Improving the quality of life for people around the world is a tall order for a 20-year-old.
But more than 50 years ago when the Aga Khan was named spiritual leader of the Shia Nizari Ismaili Muslims, he was up to the task.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Shah Karim al-Hussayni – the 49th Aga Khan – will receive the rare award of honorary Canadian citizenship to recognize his efforts in working toward that goal.
He founded the Aga Khan Development Network, an organization that has brought better health care, education and urban and rural development to impoverished communities in Asia and Africa.
He joins an elite group of four others who have also been given honorary citizenship. He is also the third person given this recognition by Mr. Harper.
“[He is] a beacon of humanitarianism, of pluralism and of tolerance throughout the entire world,” Mr. Harper told the House of Commons yesterday.