less admiration for your Prime Minister, whom I consider an extraordinary man in our age of vanity and subtleties. The whole world knows him’. He added, ‘Portugal is a beautiful country with pleasant and hospitable people’.”

The newspaper then continues:

“These sentiments have now been confirmed by Prince Karim, who very early in his career, visited Portugal in Goa. The Government of the Nation, in its turn, expressed appreciation of the Prince’s gesture by awarding him the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry.”

The Order of Prince Henry was a Portuguese order of knighthood that was created a few months earlier, on 2 June 1960, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator, one of the main initiators of the Age of Discovery.

His Highness the Aga Khan on being conferred with the Keys to the City of Porto

“I am 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.”

Mayor Rui Moreira presents the Keys of the City of Porto to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Simerg and Barakah
Mayor Rui Moreira presents the Keys of the City of Porto to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo: The Ismaili / 4SEE.

Almost 59 years after being knighted with The Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry, Mawlana Hazar Imam was conferred on May 2, 2019 with the keys of the beautiful Portuguese city of Porto. In response to the honour, he said:

“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,” and then Mawlana Hazar Imam made the following inspiring remarks, “but I am 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.”

Date posted: November 17, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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Notes:

[1] For a background of Ismaili settlement in Daman, please read Toral Pradhan’s excellent and highly informative piece on Barakah’s sister website Simerg.

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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also 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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

Aga Khan with Bill Clinton White House; Barakah and Simerg

Watch video: His Highness the Aga Khan at White House Conference on Culture and Diplomacy hosted by US President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton

“It is worthy to note that in almost  every speech that His Highness has made this century, the subject of pluralism has never failed to escape his vision for a better and more harmonious world. He has referred to it as being part of the cosmopolitan ethic, and as an Imam and a global citizen that he is, the Aga Khan represents the very best of that ethic through the mission that he has undertaken to serve humanity at large.” – Ottawa based photographer Jean-Marc Carisse in his photo piece Aga Khan presides over first pluralism award ceremony

His Highness the Aga Khan to preside over 2019 Global Pluralism Award

Aga Khan with winners of first pluralism Award
His Highness the Aga Khan with winners and honourable mentions of the first Pluralism Award held in Ottawa on November 15, 2017. Photo: © Jean-Marc Carisse.

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

On Wednesday November 20, 2019, three winners will be honoured at a ceremony in Ottawa for the second Global Pluralism Award. His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, will preside over the ceremony. The first award ceremony (see photo, above) was held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa on November 15, 2017 during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s first Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada. Barakah was present at the event.

Comprehensive Report: White House Conference on Culture and Diplomacy

Adapted from a report prepared by US DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Note: Video link follows report

Relevant to the subject of pluralism and ahead of the second Pluralism Award, we bring you a comprehensive report as well as a complete video of a thought provoking conference on culture and diplomacy which was hosted at the White House on November 28, 2000 by the then US President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hilary Clinton, Aga Khan, White House Conference, Barakah and Simerg
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton opens the White House Conference with His Highness the Aga Khan and other dignitaries looking on. Photo: US Department of State.

Introduction

The conference brought together a remarkable assemblage of nearly 200 cultural and artistic leaders from around the world who addressed a wide variety of issues, such as the vital role culture plays in diplomacy; the importance of preserving cultural diversity, sites, and artifacts; support for cultural expression in the developing world; the need for trust and equality in cultural exchange; the challenge of projecting to audiences abroad an accurate image of America’s cultural diversity; the need to improve understanding among Americans of the other cultures of the world; the central role played by language, especially English, in cultural exchanges; the untapped potential of the Internet to enhance international cultural understanding and communications; and the role of multinational companies, NGOs and multilateral organizations in promoting cultural understanding.

Key Themes

Throughout the day-long conference, panelists, President and the conference chair, Secretary of State Albright, repeatedly returned to several key themes to set the intellectual framework for the conference discussions:

• “Culture” is a central element of all relations among peoples because it relates to human creativity beyond the scope of politics.

• Programs in exchange and collaboration in the arts and cultural fields enable people to communicate on human terms, identifying the common elements that unite all human existence.

• President Clinton observed that “…..cultural diplomacy does have the power to penetrate our common humanity.” Cultural programs promote mutual understanding at the most basic level and help shape the context for all other official communications among nations.

• Cultural diversity exemplifies the vast wealth of human experience developed over the centuries and must be preserved. The wealthy societies of the earth which have the economic and technological means to explain their cultures should assist societies that are less visible internationally to share their cultural heritages.

• Education is the key to cultural understanding. Panelist Yo-Yo Ma quoted a Senegalese poet saying: “In the end we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. And we will understand only what we are taught.”

• Democracy is a core American cultural value which will be present in all of our cultural contacts with other countries. Respecting cultural diversity does not mean accepting uncivil or abusive practices which are explained as “culturally based.” Respect for universal human rights must go hand-in-hand with respect for cultural diversity.

• The United States has as much to learn from the rest of the world as we have to share. In the words of President Clinton, cultural exchanges “definitely should be a two-way street.”

White House Plenary Highlights Major Themes

White House Conference on Culture and Diplomacy. Participants President Clinton, His Highness the Aga Khan and others; Simerg and Barakah
Conference participants: l.-r.; Rita Dove, Yo-Yo Ma, Giovanna Melandri, Secretary Albright, President Clinton, His Highness the Aga Khan, Wole Soyinka, and Joan Spero. Photo: US Department of State.

Filling the East Room of the White House, the opening plenary drew upon the insights of the President and Mrs. Clinton, Secretary of State Albright and six panelists of international renown: His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims; Her Excellency Giovanna Melandri, Italian Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities; Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize-winning novelist from Nigeria; Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States; Yo-Yo Ma, cellist; and Joan Spero, President of the Doris Duke Foundation.

The Centrality of Cultural Diplomacy

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton opened the conference by underscoring that the arts and culture play a central role in the daily lives of all people. “It is the arts and humanities that give us roots,” she declared, “that foster our civil society and democracy, and create a universal language so that we can understand each other better as nations and human beings…”

“At a time,” she added, “when resources are scarce and fears of a global consumer culture that threatens to homogenize us all are on the rise, we are searching for new ways to share and preserve our unique cultures around the world.”

Observing that the time had come for such a conference, the First Lady said, “And many people understand that if we want history and identity to be preserved in the global marketplace, culture matters.” She added: “This conference grew out of the ongoing efforts by Secretary Albright and Under Secretary Evelyn Lieberman to ensure that culture is not marginal, but central to our diplomacy. And it grew out of many recommendations we’ve received about how to strengthen U.S. cultural life and understanding around the world, including the report done in 1997 by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, which specifically suggested a White House forum.”

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, conference chair, added: “Cultural factors play a pivotal role in many of the international challenges we face, from establishing rules for trade to finding common ground in the pursuit of peace.” She stressed that “… our cultural programs are central — and I underline that — central — to the success of American foreign policy.”

President Clinton provided the policy context for the conference by juxtaposing “… two apparently contradictory forces;” “… the emergence of a huge number of racial, religious, ethnic and tribal conflicts…” and “… worries that the global information society will rob artists of… their independent power to inform, enlighten and enrich.”

The President expressed his optimism that culture’s role will be positive, “… because it will teach us to understand our differences and affirm our common humanity.” The President argued that the Internet is not leading to the homogenization of language and society, citing the examples of people all over the world chatting on the Internet in Welsh, downloading fonts in Bengali, and ordering on-line courses in intensive Cherokee. He stressed that “… it is important that we understand and appreciate our differences, and then recognize, as important as they are, somehow we have to find a way to elevate our common humanity. That’s where cultural diplomacy comes in.”

He added that he did not agree that knowing more about one another’s culture dilutes the world’s cultures. Instead, the President stressed, “… American culture has been enriched by the rest of the world, and hopefully we’ve been a positive force on the rest of the world.” And that “… American art, in many ways, is the art of the rest of the world.”

Referring to the anxiety engendered among some groups by globalization, the President countered “… globalization, in the end, will be a force for diversity, not uniformity.”

The President underlined the obligations of the United States — to close the digital divide, include the poor in cultural exchange and ensure America’s contributions reflect our cultural diversity. He highlighted the use of public-private partnerships in meeting these goals in addition to the government commitment.

The President ended his comments with support for the legislation introduced by Representative James Leach and Senator Joseph R. Biden to create an endowment to support State Department cultural presentations.

Assisting Culture in the Developing World

According to His Highness the Aga Khan, creative artists in much of Asia and Africa do not live in economies “… in which they can survive from their commitments to culture.” In response, the President noted that America, with its resources and media access, can play a role in ending this deprivation and isolation. He stressed that more needs to be done to close the digital divide so that the poor of the world can exchange cultural information and participate in collaborative cultural projects. His Highness emphasized that more must be done to assist cultural and educational institutions in the developing world, particularly in Africa and Asia “… where the humanities are not really taught to a significant level in the universities…..”

Trust and Equality

Panel participants underscored the importance of overcoming cultural insularity through trust and human interaction based on equality. With trust, YoYo Ma noted, coexistence can evolve into coreliance. Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka offered the view that “Politics tend, I think, to have, as its first principle, the demonization of the other, whereas culture tends toward the humanization of the other.” He added, “… if the other side — politics — is merely dividing peoples, I think then other human activities, such as culture, have a right also to be romantic in that sense.”

Both Prof. Soyinka and Rita Dove felt that “cultural exchanges should be among equals.”

Preserving Cultural Diversity

Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage Giovanna Melandri highlighted the urgency of the challenge of preserving cultural diversity by stating, “If preserving the environment and biodiversity are in a way the last battles of an industrial society… preserving cultural diversity may be considered as the first challenge of the information society.” She noted that the risk of universal homogeneity could be overcome by using culture as a connecting link that leads to integration rather than assimilation. This effort, she said, calls for multilateral and bilateral cooperation.

The Limits of Business and the Role of Government

Former Under Secretary of State, Joan Spero, now President of the Doris Duke Foundation, pointed out that U.S. business has been effective in spreading American culture worldwide as a commercial enterprise and through contributions to nonprofit cultural exchange. On the other hand, she made it clear that “there are certain limitations to the role of business.” One is that business supports mainstream work that draws large audiences. Ms. Spero said that for this reason, she saw the role of the State Department and embassies as “generators of ideas, as conveners, as provocateurs…as marketing agents.” She said that the embassies must be used “not just in a financial sense, but in a creative, catalytic way.” It is the government and embassies that understand what can be useful abroad and “can support things that are controversial or things that are contemporary or not mainstream,” she concluded.

Language, the Internet and Cultural Communications

A lively exchange of views took place on the relationship between language and culture, as well as the impact of the Internet on communication among cultures. His Highness the Aga Khan urged assistance in making English more widespread as a means for cultures to express themselves and carry their rich messages to broader audiences. Rita Dove stressed the importance of language in cultural communications, noting that it is an amalgam of human experiences and difference. Poetry, she noted, was more useful than the mass media in defining our identities.

After the morning East Room session at the White House, the conference moved to the Westin Fairfax Hotel for workshops, following which Secretary Albright chaired a plenary session during which she received the rapporteurs’ reports on the workshop discussions.

C-Span video with complete remarks by President Clinton and His Highness the Aga Khan

Please click here or on photo below to watch video

Video White House Conference on Diplomacy attended by Aga Khan, Barakah and Simerg
Please click on image for link to complete video including remarks made by His Highness the Aga Khan. Readers will also be able to zero-in on transcripts of remarks made by each participant. Photo: AKDN / Mansur Saleh.

Date posted: November 14, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also 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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

Aga Khan and Macron at Elysee Palace Featured Photo

Reports and Tweets: His Highness the Aga Khan at the 2019 Paris Peace Forum

“In my experience, the vital conditions for stability in the world today include an emphasis on local participation, the promotion of pluralism, and a strengthening of Civil Society organisations. I am pleased that the Aga Khan Development Network is once again partnering with the Paris Peace Forum and that the Global Centre for Pluralism is also hosting an event at this year’s Forum. Pluralism is certainly a central component for peace and progress.” – His Highness the Aga Khan

November 13, 2019: Global Centre for Pluralism at Paris Peace Forum

Global Centre for Pluralism’s Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie (2nd from left) participating in a discussion at the Paris Peace Forum. Please see her other thought-provoking tweets on the subject of pluralism.

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November 12, 2019: Aga Khan at Paris Peace Forum

Emmanuel Macron, Aga Khan,  Paul Biya at Paris Peace Forum, Barakah and Simerg
President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to the opening session of the Paris Peace Forum while President Paul Biya of Cameroon looks on. Photo: AKDN / Cécile Genest.

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In tweet photo shown above, Mawlana Hazar Imam is seen seated 4th from left behind the speaker, Ursula von der Lyden, who is the President-elect of the European Commission. Others in photo include the Presidents Macron of France (left) and Rahmon of Tajikistan (2nd from left).

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France’s President Macron addressing world and organizational leaders, including Mawlana Hazar Imam, at the official opening session of the 2019 Paris Peace Forum.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam with Sebastian Groth before the start of the 2019 Paris Peace Forum.

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November 11, 2019: Aga Khan at Élysée Palace

His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, received by President Emmanuel Macron at Élysée Palace, Paris Peace Forum, Barakah
President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to the Élysée Palace for a dinner reception ahead of the 2nd edition of the Paris Peace Forum which will be officially opened on November 12, 2019. Photo: The Ismaili / Cécile Genest.

On November 11, 2019, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan joined a gathering of world leaders for a dinner reception hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace, the official residence of the President. The event was held ahead of the second Paris Peace Forum to begin on November 12 at which His Highness the Aga Khan and key players in his network will participate.

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November 6, 2019: Aga Khan Meets Tajikistan President

The 2019 edition of the Forum is being attended by more than 20 world leaders. On November 6, Mawlana Hazar Imam met in Paris with Tajikistan’s President, Mr. Emomali Rahmon, who is on an official visit to France. President Rahmon and Mawlana Hazar Imam discussed areas of regional cooperation and AKDN’s shared agenda to promote social and economic development in Central Asia.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan with President Rahmon of Tajikistan ahead of Paris Peace Forum, Barakah and Simerg
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured on November 6, 2019 with President Rahmon of Tajikistan ahead of the the second edition of Paris Peace Forum to be held from November 12-14, 2019. The President is on an official visit to France during which he will also attend the Paris Peace Forum. Photo: The Ismaili / Cécile Genest.

This post will carry updates of the 2019 edition of the Paris Peace Forum.

Date posted: November 13, 2019.

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Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 180 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also 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 and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

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