AGA KHAN HONOURED
U of C confers degree
The University of Calgary awarded the Aga Khan an honorary doctor of laws degree Wednesday, bestowing the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community the university’s highest academic honour.
The Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims, was praised for his contributions to international development, commitment to inclusion and diversity.
University president Elizabeth Cannon said the Aga Khan “stands as a living legend.”
“This is a really special day. You can feel the excitement, you can really appreciate the work that he has done and how much it intersects with what’s important here at the University of Calgary,” Cannon said. “He is somebody who’s really reached beyond his own faith, bringing other faiths together and really bettering humanity in so many ways.”
The Aga Khan was in Edmonton on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of a $25-million garden he gifted to the University of Alberta. Named the Aga Khan Garden, it sprawls more than 4.8 hectares — about the size of 31 NHL rinks.
“We drew on his proximity to Calgary and we’re lucky that he was able to be here,” Cannon said. “We’re just delighted that everything lined up beautifully.”
Earlier in the day, the university signed a memorandum of understanding with Aga Khan University, which has campuses in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the U.K., to further collaborate through the disciplines of education, nursing, medicine and arts.
Cannon said U of C has partnered with the Aga Khan University and the Aga Khan Development Network, which employs 80,000 people through a global network of development agencies active in about 30 developing countries, for decades.
The Aga Khan Development Network invests close to $1 billion each year for non-profit social and cultural development activities to address the needs of vulnerable populations.
University chancellor Deborah Yedlin called the Aga Khan “a supporter and advocate for social and human rights around the globe.”
“His leadership truly serves as an example of how we can all work together to support social and human development both at home and around the world,” she said.
The Aga Khan received his honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from the University of Calgary Wednesday, with chancellor Deborah Yedlin calling him “a supporter and advocate for social and human rights.”