Three years ago the NanoWisdoms Archive of Imamat Speeches, Interviews and Writings was given special permission by Aiglemont to publish Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speeches. Today, as we celebrate our third anniversary, we are happy to report that the Archive is thriving thanks to the Jamat’s support.

Our third year was, by all measures, a momentous year. Recently, tens of thousands viewed our videos or read our exclusive transcripts of what will surely go down as a signature event of this Imamat: Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historic visit to address to the Canadian Parliament. Making the videos available — and those from the related follow up events, including his visit to Brown University — was possible for us because, in the finest spirit of Islam to share knowledge, the Canadian Government freely allows their webcasts to be republished by not-for-profit organisations such as the NanoWisdoms Archive, and Brown University kindly gave us permission to republish theirs, for which we thank them. We hope the hosts of future live webcasts will be as gracious so we may continue to bring you videos of Hazar Imam’s events and also ensure they are preserved for posterity as part of Archive’s permanent collection.

However, as exciting as these events were for us and you, far away from the limelight of the Canadian Parliament and without any fanfare, our most important accomplishment to date was quietly achieved. We are proud to announce today that NanoWisdoms not only enjoys the Jamat’s wholehearted support, but has also become a point of reference for academia. In the past 18 months we have been cited or mentioned in academic papers, academic books and identified as a resource for a graduate level course at a first tier university. We will provide further details in the months ahead. These recognitions, by the academic community, are tangible demonstrations of their confidence in the Archive, confirming it as a credible, authoritative and unique source which all may rely on and why we view this as our most important achievement to date.

In my interview with Amaana.org, two years ago on our first anniversary, I drew attention to the long-standing absence of quotes from Hazar Imam’s speeches and interviews in official publications and so we were extremely pleased to note that, in the past year, Al-Akhbar in Canada, and more recently the Electronic Information Leaflet in the UK, and other community newsletters have started to include a quote in their weekly bulletins. In addition, here in Canada, excerpts from Hazar Imam’s speeches are now occasionally being read during evening Jamatkhana services.

Whether all these recent changes were influenced by the reverberations of the intense focus NanoWisdoms and our quote service — the first of it’s kind and which, since it’s launch four years ago, has broadcast several thousand quotes to tens of thousands Ismailis — have brought to bear on Hazar Imam’s speeches and interviews we can not say, but we can not help but feel some measure of responsibility for this excellent news. We invite the editors of weekly community bulletins and ITREB staff, globally, to make full use of the Archive’s extensive quote collection — the largest publicly available — and extend to them an offer to partner and collaborate with us so we may pool our resources for the benefit of the Jamat.

And it is on the important topic of partnership and collaboration I would like to direct the rest of my remarks. It may be surprising to learn, but in our inventory of themes which Hazar Imam has spoken to, the theme which he most often raises is partnerships and collaboration, more often even — though narrowly — than pluralism. Though not widely appreciated, collaborating and partnering is an ethic, an attitude, a practice which is near and dear to his heart and one which he has constantly stressed. Indeed, in his short speech 6 weeks ago at Massey Hall, in Toronto, Hazar Imam mentioned “partner” and “partnership” 11 times. While in his 2006, Aga Khan University speech he explained that future social progress depends on partnerships and collaboration:

Social progress, in the long run, will not be found by delegating an all-dominant role to any one player — but rather through multi-sector partnerships. And within each sector of society, diversity should be a watchword…. A vast decentralisation of decision-making is already occurring in many countries; it has the advantage of placing new responsibilities in the hands of local communities…. For the key to future progress will lie less in traditional top-down systems of command and control — and more in a broad, bottom-up spirit of coordination and cooperation.

For these reasons, partnerships and collaboration are also near and dear to our heart and we are proud to count among our steadfast partners many first tier private Ismaili websites including Simerg, Amaana, Paderborner ‘SJ’ Blog, Ismaili Gnosis and, most importantly, Ismailimail. They are, in fact, more than partners. They are close friends and I thank them all for their dependable, predictable and unwavering support over the past 3 years.

However, as important as they are to NanoWisdoms, our most important partner is you, the Jamat we serve.

Over the past several months we conducted a poll in order to better understand how people learn of the Archive. The results were surprising. While we fully expected private Ismaili websites and Facebook to rank as the most important channels — respectively accounting for 23% and 20% of our new visitors — we were amazed to learn that 1/3 (31%) of NanoWisdoms new visitors learn about us from e-mails forwarded to them by their friends and family. In fact, many have shared their entire address books with us — saving themselves from having to forward our announcements — to ensure all their Ismaili friends and family are continuously updated and benefit from the Internet’s only website dedicated to the Hazar Imam’s wisdom and knowledge.

In addition, we are privileged to have the assistance of many individuals who help us with NanoWisdoms’ not so glamorous, but critical, “back-office” work like scouring libraries and the media for unknown interviews, tracking down missing ones, translations, transcribing recordings and proof-reading.

That we have such deep support across the community is profoundly reassuring to us, and why we say that you, the Jamat, are our single most important partner. We would like to thank all those who forward our e-mail announcements and quotes to their friends and family or who have shared their address books with us or who have given us their time with direct assistance for this magnificent show of support and faith in the NanoWisdoms Archive.

And finally, in celebration of our third anniversary, we are pleased to bring you, for the first time, the transcript of Hazar Imam’s conversation with John Ralston Saul at the 10th Annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture in 2010. I have no doubt few of us remember Hazar Imam’s remarks and urge everyone to refresh their memory as much was said, all of which is important to reflect on.

Click here to read the transcript of His Highness the Aga Khan’s apres lecture conversation with John Ralston Saul at the 2010 LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture.

Warm regards
Mohib Ebrahim
Publisher and Editor

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