Ladies and Gentlemen:
According to Ilya Trojanov: “The world is wide and salvation lurks everywhere!”
But it is not at all easy to find! That is why foreign ministers are perpetually on the move. For many, salvation is yet to be found, but while searching for it I have met a man who yesterday was my guest and today is yours.
We are honouring an exceptional man. We are honouring a great friend of humanity, a courageous visionary, a builder of bridges between religions and society.
We are honouring a man whom, through our conversations, I have discovered to be exceptionally intelligent, knowledgeable and pleasant to talk to. A citizen of the world who intrepidly fights day after day against resentment and backwardness on almost every continent.
A man who shows us a face of Islam that many of us do not know and sadly all too often we do not want to know: an Islam that is open, tolerant and willing to engage in dialogue. An Islam that is not in conflict with free, democratic and pluralistic societies. In short: I cannot imagine a more appropriate winner of the Tolerance Award than His Highness the Aga Khan!
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