EDMONTON, AB, Sept. 28, 2022- The University of Alberta inaugurated the Diwan Pavilion at the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta, part of the University’s Botanic Garden in Edmonton.
Presided over the ceremony were Lieutenant Governor Salma Lakhani, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, University of Alberta President Bill Flanagan and Princess Zahra Aga Khan, on behalf of her father, His Highness the Aga Khan.
The completion of the project marks another landmark in a history of shared partnership between the Ismaili community and the university, during a milestone year celebrating 50 years of Ismaili history in Canada.
The Aga Khan Garden was inaugurated in 2018 in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. It symbolizes the hope, peace and unity that come when people interact with each other amidst the beauty and inspiration of nature. The Diwan pavilion was part of the original vision for the garden to ensure it could be used year-round.
“Here at the Aga Khan Garden, His Highness wanted to showcase the environmental ethic in Islam through its emphasis on human stewardship, on our responsibility to nature and the protection of the natural world, the power and mystery of nature, and that we should strive for beauty in our imperfection,” said Luis Monreal, general manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
“The Diwan is a beautiful community space, designed for education and cultural understanding. Its opening is particularly momentous as we celebrate 50 years of Ismaili history in Canada,” said Bill Flanagan, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta. “I am thankful for the special relationship between our communities and our mutual commitment to create spaces where different perspectives are embraced for the benefit of all.”
The project was a collaboration of three firms: design architect AXIA Design Associates, architect-of-record Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd., and interiors by Arriz and Co.
In keeping with the mandate of his role as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan has worked to improve the quality of life of all people regardless of their birthplace, background or religious belief.
News source: Ismaili Council for Canada Press release