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Aga Khan IV

Birthdate: 13. December 1936

Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, is the 49th and current Imam and Aga Khan of Nizari Ismailism, a denomination of Isma'ilism within Shia Islam consisting of an estimated 10-15 million adherents . The Aga Khan is a business magnate with British citizenship, as well as a racehorse owner and breeder. He has held this position of Imam, under the title of Aga Khan IV, since 11 July 1957, when, at the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III. It is believed that the Aga Khan is a direct lineal descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, considered the first Imam in Shia Islam, and Ali's wife Fatima az-Zahra, Muhammad's daughter from his first marriage.

In 1986 the Aga Khan ordained the current version of the Ismailia Constitution – an ecclesiastical decree affirming to Nizari Ismailis his "sole right to interpret the Qur'an and provide authoritative guidance on [all] matters of faith" and formalising his sole discretion, power and authority for the governance of Nizari Ismaili jamats and institutions.Forbes describes the Aga Khan as one of the world's ten richest royals with an estimated net worth of US$800 million . Additionally he is unique among the richest royals as he does not rule over a geographic territory. Among the goals the Aga Khan has said he works toward are the elimination of global poverty; the promotion and implementation of secular pluralism; the advancement of the status of women; and the honouring of Islamic art and architecture. He is the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the largest private development networks in the world. The organisation works toward improvement of the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities.Since his ascension to the Imamate of Nizari Ismailis in 1957, the Aga Khan has been involved in complex political and economic changes which have affected his Nizari Ismaili followers, including the independence of African countries from colonial rule, expulsion of Asians from Uganda, the independence of Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan from the former Soviet Union and the continuous turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Aga Khan IV became the first faith leader to address the Joint Session of the Canadian Parliament on 27 February 2014.

„A proper home can provide the bridge across that terrible gulf between poverty and a better future.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Princess Zahra quoting His Highness the Aga Khan in her acceptance speech upon receiving the World Habitat Award, Kazan, Russian Federation (4 October 2006)

„Canada has for many years been a beacon to the rest of the world for its commitment to pluralism and for its support for the multicultural richness and diversity of its peoples“

—  Aga Khan IV

Press Release: Aga Khan Welcomes Government of Canada's Partnership in New Global Centre for Pluralism, Ottawa, Canada, (18 April 2005)]

„The two worlds, Muslim and non-Muslim, Eastern and Western, must, as a matter of urgency, make a real effort to get to know one another, for I fear that what we have is not a clash of civilisations, but a clash of ignorance on both sides.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Closing Address by His Highness the Aga Khan at the "Musée-Musées" Round Table Louvre Museum, (17 October 2007) http://www.akdn.org/Content/244
Context: The Muslim world, with its history and cultures, and indeed its different interpretations of Islam, is still little known in the West… The two worlds, Muslim and non-Muslim, Eastern and Western, must, as a matter of urgency, make a real effort to get to know one another, for I fear that what we have is not a clash of civilisations, but a clash of ignorance on both sides.

„If our animosities are born out of fear, then confident generosity is born out of hope.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Address by His Highness the Aga Khan to the Tutzing Evangelical Academy Upon Receiving the "Tolerance" Award, Tutzing, Germany (20 May 2006)<!-- DEAD LINK http://www.akdn.org/speeches/200506_Tutzing.htm -->
Context: If our animosities are born out of fear, then confident generosity is born out of hope. One of the central lessons I have learned after a half century of working in the developing world is that the replacement of fear by hope is probably the single most powerful trampoline of progress.

„The ability to make judgements that are grounded in solid information, and employ careful analysis, should be one of the most important goals for any educational endeavor.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Foreword to Excellence in Education (2003) http://www.agakhanacademies.org/general/vision<!-- Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa brochure p. 3 http://www.akdn.org/publications/case_study_academies_mombasa.pdf, also quoted at The Aga Khan Academies http://www.agakhanacademies.org/mombasa/student-projects -->
Context: What students know is no longer the most important measure of an education. The true test is the ability of students and graduates to engage with what they do not know, and to work out a solution. They must also be able to reach conclusions that constitute the basis for informed judgements. The ability to make judgements that are grounded in solid information, and employ careful analysis, should be one of the most important goals for any educational endeavor. As students develop this capability, they can begin to grapple with the most important and difficult step: to learn to place such judgements in an ethical framework. For all these reasons, there is no better investment that individuals, parents and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality. Such investments are reflected, and endure, in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs.

„I think you have to be patient, careful, analytical, thoughtful, prudent, and build step-by-step. I don't think it can be done like mixing a glass of Nescafé.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Interview with the Aga Khan, BBC World News America, (13 November 2007) http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/10384/
Context: You start with an idea, and then you let it grow. I think at the moment, there is a tendency to want to see political change occur in the developing world very rapidly, and I think this notion of consultation and democracy is all excellent, but I simply don't believe that Western forms of democracy are necessarily replicable throughout the developing world that I know, and indeed I would go so far as to say that, at the moment, one of our risks is to see democracies fail. … I think you have to be patient, careful, analytical, thoughtful, prudent, and build step-by-step. I don't think it can be done like mixing a glass of Nescafé.

„Conflict situations are driven by concepts of victory, power, and elimination of inherited culture, and not by the underlying values of civilization. There are many interpretations of Islam within the wider Islamic community, but generally we are instructed to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Interview with Robert Ivy (FAIA), in Architectural Record (31 August 2001)
Context: Conflict situations are driven by concepts of victory, power, and elimination of inherited culture, and not by the underlying values of civilization. There are many interpretations of Islam within the wider Islamic community, but generally we are instructed to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture seeks to make a better place in physical terms. This means trying to bring values into environments, buildings, and contexts that improve the quality of life for future generations.

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„There are those… who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their lot.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Speech at the Innauguration of the Aga Khan Baug, Versova, India (17 January 1983) http://ismaili.net/speech/s830117.html <!-- ***Source: Selection of Speeches: 1976-1984
Source: Africa Ismaili, XIV, 2 (July 1983), pp. 20-22
Source: American Ismaili, (July 11, 1983), pp. 15-16 -->
Context: There are those... who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their lot. Unless these unfortunates can be touched with the spark which ignites the spirit of individual enterprise and determination, they will only sink back into renewed apathy, degradation and despair. It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.

„What students know is no longer the most important measure of an education. The true test is the ability of students and graduates to engage with what they do not know, and to work out a solution.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Context: What students know is no longer the most important measure of an education. The true test is the ability of students and graduates to engage with what they do not know, and to work out a solution. They must also be able to reach conclusions that constitute the basis for informed judgements. The ability to make judgements that are grounded in solid information, and employ careful analysis, should be one of the most important goals for any educational endeavor. As students develop this capability, they can begin to grapple with the most important and difficult step: to learn to place such judgements in an ethical framework. For all these reasons, there is no better investment that individuals, parents and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality. Such investments are reflected, and endure, in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs.

Foreword to Excellence in Education (2003) http://www.agakhanacademies.org/general/vision<!-- Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa brochure p. 3 http://www.akdn.org/publications/case_study_academies_mombasa.pdf, also quoted at The Aga Khan Academies http://www.agakhanacademies.org/mombasa/student-projects -->

„You start with an idea, and then you let it grow.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Interview with the Aga Khan, BBC World News America, (13 November 2007) http://www.nanowisdoms.org/nwblog/10384/
Context: You start with an idea, and then you let it grow. I think at the moment, there is a tendency to want to see political change occur in the developing world very rapidly, and I think this notion of consultation and democracy is all excellent, but I simply don't believe that Western forms of democracy are necessarily replicable throughout the developing world that I know, and indeed I would go so far as to say that, at the moment, one of our risks is to see democracies fail. … I think you have to be patient, careful, analytical, thoughtful, prudent, and build step-by-step. I don't think it can be done like mixing a glass of Nescafé.

„It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Speech at the Innauguration of the Aga Khan Baug, Versova, India (17 January 1983) http://ismaili.net/speech/s830117.html <!-- ***Source: Selection of Speeches: 1976-1984
Source: Africa Ismaili, XIV, 2 (July 1983), pp. 20-22
Source: American Ismaili, (July 11, 1983), pp. 15-16 -->
Context: There are those... who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their lot. Unless these unfortunates can be touched with the spark which ignites the spirit of individual enterprise and determination, they will only sink back into renewed apathy, degradation and despair. It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.

„Such investments are reflected, and endure, in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Foreword to Excellence in Education (2003) http://www.agakhanacademies.org/general/vision<!-- Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa brochure p. 3 http://www.akdn.org/publications/case_study_academies_mombasa.pdf, also quoted at The Aga Khan Academies http://www.agakhanacademies.org/mombasa/student-projects -->
Context: What students know is no longer the most important measure of an education. The true test is the ability of students and graduates to engage with what they do not know, and to work out a solution. They must also be able to reach conclusions that constitute the basis for informed judgements. The ability to make judgements that are grounded in solid information, and employ careful analysis, should be one of the most important goals for any educational endeavor. As students develop this capability, they can begin to grapple with the most important and difficult step: to learn to place such judgements in an ethical framework. For all these reasons, there is no better investment that individuals, parents and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality. Such investments are reflected, and endure, in the formation of the kind of social conscience that our world so desperately needs.

„Generally you will see as much diversity in the Islam as you do in the Christian world today. But the West does not really understand the pluralism of the Islamic world.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Interview with Robert Ivy (FAIA), in Architectural Record (31 August 2001) http://archrecord.construction.com/people/interviews/archives/0202AgaKhan-1.asp
Context: I think there is a massive gulf in the understanding and knowledge between Muslims and non-Muslims — I mean particularly the West and the Islamic world. What we are talking about in reality is a strong minority of people committed to their own particular interpretation of Islam, who seek to impose it on others. I do not believe that the totality of the Islamic world recognizes the Taliban interpretation of the faith as being representative of its own view. There is no unanimity in Islam with regard to this interpretation. Generally you will see as much diversity in the Islam as you do in the Christian world today. But the West does not really understand the pluralism of the Islamic world.

„The right to hope is the most powerful human motivation I know.“

—  Aga Khan IV

Baccalaureate Address at Brown University Delivered by His Highness the Aga Khan, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America (26 May 1996) http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/1995-96/95-147t.html

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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