COMPILED BY MALIK MERCHANT
(updates to follow)

“I reiterate my profound appreciation for our own partnership, and for honouring me and by extension the Ismaili Imamat and the AKDN, especially as this honour comes during my Diamond Jubilee year, marking 60 years as the 49th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims worldwide. Our commitment to Portugal reflects our deep respect for this country and our deep affection for its people.” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Lisbon, July 20, 2017.

Aga Khan Arrives in PortugalMawlana 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. Photo: The Ismaili

His Highness the Aga Khan received one of Portugal’s highest honours –- the Gra-cruz da ordem de Liberdade, or Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty –- in recognition of his service to uplifting lives around the world. Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa bestowed the Aga Khan with this honour during a ceremony held at Lisbon’s Belem Palace.

The creation of the Order of Liberty was the result of a historic event of enormous importance to Portugal, the revolution of April 25, 1974. Its aim was to recognize those individuals who stood for the defense of noble ideals such as democracy and freedom and for their devotion to the cause of human rights and social justice. Subsequently, legislation was modified for the Order of Liberty to  refer to the defense of the values of civilization, of dignity and freedom.

July 20 2017 Aga Khan and Portugal PresidentPortugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa presents 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.

The Aga Khan was in Lisbon at the invitation of the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa to receive an Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) for his longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for some of the world’s vulnerable populations as well as for his efforts to promote respect for tolerance and pluralism. This visit was the first official public event for the Aga Khan since the launch of his Diamond Jubilee year on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, which marked 60 years as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community.

Aga Khan Universidade NOVA de Lisboa number 1Universidade NOVA de Lisboa honours His Highness the Aga Khan with the Honoris Causa Doctorate. 

Aga Khan Universidade NOVA de Lisboa 02Universidade NOVA de Lisboa honours His Highness the Aga Khan with the Honoris Causa Doctorate. 

Aga Khan Universidade NOVA de Lisboa 05Universidade NOVA de Lisboa honours His Highness the Aga Khan with the Honoris Causa Doctorate.

Aga Khan Universidade NOVA de Lisboa 00Professor Daniel Traça Dean of Nova’s School of Business and Economics , delivers the laudation at the ceremony honouring His Highness the Aga Khan with the Honoris Causa Doctorate.

Aga Khan Universidade NOVA de LisboaPortugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa congratulates His Highness the Aga Khan after the Universidade NOVA de Lisboahe confers him with the Honoris Causa Doctorate. 

Universidade NOVA de Lisboa was founded on the 11th of August 1973, and is the youngest of Lisbon’s three state Universities. The Aga Khan however noted that although young compared against the more than 700-year history of higher education in Portugal, the university “has quickly developed a truly outstanding reputation for the quality of its teaching and scholarship, and for its pluralistic, global outlook – foundations that will last for centuries.”

Aga Khan Universidade NOVA de Lisboa 01The Aga Khan presents his address after being honoured with the Honoris Causa Doctorate by Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

The Aga Khan also mentioned he always felt at home in Portugal, and “ever more so since the signing in 2015 of an historic Agreement between the Ismaili Imamat and Portuguese Republic to establish the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in this country – an important milestone in the 1,400-year history of the Ismaili Imamat. It marks the culmination of our long and deep relationship here and one that will now deepen further.”  He added that “while we work in 30 countries, we hold an enduring affinity for Portugal and its institutions, its history and its people. And the historic Palacete Henrique Mendonca will become the most fitting host for the Seat.”

Date posted: July 20, 2017.

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