Latest News: Prince Amyn Aga Khan Reflects on The Ismaili Centre Houston as City Bestows Him with Honorary Citizenship; Mawlana Hazar Imam Celebrates Imamat Day with His Family; Prince Rahim Reaffirms Commitment of Ismaili Imamat to Afghanistan; and More

Reports on this page compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergphotosSimerg and Barakah

Barakah, a website dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat launched this page on July 13, 2021 to highlight the latest news on Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family that is published in the official websites of the Ismaili Imamat, the world media as well as social-media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Where copyright restrictions do not allow us to publish the information posted at source, we will endeavour to provide links to the news items published on external websites (some websites may require a paid subscription).

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August 11, 2022: Prince Amyn Aga Khan and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Reflect on the Ismaili Center Houston

Prince Amyn Aga Khan speaking in Houston Texas on August 11, 2022. He was joined by Sylvester Turner Mayor of Houston to review the development of the Ismaili Center Houston.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan shares his reflections on The Ismaili Center Houston at a development luncheon held in downtown Houston on Thursday, August 11, 2022. Photograps: Akbar Hakim/IPL.

“The Ismaili Center is an ambitious project not just for the Ismaili Muslim community, but for all Houstonians…[It] is intended to be a resource for all Houstonians as a place to come together with local, national, and international partners — many of whom are here today — to enhance the vibrant nature and rich cultural tapestry of this city,” said Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at the Ismaili Center’s development luncheon held in downtown Houston on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

In his welcome address, Al-Karim Alidina, the President of His Highness the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the USA, expressed the Ismaili community’s gratitude to Mawlana Hazar Imam for establishing the first high-profile Center in the United States.

Honourable Sylvester Turner Mayor of Houston with Prince Amyn Aga Khan Ismaili Centre review
Prince Amyn Aga Khan was joined by Houston’s Mayor, the Honourable Sylvester Turner, on Thursday August 11, 2022, to review the development of the Ismaili Centre Houston. Photograph: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Facebook page.

Houston’s Mayor, the Honorable Sylvester Turner, said on his Facebook page: “I joined Prince Amyn Aga Khan today [August 11, 2022] for The Ismaili Center Houston development luncheon. The Center will be a place where Houstonians of all backgrounds come together to strengthen and forge new bonds as they work together.”

In his address at the luncheon, the Mayor said, “The Ismaili Center Houston will be a magnificent building, both physically — with its landmark architecture, picturesque gardens, and ingenious design — and societally speaking, through its impact on Houston, across Texas, and throughout the United States.”

The Mayor also commended the strong Ismaili community in Houston during an exclusive interview with The Ismaili TV. He said:

“I do want to underscore the importance of the Ismaili community to the city of Houston. On every single occasion when we needed people to step up and be volunteers, the Ismaili community has been one of the first groups to raise their hand and say ‘Mayor, you can count on us.’ So for that, we are extremely proud and grateful.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner introduces Prince Amyn to Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner; August 11, 2022.
Mayor Sylvester Turner introduces Prince Amyn Aga Khan to Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner; August 11, 2022. Photograph: Akbar Hakim/IPL

The Houston Ismaili Center, which is now in its construction phase, will join other Ismaili Centers in London, Vancouver, Lisbon, Dubai, Dushanbe, and Toronto  in seeking to create environments that encourage mutual understanding and facilitate the sharing of perspectives across peoples of diverse faiths, traditions, and origins.

Located across Buffalo Bayou, The Ismaili Center Houston will also seek to promote greater understanding about Islam, Muslims, and their history and civilizations, as well as of the Ismaili community, by highlighting shared values and experiences. It will also host public programs that foster dialogue, explore new ideas, celebrate knowledge, and encourage civic activity.

His Highness the Aga Khan speaking in Sugarland Texas on June 23, 2002
Guests attending the review of the development of the Ismaili Center Houston that was held in Houston’s downtown on August 11, 2022, hear reflections from an address delivered by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at the inauguration of The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, in Sugar Land, Texas, on June 23, 2002. Photograph: Akbar Hakim/IPL. Read speech by clicking HERE.

Like other Ismailis Centres around the world, the Jamatkhana component of the Center will be place of religious and social gathering as well as spiritual contemplation for the Ismaili Jamat (community).

Houston was recently declared the most diverse city in the United States. As the fourth most populous city in the country (2022 population of Metro Houston  6,603,000), it also boasts a fast-growing artistic and cultural scene. The Center will enable the Jamat to play a greater part in this growth.

“I have always believed that art and culture are effective ways to connect communities, and one of the Center’s objectives will be to offer the highest caliber of cultural programming and promote cultural dialogue, which are all key elements of enhancing one’s quality of life,” said Prince Amyn. “The dialogue between cultures has forever existed as a result of man’s urge and need to travel, to discover, to meet people, to share experiences, to buy and to sell. Cultural dialogue unites by showing, by underlining what we share despite our apparent differences,” he added.

External links:

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August 8, 2022: Prince Amyn Aga Khan Bestowed with Honorary Citizenship of Houston and Appointed as City’s Goodwill Ambassador

Prince Amyn Aga Khan Honorary Citizen of Houston
Prince Amyn Aga Khan receives Honorary Citizenship of Houston from the City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on August 7, 2022. Photograph: Akbar Hakim/IPL.

The Ismaili, the official website of the Ismaili community reports that Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, was presented with the Honorary Citizenship of Houston when he met with the city’s Mayor, the Honorable Sylvester Turner, at City Hall shortly after his arrival in the city.

Prince Amyn is visiting Houston to review progress on the construction of the Ismaili Center, Houston, across from Buffalo Bayou Park in the heart of Houston. Commissioned by Mawlana Hazar Imam, the design for the Ismaili Center was presented to the public on November 15, 2021 at a gathering of government and civic officials, community representatives and leaders from civil society organizations.

Mayor Turner issued the following message on his Facebook page:

“Today, I welcomed Prince Amyn Aga Khan to Houston and bestowed an Honorary Citizenship to the City of Houston in recognition of his “unselfish public service for the benefit and welfare of humanity,” and selected him as a Goodwill Ambassador of Houston. Prince Amyn exemplifies the values of pluralism and inclusivity that also make the City of Houston one of the most diverse metropolitans in the world. I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Ismaili Imamat and the Ismaili community here to build bridges of friendships.”

As a token of his high esteem, Mayor Turner also appointed Prince Amyn as a Goodwill Ambassador of the City of Houston.

On Thursday, August 11, Prince Amyn will be joined by Turner Mayor a luncheon with civil society leaders and elected officials, where they will share reflections on the Ismaili Center, Houston. The event will be live streamed at the following times (Click here for more details).

External Links:

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July 11, 2022: Mawlana Hazar Imam Celebrates Imamat Day with His Family

The.Ismaili, the official website of the Ismaili Muslim community, has published exclusive photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family taken on 11 July 2022, to mark the 65th Imamat Day of our beloved Imam-of-the-Time. We are pleased to reproduce the two photos in this post as part of our on-going news coverage of Mawlana Hazar Imam and members of his family.

Aga Khan on July 11 2022 in Lisbon
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at his Lisbon residence on the occasion of his 65th Imamat Day, 11 July 2022. Photograph: Fernando Costa/IPL via The Ismaili.

Aga Khan with members of his family Lisbon July 11 2022 Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, with his younger brother Prince Amyn, and children, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim, Prince Hussain, and Prince Aly Muhammad, on Imamat Day, 11 July 2022. Photograph: Fernando Costa/IPL via The Ismaili.
Alam or standard presented to the Aga Khan, Imamat Day July 11 2022 Barakah and Simerg

Note: A selection of beautiful photographs and description of the ‘Alam (Standard) that was presented to Mawlana Hazar Imam for his 65th Imamat Day are covered in a separate post (please click HERE or on image at left.)

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July 8, 2022: Members of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Family Attend Open Air-Concert at Lisbon’s São Jorge Castle

Aga Khan Master Musicians perform in Lisbon
Prince Amyn, Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad are joined by guests and members of the public at a concert performed by the Aga Khan Master Musicians in the spectacular surroundings of the São Jorge Castle in Lisbon; July 8, 2022. Photo: Fernando Costa/IPL.

In its issue dated July 22, 2022, The.Ismaili, the official website of the Ismaili Muslim community, repors that on July 8, Prince Amyn, Prince Hussain, and Prince Aly Muhammad attended a special open-air concert by the Aga Khan Master Musicians at Lisbons’s spectacular São Jorge Castle. The concert came about via a partnership between the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal; the Aga Khan Music Programme; and EGEAC, the agency responsible for cultural equipment and programming in Lisbon. The aim was to offer an evening of musical delights to citizens and visitors in Lisbon. The Aga Khan Master Musicians look forward to resuming their regular performance schedule, and playing in unique venues and settings like the one in Lisbon. this one  after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Distinguished guests to the live event, included President of the Portuguese Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Mayor of Lisbon Carlos Moedas, and Minister of Justice Catarina Sarmento e Castro.

Aga Khan Master Musicians perform in Lisbon in the presence of Prince Amyn Aga Kha, Prince Hussain Aga Khan and Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan
Aga Khan Master Musicians open-air concert on July 8, 2022 at Lisbon’s São Jorge Castle Clockwise from top left: Prince Amyn Aga Khan welcomes Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa; Prince Hussain in conversation with Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas (right); Joana Gomes Cardoso, President of EGEAC (centre); and Antónia Amaral, director of Castelo São Jorge; the music artists and guests pose for a group photograph after the concert; and Prince Aly Muhammad congratulates guest artist Marco Oliveira following his performance with the Aga Khan Master Musicians. Photos: Fernando Costa/IPL.

Formed in 2016, the Aga Khan Master Musicians contribute to the work of the Aga Khan Music Programme (AKMP) and its mission to reinvigorate cultural pluralism and tolerance. They create music inspired by their own deep roots in the cultures of the Middle East, Mediterranean, South and Central Asia, and China. They were joined at the event by special Portuguese guests Ricardo Parreira, Marco Oliveira, and Vicente Magalhães – respected artists in the genres of classical, jazz, and fado, respectively. The Master Musicians and guest artists combined to present an original body of work – this was the first time their unique combination of instruments appeared on the same stage.

Complete coverage with more photos at The.Ismaili.

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June 28, 2022: Prince Rahim Aga Khan Leads Imamat Delegation to UN Ocean Conference

Prince Rahim Aga Khan at UN Ocean Conference held in Lisbon in
A group photo of world leaders and dignitaries of the United Nations 2022 Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. At sixth from left is Secretary-General António Guterres. Standing on 4th row, 7th from left, is Prince Rahim Aga Khan. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe. Click on photo to enlarge.

The following report is compiled from the Ismaili and the news section of the United Nations websites.

The official website of the Ismaili Muslim community, the Ismaili reported on June 28, 2022 that an Ismaili Imamat delegation led by Prince Rahim attended the Ocean Conference in Lisbon at the invitation of the United Nations (UN).

The weeklong UN Ocean Conference that concluded on July 1, 2022 was co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal and came at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference sought to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

Members of the Aga Khan Family at UN Conference on Oceans on Lisbon, Barakah
Clockwise from top left: Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa greets Prince Rahim and Prince Hussain at a dinner he hosted on the occasion of the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon; Prince Rahim in conversation with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon; Prince Hussain explains the story behind one of his photographs in the Fragile Beauty exhibition at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon; and Prince Aly Muhammad in conversation with Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon, at the United Nations Ocean Conference; all photos dated June 27, 2022. Photos: Humberto Caldas/AKDN. Collage prepared by Barakah.

Representing the Ismaili Imamat, Prince Rahim was accompanied by Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad, and senior AKDN leaders. An exhibition of Prince Hussain’s marine photography, Fragile Beauty, was on display at the Portugal Pavilion as an official side event of the conference. An exhibition was also on display at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon, open to the Jamat and public. The exhibition was dedicated to Sylvia Earle, the accomplished 86-year-old marine biologist, oceanographer, and explorer, who has made great strides to protect the ocean and its wildlife.

Having spent many years swimming alongside dolphins, turtles, sharks, whales and more, Prince Hussain has noticed with sorrow the increasingly rapid degradation of our oceans. He has said: “Over the five decades of my own life, I have been heartbroken to see how our oceans have become so clogged up by plastic and other forms of pollution and waste… Coastal areas I visited as a child are unrecognisable today – the wildlife is suffocating and the coastal economies are stagnating. It is clear to me that we have to act now before it is too late.” (Read more at THE ISMAILI WEBSITE and also read the conference’s declaration to save our ocean HERE).

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June 18, 2022: Princess Zahra Aga Khan Conveys Special Message from Mawlana Hazar Imam at the University of Central Asia’s 2022 Graduation Ceremonies

UCA Graduation 2022, Princess Zahra Aga Khan
Three generations of the family admiring the UCA degree. Photograph: UCA News, Special Convocation Isuue, July 2022.

On June 18 2022, amid the majestic mountains of the Pamirs and Tien Shan, the graduation ceremonies at the two University of Central Asia (UCA) campuses at Naryn and Khorog brought together parents, faculty and many distinguished guests who came to congratulate the students for their academic achievements and promises of successes yet to come.

On behalf of the Chancellor, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, who is also a trustee of UCA, conveyed a special message of congratulations. The following excerpts from Princess Zahra’s speech have been adapted from UCA’s excellent special convocation issue of UCA News.

“May I take this opportunity to highlight some extraordinary achievements of UCA that are likely to have a significant impact on the socio-economic development of Central Asia. The several collaborative agreements UCA has signed with the various ministries are making a valuable contribution towards helping to promote and achieve national development agendas through public-private partnerships.

“Climate change is a global problem, but solutions and adaptation measures have to be locally defined and implemented. The reason that UCA teaches Earth and Environmental Sciences is that climate change will affect Central Asia as it will the rest of the planet. This sad reality will have several outcomes for the students of UCA. First Of all, it will affect your daily lives and your families. It will force changes to the way you grow and distribute food; to your approach towards resources; and to the way you will build house in the future. It will also create a raft of new jobs and careers that will be essential in the decades to come. Not only will this area, like others, require technicians and engineers who are capable of adapting daily life to a new and different reality, but it will also force changes to architecture, transport, forestry management, water conservation, livestock management, trade, and effectively all areas of daily life. Most importantly, you, the students of today, will be the scientists of tomorrow.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan University of Central Asia Graduation Ceremony
Princess Zahra Aga Khan speaking remotely to the 2022 graduates of the University of Central Asia. Photograph: Clip from video of the speech, AKDN.

“It is the Chancellor’s hope that the graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences will not only find employment opportunities in the region, but also that the graduates will themselves create employment opportunities and successful businesses to invigorate the economy of the entire region. Building an active and successful economic environment will improve the lives of all communities and add to social stability and wellbeing for all.

“As you continue your professional journey, our hopes and aspirations go with you. Ultimately, UCA’s success will be measured by the success of its graduates. No effort has been spared to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable you to thrive in a rapidly changing world, and it is our dearest hope that you will underpin your professional growth with the values of pluralism, pluralism, responsible citizenship, and ethical leadership.”

External links:

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May 12, 2022: Prince Rahim Aga Khan Welcomes Monsignor Peña Parra of the Vatican to the Ismaili Centre Lisbon

The official website of the Ismaili Muslim community, the Ismaili reports that on May 12, 2022, signor Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Secretariat of State at the Vatican, was welcomed to the Ismaili Centre Lisbon by Prince Rahim, accompanied by Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal, and Rahim Firozali, President of the Ismaili Council for Portugal.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Secretariat of State at the Vatican. Photo: Raquel Wise / AKDN
Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Monsignor Peña Parra walk through the courtyard garden at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Monsignor Peña Parra walk through the courtyard garden at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon. Photo: Raquel Wise/AKDN.

The meeting offered an opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the international context in regions of the world where the Ismaili Imamat and the Holy See have a strong presence, the activities of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) around the world, and the relationship between the Ismaili Imamat and Portugal. In particular, they discussed pathways of cooperation for the improvement of the quality of life of populations in Lusophone countries and in other regions of the world. 

Monsignor Peña Parra is visiting Portugal to inaugurate venues for the celebrations of World Youth Day, due to take place in Lisbon in August 2023, and to lead the ceremonies to commemorate the apparitions at the Shrine of Fátima (Mary). During his visit, he will also meet with the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Prime Minister António Costa.

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April 21, 2022: Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Prince Hussain Attend Iftar Dinner at Ismaili Centre Lisbon

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Prince Hussain at Itfar Ismaili Centre Lisbon, Barakah.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan in conversation with Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as Prince Hussain looks on at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon, on 21 April 2022. Photo: PHOTO: JORGE SIMÃO / IPL.

On April 21, 2022, the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon hosted an Iftar dinner at which least 12 different religious traditions were represented, including attendees from the Muslim community in Lisbon, the Hindu community, the Buddhist Union, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Religious Freedom Commission. Diplomats from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the European Union were also present. The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, was also present along with Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Prince Hussain. Iftar is the meal served to bring people together at the end of a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan. Guests in attendance were invited to break the Ramadhan fast soon after sunset with dates, dried fruits, nuts, and water, as is tradition. A rendition of ‘Bismillah’ was performed by the Portugal Ismaili Choir to mark the time of Iftar.

Video: The Portuguese President’s Inspiring Remarks at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon on the Occasion of the Breaking of the Ramadhan Fast

Ramadan is a time of contemplation and piety through good deeds such as charitable giving and voluntary service. It is an important time to reflect on our duty to the needy in society. In light of this, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa remarked: “This holy month is viewed by various communities of Muslims around the world as a comprehensive tool for change in various spheres of our lives including the social, spiritual, intellectual, humanitarian, the inner, and the outer. Portugal and the people of Portugal share with the Ismaili community the fundamental objective of doing whatever we can to improve the dignity of human life.”

Guests enjoyed an eclectic Iftar dinner — itself a celebration of culture and pluralism — featuring a mix of dishes from South Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. “Gatherings such as this one, of unity and understanding, are needed now more than ever,” remarked Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal.

The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Nazim Ahmed, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal and Prince Hussain Aga Khan at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon for the Itfar dinner, April 21, 2022, Barakah
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Nazim Ahmed, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal, and Prince Hussain Aga Khan at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon for the Iftar dinner, April 21, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figueiredo Lopes/Presidency of the Republic of Portugal.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, and Nazim Ahmed, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon for the Itfar dinner, April 21, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figueiredo Lopez/Presidency of the Republic of Portugal.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is joined by Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Prince Hussain and Ismaili leaders at the Iftar dinner held at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon on April 21, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figueiredo Lopes/Presidency of the Republic of Portugal.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, and Nazim Ahmed, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon for the Itfar dinner, April 21, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figueiredo Lopez/Presidency of the Republic of Portugal.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Nazim Ahmed, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal, at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon for the Iftar dinner, April 21, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figueiredo Lopes/Presidency of the Republic of Portugal.

Reports and photos have been compiled from The Ismaili and the website of the Portugal Presidency

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April 11, 2022: Princess Zahra Aga Khan in Dar es Salaam for New Cancer Treatment Centre

Click for story in The Citizen

The Citizen Tanzania reports that the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has officially launched the construction of its state-of-the-art Cancer Treatment Centre. The Tanzanian Health minister Ummy Mwalimu and Princess Zahra Aga Khan laid the foundation stone for the Cancer Centre. Please click Aga Khan constructing Sh13.8bn Cancer Centre in Dar es Salaam for full report and photos of the event. Also, see following tweets.

TWEETS RELATED TO THE EVENT

Coverage at AKDN

Complete coverage of the foundation laying ceremony, including a press release, photos and speeches made by the Tanzanian Health Minister and Princess Zahra can be read by clicking on AKDN: Foundation stone laid for Tanzanian cancer care centre, 1.7m to benefit.

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March 31, 2022: Statement by Prince Rahim Aga Khan at Afghanistan Conference

On March 31, 2022 at a virtual conference convened by UN Secretary General António Guterres to address Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis, Prince Rahim Aga Khan, speaking on behalf of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, affirmed the “unfailing commitment of the Ismaili Imamat and the AKDN to the people of Afghanistan.”

He said: “Since August [2021], despite huge challenges, in cooperation with UN agencies, the Aga Khan Development Network has maintained its life-saving work across Afghanistan: keeping its hospitals and clinics open; assisting communities with food, shelter and livelihoods; and continuing to help thousands of children of both genders to access learning. Our experience over the past three decades, along with generous support from many international partners, has taught us to believe deeply in the capacity of Afghans, in their pluralism, and in the strength of their vibrant, diverse communities. They have shown time and again that they are resilient and resourceful, but today, they need help.”

Please read the press release, and Prince Rahim’s complete statement at AKDN, as well as watch his statement below. The press release of the UNSG’s statement at the conference can be read HERE.

The Afghanistan People Need Help….and Urgent and Practical Attention

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March 30, 2022: Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Prince Hussain Welcome President of Greece as She Meets Refugees at Ismaili Centre Lisbon

Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Prince Hussain and President of Greece at Ismaili Centre Lisbon, Barakah.com
Princess Zahra Aga Khan, her brother Prince Hussain, and Nazim Ahmad welcome Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of Greece, to the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon, on March 30, 2022. Photo: IPL / Luis Filipe Catarin

Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the first woman to be elected President of Greece, visited the Ismaili Centre Lisbon on March 30, 2022 and met with refugee families who have arrived in Portugal from Greece in recent months. Princess Zahra Aga Khan and her brother Prince Hussain received the President on her arrival.

Over the past three years, according to the International Rescue Committee, Greece has taken in over 50,000 refugees from the Middle East and South and Central Asia, hoping to escape conflict and poverty, and find a safe, secure new home. Hundreds of refugees have arrived in Portugal from Greece. One of the refugees the President met was 13-year-old Arezu Kabuli from Afghanistan who has been awarded a scholarship to study at the International School of Boston, starting autumn 2022.

In recent years, the government of Portugal has prioritised the reception and integration of refugees, and works with local authorities and civil society in a continuous effort to support this commitment. Speaking of the newly arrived families in Portugal, Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal, expressed his greetings to them, affirming that, “we shall continue to do all that we can to assist in their integration and in starting a new life at our side, as members of our community that they now are.”

Please read complete report with more photos at The Ismaili: Ms Katerina Sakellaropoulou, visits the Ismaili Centre Lisbon

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March 26, 2022: Prince Hussain Aga Khan Attends Blood Donor Clinic at Ismaili Centre Lisbon

Prince Hussain Aga Khan at blood donor clinic at Lisbon's Ismaili Centre, Barakah
Prince Hussain Aga Khan (centre) joins Jamati, AKDN, and Government leaders, including Dr Marta Temido, Portugal’s Minister for Health (pictured at left of Prince Hussain), and health professionals at the pop-up clinic organised by Ismaili CIVIC at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon on 26 March 2022. Photo: Luis Filipe Catarino/IPL.

Ismaili CIVIC Portugal hosted a blood donation campaign on March 26, 2022 at the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon. The Portuguese Minister for Health and Prince Hussain attended the pop-up clinic, organised to boost blood reserves in the country. Dr Marta Temido, Portugal’s Minister for Health was welcomed to the Ismaili Centre by Prince Hussain, and spoke of her admiration for Ismaili CIVIC volunteers. “Today, we are marking an initiative of the Ismaili Community in Portugal and the IPST in order to appeal for donation and to mark tomorrow’s Blood Donor day,” she said.

Volunteer Karim Rahimo has donated blood on separate 3 occasions in the last year. “I am a regular donor because I feel it is my civic duty, and it doesn’t cost me anything,” he said. “It feels very good to donate as part of a global initiative via Ismaili CIVIC – I usually donate in other contexts but it feels even better to do so with my community.”

Please read complete report with more photos at The Ismaili: Blood Donor Clinic

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March 17-19, 2022: Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Mozambique

Day 3: March 19, 2022

Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Mozambique, inaugration of Aga Khan Academy by Presidents of Portugal and Mozambique
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa unveil the inaugural plaque of the Aga Khan Academy Maputo, as Prince Rahim looks on. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

At a special event held in Maputo on Saturday March 19, 2022, the Aga Khan Academy Maputo was inaugurated by Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal, in the presence of Prince Rahim Aga Khan. Hosted at the school’s newly opened Commons building, the inauguration was attended by students and staff of the school; government and state officials; representatives of faith communities, businesses, and civil society; and leaders of the Jamat and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

Story continues after photo and video

Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Mozambique for the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy by the Presidents of Portgal and Mozambique
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi signs the guestbook at the Aga Khan Academy, as Prince Rahim and Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa look on. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

WATCH VIDEO OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE AGA KHAN ACADEMY

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The Portuguese newspaper Obsevador in its report noted that the Presidents of both Mozambique and Portugal applauded the partnership that the two countries maintain with the Ismaili Muslim community. According to the paper, the Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, praised “the vision of His Highness Aga Khan”, and his message of humanism and fraternity. The President said that “there are millions of children and young people around the world who cannot attend an academy like this. [And that] they have to be the best to respond to this opportunity that others don’t have. And then, the best to build Mozambique, a Mozambique open to all religions, to those who have no religion, to all opinions, to all dreams, to all projects for the future. That is your duty”, he told the students of the Academy.

Story continues below

Aga Khan Academy Maputo inaugurated in the presence of Prince Rahim Aga Khan by the Presidents of Mozambique and Portugal, Barakah
In 2000, His Highness the Aga Khan initiated the establishment of the Aga Khan Academies. Maputo is the third campus, after Mombasa, Kenya (2003) and Hyderabad, India (2011), with the Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh opening later in 2022. Maputo’s Academy comprises 336 students, who represent 23 nationalities from across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. Photo: AKDN.
Aga Khan Academy Maputo inaugurated in the presence of Prince Rahim Aga Khan by the Presidents of Mozambique and Portugal, Barakah
The Academy’s 22-hectare site was kindly donated by the Mozambican government and was designed by leading architects. The Academy offers students an inspirational learning environment, and residential and sports facilities for students aged 3 to 18. All students are encouraged to become intellectually curious, globally-minded citizens of the world with strong ethical values to complement their academic ability. The school’s buildings and grounds are purpose-built to provide world-class facilities for students and staff­. These include classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, well-equipped libraries, extensive sports facilities, and spaces for arts, music, and performance .Photo: AKDN/Tammy Goldswain

President Filipe Nyusi commended the presence of an Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, along with other ongoing AKDN initiatives in the country. “We have been following the positive impact of various socio-economic projects undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network, which greatly contribute to the progress of Mozambique, in line with our country’s own development programme,” he said.

According to Obsevador, President Nyusi suggested that AKDN should invest in a hospital, in order to fill the gaps in health in the country. “Even if it’s only a third of this school”, said the head of state in his remarks.

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan visits Mozambique for the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy. He is welcoming Former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano
Former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano is welcomed to the inauguration ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy by Prince Rahim Aga Khan. Photo: Akbar/ Hakim/IPL
Prince Rahim Aga Khan visits Mozambique for inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy
Prince Rahim Aga Khan addresses guests gathered for the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy Maputo on March 19, 2022. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

In his remarks, Prince Rahim spoke of the vision of the Academy and the Aga Khan Curricular Strands which make the school unique.

“As a centre of excellence,” he said, “this Academy will equip its students with the tools needed to be competitive and to thrive, as they go on to their universities and then enter the arena of adult life. And it will teach them to push themselves to be the best they can possibly be.”

The Aga Khan Academies aim to develop future leaders with the skills and knowledge to support positive development in their societies. To achieve this, they recruit exceptional young people from all backgrounds regardless of socio-economic means, and provide them with the highest international standard of education. 

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan addresses guests gathered for the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy Maputo on March 19, 2022, with the flags of Portugal, Mozambique (centre) and the Ismaili Imamat behind him. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL
Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Mozambique for inauguration of Aga Khan Academy
Prince Rahim, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi join students, staff and other guests for photographs at the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy Maputo. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

“The wide geographic spread of the Academies is by design,” said Prince Rahim, “to allow students and staff to seamlessly travel to Academies in other countries, see different cultures, and build an appreciation and a love for them.”

Prince Rahim joined President Nyusi and President Rebelo de Sousa as they unveiled the inaugural plaque before taking a tour of the Academy campus.

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MORE PHOTO COVERAGE

Special Photo Album of the Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy from the Presidency of Portugal

Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal
Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo, March 19, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figuerido Lopes/Presidency of Portugal

External links

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Day 2: March 18, 2022

This section covers via text and/or photos brief summaries of Prince Rahim’s visit to (1) the Maputo Jamatkhana and (2) the Aga Khan Academy ahead of its inauguration on Saturday, March 19, 2022.

Prince Rahim is greeted by Bait-ul Ilm students upon arrival to Maputo Jamatkhana on 18 March 2022, Barakah Aga Khan
Prince Rahim Aga Khan is greeted by Bait-ul Ilm students upon arrival to Maputo Jamatkhana on March 18, 2022. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL
Prince Rahim Aga Khan surveys an art piece prepared by Bait-ul Ilm students during a tour of the religious education centre at Maputo Jamatkhana, Barakah Textual and Visual expressions, Malik Merchant
Prince Rahim Aga Khan surveys an art piece prepared by Bait-ul Ilm students during a tour of the religious education centre at Maputo Jamatkhana. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

(1) Situated in the heart of Mozambique’s capital, along the Indian Ocean coast, Maputo Jamatkhana stands as a monument to the long history of the Ismaili community in southern Africa. Prince Rahim Aga Khan toured the building and grounds on March 18, 2022, the second day of his 3-day visit to Mozambique.

Prince Rahim was welcomed by Amin Rawjee, President of the Ismaili Council for Mozambique, as the Imamat flag stood raised atop the Jamatkhana. Prince Rahim met with leaders of the Ismaili community and toured the historic Jamatkhana’s spaces, gardens, and religious education classrooms.

Ismaili Jamatkhana in 1945 during Aga Khan III visit to Maputo (then Lourenço Marques) Mozambique, Barakah
The original Maputo Jamatkhana that was completed in 1941, and described by Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (d. 1957) as one of the finest Jamatkhanas in Africa at the time of his visit to Mozambique in 1945. Maputo was then known as Lourenço Marques. Photo: Via (Late) Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.
Maputo Jamatkhana as it stands now. Prince Rahim Aga Khan visits the historic Jamatkhana.
The extension to the original Maputo Jamatkhana was inaugurated in 1968. The Jamatkhana has served as a central hub for the Jamat in Mozambique’s capital since opening in 1941. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL.

The Jamatkhana built in 1941 underwent significant extensions in the mid 1960’s. The extension was inaugurated in 1968 by the then Governor General, Dr Baltazar Rebelo de Sousa, father of the current President of Portugal, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa whose visit to Mozambique coincides with that of Prince Rahim.

Prince Rahim at Maputo Aga Khan Academy, Barakah.com, Malik Merchant
Prince Rahim Aga Khan spent time with students and staff at the Aga Khan Academy Maputo campus on March 18, 2022 ahead of the Academy’s inauguration on Saturday, March 19. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

(2) Prince Rahim later visited the Aga Khan Academy Maputo ahead of its official inauguration on Saturday, March 19. He spent time with teachers and staff of the school and toured the Academy campus and facilities, including the state-of-the-art science building, sports hall, and newly completed commons building.

Prince Rahim at Aga Khan Academy, Barakah.com Malik Merchant textual and visual expressions of the Aga Khan
Students at the Aga Khan Academy Maputo present an environmental project to Prince Rahim Aga Khan during his visit to the campus on March 18, 2022 ahead of its inauguration on Saturday, March 19. Photo: Akbar Hakim/ IPL

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Day 1: March 17, 2022

This section covers via text and/or photos brief summaries of Prince Rahim’s meetings with (1) the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, (2) the President of Mozambique, and (3) President of the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique as well as (4) being the chief guest at the state banquet honouring the visit by the President of Portugal.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan is welcomed to the Mozambique Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare by Minister Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan is welcomed to the Mozambique Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare by Minister Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane. Photo: Akbar Hakim/ IPL

(1) Prince Rahim Aga Khan, eldest son of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arrived in Maputo on March 17, 2022 for a three-day visit to Mozambique. He had earlier visited Dubai from March 14-16, 2022 (see Dubai story below). Prince Rahim’s visit began at the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare for a meeting with Minister Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane (see photo, above), who congratulated Prince Rahim on the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy Maputo. She fondly recalled her childhood, when she and her siblings attended Aga Khan schools in neighbouring Tanzania.

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan is welcomed to the Presidential Palace in Maputo, by Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL., Barakah, latest news on the Aga Khan
Prince Rahim Aga Khan is welcomed to the Presidential Palace in Maputo, by Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL.

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Watch News Report of Prince Rahim’s Meeting with President Nyusi aired on Televisão de Moçambique (TVM)

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(2) Prince Rahim also visited the Presidential Palace in Maputo, where he met with President Filipe Nyusi (see photo and video, above). Prince Rahim conveyed Mawlana Hazar Imam’s greetings and warm wishes to President Nyusi, and acknowledged the long-standing relationship between the Ismaili Imamat and Mozambique.

Milestone Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) projects in Mozambique over the past two decades include the rehabilitation of the historic Polana Serena Hotel, one of Africa’s grandest hotels; a Coastal Rural Support Programme that supports entrepreneurship and skills development in the country’s poorest northern districts; and the Moztex garment factory, which employs and trains over 700 staff, more than 90 per cent of whom are women. AKDN’s projects in Mozambique have directly reached over half a million beneficiaries since 2001.

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with Esperança Laurinda, President of the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique, Barakah
Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with Esperança Laurinda, President of the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique on March 17, 2022. He was accompanied by Sultan Ali Allana (left), Director of Economic Development and Nazim Ahmad (2nd from left), Senior Official and Diplomatic Representative. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL
Prince Rahim Aga Khan signs a guest book at the Parliament building in Maputo, Mozambique. Barakah visual and textual expressions
Prince Rahim Aga Khan signs a guest book at the Parliament building in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL

(3) Prince Rahim then travelled to the Parliament building to meet with Esperança Laurinda Bias, President of the Assembly of the Republic (see photos, above). The President thanked Prince Rahim for his visit to Mozambique and praised the work of AKDN in the country, especially in the Cabo Delgado province.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi and his wife rise for the Mozambique national anthem, flanked by Prince Rahim Aga Khan and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal at a state banquet honouring the visit by the Portuguese president, Barakah, Aga Khan textual and visual expressions
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and his wife rise for the Mozambique national anthem, flanked by Prince Rahim Aga Khan and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal at a state banquet honouring the visit by the Portuguese president. Photo: Akbar Hakim/IPL
Prince Rahim Aga Khan at dinner in honour of the President of the Republic of Portugal offered by the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, at the Ponta Vermelha Paalce in Maputo, March 17, 2022.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan at dinner in honour of the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, offered by the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, at the Ponta Vermelha Palace in Maputo, March 17, 2022. Photo: © Miguel Figueiredo/Presidency of the Republic of Portugal.

(4) Prince Rahim was the Guest of Honour at a state banquet hosted by President Filipe Nyusi at the Presidential Palace Ponta Vermelha in honour of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal, who is also visiting Mozambique (see photo, above). In their remarks at the banquet, both President Nyusi and President de Sousa paid tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam and the efforts of the Aga Khan Development Network to improve quality of life in Mozambique and around the world.

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March 14-16, 2022: Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Dubai

Prince Rahim Aga Khan at Museum of Future
Prince RahimAga Khan visited the newly opened Museum of the Future in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on March 16, 2022. Photo: The Ismaili/IPL.

From March 14-16, 2022, Prince Rahim visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the invitation of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Member of the Cabinet and the Minister of Tolerance for the United Arab Emirates. During his visit , Prince Rahim toured the newly opened Museum of the Future and met with His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan at Expo 2020, Dubai. Prince Rahim’s meeting with Sheikh Nahayan enabled discussion of the importance of advancing appreciation of pluralism.. His Excellency, hosted a lunch in his honour, following which Prince Rahim toured several pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai, including Vision and Alif Pavilions. The AKDN, working with Ministries of the United Arab Emirates and local and international civil society organisations, has coordinated numerous engagements at Expo 2020 Dubai, particularly in the areas of climate change and biodiversity, tolerance and inclusivity, culture, education, knowledge and learning.

Prince Rahim conveyed Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s warmest greetings, and congratulated the UAE on the success of Expo 2020. Prince Rahim also met with Her Excellency Reem al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai; and Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth at the UAE Pavilion Majlis. During their meeting they spoke about the successful collaboration between Expo 2020 and Aga Khan Development Network agencies and discussed potential opportunities for partnership beyond Expo 2020, primarily in the fields of education and culture.

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Barakah, dedicated to the Aga Khan
Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, at the Leadership Pavilion. Photo: AKDN/Rafiq Hakim.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan at Dubai Expo 2020
(From left to right) Sultan Ali Allana, Director of Economic Development, Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, in discussions at the UAE Pavilion. Photo: AKDN/Rafiq Hakim

During the visit, Prince Rahim also had discussions with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, about areas where the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the UAE can work together to improve the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Prince Rahim conveyed to His Highness the greetings and appreciation of Mawlana Hazar Imam for their personal friendship and the strong support extended to the AKDN and the Ismaili Muslim community, which has a long-established settlement in the UAE.

These sentiments were warmly reciprocated by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who expressed his gratitude for the work of the AKDN and the Ismaili Muslim community. He acknowledged contributions to Dubai’s cultural life and intellectual pursuits enabled by the Ismaili Centre in Dubai.  He also conveyed his regard for the AKDN’s initiatives in numerous fields of international development, including the heritage of Muslim societies, regeneration projects in historic settings in the Islamic world, education, community development and the environment.

Prince Rahim commended the UAE’s humanitarian efforts and the Government’s successes in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. He also congratulated Dubai’s leadership for its dedication and commitment to welcoming an exchange of ideas and knowledge from around the world.

The AKDN, working with Ministries of the United Arab Emirates and local and international civil society organisations, has coordinated numerous engagements at Expo 2020 Dubai, particularly in the areas of climate change and biodiversity, tolerance and inclusivity, culture, education, knowledge and learning.

Prince Rahim also toured the recently opened Museum of the Future, where he met with Abdulaziz AlJaziri, Deputy CEO and Chief Operations Officer of the Dubai Future Foundation and Majed Al Mansoori, Deputy Executive Director of the Museum. He praised the Museum’s work to bring together innovators, scientists and prominent figures from leading fields to share their vision of crafting a sustainable, inclusive future.

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan ai Dubai Ismaili Centre, Barakah, Aga Khan news
Prince Rahim Aga Khan meets with leaders and volunteers of the Jamat during his visit to the Ismaili Centre in Dubai. Photo: The Ismaili/IPL

Prior to his departure, Prince Rahim met with volunteers from the Ismaili Muslim community at the Ismaili Centre Dubai.

The delegation accompanying Prince Rahim during the visit to Dubai comprised of Sultan Ali Allana, Director of Economic Development; Jane Piacentini-Moore, Senior Official, International Financial Affairs; Nazim Ahmad, Senior Official and Diplomatic Representative; and Aziz Merchant, President of the Ismaili Community in the UAE.

External Links:

For further coverage of Prince Rahim Aga Khan’s visit to Dubai, please click on the following links:

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FEBRUARY 26, 2022: PRINCESS ZAHRA AGA KHAN PRAISES AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES FOR RESILIENCE DURING THE PANDEMIC

AKU Convocation, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Barakah
Princess Zahra Aga Khan delivering her remarks at the Aga Khan University Convocation that was live-streamed around the world. Princess Zahra attended in person at the convocation held in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, February 26, 2022. Simultaneous ceremonies were also held at the AKU campuses in Uganda, Tanzania and Pakistan. Photo: Clipped from live coverage.

More than 660 students in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda graduated from the Aga Khan University (AKU) in a live-streamed Global Convocation Ceremony that was watched by viewers around the world. The ceremony in Nairobi was attended in-person by Princess Zahra Aga Khan and saw the University commit to becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030. Climate scientist, author and activist Dr Peter Kalmus addressed the convocation as its chief guest. The Global Convocation Ceremony also featured the inauguration of President Sulaiman Shahabuddin, who became the third president in AKU’s 39-year history. 

President Sulaiman Shahabuddin receives a medal of authority from Princess Zahra Aga Khan as he is officially inaugurated as the third President of the Aga Khan University in a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 26, 2022. Photo: Clipped from live coverage.

Speaking on behalf of the University’s Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, Princess Zahra Aga Khan praised the graduates for the resilience and agility they demonstrated throughout the pandemic and highlighted AKU’s contributions to the countries it serves. 

“Globally, AKU has educated 18,000 individuals,” Princess Zahra said. “It cares for more than 2 million patients every year from internationally accredited hospitals and was recently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in public health. It also serves as a trusted advisor to government and is a powerful advocate for pluralism and women’s empowerment. During the pandemic, the value of the University’s capacity for cutting-edge inquiry has never been clearer.”

Addressing the members of the Class of 2021 in all four countries, Princess Zahra said: “No AKU class has worked harder for this moment than you have. The last two years challenged you with lockdowns, quarantines and isolation. In the years to come, you will always be able to look back and draw strength from your achievements during this momentous period.” (Click text of speech)

The Global Convocation Ceremony on February 26, 2022 also featured the inauguration of President Sulaiman Shahabuddin, who became the third president in AKU’s 39-year history. The new President is seen making a humble pledge shortly after being officially inaugurated as the President of the Aga Khan University by Princess Zahra, who placed a silver medal around his neck denoting his new position. Photo: Clipped from live coverage.

Please visit Barakah’s sister website Simerg for text and videos of speeches made by Princess Zahra, Peter Kalmus and and Sulaiman Shahabuddin.

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FEBRUARY 09, 2022: PRINCE RAHIM AGA KHAN MEETS WITH UN SECRETARY GENERAL Mr António Guterres

Prince Rahim and United Nations Secretary General Mr António Guterres in New York on 9 February 2022. PHOTO: ESKINDER DEBEBE
Prince Rahim Aga Khan and United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Mr António Guterres in New York on February 9, 2022. The Prince conveyed special greetings from Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, which the Secretary General warmly reciprocated. During the meeting, Mr Guterres and Prince Rahim spoke about the longstanding partnership between the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the United Nations, and discussed ways in which to enhance collaboration between the agencies of the two institutions to improve the quality of life of marginalised communities in particular, in Asia and Africa. Recognising also the historical relationship between the UN and the Ismaili Imamat, the Secretary General and Prince Rahim agreed on the importance of regular consultation to strengthen collaboration and achieve mutual objectives. The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the work of the AKDN which he said was a symbol of tolerance and solidarity. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe via The Ismaili.

Note: The meeting between the United Nations Secretary General and Prince Rahim had been officially announced in the Secretary General’s daily schedule for February 9, 2022. The following statement was issued on the website of the UNSG following the meeting:

“Earlier today [February 9, 2022], the Secretary-General received Prince Rahim Aga Khan. The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the work of the Aga Khan Development Network which he said was a symbol of tolerance and solidarity. The two discussed a number of situations around the world as well as how to increase the cooperation between the UN and Aga Khan Development Network.” (Read UNSG statement at source).  

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FEBRUARY 4, 2022: MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM MEETS WITH PRESIDENT OF PORTUGAL

February 4, 2022 Aga Khan with Portugal's President
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa met in Lisbon on February 4, 2022. Mawlana Hazar Imam was joined at the meeting by Princess Zahra and her daughter Miss Sara Boyden (see next photo). During their meeting, Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Marcelo spoke about several matters of mutual interest, including the presence and activities of the Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network in Portugal, Portuguese-speaking countries, and around the world. Photo: Fernando Costa/IPL via the Ismaili.
Aga Khan, Princess Zahara, Sara Boyden and Portuga;s President
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa met in Lisbon on February 4, 2022. Mawlana Hazar Imam was joined at the meeting by Princess Zahra and her daughter Miss Sara Boyden. During their meeting, Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Marcelo spoke about several matters of mutual interest, including the presence and activities of the Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network in Portugal, Portuguese-speaking countries, and around the world. Photo: Fernando Costa/IPL via the Ismaili.

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December 25, 2021: Prince RAHIM MEETS WITH PRESIDENT OF PORTUGAL

Prince Rahim in conversation with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon. PHOTO: AKDN / RUI OCHOA
Prince Rahim Aga Khan in conversation with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Presidential Palace in Lisbon on December 25, 2021. Photo: AKDN/Rui Ochoa

The Ismaili, the official website of the Ismaili community recently reported that Prince Rahim Aga Khan, older son of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, met with His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal, on December 25, 2021 at the Presidential Palace. At the meeting, Prince Rahim conveyed to the President and the people of Portugal Season’s Greetings and best wishes for the new year.

2021: The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, bearing the crest of the Imam, flies on top of the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: © Simerg.
On July 11, 2018, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, ordained the instrument to designate the Henrique de Mendonça Palace, pictured above, as the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat to be known as the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat. The Personal Standard of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, bearing the crest of the Imam, flies on top of the Diwan. The presence of the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat or the Diwan in Portugal acknowledges the strong relationship between the Ismaili Imamat and Portugal. Photo: © Simerg.

The President and Prince Rahim acknowledged the strong relationship between the Ismaili Imamat and Portugal, and spoke about the presence and activities of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Portugal, Portuguese-speaking countries, and globally. 

Prince Rahim Aga Khan, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal. Photo: AKDN/Rui Ochoa
Prince Rahim Aga Khan, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal pictured at the Presidential Palace in Lisbon on December 25, 2021. Photo: AKDN/Rui Ochoa

They also took the opportunity to discuss other matters of mutual interest, such as those related to international affairs and regions where the Ismaili Imamat and AKDN have a strong presence, including Central and South Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East.

At the conclusion of the meeting, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa thanked Prince Rahim for the courtesy visit, and requested that he convey to Mawlana Hazar Imam his warmest greetings and best wishes.

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October 24, 2021: Prince Amyn and Portuguese President inaugurate NOVA University’s Westmont Hospitality Hall

Prince Amyn Aga Khan welcomes President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to the NOVA School of Business and Economics campus in Carcavelos for the inauguration of Westmont Hospitality Hall. PHOTO: AKDN / LUÍS CATARINO
Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, welcomes President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to the NOVA School of Business and Economics campus in Carcavelos for the inauguration of Westmont Hospitality Hall on October 24, 2021. Photo: AKDN/Luís Catarino.

On October 24, 2021, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa joined Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, for the inauguration of the Westmont Hospitality Hall at NOVA University in Lisbon, Portugal. The newly opened space will serve as a home for the Westmont Institute of Tourism and Hospitality at NOVA University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE), which is celebrating the third anniversary of the opening of its campus in Carcavelos. The school’s students and faculty are known as an open and collaborative community, focused on the positive impact of their work and research in the world.

The Westmont Institute is the latest development in the partnership between NOVA SBE and Westmont Hospitality Group, a joint initiative aiming to develop and promote education in hospitality, tourism, and service management. Westmont Hospitality Group, founded by Canada’s Mangalji family, is a global brand that owns and manages more than 400 hotels all over the world. Its mission includes a desire to use hospitality, travel, and tourism as a way of promoting a more sustainable world.

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Prince Amyn Aga Khan and Portugal President, Barakah
Prince Amyn Aga Khan and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa formally open Westmont Hospitality Hall on October 24, 2021. Looking on at right is Majid Mangalji, CEO of Westmont Hospitality Group. Photo: AKDN/Luís Catarino.

In his remarks at the event, Prince Amyn congratulated NOVA SBE and shared his hopes for the future of the project. “The Westmont Institute of Tourism and Hospitality will have the mission to inspire and prepare leaders in the tourism and hospitality industries,” he said, “providing not only excellence in service, but sound business knowledge to promote and support sustainable tourism ventures both in Portugal and, I hope, in Africa and developing countries.”

The entire hospitality industry has suffered multiple adverse effects due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new Institute inaugurated today hopes to harness the potential of tourism to drive innovative responses to complex challenges such as this.

“I think that tourism, by opening up to travellers’ new lifestyles, new cultures, new traditions, acts as a strong educational experience and breeds understanding, and appreciation of shared values — of how much we share, and not how great are our differences, and that ultimately it promotes a pluralistic approach,” continued Prince Amyn, who has decades of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry globally.

A full report as well as a video of the event appears on the Ismaili, the official website of the Ismaili community.

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October 14, 2021: Prince Rahim Aga Khan attends Tajikistan Cultural Event at UNESCO in Paris

As part of his official three-day visit to France, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron attended the official opening ceremony of an exhibition called Tajikistan – the Land of Golden Rivers, at the Guimet Museum in Paris on October 13, 2021. The museum is well known for having one of the largest collections abroad of Asian art. The exhibition includes a display of 300 objects from the antiquity of the Tajik people to the present day.

On Thursday October 14, the President attended an event dedicated to the Cultural Day of Tajikistan at the UNESCO Headquarters to mark Tajikistan’s 30th anniversary of independence. Prince Rahim Aga Khan was present at the cultural celebration along with UNESCO’s Director-General Ms Audrey Azoulay.

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Prince Rahim Aga Khan and President Emomali Rahmon at the celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan and President Emomali Rahmon at the celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on October 14, 2021. Photo: AKDN/Cecile Genest.

Prince Rahim conveyed Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s warmest greetings and congratulations, and affirmed the Aga Khan Development Network’s commitment to Tajikistan’s peace and prosperity. AKDN’s investments in Tajikistan span the economic, humanitarian, social, and cultural sectors, helping to improve the quality of life of all Tajik peoples.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan at a cultural celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan at a cultural celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on October 14, 2021. Photo: AKDN/Cecile Genest

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July 13, 2021: Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Rahim Meet French Prime Minister Jean Castex – Tweet and photos

Translation (via Twitter): Happy to welcome His Highness the Aga Khan to Matignon for an exchange on major international issues, the situation of Islam in France but also to bring our common projects to fruition.

Note(s): Jean Castex has been the Prime Minister of France since July 2020. He welcomed Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Rahim at his official residence, the Hôtel de Matignon, which is located in the 7th district of Paris.

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The following photographs are reproduced from The.Ismaili, the official website of the Ismaili community.

Aga Khan and Prince Rahim meet French Prime Minister on July 13, 2021.
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga khan, and his son Prince Rahim, arrive at the Hotel de Matignon, the official residence of the Prime Minister of France on July 13, 2021. Photo: AKDN/Cécile Genest
His Highness the Aga Khan, meets with French Prime Minister Jean Castex on 13 July 2021 Barakah.com
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, meets with French Prime Minister Jean Castex on July 13 2021. Photo: AKDN/Cécile Genest
Prime Minister Jean Castex bids farewell to Prince Rahim Aga Khan
Prime Minister Jean Castex bids farewell to Prince Rahim Aga Khan after their meeting in Paris on July 13 2021. Photo: AKDN/Cécile Genest

Date page created: July 13, 2021.
Last updated: August 13, 2022 (See recent events at top of page.)

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 260 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

19 comments

  1. This is indeed a phenomenal effort to present to the readers information and pictures of the significant events and programs by our most beloved Hazar Imam and the Noorani Family under one comprehensive posting.

    This surely deserves highest gratification and commendation from all the readers across the globe. Our prayers that you have the continued opportunities to do so in the future.

    With our best wishes and prayers.
    Kamrudin A. Rashid
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    August 13 2022.

    Like

  2. Thank you for this news of the musical event of Islamic multi cultural dimension and attended by our beloved Noorani Family. I am sure many would like myself love to view this wonderful event if available on any of the media. This would show to us and the wider world the richness of Islamic culture in music.

    Like

  3. It is nice to see members of the Aga Khan Family participating in events related to the Ismaili Imamat. They follow a busy schedule, which can be exciting but nonetheless quite tiring I would think. The Aga Khan’s emphasis on pluralism and co-existence between different communities and faith, education for all are admirable, and need to be emulated by all.

    [Note to K.S. Juma: Provide your website address only when it is developed and functioning. The URL you have provided has been removed. Thank you, Editor. ]

    Like

  4. Your presentation has been meticulous- I appreciate and enjoyed the article immensely .Thank you

    Like

  5. While I am not a follower of the Aga Khan, I do have respect for his work in improving the lives of ordinary people regardless of religion. The reason for my comment is an incident that my late grandfather experienced in Dodoma, Tanzania/Tanganyika in 1940-50 when he (grandfather) worked as a good clerk at the Dodoma Railway station. At that time, the late Aga Khan (I believe the grandfather of the current Aga Khan) was visiting Dodoma and he wanted to know his weight. With local Ismaili or Khoja community elders, he came to the station and asked my grandfather to weight him which he did. As thanks, he gave my grandfather Shillings 20, a lot of money at that as a tip. He was very grateful for his generosity. I also believe our success may be attributed to his blessing as we are doing very well.

    Like

    • Rajinder Kumar Sharma,

      Rajinder, Thank you for sharing your grandfather’s encounter with the late Aga Khan, Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah, Agakhan III.

      Wishing your family and you Peace and Prosperity.

      Like

  6. Bless you Malik for your wonderful work of keeping us all informed about the wonderful work of our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Noorani family. May Mawla always bless you for this beautiful service, and may you be healthy and successful in life. Ameen.

    Like

  7. The continuous update of “The Incessant works “ carried out by our Beloved Hazar Imam and the rest of the Noorani Family for not the Ismaili Community only, but also the rest of the community residing in those regions,is a sheer joy to read and thus keep us abreast.

    Thank you so much Mr.Malik – for your articles in Barakah megazine .I not only enjoy reading them but I learn a lot too. Thank you again.!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for posting about the continuous work Our Beloved Hazar Imam and Noorani family are doing for the Gobal Jamat and humanity at large. These articles remind is that we are truly blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We Ismailis are blessed to be under our beloved Hazar Imam’s guidance and protection.

    During the pandemic Mowlabapa has blessed us with Mubarak Talikas, guided us advised us and prayed for our peace, health and happiness and Mushkil Assan. Ameen Ameen. Shukhar Walhamdullilah

    Like

  10. Thank you for giving us news on Mawlana Hazar Iman and his family. Its a pleasure to visit the website to see the presentation in a very special way. Keep it up.

    Like

  11. Wonderful!!! Thanks AGAIN, Malik Bha! We are so well-informed because of your words or words from others and yours and other people’s photography…A Lot Of Work and an exceptionally accessible website!

    Like

  12. I’m Jamal Zindani from Karachi, Pakistan; today I have seen your post on Facebook.

    It’s very informative and keeping update about our Imam’s activities for the development of our institutional capacity and upliftment of Global Ismaili Jamat.

    Like

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