The ingenuity and imagination of peoples of the developing world continue, unfortunately, to remain untapped resources…. Our experience from Aleppo to Zanzibar has taught us that private initiative, properly applied and encouraged, can help revitalise historic cities of the Islamic world, even in resource-poor environments. Through interventions ranging from micro-finance, skills development, healthcare and sanitation, to investment in high-end tourism and urban development, we have been able to catalyse a process of change which an empowered local population itself will have the capacity to sustain.

MAYBE INCOMPLETE: The remarks below were reported in the press, however it is unclear if they were part of a speech or if additional remarks were also made. We would be very grateful if any of our readers who may have a complete record would kindly share it with us. Please click here for information on making submissions to NanoWisdoms; we thank you for your assistance.

AKDN Press Release, Timbuktu, 10 October 2003

Walking through the sand-swept alleys of this ancient seat of learning [,Timbuktu,] to the 14th century Djingereiber Mosque, the Aga Khan, accompanied by Mali’s Prime Minster Ahmed Mohamed Ag Hamani, spoke of the need for cultural revitalisation to be linked to focused investment in the social sector and carefully planned economic development.

The Aga Khan noted that Mali’s considerable cultural and intellectual heritage presented opportunities for long-term development that could also begin to address the country’s more pressing needs. Careful and sensitive investment, in close collaboration with the people who were the custodians of this heritage, was required, he said, to increase its potential for social and economic benefits to the country.

The Aga Khan noted that Mali’s considerable cultural and intellectual heritage presented opportunities for long-term development that could also begin to address the country’s more pressing needs. Careful and sensitive investment, in close collaboration with the people who were the custodians of this heritage, was required, he said, to increase its potential for social and economic benefits to the country.

“The ingenuity and imagination of peoples of the developing world continue, unfortunately, to remain untapped resources,” said the Aga Khan in admiration of the remarkable mud-brick architecture of the mosques whose changing forms he characterised as “a testimony to the strength of faith and a resolve to adapt to changing realities whilst remaining true to tradition.” There was, he said, an urgent need for the world to acknowledge and “rediscover” these resources.

Our experience from Aleppo to Zanzibar has taught us that private initiative, properly applied and encouraged, can help revitalise historic cities of the Islamic world, even in resource-poor environments. Through interventions ranging from micro-finance, skills development, healthcare and sanitation, to investment in high-end tourism and urban development, we have been able to catalyse a process of change which an empowered local population itself will have the capacity to sustain.

l’Essor, Mali, No. 15060, 13 October 2003

Remarks made in the Ahmed Baba Centre visitor book:

Original French: Je vous félicite pour cette collection tout à fait remarquable et j’espère qu’elle connaîtra l’essor mondial qu’elle mérite. C’est un privilège immense de pouvoir visiter ces sites historiques, de voir ces collections de documents d’une très très grande importance pour mieux comprendre notre passé dans l’Ummah mais pour en retirer des leçons également pour l’avenir. Et j’espère que le rayonnement de Tombouctou qui a été extraordinaire, il y a des centaines d’années, pourra rentrer de nouveau dans l’avenir du Ummah. Il faut bien dire que nous avons besoin de chercher l’inspiration de notre passé pour pouvoir bien planifier notre avenir.

Ismaili.net translation:… It is an immense privilege to visit these historical sites, to see these collections of documents which are of a great importance in order to better understand our past in the Ummah, but also to draw lessons for the future. And I hope that the enlightenment of Timbuktu, which was extraordinary centuries ago, will be able to re-emerge in the future of the Ummah. One should recognise that we need to search our inspiration from the past in order to better plan for our future.

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