Government of Canada and Aga Khan Sign Funding Agreement for Global Centre for Pluralism

Government of Canada and Aga Khan Sign Funding Agreement for Global Centre for Pluralism

“…we cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the
world safe for diversity.”
— His Highness the Aga Khan, May 15, 2006

OTTAWA, Oct. 25 /CNW Telbec/ – His Highness the Aga Khan will meet today
on Parliament Hill with The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of
Canada, and The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage, to
sign a funding agreement for the Global Centre for Pluralism, to be located in
Ottawa, Canada.
The Global Centre for Pluralism is a major new international centre for
research, education and exchange about the values, practices and policies that
underpin pluralist societies. Drawing inspiration from the Canadian
experience, the centre will function as a global repository and source for
knowledge about fostering pluralistic values, policies, and practices. It will
work with countries to nurture successful civil societies in which every
citizen, irrespective of cultural, religious or ethnic differences, is able to
realize his or her full potential.
“The rejection of pluralism is pervasive across the globe and plays a
significant role in breeding destructive conflicts,” says the Aga Khan. The
Centre will therefore undertake research, deliver programs, facilitate
dialogue, develop pedagogical materials and work with civil society partners
worldwide to build the capacities of individuals, groups, educational
institutions and governments to promote indigenous approaches to pluralism in
their own countries and communities.
The Aga Khan has described the Canadian practice of seeking unity in
diversity as “Canada’s gift to the world.” The decision to locate this major
new institution in Canada’s capital city was therefore a natural one. The
mission of the Centre supports several key Canadian international policy
objectives, among them the promotion of democracy and good governance, a more
equitable sharing of the world’s resources between developed and developing
countries, and the projection of Canadian values, such as the rule of law,
human rights and respect for diversity.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Government of Canada will
contribute C$30 million towards the establishment of the Centre’s endowment
fund. The Aga Khan will contribute a minimum of C$30 million toward the
endowment and the refurbishing of the former Canadian War Museum, which the
Government is making available on a long-term lease to serve as the Centre’s
global headquarters.
Registered under Canadian law as a non-denominational, bilingual,
non-profit organization, the Centre will be guided by an independent Board of
Directors made up of leading Canadians and high-profile individuals from
around the world. The Board will be jointly constituted by the Aga Khan
Development Network and the Government of Canada. His Highness the Aga Khan
will lead the Board as Chairman.
Drawing on the pluralistic model of Canada and the diversity of the
Ismaili community worldwide, today’s announcement marks the culmination of a
long-standing dialogue initiated in 2002. Since that time, both the Government
and the Centre have consulted with a number of leading Canadians and civil
society institutions to validate the mandate and proposed activities of the
Centre. The Global Centre for Pluralism will engage with a wide range of
partners, among them civil society organizations, research institutes, and
academic institutions. The programmatic activities of the Centre will begin in


His Highness the Aga Khan 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.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private,
non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and
individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in
sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s
nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development
for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s
underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual
budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$300 million.
The Government of Canada and the AKDN have a longstanding and successful
partnership that extends across many fields and several countries. For
example, Aga Khan Foundation Canada has, for over twenty years been an
important partner of the Canadian International Development Agency in a series
of development programs ranging from rural development in Bangladesh, India,
Pakistan and Tajikistan to early childhood education in eastern Africa.

For further information: Jennifer Morrow, Manager, Communications, Aga
Khan Foundation Canada, (613) 237-2532 ext. 109, Fax: (613) 567-2532,; Semin Abdulla, Department of Public Affairs, Secretariat of
His Highness the Aga Khan, Gouvieux, France, +33 44 58 42 72,

Fax: +33 44 58 1 14,;

CNW Group

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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