Millions of Ismaili Muslims around the globe celebrate the birthday of their spiritual leader – His Highness Aga Khan IV, on 13th December every year. Gilgit-Baltistan is home to a huge fraction of Ismailis along with other sects of Islam like Sunnis, Shias and Noorbakshia.
H.H. Aga Khan has played an important role in the development of this region without any discrimination through various agencies of AKDN.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities. AKDN agencies conduct their programmes without regard to faith, origin or gender. via AKDN
1. Clash of Civilizations
When people speak these days, about an inevitable “Clash of Civilizations” in our world, what they often mean, I fear, is an inevitable “Clash of Religions.” But I would use different terminology altogether. The essential problem, as I see it, in relations between the Muslim world and the West is “A Clash of Ignorance.” And what I would prescribe — as an essential first step — is a concentrated educational effort.
2. Providing the spark.
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.
3. Mistakes and Regret
Everybody makes mistakes. Never regret them, correct them. There’s no such thing as a perfect world or perfect life.
4. Goal of Quality Education
For too long some of our schools have taught too many subjects as subsets of dogmatic commitments…Too often, education made our students less flexible- confident to the point of arrogance that they now had all the answers- rather than more flexible- humble in their lifelong openness to new questions and new responses. An important goal of quality education is to equip each generation to participate effectively in what has been called ‘the great conversation’ of our times. This means, on one hand, being unafraid of controversy. But, on the other hand, it also means being sensitive to the values and outlooks of others
Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for progress and development, it is vital to our existence.
6. Trampoline of Progress
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.
7. Survival of an Interdependent World
Tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, social structures, values and faiths are now essential to the very survival of an interdependent world.
8. Requirements of a secure Pluralistic Society
A secure pluralistic society requires communities that are educated and confident both in the identity and depth of their own traditions and in those of their neighbours.
9. Democracy and Diversity
We cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity.
10. Interpretations of Islam
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.