As people living in a given time, we are observers of that time. We have the ability to affect the future and one of the exciting aspects of this Award, I think, is, particularly, that precise opportunity to build for the future, to look forward to processes of change which are thought through, which are evaluated, which are affected upon in terms of impact on society, impact on cultural history, impact on personal enjoyment in public spaces or private spaces. So, this Award really has, as its objective, to cause people to think about the processes of change in our world, and see how we could best influence them.

 
I would like to take this occasion to thank all the men and women who have participated with me during the past years to build this Award, and to make it better known in terms of its goals for impacting the processes of change around us, and particularly in the Muslim world.

As people living in a given time, we are observers of that time. We have the ability to affect the future and one of the exciting aspects of this Award, I think, is, particularly, that precise opportunity to build for the future, to look forward to processes of change which are thought through, which are evaluated, which are affected upon in terms of impact on society, impact on cultural history, impact on personal enjoyment in public spaces or private spaces. So, this Award really has, as its objective, to cause people to think about the processes of change in our world, and see how we could best influence them.

I have been particularly curious about schools of architecture because, it seems to me, that the developing world, in particular, needs to concentrate on strengthening its schools of architecture, its schools of land planning. There are not many of them. They have a few international links, but not many [inaudible] And I hope that academics, who are following the work of the Award, will come forward, seek the support of the Award, offer their knowledge to various centres which are educating young men and women who will impact our future in the developing world.

I am also worried about the process of warming. We are beginning to see, in many parts of the Muslim world — and if you look at the map, you can see quite clearly, there is a band of land — how warming is beginning to create situations where life is at risk, where it was not at risk before. We are seeing villages which are being wiped away by earthquakes, by landslides, by avalanches. We are seeing people moving to dangerous areas in mountain environments. And very often these populations do not have access to good knowledge about the way these environments are predicted to change over time. And they are therefore leaving areas of risk, but not really understanding that very often they are moving to other areas of risk. So public knowledge about change processes is something which I consider very important indeed. I would like to see that as part of general education. I would like to see that as part of secondary education, so that all young people have a better understanding, particularly in our world, in the Islamic world, of the spaces in which they live, how they can ensure the security of their habitat, how they can practise good construction in these areas. In the work that I do, I see these processes of change as being badly predicted and not really forecast in terms of the human and economic resources that are needed to underwrite good processes of change.

In this audience, and people following the Award, there are many well-placed men and women who can impact public thinking on these issues. And in your respective academic and professional activities, I would ask you to try to bring these issues forward so that we can address them in good time, and do not find ourselves ten or twenty years from now, with large numbers of towns and villages at risk, which really should have been taken into account much earlier.

Finally, I would like to thank the Steering Committee and the Jury, and everyone else connected with this Award, for the wonderful work that they do. If you think about it, the Award is simply a reflection of the time which men and women give to thinking about the change processes in our environment. And I want to say how happy and grateful I am for this wonderful support which enables us to continue to reflect over our environment, and how we can better manage it for future generations. Thank you very much to everybody who is a supporter of the Award, and I hope we can continue for many years. And I wish you safe continuation in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you.

His Highness the Aga Khan IV

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