Thursday 20 April 2017, UN Library, Palais des Nations, Geneva
Speech extracts & YouTube video
Perhaps the world could be a different place, for all of us now if only he had been listened to and allowed to act, take over the United Nations for example, he predicted where humanity is now and was not heard, the truth hurts and too many people have replaced responsible actions with greed and egoism. Let us hope that this book will give food -for-thought to many, especially young people worldwide and each of us can do an action that when brought together will make a true difference.”
– Nicola Spafford Furey
Vice President of Earth Focus Foundation
Ismailimail is grateful to Nicola Spafford Furey, Vice President of Earth Focus Foundation for providing us permission to share the video of her remarks at the UN Library book launch.
Thursday 20 April 2017, UN Library, Palais des Nations, Geneva
Your Excellencies, Mr High Commissioner, Ladies and Gentlemen:
When Princess Catherine Aga Khan gave me a copy of a children’s book – “The Three Little Fox Cubs”, written, in three languages by Diana Miserez with her daughter, Claudia, who did the illustrations, and dedicated to the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. I immediately ordered from her, eight copies of the book for my family and grandchildren. Diana delivered them to the prince’s town offices. She told me of her experiences, during her remarkable career, that involved working with Prince Sadruddin and how she had spoken with him about a biography when he was alive, he had told her that he did not want a biography before he was seventy years old.
“I first met the Prince in1994 [in relation to] Earth Focus Magazine, … from then, I was always amazed at his [Prince Sadruddin’s] great respect for the young, he said, “we must empower young people and help them to be heard”, he supported our activities with Earth Focus and was always enthusiastic.”
– Nicola Spafford Furey
Vice President of Earth Focus Foundation
I had the honour of meeting the Prince because of Earth Focus. As a child I had seen his Father at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and at Windsor Great Park when he came to the polo match with the Queen after the races at Ascot, he was an impressive figure you do not forget.
I remember an event in Geneva, the Prince was there as the students were arriving, on seeing five young Africans arrive he immediately went up to them, shaking their hands and making them feel at ease, then as he spoke he discovered there were several young Ismailis in the group and the conversation turned to how difficult it was to be an Ismaili, how many responsibilities there were to fulfil, all the students were fascinated.
He had such an art of making people feel at ease and valued. The Prince looked at the world holistically, in our specialised society, sadly, too many people do not have this gift. When I shared with him the project of building a Buddhist centre in Geneva he said I must keep him informed, sadly he departed before the Centre was finished. He was the person who invited the Dalai Lama to Geneva when so many people enjoyed the gathering behind the Perle du Lac and the inter-faith ceremony in the Cathedral.
The Policing the Global Economy Conference was another remarkable feat when we all experienced the visionary and humanitarian qualities of the Chairman and his chosen panel that included many true activists.
I was working at the Foundation when the Prince left us … An album of photographs of Prince Sadruddin’s whole and very varied life, including quotations and anecdotes from his or others’ speeches was put together, with which I was quite involved, but that could not explain to the World the comprehension, vision and feeling of such a wise man. So when Diana spoke of her ardent wish that a biography be written, but made it clear that she felt quite unequal to the task of attempting it herself, I believed – and I told her – that her experience, knowledge and writing ability would surely suffice to report and explain the whole incredible history of the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. She needed a lot of convincing! But I didn’t give up, and here we have this book, in both French and English, that will bring amazement and admiration to many and I hope encourage actions that should have been taken when first put on the table and shared.
The Earth Focus Foundation is working hard to continue bringing knowledge, sharing, experience and tools for action to ‘young people of all ages’, thus building on the history and respect that Prince Sadruddin deserves.
Learn more about Prince Sadruddin by reading details of what is mentioned in the remarks above in his biography, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: Humanitarian and Visionary by Diana Miserez.
Book Purchase Options:
- eBook version
- Hardback English version via The Book Guild
- Hardback French version via Editions Cabedita
About Nicola Spafford Furey
Vice-President of the Earth Focus Foundation
With a leading Canadian forester for her Grandfather, the person who was the first to introduce re-afforestation in Quebec, Nicola has always been motivated, active and close to Nature. Born in Oxford and lived in the countryside nearby.
She promoted the Programme for Belize in the schools in Geneva and, half a million acres of rainforest have been protected in perpetuity for the Belizean people.
With diplomatic and business experience in Geneva she has been involved with Earth Focus since its conception in 1992. Her great admiration for the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, who used to say “we must empower young people and help them to be heard” has been a guiding factor in her dedication to the Earth Focus Foundation, raising awareness to sustainable development and all it involves for “young people of all ages”, as a Mother of four and now with four grandchildren these feelings become more and more strong. The Earth Focus magazine was printed in thirty-six copies, articles written by students and professionals, many role-playing debates and conferences have encouraged many young people to dedicate their lives to the subjects discussed and we all continue believing that raising awareness to sustainability with learning and action is vital for now, the future and for all.
Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali
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