Calgary – “His Highness is a living manifestation of how we must work together to support human advancement, at home and around the world.”
That was the glowing tribute paid to the Aga Khan by Calgary University President Dr. Elizabeth Cannon at a ceremony to confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree Wednesday.
“In the great chain of thinkers, those who encapsulate the poetry and vision of human reason, His Highness has fostered social justice as a dream that all yearn to achieve. He stands as a living legend, a model for every conscience,” Cannon added.
“He commissions everyone to reflect on those who have contributed to our lives, and to remember the importance of contributing to the lives of others,” she added.
“We are today, grateful to be in his presence, and honoured that he has accepted our tribute.”
“In a special ceremony on campus Wednesday, Chancellor Deborah Yedlin conferred UCalgary’s highest academic honour — on the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community,” the university stated.
Cannon said: “His Highness’s concern for the arts, science, and economic development illuminates Ismaili tradition. He leads this resilient and altruistic community who believe that faith is demonstrated by contributing to the general welfare and doing good for all. The Ismaili presence in our radiantly diverse and youthful city has greatly benefited Calgarians.”
The citation highlighted the work undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network, founded by His Highness, which includes the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia.
“Those organizations are both foundational nuclei for health, education, development, protection of the environment, and cultural and economic revitalization,” said Cannon.
“His Highness is a living manifestation of how we must work together to support human advancement, at home and around the world.” – continues below.
Cannon’s remarks emphasized how the University of Calgary has benefited from His Highness’s visionary efforts, through partnerships with the faculties of graduate studies, nursing, arts, and the Werklund School of Education as well as through historical relationships and research partnerships here in Calgary and at Aga Khan University campuses in Pakistan, Kenya and Uganda.
Rod Hunter, Bearspaw First Nation, delivers the indigenous honour song at today's ceremony for His Highness the #AgaKhan. We're hearing it for the first time in a ceremony today #UCalgary #AKDN #KnowledgeSociety pic.twitter.com/HgsUh2qbHC
— U Calgary (@UCalgary) October 17, 2018
Thousands of people from around the world watched the ceremony through a live-stream broadcast, as Cannon spoke about the enormous contribution the 15-million strong Ismaili Muslim community around the world — including those in Canada and Calgary — has made to the “fabric of diversity we cherish so much.
Aga Khan University and the University of Calgary also signed an international agreement to promote knowledge sharing, education and research collaborations, student internships, and faculty exchanges on Wednesday.
The Aga Khan will be in Vancouver where the top two BC universities – UBC and SFU – will follow suit conferring doctor of laws degrees on the Ismaili spiritual leader
By Salim Jiwa with University of Calgary public relations team. All photos by Riley Brandt of UCalgary.