2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 5

Thursday, October 24, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Ismaili Imamat Exhibit

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, a special exhibition that explores the life and work of His Highness the Aga Khan is at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa.

“Rays of Light: Glimpses into the Ismaili Imamat,” highlights the institution that the Aga Khan has founded and how their work has developed over the past 50 years to serve people across countries, religions and cultures.

Canada is an important partner in many of these initiatives. The Aga Khan has looked specifically to Canada as a leader in promoting a common ethical framework, including shared values of pluralism, democracy and civic engagement.

His Highness the Aga Khan is the forty-ninth hereditary imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and is the spiritual leader of some 15 million Ismaili Muslims. He’s also the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, which brings together several non-denominational development agencies that work primarily in the poorest parts of Asia and Africa.

The exhibition captures a strong Canadian presence, such as the delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, and the forthcoming Ismaili centre, Aga Khan museum and park in Toronto.

In fact, Canada and the Aga Khan Development Network in Canada have had a remarkable relationship over the past 30 years. This partnership has had a lasting impact, transforming the lives of 1 million people in Pakistan, supporting the creation of a world-class university, and building the next generation of Canadian international development leaders through a fellowship program.

In 2009, His Highness became an honorary citizen of Canada: at the time, only the fifth person to be given the designation. Then Prime Minister Harper praised the Aga Khan as a beacon of humanitarianism, pluralism and tolerance. “Rays of Light” shows all these dimensions of His Highness the Aga Khan’s efforts in serving humanity against the backdrop of 1,400 years of history of the Ismaili Imamat.

Honourable senators, if you were not able to attend this exceptional exhibit last night, it is still open for public viewing this evening and tomorrow. I encourage all of you to attend. Thank you.