HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN - BIOGRAPHY
His Highness the Aga Khan's Silver Jubilee, as Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, is being celebrated from July 1982 to July 1983.
HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN - BIOGRAPHY
GV THE AQA KHAN DISEMBARKING AT DARESSALAAM AIRPORT WITH HIS WIFE BEGUM SALIMAN AND BEING GREETED BY SECRETARY GENERAL RASHIDI KAWAWA TOGETHER WITH MINISTERS AND OFFICIALS, THEN WALKING AWAY.
GV AQA KHAN GREETING MORE GOVERNMENT AND OFFICIALS WITH FAMILIES (3 SHOTS).
GV CROWD MOVING AWAY.
GV AQA KHAN MEETING PRESIDENT NYERERE PAN WITH THEM TO CHAIRS.
GV AQA KHAN AND NYERERE SEATED TALKING.
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Background: HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN - BIOGRAPHY
His Highness the Aga Khan's Silver Jubilee, as Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, is being celebrated from July 1982 to July 1983. On July 11th, 1957 at the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan, who had expressed the wish to be succeeded by a "young man who has been brought up in the midst of the new age". He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed through his cousin and son-in-law Ali, the first Imam, and his daughter Fatima.
The Ismaili Muslims live in some 25 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as in the West. They form a well-organised community with strong loyalties to the countries in which they live.
Born on December 13th, 1936, in Geneva, the Aga Khan, son of Prince Aly Khan and Princess Tajuddawlah, the former Joan Yarde Byller, spent his early childhood in East Africa, and then attended Le Rosey School in Switzerland. He graduated from Harvard University in 1955 with a BA Honours in Islamic History. In 1969 he married Begum Salimah, the former Sarah Croker Poole, of English birth brought up in India. They have three children, Princess Zarah, born in 1970, Prince Rahim, 1971 and Prince Hussain, 1974. The Begum travels extensively with her husband and has taken special interest in health and education programmes, particularly in developing countries.
In recent generations, the Aga Khan's family has followed a tradition of service in international affairs. The Aga Khan's grandfather was President of the League of Nations, his father, Prince Aly, was Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, and his uncle, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan was United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1965 to 1977. His brother and close collaborator, Prince Amyn, following his graduation from Harvard, served from 1965 to 1968 with the United Nations secretariat, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Since the present Aga Khan assumed the office of Imamat twenty-five years ago, there have been fundamental political and economic changes in most of the countries where Ismailis live. The Aga Khan has adapted the complex system of administering the various Ismaili communities pioneered by his grandfather under the old colonial empires to a world of nation states. To make the most of scarce resources in developing countries, the Aga Khan has introduced modern management techniques into not only economic development activities but also his many social welfare programmes.
His activities span the fields of primary and tertiary health care, education from kindergarten to university, housing, architecture, the media, venture capitaL, cooperative banking, insurance and industry.
The Aga Khan Health Services, consist of a network of health programmes and institutions, primarily in Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Syria. In 1982, the services include over 200 health care centres, diagnostic clinics, dispensaries and four general hospitals. In Tanzania, in addition to the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam, there are five clinics and two medical centres as well as health education and school health programmes.
The Aga Khan Education Khan Education Services sponsor a host of educational institutions and programmes in many parts of the world, including Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan and India. These institutions, numbering some 300, range from day care centres to secondary schools and student hostels, as well as specialised projects such as the Aga Khan School of Commerce in Dar-es-Salaam. In addition to the School of Commerce, education services in Tanzania operate the Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School, three hostels and eleven nurseries.
The Aga Khan Foundation, established in 1967, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and branches in various countries, has become the primary agency of the Imamat's humanitarian and social welfare activities, particularly in the fields of health care, education, housing, and the development of human resources. It owns, for example, three hospitals in East Africa, has 120 health care centres in Pakistan and has funded a series of village schools and low-cost housing projects in India. The Foundation is also building a 721-bed hospital and medical college in Karachi, which has been endowed with university status and constitutes part of a new private university called the Aga Khan University. The foundation cooperates with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), as well as other international organisations such as UNICEF and WHO. In cooperation with WHO, the Foundation organised a major international conference on "The Role of Hospitals in Primary Health Care", in Karachi in November 1981. In addition, it provides each year a growing number of scholarships to students in developing countries to continue their education at institution of higher learning. The Foundation is non-communal and programmes are open to all races and religions.
The Aga Khan established a separate foundation, the Aga Khan Awards Foundation, in 1978, also based in Geneva, to encourage exceptional achievements in the arts an desciences. Architecture is the first area of endeavour in which the Foundation is active and the Aga Khan Award of Architecture Prize of $ 500,000 is given every three years. The first Awards were given in October 1980 at a ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan. A series of international seminars in various countries on different aspects of Islamic architecture has been an integral part of the Award process. In October 1981 a major seminar on "The Changing Rural Habitat" was held in the People's Republic of China and in November 1982, Senegal was the venue for the first seminar to be held in Africa South of the Sahara, entitled "Reading the Contemporary African City". The aims of the Award are to nurture within the architecture profession and related disciplines a heightened awareness of what is appropriate culturally and to encourage suitable architectural expressions. The field of emphasis of the Award is the relationship of the people of Islam to their physical environment, and what has been learned about the area is certainly appropriate to other cultures, especially multicultural societies.
Just as His Highness is intimately involved with social welfare and cultural issues, he is equally committed to the field of economic development in the developing world. It is within this context that he created the Industrial Promotion Services group of development companies (IPS) in 1963. IPS now operates in Tanzania, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Zaire, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Acting as a catalyst to development in partnership with state and international agencies, IPS promotes industrial, financial and tourism projects by bringing together modern management, appropriate technology, as well as local know-how, applied to suitable investment packages. With the participation of private investors, both foreign and local, and of government and international bodies, IPS has launched over 100 enterprises in this way, ranging from building materials and textiles to mining and tourism. IPS also participates in joint development ventures. A recent example is the creation of the Industrial Promotion and Development Corporation (IPDC), in Bangladesh in October 1981, where IPS joined with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), the Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and the Government of Bangladesh, to establish a new national development agency.
The Aga Khan's economic development activities also include such financial and commercial institutions as investment trusts, finance and insurance companies as well as cooperative institutions operating in the fields of housing, agriculture and credit. Many of these economic development institutions were established initially by the Aga Khan's grandfather, Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan, and were financed by funds specially raised to mark the occasion of his Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilees.
The Aga Khan has, for many years, taken a keen interest in the media. In 1958 he established a newspaper and publishing group, Nation Printers and Publishers Limited, in East Africa. In March 1981, he delivered the Keynote Address at the International Press Institute's (IPI) 30th General Assembly held in Nairobi.
The Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of a community which is concentrated in the development countries but is also present in the West. He is concerned, in the Islamic tradition, to guide the material well-being of his people and in this sense directs an increasing number of philanthropic and development organisations whose benefits are available to the residents of every county. It has always been the Aga Khan's declared policy that these activities should specifically contribute to the progress of the many nations where the Islamic live. In particular, it is his aim that the Ismailis settled in the developed world, through various community programmes, well be able to contribute towards progress in the developed world.