Last modified on 23 November 2014, at 20:24

Aga Khan IV

The search for justice and security, the struggle for equality of opportunity, the quest for tolerance and harmony, the pursuit of human dignity – these are moral imperatives which we must work towards and think about on a daily basis.

The Āgā Khān IV (or His Highness Prince Karīm al-Ḥussaynī Āgā Khān IV) KBE CC GCC (born 13 December 1936) is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, comprised of ethnically and culturally diverse peoples living in over 25 countries around the world. A Harvard graduate in Islamic history, the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather as Imam of the Ismailis in 1957. He is the founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network.

QuotesEdit

There are many interpretations of Islam within the wider Islamic community, but generally we are instructed to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it.
Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for progress and development, it is vital to our existence.
Pluralist societies are not accidents of history. They are a product of enlightened education and continuous investment by governments and all of civil society in recognizing and celebrating the diversity of the world’s peoples.
We cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity.
The fundamental reason for the pre-eminence of Islamic civilizations lay neither in accidents of history nor in acts of war, but rather in their ability to discover new knowledge, to make it their own, and to build constructively upon it. They became the Knowledge Societies of their time.
  • I think there is a massive gulf in the understanding and knowledge between Muslims and non-Muslims — I mean particularly the West and the Islamic world. What we are talking about in reality is a strong minority of people committed to their own particular interpretation of Islam, who seek to impose it on others. I do not believe that the totality of the Islamic world recognizes the Taliban interpretation of the faith as being representative of its own view. There is no unanimity in Islam with regard to this interpretation. Generally you will see as much diversity in the Islam as you do in the Christian world today. But the West does not really understand the pluralism of the Islamic world.
  • Conflict situations are driven by concepts of victory, power, and elimination of inherited culture, and not by the underlying values of civilization. There are many interpretations of Islam within the wider Islamic community, but generally we are instructed to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it.The Aga Khan Award for Architecture seeks to make a better place in physical terms. This means trying to bring values into environments, buildings, and contexts that improve the quality of life for future generations.
    • Interview with Robert Ivy (FAIA), in Architectural Record (31 August 2001).
  • Canada is today the most successful pluralist society on the face of our globe, without any doubt in my mind.... That is something unique to Canada. It is an amazing global human asset.
    • "Canada: 'A model for the world', in The Globe and Mail (2 February 2002).
  • Tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples' cultures, social structures, values and faiths are now essential to the very survival of an interdependent world.
    • Speech at the Ceremony to Inaugurate the Restored Humayun's Tomb Gardens, New Delhi, India (15 April 2003).
  • Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for progress and development, it is vital to our existence.
    • Speech at the Ceremony to Inaugurate the Restored Humayun's Tomb Gardens, New Delhi, India (15 April 2003).
  • What students know is no longer the most important measure of an education. The true test is the ability of students and graduates to engage with what they do not know, and to work out a solution. They must also be able to reach conclusions that constitute the basis for informed judgements. The ability to make judgements that are grounded in solid information, and employ careful analysis, should be one of the most important goals for any educational endeavor. As students develop this capability, they can begin to grapple with the most important and difficult step: to learn to place such judgements in an ethical framework. For all these reasons, there is no better investment that individuals, parents and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality. Such investments are reflected, and endure, in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs.
  • A secure pluralistic society requires communities that are educated and confident both in the identity and depth of their own traditions and in those of their neighbours.
    • Address at the Leadership and Diversity Conference Gatineau, Quebec, Canada (19 May 2004)
  • Canada has an experience of governance of which much of the world stands in dire need. It is a world of increasing dissension and conflict in which a significant contribution is the failure of different ethnic, tribal, religious, or social groups to search for, and agree upon, a common space for harmonious co-existence.
    • Address by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Leadership and Diversity Conference, Gatineau, Canada (19 May 2004).
  • Pluralist societies are not accidents of history. They are a product of enlightened education and continuous investment by governments and all of civil society in recognizing and celebrating the diversity of the world’s peoples.
    • Speech on Democratic Development, Pluralism and Civil Society delivered at the Nobel Institute, Oslo, Norway (7 April 2005).
  • Canada has for many years been a beacon to the rest of the world for its commitment to pluralism and for its support for the multicultural richness and diversity of its peoples
    • Press Release: Aga Khan Welcomes Government of Canada's Partnership in New Global Centre for Pluralism, Ottawa, Canada, (18 April 2005)].
  • We cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity.
    • Address by His Highness the Aga Khan to the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University,(15 May 2006)].
  • A proper home can provide the bridge across that terrible gulf between poverty and a better future.
    • Princess Zahra quoting His Highness the Aga Khan in her acceptance speech upon receiving the World Habitat Award, Kazan, Russian Federation (4 October 2006).
  • If our animosities are born out of fear, then confident generosity is born out of hope. One of the central lessons I have learned after a half century of working in the developing world is that the replacement of fear by hope is probably the single most powerful trampoline of progress.
    • Address by His Highness the Aga Khan to the Tutzing Evangelical Academy Upon Receiving the "Tolerance" Award, Tutzing, Germany (20 May 2006).
  • The spirit of the Knowledge Society is the spirit of Pluralism—a readiness to accept the Other, indeed to learn from him, to see difference as an opportunity rather than a threat.
    • Address by His Highness the Aga Khan to the 2006 Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan (2 December 2006)].
  • If we judge from Islamic history, there is much to encourage us. For century after century, the Arabs, the Persians, the Turks and many other Islamic societies achieved powerful leadership roles in the world — not only politically and economically but also intellectually... The fundamental reason for the pre-eminence of Islamic civilizations lay neither in accidents of history nor in acts of war, but rather in their ability to discover new knowledge, to make it their own, and to build constructively upon it. They became the Knowledge Societies of their time.
    • Address by His Highness the Aga Khan to the 2006 Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan (2 December 2006)].
  • You start with an idea, and then you let it grow. I think at the moment, there is a tendency to want to see political change occur in the developing world very rapidly, and I think this notion of consultation and democracy is all excellent, but I simply don't believe that Western forms of democracy are necessarily replicable throughout the developing world that I know, and indeed I would go so far as to say that, at the moment, one of our risks is to see democracies fail. … I think you have to be patient, careful, analytical, thoughtful, prudent, and build step-by-step. I don't think it can be done like mixing a glass of Nescafé.
    • Interview with the Aga Khan, BBC World News America, (13 November 2007).

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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