Entries with content relating to ‘Seismic Resistance’, in chronological order.

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India Today Interview (2nd), Sandeep Unnithan, ‘What keeps him on course with reviving cultural heritage in developing world’ (Delhi, India)

I think what drives our network is to enable people to manage their destinies. Once they manage their destinies, you will see, generally speaking, a take-off situation. It’s when they cannot manage their destinies and cannot achieve a level of economic independence that they are indebted in a terrible way or are subject to climate change because they are in agriculture or because they are high-risk and they have an earthquake — these are situations which we try to assist. We are not interested in philanthropy in a Western terminology as I would call it, because philanthropy or what they call it, charity, is not our notion of development. Our notion of development is to assist people to go from a notion of an unsatisfactory position of development to an autonomous position. That to us is what is important. Once they are autonomous, our role is finished. They can manage their destiny….

I think about what I used to read about India, China — you remember, the word most used by the Western media was “basket-case” (laughs). I think over and muse over the stupidity of that word, and how silly it looks today, in relation to India and China. I wonder where the basket is nowadays, probably it is moving to other places.

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NBC Interview, Richard Engel, ‘A Hollywood stepson and a Muslim leader’ (USA)

I certainly think the invasion of Iraq was a serious mistake. We had crisis situations before that. We had them in Kashmir. We had them in the Middle East. If you look at the origins of those crises, they were political not religious. At the moment, it’s the horrible conflicts which are dominating the image of the Islamic world and I can say without one iota of fear that is totally wrong, totally wrong. You had wars in the Christian world, you had wars in the Jewish world. But you don’t define them in theological terms anymore, except Northern Ireland.

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2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize Ceremony (Doha, Qatar)

As we look to the future, let me mention four principle areas of concern: the Islamic environment of our work, its relevant constituencies, the shifting social and economic scene, and the impact of new technologies….

Why should we emphasise an Islamic approach to architecture? Our Master Jury, in responding to this question, has described how global forces now threaten the values of “memory, heritage and belonging,” and how the built environment can help meet that challenge….

The unity of the Ummah does not imply sameness. Working in an Islamic context need not confine us to constraining models. Nor does respecting the past mean copying the past. Indeed, if we hold too fast to what is past, we run the risk of crushing that inheritance. The best way to honour the past is to seize the future. In sum, an Islamic architectural agenda involves a dual obligation — a heightened respect for both the traditions of the past and the conditions of the future.

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Paroquias de Portugal Interview, António Marujo and Faranaz Keshavjee, ‘The West should accept that Islam does not separate the world and faith’ (Lisbon, Portugal)

Does daily life carry the same importance as eternal life?

In Islam, they are the same thing. One cannot separate faith from the world. [Emphasis added.]

This is one of the greatest difficulties that the non-Muslim world has, because the Judaic Christian societies developed with that notion of separation. For the Muslims, that separation is not possible. We are expected to live our faith every day, in every hour. One of the difficulties that we are facing in the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, is the articulation of the difference in values in a comprehensive form. However, this does not mean that we are in conflict. They are just different values.

I would like the non-Muslim societies to accept the values of Islam. If Islam says that we do not separate the world from faith, the Western world should accept that. I would go further and say: it is a wonderful way to live! It is an extraordinary blessing to be able to live our faith everyday! Making ethic the way in which you live your daily life, and not only in occasions such as death, a marriage or a birth.

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Aga Khan Award for Architecture Seminar and Exhibition on winning projects in Burkina Faso and West Africa (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)

[Official translation] The improvement of rural housing is obviously an important goal in the development process, first to improve the quality of life in rural populations, which are often the poorest in these countries, but also to pass on the message that, for a start, these people are not forgotten by those who support national growth in their country. Moreover, they do not need to adopt an urban life in order to build a stable and promising future in the medium and long term.

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Malise Ruthven (?) interview for ‘An Islamic Conscience: The Aga Khan and the Ismailis’

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Luncheon announcing the merger of the Bellerive Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) ·· incomplete

We need in the “Ummah” to move away from the normative attitudes towards the acceptance of pluralism of the “Ummah”, and that pluralism starts from the time of the Prophet himself and “Hadith” (Sayings of the Prophet Mohammad) as well as the Prophet’s historical footprints show that in the life time of the Prophet himself he knew that there would be pluralism in the interpretation of the faith.

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Visit to Earthquake-Hit Areas of Pakistan (Muzaffarabad, Pakistan)

The Aga Khan expressed his solidarity with the people of Pakistan in this most difficult and challenging period. He commended the relief efforts of the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army for their commitment to reconstruction and rehabilitation. He expressed the need to work in partnership and the need to construct seismic proof housing, adding:

“I hope the experience gathered here and the lessons learnt will be useful in similar efforts in the future, not only in the region but also in countries of Central Asia.” “We are with you during this sad episode in your lives, and will do what we can to help you. Looking ahead, it is important that the structures are rebuilt keeping the seismic nature of the region in mind.”

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2005 Aga Khan University Convocation Ceremony (Karachi, Pakistan)

Many countries, nations at widely diverse stages of economic and social development, are expressing grave doubts about the effectiveness of their systems of education to develop the intellectual and moral talent they need to function in the modern world — and to engage all levels of their societies.

This vital work in education must be highly sensitive to local conditions, gain the confidence of parents and children and communities and draw upon the best research into brain development, nutrition, and learning theory. But it must also grasp the role and the importance of local values, for educational change is also a deeply moral enterprise. It will only flourish as part of a revitalisation of our societies.

A great risk to the modernisation of the Islamic world is identity loss — the blind assumption that we should give up all our essential values and cultural expressions to those of other civilisations.

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AKDN Commitment of $50 million to Pakistan’s Earthquake Appeal (Islamabad, Pakistan)

The AKDN will contribute the extensive experience it has gained in recent decades in the mountain zones of the Hindu Kush, Pamirs, and Tien Shan in Northern Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia. This includes lessons learned about such issues as the special needs of rural and urban planning in mountain habitats, the development of energy and water sanitation infrastructure and resources, seismic-resistant construction, as well as training and capacity building for disaster preparedness, particularly at the community level.

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Address to the National Building Museum’s Scully Seminar/Symposium (Washington D.C., USA)

I profoundly believed that architecture is not just about building; it is a means of improving people’s quality of life…. I am pleased that 28 years later, we have had some success in achieving our original goals [of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture]. We are gratified that so many others now are engaged in the cause. We have created a momentum that has become a self-sustaining and unstoppable force for change in the human habitat of the Muslim world. And I am most pleased the principles we have established are having an impact in much of the developed world as well.

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Architectural Record Interview, Robert Ivy (New York, USA)

There are many, many interpretations of Islam within the wider Islamic community, but I think one on which there is greatest consensus, is the fact that we are trustees of God’s creation, and we are instructed to seek to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it.

Therefore, the question is: What is a “better place”, in physical terms? And that “better place”, in physical terms, clearly means trying to bring values into environments, buildings and contexts, which make the quality of life better for future generations than it is today. I think that is the interrelationship that exists between a Muslim and the precepts on which he or she works, in terms of intervening in the physical environment.

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Address to the World Bank InfoDev Conference (Washington D.C., USA)

Several sessions have considered the gaps within and between developed and developing countries, and how they may be exacerbated because not all countries and cultures are presently positioned to reap the benefits of new technology. The importance of access was the subject of an entire session this morning. At this point access is the biggest constraint facing the networked economy. I would hope that continued attention to addressing this bottleneck will be one outcome of these meetings. I also those efforts will go beyond conventional programmes of development assistance, and will reflect at least a measure of the ingenuity that has driven the development and applications of this remarkable technology in the last few years.

But it is also important to ask if access is enough — even the probably impossible dream of universal access. Will it not be equally important to develop capacity in the developing world to enable institutions and individuals to be more than users — even interactive users — of the new information technology? We all know that software and some hardware is already being produced in some of these countries. On the basis of my experience in culture and development over the last 30 years, I believe that it is critical to build capacity more generally to position users to be active participants in the advances in the shaping of content and applications. Only then will the full potential of the new information technology begin to be realised. And only then will the concern of some, that the Internet poses a threat to their cultures, be addressed.

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Centro Ismaili, Lisbon, Opening Ceremony (Lisbon, Portugal)

Although my faith and office place upon me a distinctive perspective and role, I am most certainly not alone in my concern about the pace and direction of change at this moment in history. In recognition of the critical problems of human welfare confronting today’s world, and the role faiths can play in contributing to their resolution, Dr. George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Mr. James D Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, convened a Dialogue on “World Faiths and Development” earlier this year. Leaders of nine world faiths participated: Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Tao.

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Keynote address to the International Union of Architects and the American Institute of Architects Congress of Architects (Chicago, USA)

[To the architects:] Do not only set the example, share it in a generous and deliberate way, so that it reaches all those who build in every part of the world. Your skills have a meaning and an impact which can become vital. The results of your efforts, for good and ill, are felt far beyond the responses of your clients or your peers. This impact is a challenge, without precedent or parallel, to your profession and to its schools. The challenge is for all to raise, through the thoughtful practise of your profession, the well-being of the planet and its people of today and tomorrow. There are a series of specific questions I urge you to take up to meet this challenge:

  • Because there is nothing so powerful as tested knowledge and judgement, I urge you to ask how you can better learn from each other in debate and constructive criticism.
  • Because you are privileged with this knowledge, I urge you to ask how you can share what you learn, by deliberate efforts, with the many millions who wilt build without the benefit of an architect’s advice.
  • Because your actions will set standards and expectations, I urge you to imagine that your example will be followed by millions of others who build in this world and therefore to ask how you can exercise greater care in setting that example.
  • Because we share the burden of stewardship of the earth, please ask how the design and technology of buildings can minimise the call on non-renewable resources.
  • Because the resources we pass on to future generations are cultural as well as material, I urge you to ask how better to recognise and honour the requirement that both be enriched, and finally,
  • Because the most pressing environmental and human risks are to lie found in the developing world, I urge you to turn a serious part of your attention to questions confronting the creation of the built environment in that world: to rural areas where the greatest risks to the world’s ecology and human opportunity reside; and to the great and small cities that will emerge in the twenty-first century, where enterprises must be guided with far greater respect to physical and cultural resources than this century has shown.

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Opening Remarks, Tenth Seminar, ‘Architecture Education in the Islamic World’, The Aga Khan Award For Architecture (Granada, Spain)

The starting point for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was a realisation that changing social and economic conditions, coupled with the accelerating pace of technological development, were inflicting upon the world’s 800 million Muslims an environment which often did not reflect their culture, their life-styles, their faith and hopes or even the demands of the climates in which they live. Accordingly, since its foundation ten years ago the Award has sought to focus professional and public attention on directions in architecture which will enrich the physical environment of the Islamic world….

In the past the horizons of architectural education have often been limited to principles of construction and the aesthetics of design and decoration. The Award seeks to stimulate architects to think and learn more widely about their art; about the vast spectrum of sources from which they legitimately can and should draw inspiration; about the impact their work will have on the future of the societies they serve.

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