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The map above is Downtown Vancouver - click on the bed icon to see the Hotels listed on the GJ Canada website - these are on the Transport Shuttle route to the Agrodome Satellite JK
(former Governor General of Canada)
Special to Globe and Mail Update
November 20, 2008
My interest in His Highness the Aga Khan, and in his vision, dates back to 1957. Then, as a young university student, I read about Prince Karim, who had suddenly inherited his grandfather's mantle as the imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismailis. His grandfather had been a remarkable figure of worldwide renown. The young prince was still a student at Harvard, and I remember thinking, "How does he feel about inheriting this enormous responsibility as the leader of the Ismailis at the age of 20?"
OTTAWA, Nov. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritualleader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) arrives in Ottawa today at the start of an 8-day visit to Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee. The Aga Khan, who is in Canada as a guest of the Government, is commemorating his fifty years of leadership as Imam of the Ismaili Muslims. He will be met by The HonourableJohn Baird, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on behalf of the Government of Canada.
During the visit, His Highness will be welcomed by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada and will meet with senior government officials to discuss areas of active collaboration between Canada and the AKDN.
The Aga Khan will travel to Toronto, where he will meet with The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. He will also preside over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between McMaster University and the Aga Khan University (AKU), which has campuses and programmes in eight countries in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
During his stay in Calgary, the Aga Khan will meet with The Honourable Norman L. Kwong, Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta; Dr. Indira Samarasekera, the President of the University of Alberta, and Dr. Carl Amrhein, Provost and Vice President.
In Vancouver, the Aga Khan will meet with the Mayor of the City of Burnaby, His Worship Derek Corrigan, as well as The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia.
The Aga Khan will meet and address gatherings of the Ismaili community in each city.
His Highness is scheduled to return to Ottawa for the official inauguration of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building on Sussex Drive,on December 6, 2008. The Delegation will serve a representational role for the activities of the Imamat including the AKDN, and will mark a new phase in the Imamat's partnership with Canada.
The Aga Khan Development Network has a long-standing relationship with Canada and Canadians. Over the past 25 years, the AKDN, particularly through Aga Khan Foundation Canada, has collaborated with a diverse set of institutions, including universities, government departments, the private sector and civil society organizations, to bring the best of Canada's human,intellectual and technical resources to bear on the challenges of thedeveloping world.
Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan His Highness the Aga Khan completed his 50th year as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims on 11th July 2007, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah. The Aga Khan leads a community of 15 million Ismaili Muslims living in some 25 countries around the world and is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). As part of the commemoration of His Highness the Aga Khan's GoldenJubilee which began on 11th July 2007, he has been paying official visits to some 35 countries, using these occasions to recognize the friendship and longstanding support of leaders of state, government and other partners in the work of the Ismaili Imamat, and to set the direction for the future, including the launching and laying of foundations for major initiatives and programmes.
The Aga Khan Development Network
His Highness the Aga Khan is founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals and to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network's nine development agencies focuson social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless ofgender, origin or religion. The AKDN's underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for social development is in excess of US$500 million.
Aga Khan Foundation Canada
Aga Khan Foundation Canada is a non-profit international andnon-denominational agency that supports social development programs in Asia and Africa. As a member of the world-wide Aga Khan Development Network, the Foundation works to address the root causes of poverty: finding and sharing effective and lasting solutions that help improve the quality of life for poor communities. AKFC programs focus on four core areas: health, education, rural development and building the capacity of non-governmental organizations.Gender equity and protecting the environment are integrated into everyprogram. Established in 1980, the Foundation has built a reputation in Canada as an effective development organization that acts as a catalyst forincreasing awareness and understanding of key global issues.
Canada's Ismaili's prepare for MHI's Golden Jubilee Visit.
Zee's Notes: Today is Friday November 14th, 2008. (D - 4)
If I was to try and tell you of the excitement currently being felt by the Canadian Jamat with MHI set to land in Canada in 4 days - it would be understated but you can see it in the faces of the people in JK tonite. I just got back from Burnaby Lake where the Greater Vancouver Students gathered and there was a buzz like you would not believe. Tonight, the students are having their celebration under the 'Jubilee Dome' - which is a huge semi-permanent tent which serves as the social and entertainment hall. Though the preparations have been underway for months it is now a reality for the Canadian Jamat. I can imagine similar activity occuring throughout the country.
As well, it seems everyone is in meetings being held day and night in the final organizing for Vancouver which is D-10 days. Burnaby Lake was a place to see all the leaders and convenors today in what will be a marathon session but then I suspect the next 10 days will be like this everywhere.
So the big news today was the re-opening of the registration for the International Jamat for the Vancouver and Toronto Deedars. When the website opened 2 days ago the story was that Toronto had it's capacity filled in 15 minutes and in less than 24 hours all Canadian centres were full. So tomorrow November 15th the site will re-open for the International Ismailis again. The Canadian Leadership is getting on with the challenge of reciprocating the incredible hospitality Canadians were blessed to receive this past year in all the Darbars.
Tomorrow there are 3 shows the youth are presenting entitled 'Allah Hu' at Burnaby Lake and Lions Gate Headquarters JK. Inshallah, I'll try to keep you updated on a day-to day basis as to the happenings in Vancouver as we get to the magic day November 25th, 2008.
From the news:
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The Aga Khan will visit Vancouver on Nov. 25 for a Golden Jubilee anniversary meeting with members of B.C.'s Shia Ismaili Muslim community. "The community is very excited about having His Highness visit," said Farid Damji, a volunteer with the Ismaili Council of B.C.
The Aga Khan has been spiritual leader, or Imam, to the ethnically-diverse community of Ismailis for the past 50 years. Many of his 20,000 followers in the province are expected to gather at B.C. Place Stadium for a ceremonial afternoon. "He will deliver a message and meet community leaders," said Damji. The trip is part of a worldwide tour this year. The Canadian portion runs Nov. 18-25 and Dec. 5-6.
Graeme Morton, Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Aga Khan, spiritual leader to the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims, will pay a visit to Calgary this month.
The local stop on Nov. 24 -- the Aga Khan's first visit to Calgary in 16 years -- will be part of a weeklong tour of Canada, marking his 50th year at the head of the global Ismaili community. Canada is the 14th country the Aga Khan will visit as part of the celebration, with other stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
"We've been anticipating the possibility that he might come to Calgary, but to have it confirmed now is very exciting," says Calgary Ismaili community member Sameera Sereda. "There are a whole generation of young Ismailis who have never had the opportunity to see him." Calgarian Mansoor Ladha had the chance to interview the Aga Khan as a young journalist working in Tanzania in 1970. "We've been waiting for months and months for this announcement to come," Ladha said. "There will be Ismailis coming to Calgary from all across the Prairie provinces for this day." Community member Almoonir Dewji said Calgary's Ismaili population has doubled to about 10,000 since the Aga Khan's last visit here. "There's a tremendous feeling of grace and blessing that he's coming again," says Dewji. "He is a great role model to me personally, because he embodies the teaching of the prophet in the current time." Details of the Aga Khan's schedule while in Calgary are still being finalized, but a large communal gathering at Stampede Park is planned. In addition to his spiritual leadership, the Aga Khan has gained widespread attention for his humanitarian and economic development work in a number of Third World nations. He has been a champion of Islamic art and architecture and of the restoration and preservation of ancient Muslim archeological sites. The Aga Khan has developed close ties with Canadian leaders through the years, lauding our country as an example of religious pluralism in a world often torn along racial and spiritual lines.
Zee's Notes: One of the most memorable stories of the GJG held in Nairobi in June 2008 was the sheer diversity of the Ismaili Community gathered in one place to commemorate this historic event. An even more compelling story was the athletes and supporters from Syria. Even though there were well over 25 countries represented no country showed the spirit that the Syrians displayed in the week that was The Games. If I said the Syrians were the life and spirit of the games I would be understating their contributions to make the games what they were - a true celebration. On the buses which transported athletes around the venues, at the volleyball courts where they displayed their skill and athleticism or at the Games Village the Syrians were the life of the games - they sang and they danced - but moreso in my view they united the 1200 plus athletes and the Ismaili Community gathered in Nairobi who got caught up in their infectious enthusiasm and spirit. In looking at the video of the Syria Deedar I couldn't help but remember the one common chant of the games - GO SYRIA GO.
The young man in the picture above is Marcel who played on the Syria basketball team. I took this picture at Kasarani Stadium after his baskeball game. He was, in essence, the soul of the Syria group. His claim to fame was an instrument - the oud - he carried throughout the games and he delighted crowds with his impromptu performances and he was indeed loved by all in Nairobi.
My telling moment on Marcel is as follows: On one of the last days of the games the GJG organizing committee held a presentation for Prince Hussein and Princess Khaliya at the Nairobi Serena hotel in one of the ballrooms situated off the lobby - I just happened to be there that afternoon by chance - and I saw Marcel waiting outside - he had been invited to perform at the presentation. About an hour later I happened to see Marcel again in the lobby and this time he was being consoled by someone as tears came pouring out of his eyes and you could feel the joy Marcel was feeling within - it was surreal as that moment captured for me the essence of what the games were all about - and Syria's Marcel was indeed the soul of the games. Here is what Altaf Jina, member for Communications and Publications for Kenya Council, wrote about him on the Ismaili.org:
"One particular Syrian I spoke to on several occasions was a young man by the name of Marcel. When he played the oud (a traditional Arabic stringed instrument) it was as though he escaped to a magical world, overwhelming all those around him with the intensity of his emotion and his devotion to his music. When asked how long he could play before he got tired, Marcel passionately responded, “for hours — the instrument is a part of me, if I stopped playing, it would be like not breathing.” Marcel took part on the Syrian basketball team. He remarked that while their team had lost, the experience of interacting with other Ismailis from around the world, and exchanging thoughts and ideas with them was far more of a victory than just the sporting result. "
All I can say is - "GO SYRIA GO".
If you want to see how the Syrians worked their magic in Nairobi here's a snippet (though fuzzy) and if you want to see more of the GJG highlights this gentleman from Pakistan (there's that Diversity thing again) has captured a lot more here on his YouTube page:
Over the coming weeks, we will keep the Jamat informed of plans every step of the way as follows:
1. Jamatkhana announcements.
2. The website http://www.goldenjubileecanada.org/ will offer regular updates on Darbar information.
3. Starting tomorrow night, you can visit the Information Desks located in Jamatkhana loggias.
4. You can also call the Golden Jubilee Hotline at 1-877-570-2008 from 6:00am until midnight Pacific Time starting Sunday.
5. Weekly and special editions of the Al-Akhbar and Electronic Al-Akhbar.
6. We will publish a Golden Jubilee Information Guide closer to the Darbar day
7. We will also publish a Regional Information Brochure closer to Darbar day, which will include parking maps, facility maps, and information you will find useful for the day of the Darbar.
8. Members of the local and national leadership will visit the Jamat over the coming weeks to share further information on this historic visit to Canada.