Contents of the ‘Golden Jubilee Souvenir Book (extracts)’ category in chronological order.

Golden Jubilee Closing Message (Aiglemont)

Because our institutions are growing very quickly, it is my hope and prayer that, 10 or 15 years from now, the Jamat’s capacity in most of the countries where it is living, will be very significant indeed, and that is what the Shia Ismaili Tariqah of Islam should achieve in the world.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (Paris, France) ·· incomplete

What I want to say to finish this evening, and this wonderful year year which you have given me, is that I intend to build an Ismaili Centre in Paris.

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Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Opening Ceremony (Ottawa, Canada)

One of the principal reasons, I believe, for the great rapport between the Ismaili and Canadian communities through the years is our shared commitment to a common ethical framework — and especially to the ideals of pluralism. By this I mean not only social pluralism, which embraces a diversity of ethnic and religious groups, but also pluralism in our thinking about government, and pluralism in our approach to other institutions. One of the reasons governments have failed in highly diverse settings around the world is that dogma has too often been enshrined at the price of more flexible, pluralistic approaches to political and economic challenges….

The spirit of pluralism, at its base, is a response to the realities of diversity — a way of reconciling difference on the one hand with cooperation and common purpose on the other. It is an attitude, a way of thinking, which regards our differences not as threats but as gifts — as occasions for learning, stretching, growing — and at the same time, as occasions for appreciating anew the beauties of one’s own identity.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Luncheon (Singapore) ·· incomplete

You can always achieve results over a long period of time, but every time you do that you damage a generation and every time you move more quickly you bring hope to an earlier generation. This is the reason for which, this notion of time, is so important in my mind and I believe now is well shared by the Jamati leaders around the world.

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Luncheon hosted by Premier of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) ·· incomplete

Knowledge in its purest form is often abrasive. When this knowledge comes into [developing countries’] societies it creates difficulties, creates reactions because the societies are not prepared for pure knowledge. What Canada has done is it has humanised that knowledge.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (Vancouver, Canada) ·· incomplete

I am infinitely proud, infinitely proud of the leadership that is coming from Canada, or from communities that have left their homelands in difficult circumstances, built a new future for themselves here in Canada, empathised with Canadian values and are able today to bring back to their home countries not only new knowledge, new competencies, but also Canadian values.

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Reception and luncheon hosted by Aga Khan University (Calgary, Canada) ·· incomplete

If you look at what has happened in the past decades in the developing world, there are a number of lessons you can draw. And I think one of them is the volatility of development. To stabilise development in most of these fragile parts of the world, one of the fundamental principles is to develop strong institutions.

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Aga Khan University and McMaster University ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ Signing Ceremony (Toronto, Canada)

I view this as an agreement of a much wider spectrum of importance and outcome than you might think, simply by talking about the profession of nursing. In the past years we have seen a number of countries in the developing world enter into the dimension of what I call failure of competent democratic government. A number of countries have run into difficulty; constitutional management, economic management, the management of pluralist societies. When governments are fragile, it is civil society which comes in and sustains the development process. Professional nursing, educating women, is an absolutely fundamental pillar to the building of society.

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Ismaili Centre Foundation Stone Ceremony (Khorog, Tajikistan)

The congregational space incorporated within the Ismaili Centre belongs to the historic category of jamatkhana, an institutional category that also serves a number of sister Sunni and Shia communities, in their respective contexts, in many parts of the world. Here, the Jamatkhana will be reserved for traditions and practices specific to the Shia Ismaili tariqah of Islam. The Centre on the other hand, will be a symbol of confluence between the spiritual and the secular in Islam….

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Aleppo and Masyaf Citadels, and the Castle of Salah ad-Din, Opening Ceremony (Aleppo, Syria)

The background to this initiative is very simple. The background is to illustrate to the peoples of our world the history of the civilisations of the Ummah. We don’t do enough to illustrate to the peoples of our world the greatness of the Islamic civilisations, of the cultures of the past. And because they don’t know, they don’t know our history, they don’t know our literature, they don’t know our philosophy, they don’t know the physical environment in which our countries have lived. They view the Ummah in terminology which is completely wrong. And I personally feel that this is a matter of the greatest importance.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (Damascus, Syria) ·· incomplete

I would like you to know that this visit has brought me great happiness and it will remain in my memory for many, many, many years to think of the happiness I have had in this historic country, with these historic links to our Jamat for centuries and centuries.

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Signing Ceremony for three agreements: 1) The First MicroFinance Institution the Central Bank of Portgual. 2) The Aga Khan University and Ministries of Health and Higher Education of the Government of Syria. 3) The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and City of Damascus (Damascus, Syria)

I believe that Islamic cultures have immense power and immense opportunity. It is up to us Muslims to illustrate those civilisations, those cultures of the past and the present. And one of the ways to do so is to revive the effectiveness of cultural assets in communicating to people. And historic buildings do not need to be thought of only as unproductive buildings.

Cultural assets can and should become contributors to cultural dialogue, cultural understanding, pride in one’s heritage and make an economic contribution to the country. And this is why it is so important to develop the leisure industry not only in terminology of modern buildings, but cultural assets speak to people. And if we want to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding between many countries in the Ummah and other countries outside the Ummah, one of the ways to do so, I believe, is to have our cultural assets speak for our history, speak for our traditions, speak for our values, speak for our ethics.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (Lisbon, Portugal) ·· incomplete

[T]he agreement that was signed during this visit [to Portugal], concerning collaboration in the diplomatic field, is a very, very important agreement.

For an institution of faith to enter into a formal, diplomatic relationship is extremely important in the sense that that agreement has to function within the faiths of both communities.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (London, United Kingdom) ·· incomplete

It has been an enormously happy visit to the United Kingdom and I appreciate all the kindness, generosity and particularly the hard work that has gone into transforming the Jamat of 1957 — less than a hundred people in the UK — to a successful Jamat of significant global importance that you are today. Congratulations and on behalf of the Jamat around the world, mubarak and thank you.

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Imamat dinner for senior members of the Government, diplomats, distinguished leaders from industry, academia, the arts, faith communities and the NGO sector (London, United Kingdom)

We have also, in these recent decades, established two new institutions of higher learning here, The Institute of Ismaili Studies and The Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, which is part of the Aga Khan University. They both offer Masters level teaching programmes, they engage in research and publication, and they also develop curriculum materials for children in primary and secondary schools. In all these efforts, they take a holistic, civilisational approach to Islamic studies, rather than emphasising the more narrow domain of theological dialectic.

What some describe as a clash of civilisations in our modern world is, in my view, a clash of ignorances. This is why education about religious and cultural heritage is so critically important — and why we will continue to invest in these institutions. We deeply believe that scholarship, publication and instruction — of high quality and generous breadth — can provide important pathways toward a more pluralistic and peaceful world.

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Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre Foundation Stone Ceremony (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

There will, of course, be facilities here for congregational gathering and for administrative functions. There will also be places for welcoming the larger community here at seminars, lectures, cultural and educational events and other programmes. But we also see the new Jamatkhana as a place which will make an important statement symbolising an important message. We see it as a place of peace and tranquillity, filled with a spirit of humility and prayer. It will not be a place for conceit or self-satisfaction, but rather a place for search and enlightenment. It will be a place where men and women in this pluralist country can help strengthen those common bonds which reflect our common challenges and which will shape our common destiny.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (Dhaka, Bangladesh) ·· incomplete

It has been an enormously happy visit. In many ways an inspiring visit because it has demonstrated how even a small Jamat can achieve outstanding results which are complex, which are necessary, but which, which your endeavours, your work, your unity … you can achieve results which are completely unexpected.

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Aga Khan Academy, Dhaka, Foundation Stone Ceremony (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Let me reflect for a moment on the matter of ethics and the importance of ethical commitments not only in government but throughout society. Competent civil society is a major contributor to development particularly where democracies are less well established, or where governmental efforts are inadequate. The absence of corruption or fraud in government is not enough. Fraud in medicine, fraud in education, fraud in financial services, fraud in property rights, fraud in the exercise of law enforcement or in the courts, are all risks which can have a dramatic impact on social progress. This is especially true in rural environments, where fraud is often neither reported nor corrected, but simply accepted as an inevitable condition of life….

In the final analysis, the Academies project will face an age-old challenge as it moves ahead — the challenge of balancing the universal and the particular, the global and the local as influences in human life. It is a challenge which becomes more important with every passing year. It has been said that the most important fact about modern communication technology is that it “universalises the particular and particularises the universal” which simply suggests that local and global experiences are increasingly intermixed. Such an inter-mixture can give us the worst of both worlds: hostile, defensive localism on one side and a superficial, homogenised mega-culture on the other. Or it can give us the best of both worlds: proud local identities living side by side with creative international cooperation.

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State Banquet (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Technology is also transforming our economic lives. Economic value is no longer tied to how much land one controls or how many machines or factories one owns. Within our lifetimes, predominantly “Agricultural Societies” and “Industrial Societies” of the past have been joined, and sometimes supplanted, by what many call the “Knowledge Society,” propelled by the digital revolution, and focusing on the creation and management of information. In a Knowledge Society, the most productive investments we can make are investments in education. And education is another priority we share with the Bangladeshi people.

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Jamati Institutional Leaders Dinner (Mumbai, India) ·· incomplete

I have attempted in the past 50 years to build institutional capacity, within the Jamats in various parts of the world, and in such a way that the Imamat itself has the ability to achieve goals which seem to me important. That I think has made good progress. We have got capacity today. Capacity to act nationally. Capacity to act regionally. Capacity even to act globally if and when it is necessary. But that capacity needs to be handled with very great care, very great tact, very great discretion.

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