The Aga Khan Development Network has a deep commitment to social, economic and educational projects in developing nations.
Edmonton are testaments of the contributions of His Highness throughout the world.
The Aga Khan received the first Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship in 2016 in recognition of his lifetime of work in improving the levels of education and health around the world. The Institute for Canadian Citizenship, co-founded by Madame Clarkson and John Raulston Saul, of which I am a board member, works on the principles of inclusion to enhance active citizenship among our new Canadian citizens.
In Calgary, I have experienced how community service and giving back to one’s community are part of the Ismaili DNA. Ismaili youth are raised with the expectation of doing volunteer service and they are involved in a myriad of projects. When 2,400 Afghan refugees came to Calgary, not only did the Ismaili community pledge to support them but they promised to stick with arriving families until they were functioning successfully in Calgary. This included helping with their accommodations, accompanying them to school parent-teacher interviews, helping to translate our western culture to them, instilling pride in Canadian institutions among the new immigrants and helping them learn or improve their English.
When I want to be inspired, I think about Molodad in Gilgit. He is the head of the Professional Training Development Centre there and is from a farm family of nine children. He was the only one of his family to attend school until Grade 8. He eventually attained a PhD from the University of Toronto and returned to work in Gilgit. When he goes to bed at night, he asks what else he can do to give back. He told me, “I give with my heart, my soul, my mind and everything I have so we can all be successful.”
In the context of our current political climate, I look to the Ismaili community, intent on helping people reach their personal potential through education, as a shining example of hope and optimism for the future of our world. This diamond jubilee is certainly occasion for us all to celebrate. -TROYMEDIA