This week’s selection is His Highness the Aga Khan’s 1996 Brown University Commencement Address.

In this broad, candid and important speech, made a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the Aga Khan discusses extensively the West’s ignorance about Islam and highlights “powerful reasons” why “the West and the Muslim world must seek a better mutual understanding.”

The Aga Khan also discusses the state of the Muslim Ummah, noting some of the many causes, both modern and historical, responsible for Islam’s decline from its preeminent position as a “bastion of scientific and humanist knowledge.”

Finally, the Aga Khan notes that “although the modern page of human history was written in the West, [the West] should not expect or desire for that page to be photocopied by the Muslim world,” explaining, with examples, how knowledge and practises must not only be adapted to the context but also that “social and cultural empathy which prepare any successful long-term process of human change from one society to another” is crucial, but lacking.

Click here for this NanoWisdoms’ Suggested Reading:
His Highness the Aga Khan’s 1996 Brown University Commencement Address (Providence, Rhode Island, USA)