Event photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Canada

On 27 February, 2014, by invitation of the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, His Highness the Aga Khan, will make an historic address to both the Members of the Senate and the House of Commons, a rare privilege normally reserved for heads of state and government. Although the Aga Khan’s relationship with Canada goes back to the 1960’s, it was perhaps Canada’s response to the Ugandan-Asian crisis of 1972 which gave Canada “top-of-mind” presence for both the Aga Khan and the Ismailis.

Time and time again, but perhaps most often by Canadians themselves, the Aga Khan is asked “Why Canada?” Why his deep affinity for Canada? While Canada’s commitment to pluralism undoubtedly lies at the heart of the his admiration of Canada, his affinity for her encompasses broader facets of Canadian society fundamental for progress across the Developing World — from remote, war-torn, Afghanistan mountain villages to the mega-metropolis of Cairo.

We hope the following extracts, culled from 36 years of the Aga Khan’s Canadian speeches and interviews, begin to capture his answer to the question: “Why Canada?”

Click to read ‘His Highness the Aga Khan and Canada: A Profound Affinity — But why Canada?’