UBC, SFU, Calgary universities to honour Aga Khan with degrees

Aga Khan
Three top Canadian universities to honour Aga Khan in October. UBC, SFU and Calgary U will confer degrees on the international humanitarian.

Vancouver – Three Canadian universities will confer honorary degrees on the Aga Khan next month.

Two of BC’s top universities, UBC and SFU, are collaborating in awarding honorary degrees to the Aga Khan. And the University of Calgary will also honour the Aga Khan’s global humanitarian work with an honorary degree, said Calgary University President Elizabeth Cannon.

“The University of Calgary has had strong ties with His Highness the Aga Khan and his social development and cultural networks for decades,” says Chancellor Deborah Yedlin.

“From international partnerships and exchanges to programs launched right here in Calgary that bring our communities together, so many of us have benefited from his vision for a more integrated and understanding society around the globe,” she said.

“As someone who has dedicated his life as a world leader, His Highness has fostered initiatives focusing on health, education, cultural and economic revitalization and development, as well as the advancement of pluralism, civil society and protection of the environment,” said Cannon.

“His leadership serves as an example of how we can all work together to support social and human development, both at home and around the world.”

The joint announcement means that the Ismaili leader will be back in Vancouver and Calgary for a second time this year.

The Aga Khan graduated from Harvard but his global humanitarian work has brought him dozens of honorary degrees from all around the world. ( See bottom of story)

“The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are each awarding an honorary doctorate of laws degree to His Highness the Aga Khan in a joint conferral ceremony—a first for both universities,” the universities announced.

“The honorary degrees, which will be conferred together at a ceremony in Vancouver on Oct. 19, are being awarded in recognition of the Aga Khan’s lifelong service to humanity, and the intersections of his work at UBC and SFU.”

“We applaud His Highness the Aga Khan’s outstanding humanitarian contributions,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Santa J. Ono.

“In his capacity as spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community, his commitment to helping fight poverty and improve health and education for millions of people in underdeveloped and war-torn parts of the world is truly remarkable, and serves as an inspiration to us all.”

President Macron of France honoured the Aga Khan with France’s highest medal of honour on Sept. 20.

“His Highness has demonstrated an exemplary international commitment to address the needs of others,” said SFU President and Vice-Chancellor Andrew Petter.

“He has in this context supported programs at both of our universities, and we are grateful for his generosity in promoting positive change in the lives of young people and in advancing the well-being of the communities we serve.”

“In realizing the social conscience of Islam, His Highness founded the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network of development agencies that operates universities, hospitals and school programs in underdeveloped and war-torn nations.

“He also works with Canadian governments and organizations on projects that promote inclusive, sustainable development and improve quality of life.”

60 years of humanitarian work

“For over 60 years, His Highness has been one of the world’s leading advocates of a pluralist, cosmopolitan ethic, one that embraces human diversity as an opportunity and as an antidote to social fragmentation and division.”

UBC and SFU students, faculty and staff have benefited from the Aga Khan’s lifelong humanitarian work, the institutions stated.

“Through a partnership with the Aga Khan Academies’ Teacher Preparation Programme, UBC’s IB Education team of faculty and adjunct faculty are providing mentorship to and evaluation of teacher interns in Mombasa, Kenya, who are seeking International Baccalaureate (IB) certification.”

“We are grateful to His Highness the Aga Khan for his support of our partnership, which aims to improve the educational opportunities available to young people in Africa and promote a deeper global perspective among teachers and students in B.C.,” said Meredith Fenton, director of IB programs in the faculty of education at UBC.

“Our partnership with the Aga Khan Academies reflects the spirit of international mindedness that our educators and learners aim to model, and to which we aspire for the benefit of our teacher candidates and future generations of children in their care.”

“SFU’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies and the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations partnered to establish Expressions of Diversity, an internationally renowned summer school on Muslim diversity that provided participants with a critical-historical understanding of Muslims within larger and more diverse frameworks.

“Expressions of Diversity opened up many windows into the historical heritage and contemporary relevance of Muslim peoples globally,” said Derryl MacLean, the founder of SFU’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies.

“The program was groundbreaking for its breadth and depth and played an important role in providing balanced access to the latest research on Islam and Muslims for SFU students and an international audience.”


Commander of the Order of Merit, Mauritania (1960)

Grand Cross of the Order of Infante D. Henrique, Portugal (1960)

Grand Cross of the National Order, Ivory Coast (1965)

Grand Cross of the National Order, Upper Volta (1965)

Grand Cross of the National Order, Madagascar (1966)

Grand Cross of the Order of the Green Crescent, Comoros, (1966)

Grand Cordon of the Order of the Crown of Iran, Nishan-i-Taj-i-Iran (1967)

Nishan-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan, (1970)

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (1977)

Grand Officer of the National Order of the Lion, Senegal (1982)

Nishan-e-Pakistan (1983)

Grand Cordon of Ouissam-al Arch, Morocco (1986)

Knight of Labour, Cavaliere del Lavoro, Italy (1988)

Commander of the Legion of Honour, France (1990)

Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, Spain (1991)

Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Portugal (1998)

Order of Friendship, Tajikistan (1998)

Order of Bahrain (First Class) (2003)

Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE), United Kingdom (2004)

Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada (2005)

Grand Cross of the Military Order of Christ, Portugal (2005)

Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart, Kenya (2007)

Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali (2008)

Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France (2010)

Order of Danaker, Kyrgyz Republic (2016)

Most Excellent Order of Pearl of Africa, The Grandmaster, Uganda (2017)

Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, France (2018)

Honorary Degrees

LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Peshawar, Pakistan (1967)

LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Sind, Pakistan (1970)

LL.D. (honoris causa)  McGill University, Canada (1983)

LL.D. (honoris causa)  McMaster University, Canada (1987)

D. Litt. (honoris causa) University of London, United Kingdom (1989)

LL.D. (honoris causa)  University of Wales, United Kingdom (1993)

LL.D. (honoris causa) Brown University, USA (1996)

Honorary Professorship of the University of Osh, Kyrgyzstan (2002)

LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Toronto, Canada (2004)

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2005)

Honorary Doctorate, University of Évora, Portugal (2006)

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, American University in Cairo, Egypt (2006)

Honorary Doctorate, University of Sankoré, Mali (2008)

LL.D. (honoris causa) Harvard University, USA (2008)

LL.D.(honoris causa), National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland (2008)

LL.D. (honoris causa), University of Alberta, Canada (2009)

Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (2009)

LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Ottawa, Canada (2012)

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters from Trinity College, University of Toronto, Canada (2013)

Honorary Degree Ceremony Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (PIMS) (2016)

Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal (2017)


Honorary Membership, Pakistan Medical Association, Sind, Pakistan (1981)

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal in Architecture, University of Virginia, USA (1984)

Institute Honor of the American Institute of Architects, USA (1984)

Honorary Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), Pakistan (1985)

Gold Medal of the Consejo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos, Spain (1987)

Honorary Citizen of Granada, Spain (1991)

Honorary Fellowship, Royal Institute of British Architects, United Kingdom (1991)

Silver Medal of the Académie d’Architecture, France (1991)

Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects, USA (1992)

Honorary Citizen of the City of Samarkand, Uzbekistan (1992)

Hadrian Award, World Monuments Fund, USA (1996)

Key to the City of Lisbon, Portugal (1996)

Gold Medal of the City of Granada, Spain (1998)

Archon Award, International Nursing Honour Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, Denmark (2001)

Insignia of Honour, International Union of Architects, France (2001)

State Award for Peace and Progress, Kazakhstan (2002)

Honorary Citizen of the Islamic Ummah of Timbuktu, Mali (2003)

Vincent Scully Prize, National Building Museum, USA (2005)

Honorary Citizen of Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania (2005)

Key to the City of Ottawa, Canada (2005)

Die Quadriga Award, Germany (2005)

Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, UK (2005)

Tolerance Prize of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing, Germany (2006)

Key to the City of Austin, USA (2008)

Citizen of Honour of the Municipality of Timbuktu, Mali (2008)

Associate Foreign Member, Académie des Beaux-Arts, France (2008)

Honoured Educator of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2008)

Personality of the Year 2008, International Association for Spiritual Renewal “Ruhaniat”, Kyrgyzstan (2009)

Foreign Member of the Sciences Academy of Lisbon, Portugal (2009)

Grand Mécène and Grand Donateur (Grand Patron and Grand Donor) of the Ministry of Culture, France (2009)

Honorary Citizenship of Canada (2009)

University of California San Francisco Medal, USA (2011)

ULI  J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development, USA (2011)

David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, United Kingdom (2012)

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) gold medal, Canada (2013)

North South Prize, Council of Europe, Portugal (2014)

Padma Vibhushan, India (2015)

Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship (2016)

Champion for Global Change Award, UN Global Leadership Dinner, USA (2017)

Asia Society’s Game Changer Lifetime Achievement Award, USA (2017)

Key to the City of Sugar Land, USA (2018)