For Community engagement and awareness, Members of Parliament host town hall meeting at Ismaili Centre, Canada

Town hall meeting at Ismaili centre,Toronto

Members of Parliament Yasmin Ratansi, Ali Ehsassi and Rob Oliphant answer questions from attendees at a town hall meeting.

Ibrahim Meru

Toronto, 20 January 2016 — Local community members were given an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns at a pre-budget town hall meeting held in the social hall of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Led by Members of Parliament Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East), Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale) and Rob Oliphant (Don Valley West), the session aimed to increase community engagement and awareness through a facilitated discussion of current and future government tactics for building a better Canada.

The main themes of the evening included how to better support Canadian youth and seniors, how to invest in various sectors for long-term growth and stability and how to generate a higher level of productivity in the Canadian workforce. The MPs agreed on many important issues such as the need for continued investment in public housing and the current lack of funding for health care.


The meeting served as an avenue of community engagement for approximately 275 attendees, many of whom were visiting the Ismaili Centre for the first time.

Source: The Ismaili org


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Kenya:Cabinet Secretary suggests new approaches to University funding — Coast week com|University to construct a modern multi-storey tower on Peponi Road Nairobi

Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education Hon. Dr

NAIROBI — Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education Hon. Dr. Fred Okengo Matiang’I who was Chief Guest delivers his speech at Aga Khan University Convocation Ceremony in Nairobi.

NAIROBI — The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education has challenged universities in Kenya to become research universities and to increase their funding by selling research-based products.

Speaking at the Aga Khan University convocation ceremony in Nairobi where he was Chief Guest, Hon. Dr. Fred Okengo Matiang’i urged universities to connect with knowledge commercialisers through technology incubators, to develop entrepreneurial curricula, and to nurture government-university-industry links.

Dr Matiang’i said that the government is making several efforts through the Ministry, including enforcing existing legislation designed to ensure innovative leadership is injected into all institutions of higher learning. They are also introducing criteria for recognizing universities on the basis of world class indicators of education quality.

“For us to realise Kenya Vision 2030, the country needs quality university education where the focus is empowering students for real-world challenges they will face after graduation, and not mass university education,” concluded Dr Matiang’i.

A total of 57 students graduated in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN), Master of Medicine (MMed) and Master of Education (MEd).

Read more on Coast week com


See also:

AKU convocation in Nairobi — AKU


Bernadatte Mwikali Ngumi delivers the valedictory speech

Bernadatte Mwikali Ngumi delivers the valedictory speech (photo: AKU)

On AKU expansion, Mr Rasul said that the University plans to construct a new Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala that will in addition to providing world class healthcare, train specialist doctors, nurses and other health professionals. New medical and nursing education programmes will also be created in Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.

The university will also construct a modern multi-storey tower on Peponi Road Nairobi that will house the Graduate School of Media and Communications as well as the planned Graduate School of Leadership and Management.

The Aga Khan University, which spans three countries in East Africa alone, has announced plans to invest more than US$ 1 billion in the region over the next 15 years, the largest private investment in higher education in the history of the region.

Read full on AKU edu


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Cost of War in Syria: Total Economic Damage for 6 Cities up to 4.5 Billion|See the Graphic by World Bank org



Source: World Bank org


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Aga Khan Development Network: The “Mahdi-ist” Mission of the Ismaili Imamat — By Ismaili Gnostic on Ismaili Gnosis com

To the Imamat, the meaning of “quality of life” extends to the entire ethical and social context in which people live, and not only to their material well-being measured over generation after generation. Consequently, the Imamat’s is a holistic vision of development, as is prescribed by the faith of Islam. It is about investing in people, in their pluralism, in their intellectual pursuit, and search for new and useful knowledge, just as much as in material resources. But it is also about investing with a social conscience inspired by the ethics of Islam. It is work that benefits all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality or background. Does the Holy Qur’an not say in one of the most inspiring references to mankind, that Allah has created all mankind from one soul? Today, this vision is implemented by institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network.

Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(Alltex EPX Limited Opening Ceremony, Kenya, December 19, 2003:
Read Here)

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of development agencies established by the contemporary Ismaili Imamat over the last 100 years; the Network operates in over 35 countries, employs over 80,000 people and 100,000 volunteers, and spends over $600 million dollars annually to raise the quality of life of all people in need, regardless of faith, culture or ethnicity. The AKDN accomplishes this through numerous activities in poverty relief, healthcare, economics, education, health services, architecture, agriculture, cultural restoration, tourism, etc. The roots of the AKDN go back to the first Khoja Ismaili school established by Imam Aga Ali Shah Aga Khan II in Bombay and the first Aga Khan Schools created in Zanzibar by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III.

As explained by Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV, the work of AKDN is not mere philanthropy – because philanthropy is voluntary, as a choice. On the contrary, the AKDN’s work is a sacred obligation of the Ismaili Imams based on the very definition of their Imamat stemming directly from the ethics of Islam:

I am fascinated and somewhat frustrated when representatives of the Western world — especially the Western media — try to describe the work of our Aga Khan Development Network in fields like education, health, the economy, media, and the building of social infrastructure. Reflecting a certain historical tendency of the West to separate the secular from the religious, they often describe it either as philanthropy or entrepreneurship. What is not understood is that this work is for us a part of our institutional responsibility — it flows from the mandate of the office of Imam to improve the quality of worldly life for the concerned communities.
– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,

Acceptance Address, Tutzing Evangelical Academy’s Tolerance Award, May 20, 2006: Read Here)

The below diagram illustrates how all of the AKDN’s agencies – such as the Aga Khan Foundation, Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Aga Khan Academies, and Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development – are enactments and translations of Islamic ethics into institutional action.

AKDN Chart

The ethics of Islam enjoin all believers, individually or through institutions such as the Ismaili Imamat, to assist the poor, the isolated, and the marginalised to improve their current circumstances and future prospects. Through the Imamat, I have tried to respond to this responsibility by creating a group of private, non-denominational agencies the Aga Khan Development Network – to respond to the needs and potential of people living in some of the poorest parts of the world, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, or religion.

– Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV,
(World Mountain Forum UNESCO, Paris, France, June 5, 2000)

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat — The Ismaili org

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with AKDN Representative Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary-General John McNee, and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa. AKDN / Safiq Devji

 Ottawa, 11 February 2016 — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the guest of honour at a private luncheon at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat today. The event underscored the importance of accommodating and valuing diversity around the world in order to build more peaceful and prosperous societies.

Co-hosted by John McNee, Secretary-General of the Global Centre for Pluralism, and Dr Mahmoud Eboo, Aga Khan Development Network Resident Representative for Canada, the luncheon was also attended by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion and the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

During the luncheon, Mr McNee asserted that the challenge of advancing pluralism is central to both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Government of Canada’s agenda. Dr Eboo highlighted areas in which the AKDN, the UN and Canada have collaborated in building civil society capacity in fragile and conflict-afflicted states, and affirmed that the Secretary-General’s visit served to fortify the historical bonds between Mawlana Hazar Imam, the Government of Canada, and the United Nations.

The Secretary-General commended the work of the Global Centre for Pluralism for “making this world better, where the diversity of our society will be respected.”

Source: The Ismaili org


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Focus on basic determinants to address stunting globally: Prof Bhutta — Eureka Alert org

Prof Bhutta in his office

IMAGE: In shifting the global burden of stunting and growth retardation, it is important to address determinants such as poor status of women in society, gender disparities, and invest actively in… view more Credit: Aga Khan University

Mother and child malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries encompasses a range of conditions including maternal wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, foetal growth restriction and stunting – a height that is below the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards median – of children younger than five years.

While the prevalence of stunting has decreased during the past two decades, it still affects 160 million children under 5 and is concentrated in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“In shifting the global burden of stunting and growth retardation, it is important to address determinants such as poor status of women in society, gender disparities, and invest actively in promoting education and economic empowerment of girls,” said Professor Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Founding Director, Centre for Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University and Co-Director, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health in Toronto, Canada.

He was speaking as the lead speaker at the session Childhood Stunting: Policy Solutions to Address a Global Burden with Long-Term Impacts at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC.

“The Aga Khan University is leading efforts to monitor nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in Pakistan and the region, including Afghanistan. In addition, scientists and public health specialists at the University are engaged in testing and implementing innovations and low-cost solutions to addressing the problems of stunting and wasting among infants and children as well as adolescent girls in various settings,” added Professor Bhutta.

Last year, the University also pledged to support the Global Strategy’s ambitious yet achievable targets – which are fully aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – with an investment of over US$ 85 million to improve capacity and to develop programmes that will reach over 15 million women and children in South-Central Asia and East Africa, and potentially save a million lives.

Other speakers included Professor Andrew Prentice from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dr Shasha Jumbe from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Professor Bhutta also participated as a discussant in another session The Global Impact of Violence Against Children: Economic, Health, and Policy Perspectives along with Professor Susan Horton from the University of Waterloo and other experts.

Press Relase: Eureka Alert org


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Techstars, Selects its First Company from East Africa|Kenya’s Bamba Group could be the next AirBnB or Dropbox|User Includes Aga Khan Foundation

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 10, 2016/APO (African Press Organization)/ —

The international investors that have boosted more than 650 technology startups have thrown their weight behind their first East African company, Kenya’s Bamba Group (

US accelerator TechStars believes Kenya’s Bamba Group could be the next AirBnB or Dropbox within the next five years.

The experts will put Bamba through intensive training in Austin, Texas, and give them a cash investment to fast-track their growth.

TechStars Austin Managing Director, Amos Schwartzfarb (@iamamoslee), said: “We are very happy to select the first company from East Africa into the TechStars programme. Bamba Group is a testament to our globalized world where a startup from any corner of the planet can rise up, pursue their passion and make a lasting impact on the world.”

Bamba Group, a Nairobi-based business founded 3 years ago, developed a data collection software that can run in any country. It is the only company in the world that will send a mobile airtime payment directly to your phone when you submit data in as many as 122 countries.

The cloud-based system is used by major not-for-profit and for-profit companies in Kenya including Aga Khan Foundation, Nairobi Airport Services, and Diamond Trust Bank.

Bamba Group CEO, Al Ismaili (@al_ismaili), is thrilled his company is among the 2% of the applicants who are accepted into the programme.

He said: “It is our employees that are most deserving of this selection. We now look forward to the next stage of our growth with a new saying around the office – something we now hear regularly from our new mentors at TechStars – ‘Do More Faster’. We hope to make Africa proud”.

Bamba Group CEO, Al Ismaili

Bamba Group CEO, Al Ismaili

Faiz Hirani, co-founder

Faiz Hirani, co-founder

Shehzad Tejani, co-founder

Shehzad Tejani, co-founder

Mr Ismaili along with two other co-founders Faiz Hirani (@FaizHirani) and Shehzad Tejani (@Tejanishehzad) will attend a 13-week acceleration programme for hands-on mentorship and gain access to the TechStars Network, which includes more than 5000 people including founders, alumni, and global mentors. Following the initial financial investment from TechStars, companies go on to raise an average of over $3million in capital after the programme.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), Mr Joe Mucheru (@mucheru), added: “I congratulate Bamba Group for this great opportunity and hope they will inspire many more start-ups to get recognised globally.”

Bamba has embedded itself as a staple in the Kenyan software scene. This is evident through its participation in the Presidential Digi-talent Programme (PDTP), a public–private partnership run by the ICT Authority in Kenya and commissioned by the President of Kenya.

ICT graduates from Kenyan universities are selected for the one-year programme that includes world-class software training, soft-skills training, mentoring and guaranteed internships in both the public and private sector firms involved. Other organizations involved in this programme include Google, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Cisco and PwC.

Read more on Africa News Room com


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Iran:Nasir Khosraw School in Dizbad History|Ismailis in Iran|All links on Ismaili Mail and Simerg|Hamida Madhani’s art work on Dizbad Jamatkhana

(Dizbad Watan e Mast)- if you look to the Dizbad History in the CA&CC Website, you can get somethings about the History of Nasir Khosraw School in Dizbad.

This article wrote with: Saidanwar SHOKHUMOROV

In the 1930s, on an instruction from the Imam, the Nizaritic villages of Khorasan got first schools. The very first of them appeared in 1932 in Dizbad and was called after Nasir Husrawa venerated by the Khorasan Ismailites.

Local communities paid for the schools—on an order from Aga Khan III 80 percent of collected taxes went to school building and education.

Dizbad Nasirkhosraw School(…)

There is no information about the numerical strength of the Nizarites in Iran yet there is a general idea that there are over 100 thousands of them. About half are concentrated in Khorasan, in the south and in the towns of Kain, Birjand, the village of Hoshk (with an agency of a Meshed committee) and also in Muminabad, Nasrabad, Mozdab, etc. Meshed is the home of several thousand Nizarites. They can also be found in the towns of Nishapur, Turbat and Haydaria, in smaller towns, in the villages of Dizbad, Kasymabat, Shah Taki and elsewhere.

Nizarites also live in Iran’s central regions, especially in Teheran; there are jamaat-khanes in nine villages around Mahallat. Small numbers of Nizarites can be found in the province

Read full on Adel Web Iran


Iran, Muslim Scholars: Tomb of Khaki Khorasani, Dizbad, Iran — Ismaili Mail

Khaki Khurasani (d. after 1056 AH / 1646 CE)

By Sayyad Jalal Badakhchani

Tomb of Khaki Khurasani, Imamquli, Isma‘ili poet and preacherKhaki Khurasani, Imamquli, Isma‘ili poet and preacher of 17th-century Persia (b. Dizbad; d. Dizbad, after 1056 AH / 1646 CE). He was born in Dizbad, a village in the hills half way between Mashhad and Nishapur, which at the time was the largest dwelling place of the Isma‘ilis of northern Khurasan.

Read and view more on Ismaili Mail


Dizbad Jamatkhana, Iran — Ismaili Mail


Read and view more on Ismaili Mail


Hamida Madhani’s Art works: Dizbad Jamatkhana  – Frontispiece Modern Rendering — Simerg  com

hamida-dizbad-jk-2Read view more on Simerg com


USA: Hamida Madhani amazing artist with the heart for humanity PBSJ blog

Artist Hamida Madhani

Artist Hamida Madhani

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Intercultural Musical Explorations in ‘Coffeehouse Opera’: Shakespeare’s Othello, An Ottoman Eunuch and Bektashi Sufism|Watch video

The Sohbet-i Osmani Lecture Series


Intercultural Musical Explorations in ‘Coffeehouse Opera’:

Shakespeare’s Othello, An Ottoman Eunuch and Bektashi Sufism

Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlikol

Emerson College and Dr. Robert Larabee

New England Conservatory

Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol reimagined Shakespeare’s Othello in an Ottoman setting, with Othello as an African eunuch and Desdemona as an Italian concubine, in Othello in the Seraglio: The tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch. With Robert Labaree, writer of the opera’s script, Sanlıkol created a ‘coffeehouse opera’ in which an Ottoman meddah (storyteller) retells an historically-based legend of love and jealousy through early European and Turkish instruments, singing styles and musical languages. An important aspect of the work is Bektashi Sufism, which also found its way into several other works by Sanlıkol that will be included in the presentation. The coffehouse opera Othello in the Seraglio will be performed at Oberon/A.R.T. in Cambridge on March 1st and 2nd:ümbül-black-eunuch.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 || 4:00-6:00 pm

CMES, Room 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA




 “Brings timeless enchantment to this age-old tragedy…. Gorgeous music…beautifully played and sung.” – Boston Intelligencer

Othello in the Seraglio, a uniquely powerful “coffeehouse opera,” tells an age-old story of passionate love and murderous jealousy, of a Black slave at the 17th century Ottoman Court who rises to power and riches, only to come to a tragic end. The stunning score, by Boston composer and Grammy nominee Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, weaves together Italian Baroque and Turkish sources with his own newly-composed music into a tapestry of uncanny beauty – performed on European period instruments and traditional Turkish instruments by an ensemble of 12 instrumentalists, singers and a dramatic storyteller. You have never heard anything like this before – because nothing like it has existed until now.

Read more on American Repertory Theater org


 Othello in the Seraglio
The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch

a coffeehouse opera

dedicated to Tom Zajac

Conceived and composed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol
Storyteller script by Robert Labaree

Performed on European period instruments
and traditional Turkish instruments

“Brings timeless enchantment to this age-old tragedy…Gorgeous music.”


Click the below links for longer excerpts from the opera:

photography by Öykü Canlı

With eleven musicians and a storyteller, Othello in the Seraglio is scaled to the intimate, informal setting of a coffeehouse in seventeenth century Istanbul (Constantinople). The storyteller spins out a well-known tale, an historically-based legend of love and jealousy, intensified by the crossing of boundaries between the free and the enslaved, white and black, Muslim and non-Muslim, East and West.

Based on:
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare
Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain), by Giovanbattista Giraldi (Cinzio)
Kızlarağası’nın Piçi (The Bastard of the Chief Black Eunuch), by Reşad Ekrem Koçu



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AKDN’s partner Girish Agrawal of Calgary to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Bid to Raise $250,000 for Toilets in India

Girish Agrawal is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for Indian sanitation

Girish Agrawal is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for Indian sanitation (CNW Group/Agrawal Associates Private Wealth Management)

CALGARY, Feb. 10, 2016 /CNW/ – It’s not the most pleasant topic to discuss, but it’s a topic Girish Agrawal hopes people will listen to. Girish grew up in India and experienced serious poverty in his childhood. Now a successful Calgary business owner and a Top 40 Under 40 (Avenue Magazine), he wants to help the community he once called home.

The topic is sanitation. In India, 2/3 of schools do not have proper sanitation, which means children and teachers have no toilets and no washing facilities. They must go out, in the open, to “do their business”. The lack of facilities to defecate and urinate means children are continually at risk of disease and harassment. The indignity of having to go out, in the open, is also enough to prevent many adolescent girls from even attending school.

Girish is launching Summit For Dignity, an initiative to raise $250,000 by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, which he will do on February 29 if all goes as planned. It has been an intense period of training for Girish, who admits he’s not an athlete.

“I was never involved in sports. I was involved in studies. So, to strength-train and do aerobics is something that is not part of who I usually am. But, I know I must do this to succeed in the climb. In the process, I hope to raise $250,000 that will help to bring dignity to children in India.” Girish stresses that his trip is self-funded. All donations go to Summit For Dignity.

Girish has partnered with The Aga Khan Development Network, a non-profit international agency that supports social development programs in Asia and Africa. The AKDN has initiated a $35 million dollar program, in partnership with the Government of India, to support the construction of over 100,000 household toilets, 528 school toilet blocks and 26 community toilet complexes. In total, this initiative will bring proper sanitation to 700,000 people.

“In India, it costs just $50 to provide a sanitized life for one human being. $3,000 provides sanitation for an entire school.” Girish believes that, despite the present economic situation, people will find it in them to give.

People can donate through the Summit For Dignity Facebook page and through the Aga Khan Development Network at

All donations are 100% tax deductible. 100% of the money raised goes to AKDN.

Read more on News Wire Canada


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The Islamic State, a Threat for Freedom (and for Islam) — A video interview with Adnane Mokrani on Reset Doc org

The Islamic State, a Threat for Freedom (and for Islam)Click to WATCH THE VIDEO

Adnane Mokrani (Rome’s PISAI Institute): The Islamic State, a Threat for Freedom (and for Islam)
What does the concept of “Islamic State” really mean? And how can religiosity exist without freedom? Islamic theologian Adnane Mokrani from Rome’s PISAI Institute provides a political and historical explanation of why a secular State represents a real opportunity of religious freedom for Muslims.

Production and Text Editing: Nina zu Fürstenberg
Interview: Nina zu Fürstenberg
Video: Piero Demo
Video Editing: Anna Fanuele


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Many institutions of learning developed from mosques


The earliest revelation to Prophet Muhammad was about learning and knowledge. The value placed on knowledge in the Qur’an became the foundation for the development of education among Muslims. The incentive to read and learn the Qur’an provided the early Muslim community with its initial educational settings, in which instruction of the Qur’an, the life of the Prophet, and knowledge of the Arabic language, its grammar structures and forms took place.

The Prophet’s first wife, Khadija, was a well-established business woman. His subsequent wife, Aisha, became well known for her role as a transmitter of tradition. His daughter, Fatima, and several other women associated with his household were acknowledged for their love of learning. In the foundational period, there existed several reference points to encourage the participation and pursuit of women in learning.

The mosque and the early Qur’an schools were the first Muslim educational institutions. Informal schools of learning…

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The Walled City of Lahore: Protecting Heritage and History — By Zareen Muzaffar on The Diplomat com

After years of negligence, Lahore’s historic and cultural treasures are being rescued from further deterioration.

After years of negligence and a lack of serious preservation efforts, the historic buildings and facades of Lahore’s old city are being rescued from further deterioration. The overall jurisdiction of the walled city includes various heritage and historical buildings, including a sacred gurdwara, Hindu temples, and old mosques. There is a population of about 300,000 living within the walled city today. The old city is known for its unique and ancient wooden balconies, temples, gurdwaras, havelis, narrow winding streets, and busy bazaars.

Image Credit- Zareen Muzaffar

Image Credit: Zareen Muzaffar


Pervaiz Qureshi, a prominent architect, urban planner, and CEO of Unicon Consulting Services based in Lahore, was part of the initial stages of this initiative. “A number of us were of the view that we need to put together a separate entity and organizational structure for the walled city alone so we could focus on the development work that’s going on,” he said. “Ten years ago a movement was picked up and eventually an organization was set up in 2012 which was called the Walled City of Lahore Authority.”

“There were challenges and problems; the character was different because Lahore is an old city with its heritage dating back to thousands of years,” he added. “It’s a city that had been destroyed multiple times and rebuilt at number of occasions. So, there were some unusual set of issues relating to its urban fabric.” In addition to the Walled City of Lahore Authority, Qureshi has also consulted for numerous donor and international agencies like USAID, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, and the Agha Khan Foundation.

Read full on The Diplomat com


Related posts on PBSJ Blog

Walled City of Lahore (special report by Zohaib Saleem Butt) Part 1

LAHORE Documentary || Heart of Pakistan ᴴᴰ


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‘The Name of God is Mercy’: new book by Pope Francis — Vatican radio

(Vatican Radio)  “The Name of God is Mercy” is the title of a new book set to be released in 86 countries on Tuesday (12 Jan), in which Pope Francis reveals his vision of God’s mercy in a series of interviews with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli.

Pope Francis' new book, The Name of God is Mercy -  hits booksellers on Tuesday, January 12 - APSeveral extracts were made available by the publisher, Piemme, ahead of its official release.

The pope, like Peter, is in need of mercy

“The Pope is a man who needs the mercy of God,” the Holy Father says in the book-length interview.

“I said it sincerely to the prisoners of Palmasola, in Bolivia, to those men and women who welcomed me so warmly. I reminded them that even Saint Peter and Saint Paul had been prisoners. I have a special relationship with people in prisons, deprived of their freedom. I have always been very attached to them, precisely because of my awareness of being a sinner.”

“Every time I go through the gates into a prison to celebrate Mass or for a visit, I always think: why them and not me? I should be here. I deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I do not feel superior to the people who stand before me. And so I repeat and pray: why him and not me? It might seem shocking, but I derive consolation from Peter: he betrayed Jesus, and even so he was chosen.”

Pope John Paul I: ‘engraved in dust’

The Holy Father also remembers being touched by the writings of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani. “There is the homily when Albino Luciani said he had been chosen because the Lord preferred that certain things not be engraved in bronze or marble but in the dust, so that if the writing had remained, it would have been clear that the merit was all and only God’s. He, the bishop and future Pope John Paul I, called himself ‘dust’.”

“I have to say that when I speak of this, I always think of what Peter told Jesus on the Sunday of his resurrection, when he met him on his own, a meeting hinted at in the Gospel of Luke. What might Peter have said to the Messiah upon his resurrection from the tomb? Might he have said that he felt like a sinner? He must have thought of his betrayal, of what had happened a few days earlier when he pretended three times not to recognise Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He must have thought of his bitter and public tears.”

“If Peter did all of that, if the gospels describe his sin and denials to us, and if despite all this Jesus said [to him], ‘tend my sheep’ (John 21), I don’t think we should be surprised if his successors describe themselves as sinners. It is nothing new.”

Miserando atque eligendo

Telling the story of his episcopal motto, Pope Francis returns to an experience of God’s mercy, which took place in his teenage years.

“I don’t have any particular memories of mercy as a young child. But I do as a young man. I think of Father Carlos Duarte Ibarra, the confessor I met in my parish church on September 21, 1953, the day the Church celebrated Saint Matthew, the apostle and evangelist. I was seventeen years old. On confessing myself to him, I felt welcomed by the mercy of God.”

“Ibarra was originally from Corrientes but was in Buenos Aires to receive treatment for leukaemia. He died the following year. I still remember how when I got home, after his funeral and burial, I felt as though I had been abandoned. And I cried a lot that night, really a lot, and hid in my room.”

“Why? Because I had lost a person who helped me feel the mercy of God, that miserando atque eligendo, an expression I didn’t know at the time but I eventually would choose as my episcopal motto. I learned about it later, in the homilies of the English monk, the Venerable Bede [672-735]. When describing the calling of Matthew, he writes: “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an apostle saying to him, ‘follow me’.”

“This is the translation commonly given for the words of Saint Bede [originally written in Latin]. I like to translate “miserando” with another gerund that doesn’t exist: misericordando or mercying. So, “mercying him and choosing him” describes the vision of Jesus who gives the gift of mercy and chooses, and takes with him.”

Church condemns sin, shows mercy to sinner

“The Church condemns sin because it has to relay the truth: ‘this is a sin’. But at the same time, it embraces the sinner who recognises himself as such, it welcomes him, it speaks to him of the infinite mercy of God. Jesus forgave even those who crucified and scorned him.”

“To follow the way of the Lord, the Church is called on to dispense its mercy over all those who recognise themselves as sinners, who assume responsibility for the evil they have committed, and who feel in need of forgiveness. The Church does not exist to condemn people, but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.”

“I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope. I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this “Church that goes forth”. It exists where there is combat. It is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities. It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.”

“It is a place for urgent care, not a place to see a specialist. I hope that the Jubilee [The Holy Year of Mercy] will serve to reveal the Church’s deeply maternal and merciful side, a Church that goes forth toward those who are “wounded,” who are in need of an attentive ear, understanding, forgiveness, and love.”

Mercy yes, corruption no

Pope Francis goes on to point out the difference between sin and corruption, saying the corrupt man lacks the humility to recognise his sins.

“Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognised as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviours.”

“Jesus says to his disciples: even if your brother offends you seven times a day, and seven times a day he returns to you to ask for forgiveness, forgive him. The repentant sinner, who sins again and again because of his weakness, will find forgiveness if he acknowledges his need for mercy. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous.”

“The corrupt man does not know humility, he does not consider himself in need of help, he leads a double life. We must not accept the state of corruption as if it were just another sin. Even though corruption is often identified with sin, in fact they are two distinct realities, albeit interconnected.”

“Sin, especially if repeated, can lead to corruption, not quantitatively — in the sense that a certain number of sins makes a person corrupt — but rather qualitatively: habits are formed that limit one’s capacity for love and create a false sense of self-sufficiency.”

“The corrupt man tires of asking for forgiveness and ends up believing that he doesn’t need to ask for it any more. We don’t become corrupt people overnight. It is a long, slippery slope that cannot be identified simply as a series of sins. One may be a great sinner and never fall into corruption if hearts feel their own weakness. That small opening allows the strength of God to enter.”

“When a sinner recognises himself as such, he admits in some way that what he was attached to, or clings to, is false. The corrupt man hides what he considers his true treasure, but which really makes him a slave and masks his vice with good manners, always managing to keep up appearances.”

Source: Vatican Radio Va.


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Ismaili Centre, London: Nick Boles talks about new UK living wage policy — By Soraya Shamji on The Ismaili org

 London, 13 January, 2016 — Nick Boles MP, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, attended a reception and talk at the Ismaili Centre in London to discuss the new National Living Wage and why it is good for business and the economy.

Nick Boles, MP speaking at the Ismaili Centre, London on the United Kingdom's new National Living Wage initiative

Nick Boles, MP discusses the new National Living Wage initiative at the Ismaili Centre, London. 2

Nick Boles, MP speaking at the Ismaili Centre, London on the United Kingdom’s new National Living Wage initiative. Ismaili Council for the UK / Farhan Suchak and Sarfaraj Khorasi

Announced last year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the National Living Wage is a key new policy being introduced by the British Government that is set to take effect from April 2016. It introduces a progressive, compulsory premium over the national minimum hourly wage for all people over the age of 25 and is intended to ensure that low-wage workers can earn a sufficient and decent wage to live on.

“I value this opportunity to meet a diverse group of business leaders at the Ismaili Centre, London and discuss the National Living Wage,” said the Minister of State. “Members of the Ismaili community play an important role in the growth of the economy, employing thousands of people.”

The discussion addressed a number of key aspects relating to the new policy, including its likely impact on businesses at large but also certain specific sectors relevant to members of the United Kingdom Jamat such as care homes, restaurants, hotels and retail, as well as more generally its impact on the UK economy, inflation, unemployment and immigration.

“As a community, we remain committed to debating current affairs which impact society,” said Liakat Hasham, President of the Ismaili Council for the UK. “Whilst the Ismaili business community recognises and supports improved quality of life for workers, we also recognise the need for a trained workforce and look forward to the Government extending training grants to employers in line with the introduction of the living wage.”

Source: The Ismaili org


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Aga Khan University hosts convocation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Professor Yunus Mgaya, Executive Secretary, Tanzania Commission for Universities, addresses the Aga Khan University's convocation in Dar es Salaam

Professor Yunus Mgaya, Executive Secretary, Tanzania Commission for Universities, addresses the Aga Khan University’s convocation in Dar es Salaam.

​​The Tanzania Commission for Universities’ Executive Secretary Professor Yunus Mgaya applauded the Aga Khan University’s significant commitment to an ambitious expansion plan in Tanzania and East Africa to educate the future leaders the region needs to launch a new era of development.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the University’s convocation ceremony in Dar es Salaam.

“As AKU is confident in Tanzania’s future, I am confident in the University and its future in Tanzania. We at the TCU are indeed very proud of the Aga Khan University being among the few institutions that are offering more specialized and demand driven programmes in this country,” said Professor Mgaya.

The education offered at AKU is of the highest quality comparable to any world class university said the TCU Executive Secretary, and that graduands should be proud that they have been prepared to provide crucial leadership – to boost standards in specific areas of practice, to enhance the performance of their institutions and to contribute to the improvement of the entire health and education system in the country.

Convocation in Dar-e-SalamThis year, AKU awarded degrees to 84 graduands from the Institute for Educational Development, the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Postgraduate Medical Education programme.

Sixty-one graduated with a Master of Education degree, 22 with a Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and one with Master of Family Medicine, marking 552 AKU alumni in Tanzania to date

.Read more on AKU edu


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Turkey and Germany agree on plan to ease refugee crisis — Al Jazeera Com|Thousands escaping the offensive in Aleppo|Watch video

Steps unveiled during Merkel’s visit include push to halt assault on Syrian city of Aleppo and curb “illegal migration”.

Syria todayTurkey and Germany have agreed on a set of measures to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, including a joint diplomatic initiative aiming to halt attacks against Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

Officials from the two countries announced on Monday in Ankara they would also push to curb what they called illegal migration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was in the Turkish capital for talks on how to reduce the influx of refugees into Europe, said after discussions with Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s prime minister, that she was “not just appalled but horrified” by the suffering caused by Russian bombing in Syria.

Merkel said Turkey and Germany will push at the UN for everyone to keep to a UN resolution passed in December that calls on all sides to halt without delay attacks on the civilian population.


Others are reportedly sleeping in fields and on roads, it said.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Gaziantep in Turkey, Fadi Hajjar, a Syrian activist belonging to the Aleppo Media Centre, said there were between 30,000 and 50,000 people waiting at the border.

“This number is likely to increase in the coming days,” he said on Sunday.

“Some villages in Aleppo have been completely emptied of people.”

Read full and view more on Al Jazeera com

Click here to watch video Syrian fleeing to Turkish Border

Temporary refugee camps in northern Syria have been set up for those escaping the offensive in Aleppo

Temporary refugee camps in northern Syria have been set up for those escaping the offensive in Aleppo [AP]


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Aga Khan graduates urged to change society — Monitor Co Uganda| Plans to invest more than US$ 1 billion in the region|Watch video on NTV Uganda

Mr Firoz Rasul (R), the President of Aga Khan University, congratulates graduates during the university’s convocation ceremony at Kampala Serena Conference Centre

Mr Firoz Rasul (R), the President of Aga Khan University, congratulates graduates during the university’s convocation ceremony at Kampala Serena Conference Centre yesterday. A total of 78 students graduated with Diplomas in General Nursing, Bachelors of Science in Nursing degrees and Masters of Education. PHOTO BY RACHEAL AJWANG.  

Kampala- Health and education graduates from the Aga Khan University have been told to transform their societies by applying the skills acquired form the institution.

Speaking at the 2016 convocation of the Aga Khan University (AKU) yesterday at Kampala Serena Conference Centre in Kampala, the chairman Board of Trustees of the university, Mr Firoz Rasul, said the graduates have acquired the necessary skills to uplift their societies by providing exemplary leadership.

Mr Rasul told the graduates that it will be a challenge for them to galvanise others to join them in trying to look for solutions to problems faced in leadership.

“I have every confidence in you because the education you have received here in the Aga Khan University has prepared you for leadership. I am confident because of your predecessors, there are many distinguished AKU alumni and have taken it upon themselves to bring new modes of code and action to the places that need them most and to create new knowledge and strategies for overcoming formidable obstacles ,” said Mr Rasul.

Mr Rasul asked government to recognise the contribution of the civil society to the country such as the Aga Khan Foundation.

“Rather than being discouraged, it (civil society) should be embraced as an essential contributor to the public good. It should be seen as the guarantor of good governance. We should see its diversity and peaceful disagreements as a sign of strength and maturity,” he added.

Mr Rasul also noted that the Aga Khan Foundation will improve the professionalism of health practice in the country with the construction of the new teaching hospital, whose plan is already underway.

  Read more on Monitor Co Uganda


Plans to invest more than US$ 1 billion in the region over the next 15 years, the largest investment in higher education in the history of the region. — President Firoz Rasul, AKU


Kemigisha Misk delivers the valedictory speech

Kemigisha Misk delivers the valedictory speech (photo: AKU)

He thanked donors and supporters, and in particular those who have supported the work of AKU in Uganda including the German government, through BMZ and KfW, which are supporting the University’s Schools of Nursing and Midwifery; the Canadian government, which is providing $31 million to improve pre-primary and primary education, including in the West Nile region, through the Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa initiative; and the World Bank funding that also enabled the AKU’s Institute for Educational Development to train more than 800 secondary school head teachers from across Uganda in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

On AKU expansion, Mr. Rasul said that the University plans to increase the existing outpatient medical centres from the current four to over a dozen medical centres across Uganda. In addition the University plans to construct a new Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala. The tertiary teaching hospital will provide Ugandans with health care of world-class quality, and train specialist doctors, nurses and other health professionals capable of leading the improvement of health care within the country. Completion of the first phase is expected in 2020.

The Aga Khan University, which spans three countries in East Africa alone, has announced plans to invest more than US$ 1 billion in the region over the next 15 years, the largest investment in higher education in the history of the region.​

Read full on AKU edu


 78 graduate from Aga Khan University  — NTV Uganda


Published on 6 Feb 2016

University authorities have been urged to advocate to an integrated East African community in order to create job opportunities for their graduates in the regional bloc. The comments were made by Dr Benedict Mtasiwa who is the Chief Principal of the Exchange Programme, Inter-University Council for East Africa. He was the guest of honour at the Convocation ceremony of the Aga Khan University held here in Kampala. 78 students graduated with diplomas in General Nursing, Bachelors of Science in Nursing and Masters in Education.


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Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part I – A New Volume in the Epistles Series

Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part I – A New Volume in the Epistles SeriesSciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part I – A New Volume in the Epistles Series

Following on from the recent publication of On Astronomia (Epistle 3) (link is external), comes Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part I; An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistles 32-36. (link is external) As with the previous volume, here we find a strong cosmological orientation, with a particular focus on the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm, earthly and celestial. Whereas Epistle 3 belonged to the section of the Rasa’il dealing with mathematical sciences, the five Epistles of the present book are located within the section on Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part I. As such, the content is more metaphysical and abstract, whilst in a sense also more human.

Epistles 32 and 33 together describe ‘intellectual principles’, which in this case is an explanation of the cosmological hierarchy. The order of existing things is compared to the sequence of numbers, which all rely on the number preceding them for their existence. Linkages are also drawn to the Creator, the source of all things, from which every being derives, beginning with the Intellect (al-‘aql), which is compared with the number two. The next emanated being is the Universal Soul (al-nafs), likened to the number three, followed by Prime Matter (al-hayula al-ula), which is like the number four and henceforth. This ontological scheme is a fine example of the Brethren of Purity’s syncretism, with its obvious Pythagorean, Aristotelian, Plotinian, and Ismaili influences. The Ikhwan also discuss particular numbers at some length, giving examples of things that occur naturally in sets of two, three, four and up to nine.

Epistle 34 develops the philosophical system further, illustrating the intimate relationship between the celestial realm and the mundane world, at the intersection of which sits the human being. The mirroring of microcosm and macrocosm is a key theme of the Ikhwan, and we find it pervading the Rasa’il.

Essentially, Epistle 35 is the Brethren’s epistemological Epistle. By way of a foundational digression, we find discussions on the meaning of existing and not existing, of matter, form and accidents, and of cause and effect. Of the specific intellectual faculties of an individual human soul, which we are told are innumerable, the Brethren then concentrate on the following five: the contemplative faculty, the imaginative faculty, the memorising faculty, the articulating faculty, and the productive faculty.

Epistle 36 is thoroughly astrological, taking as its theme the influence of celestial revolutions on the ‘sub-lunar sphere’, the Earth and all on it. The Brethren draw heavily on Ptolemaic astronomy as well as on the Indic and Persian traditions, amongst others, in their description of celestial alignments and the effects these have on the beings below. Just as the heavenly bodies revolve through space, earthly beings move through time. For the Brethren, time, as demonstrated by history, is therefore cyclical, from the changing of seasons to the rise and fall of empires.

The purpose of the Brethren’s explanations is to evoke readers to the reality of how things are, realise that our ultimate goal is to ascend to the level of angels, and set about achieving this. Knowledge is never merely for the sake of knowledge, but to lead human beings out of the prison of matter and towards a divine state.

Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part I is the ninth volume in the Series, and will be followed by a further eleven volumes to complete the corpus. This publication is the first volume of the Series to contain Epistles that were worked on separately by the scholars involved, and, from an academic viewpoint, it is especially interesting to see the different approaches taken by the editors and translators with their respective Epistles. Each editor has given a contextual introduction to their Epistle(s), considering different aspects of the Brethren’s fascinating conception of the universe and the human being’s role within it.
Whilst this book will be of significant value to experts in the field, it would also make a good entry point for any general reader who is curious about this popular medieval work and the philosophical framework of the mysterious Brethren of Purity.

Source: Institute of Ismaili Studies UK


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TEDxMileHigh – Paul Polak – The Future Corporation

TEDx TalksTEDx Talks

Uploaded on 26 May 2011

What is the future of the corporation? Paul Polak’s vision will likely transform your view of what’s possible through capitalism and may change the way current organizations view their business models. His talk details the tremendous shared value that lies within product and system designs for the bottom 90% of the income pyramid.

In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxMileHigh, where x = independently organized TED event. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.


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Neuerscheinung: 1001 Nacht–‘Das glückliche Ende’ — Claudia Ott’s latest translation in German of the manuscript discovered in Turkey

Neuerscheinung- 1001 Nacht - Das glückliche EndeIn einer kleinen Bibliothek in Zentralanatolien, die vor 250 Jahren ein Sammler alter Handschriften erbaute, liegt – versteckt in einem falsch beschrifteten Schuber – ein uraltes Manuskript des Endes von „Tausendundeine Nacht“. Diese sensationelle Entdeckung macht Claudia Ott mit ihrer Übersetzung erstmals der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich. Über das Ende der Rahmenerzählung von der klugen Schahrasad, die durch ihre Geschichten König Schahriyar davon abhält, sie zu töten, war bisher so gut wie nichts bekannt.

Die vollständigen arabischen Manuskripte, die erst im 19. Jahrhundert unter europäischem Einfluss entstanden sind, blenden die Rahmenerzählung fast völlig aus. Erstmals werden nun die letzten125 Nächte des Zyklus sowie der ausführliche Schluss in einer arabischen Fassung zugänglich, die viele Jahrhunderte älter ist.

Claudia Ott versteht es meisterhaft, die Unmittelbarkeit und Frische des arabischen Originals zu vermitteln. Frei von allen europäischen Übermalungen und Ausschmückungen entführt sie den Leser in eine zauberhafte Welt der Paläste und Basare, der weisen Wesire und verschlagenen Händler, eine Welt voller erotischer Abenteuer und böser Streiche.

„Ach, Schwester“, seufzte Dunyasad, „wie köstlich ist deine Geschichte und wie schön und süß und angenehm!“ (Verlagstext)

Nach der Handschrift der Rasit-Efendi-Bibliothek Kayseri erstmals ins Deutsche übertragen von Dr. Claudia Ott.

Mit Kalligraphien von Mustafa Emary

21. Januar 2016

Auf Wunsch des Verlages habe ich eine Zehnseitenlesung aufgenommen. Viel Spaß beim Anschauen!

Mehr in AFARAB Blogspot de


 Claudia Ott liest aus „Tausendundeine Nacht – Das glückliche Ende“



Related Posts in our archives:

Claudia Ott: 101 NACHT

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Claudia Ott


A sensational finding – an 800 year old treasure, made available by an outstanding translation .

Video Interview with Claudia Ott in German:


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An American Muslim’s prayer: Forget love, let’s just be civil (commentary) — By Hussein Rashid on Washington Post

Dr. Hussain RashidDr. Hussein Rashid

As an American Muslim, I am acutely aware of the physical attacks, racial slurs, taunting and discrimination faced by my fellow believers.

Of course, it is not just Muslims who face increasing Islamophobia. It is also people who look like Muslims: Sikhs, Hindus and anyone with a brown complexion (despite the fact that many American Muslims are African-American).


Here’s the thing, though. If love is work, hate has to be work, too. People who hate me have to have an incredible reserve of energy to keep going, especially since they don’t know me. The only thing I can think of is that they hate themselves, and simply express it against me.

The funny thing is, Islamophobes hate me because I am a Muslim, and groups like the so-called Islamic State hate me because I am not the “right” type of Muslim. Maybe the two groups could just go on and hate each other, and leave me alone.

Read full on Washington Post


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Lost Horizons: The Big Bang — Documantation video by Professor Jim Al Khalili

silichipvon silichip

Professor Jim Al Khalili delves into over 50 years of the BBC science archive to tell the story behind the emergence of one of the greatest theories of modern science, the Big Bang. The remarkable idea that our universe simply began from nothing has not always been accepted with the conviction it is today and, from fiercely disputed leftfield beginnings, took the best part of the 20th century to emerge as the triumphant explanation of how the universe began. Using curious horn-shaped antennas, U-2 spy planes, satellites and particle accelerators, scientists have slowly pieced together the cosmological jigsaw, and this documentary charts the overwhelming evidence for a universe created by a Big Bang.

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A rose made of galaxies

A rose made of galaxies

Extreme star cluster bursts into life in new Hubble image

Extreme star cluster bursts into life in new Hubble image

Stellar Nursery in the arms of NGC 1672

ATLAS Experiment illustration of two protons beams colliding. Experiments similar to this one will be analyzed for Higgs boson particle production.. (Photo: © 2011 CERN - Atlas collaboration)

Illustration of two protons beams colliding in the Large Haldron Collider. Experiments similar to this one will be analyzed for Higgs boson particle production. (© 2011 CERN – Atlas collaboration)

The Large Hadron Collider accelerator in Geneva was constructed to search for the Higgs boson, among other things.

The Large Hadron Collider accelerator in Geneva was constructed to search for the Higgs boson, among other things.

Physicist Peter Higgs is now world famous because of the subatomic particle bearing his name. But his ideas were initially snubbed by the academic world, with his landmark publication predicting the existence of the Higgs boson being rejected at first. The editor apparently didn’t understand a word of it.


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‘Of Sunny Days & Brisk Breezes’ — Travel Stories by Neeharika Satyavada at MapInMyPocket WordPress com on Hyderabad’s International Kite Festival

Hyderabad’s International Kite FestivalHyderabad’s International Kite Festival found its way to a larger venue this year – away from the hustle and bustle of Necklace Road – the Aga Khan Academy near the airport.

Makara Sankranti is an important Indian Harvest Festival celebrated across the country. This day marks the return of the sun after the cold winter and is a harbinger of the coming harvest season for farmers.

Also known as Pongal in some states of the South, it gets its name from the dish that is made this day. Rice from the first harvest of the year is cooked in milk that has come to a ‘pongu’, meaning boil and sweetened with jaggery or sugar.

In Gujarat, where the biggest Kite Festival of the country takes place, it is Uttarayan. How ever many be the names that this festival is called by, the one common thread that weaves through it is the ‘flying of kites’.

India is of many religions and this is one of the celebrations that brings together, them all. For, it is believed that the custom of flying kites was brought to India by the Persian muslims!

Read and view more Photos on: MapInMyPocket WordPress com


Relate Post on PBSJ Blog:

Your fun will gift…
A different future to a girl child

A different future to a girl child

What is KITE?

It’s Telangana’s first ever international kite festival.

When is KITE?
14th – 15th January, 2016. Day 1 for schools and students, Day 2 family focus.
Where is KITE?
At the breathtaking hundred acre campus of The Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad, near Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

Who is KITE for?
Everyone! Children, students, parents, families, anyone who’s crazy about kites…

Why does KITE matter?
Because we want to make a difference to girl child education in Telangana, this Festival aspires to empower girls and young women by providing opportunities for quality education.

What’s happening at KITE?

#World-renowned international kite-flyers
#Food fair profiling regional delicacies
#Telangana artisan and crafts market organised by Shilparamam, the arts, crafts and cultural village at Hyderabad
#Culture of kites – film presentation and exhibition
#Fun and creative kite activities for children…and their parents!

How do we get to KITE?
Transport arrangements are coming online, watch this space!

Telangana International Kite Festival Invitation Video


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Syrien-Konferenz in London: Sie haben gefragt – Christiane Wirtz antwortet


Published on 6 Feb 2016

Sie haben gefragt – Christiane Wirtz antwortet. In 3 Minuten erfahren Sie, wie die Deutsche Botschaft in Kabul die afghanische Bevölkerung vor Schleppern warnt, was es mit den sicheren Herkunftsstaaten auf sich hat und warum die Syrien-Konferenz in London die bislang erfolgreichste Geberkonferenz ist. #RumorsAboutGermany #SupportSyrians

#SupportSyrians – Kanzlerin Merkel bei der Geberkonferenz in London



Published on 4 Feb 2016:11 Milliarden Dollar für die Menschen in Syrien und in den Nachbarstaaten. “Noch nie wurde so viel Geld an einem Tag für eine einzelne Krise gesammelt”, so UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon zum Ergebnis der Syrienkonferenz in London. “Unsere Unterstützung mit Geld ist das, was wir tun können, um Fluchtursachen zu bekämpfen”, sagte Kanzlerin Merkel. Dies ersetze jedoch nicht den politischen Prozess.

His Highness the Aga Khan’s statement to the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference

Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)

Published on 4 Feb 2016: His Highness the Aga Khan’s statement to the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London on 4 February 2016

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Kyrgyzstan: Aga Khan Foundation Promotes Child Literacy with Mobile Technology

The Aga Khan Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Balastan, a Kyrgyz TV channel dedicated to children, and Avisa Technologies, showcased a new television production along with a complementary suite of interactive mobile phone applications. The TV show and mobile apps are part of a set of learning tools developed by the Aga Khan Foundation and USAID, which promote family reading, literacy, and nurture interest in books among young children.

Promoting Early Reading Through Information Technologies: Educational Mobile Application Launch — Kabar Ky.

Bishkek, January 28, 2016. Students, parents, government representatives, and development partners active in the education sector, gathered at the Republican Children’s Library in Bishkek on Thursday afternoon for the launch of a new television programme and mobile application promoting early reading. The Aga Khan Foundation, in partnership with USAID, Balastan (a national TV channel dedicated to children) and Avisa Technologies, showcased a new television production, Read Together, and a complementary suite of interactive mobile phone applications, Fun Kitep 1 & 2.

In her official remarks at the opening, Ms. Toktobubu Ashymbaeva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, highlighted the importance of literacy for child development, and emphasized that literacy is not merely reading, but comprehension.

“These initiatives greatly help children to increase reading habits, skills, and foster a love for reading. Almost every child has a mobile device. Given that we live in a technological age, education must use Information Technologies,” noted Ms. Ashymbaeva.

Read more on: Kabar Kyrgyzstan


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The “New Germans” – Diversity as enrichment: this is the message of a growing number of networks — Deutschland de

Being a German – what does this mean? In Germany there are many people who broach this question, especially young people with an immigrant background. They have joined together in various groups and organizations and with their commitment pointed the way to diversity as enrichment. Four examples.

DW - New Germans

© DW – New Germans

New German media makers
Members of this network are journalists and other media professionals. They champion balanced reporting that depicts Germany appropriately as a country of
immigration – among other things by making immigrants more visible in the media. To this end the group has developed the “diversity finder”: an online platform on which editorial staffs can make targeted searches for interview partners from the professional world.

Deutsch Plus – Initiative for a Plural Republic
The aim of this association is to contribute to making plurality more strongly perceived as an opportunity. Using research findings to help break down prejudices sums up one of its approaches. The association is also committed to more equal opportunity in education and supports and counsels young people with an immigrant background in respect to schooling and education

Young Islam Conference
The Young Islam Conference is a dialogue forum for people between the ages of 17 to 25. It offers training and discussions in subjects related to Islam and Muslims in Germany and accompanies social debates with specific recommendations to policy makers and the public. Among its initiators are the Humboldt University of
Berlin and the Mercator Foundation.

Renk magazine
Guest authors are called here “guest workers”; at the magazine renk stereotypical attributions are taken with humor. The online magazine aims to depict and help shape everyday German-Turkish life beyond clichés. Emphases are art and culture. “renk” is Turkish and means “color”.



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Video: His Highness the Aga Khan’s statement to the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference on Youtube

Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)

Published on 4 Feb 2016

His Highness the Aga Khan’s statement to the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London on 4 February 2016

See earlier Posts on PBSJ Blog:


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Sheffield epilepsy doctor to plant 150 trees before moving abroad to work for Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Neurology Consultant

A leading epilepsy medic is planning to plant 150 trees with friends and colleagues to mark the end of his time working at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Dilraj Sokhi

.Dr Dilraj Sokhi

Consultant neurologist Dr Dilraj Sokhi has arranged to plant the trees as part of the NHS Forest project.  Dr Sokhi worked with Sheffield Council to identify a site in the city that was short of trees.

He said: “I have organised the event as a leaving gesture as I thought tree planting would be a good way of getting together some of my friends and colleagues from the Trust who have worked with me through the years.”

Dr Sokhi, who has worked for the NHS Foundation Trust for 11 years is leaving Sheffield to work  at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Neurology Consultant specialising in epilepsy.

His move is part of the World Health Organisation’s campaign to bridge the treatment gap for people with epilepsy in the developing world.

Source: Epilepsy Society org, UK


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New Education and Business Agreements Announced in India|Premier of Ontario Visits the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad

Premier Kathleen Wynne

Premier Kathleen Wynne of the Province of Ontario, Canada visited the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad on 4 February 2016 during a trade mission to India. The Premier toured the campus and spoke to students during her visit.

Click here to read the news release from the Premier’s Office.

Source: Aga Khan Academies Org


Ontario and Indian Partners Sign Major Agreements — The Premier’s Office

3377c898357cff77e569dac777c3cc81Today in Hyderabad, Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke at a plenary session attended by Ontario delegates and representatives from Indian companies and institutions, where several new international technology and higher education agreements were signed.

  • DataWind signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Telangana to open a manufacturing base in Hyderabad, which is expected to be in production within months.
  • Solantro and Smarttrak announced that they will collaborate on the development of electric power solutions, renewable energy and micro inverters.

In Hyderabad, Premier Wynne met with Telangana Minister of Information Technology K.T. Rama Rao to sign an MOU that will strengthen the relationship between Ontario and India.

The Premier also met with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the Honourable Devendra Fadnavis. The two leaders signed an MOU that will focus on strengthening connections between Ontario and Maharashtra in key commercial areas, including urban infrastructure, information and communications technology, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and education.

The Premier also visited the Aga Khan Academy, where she spoke with students. The Aga Khan Academies are a network of schools dedicated to expanding access to education and developing strong leaders and teachers.

Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid, who is accompanying Premier Wynne on the mission, took part in the opening ceremony for Auto Expo 2016 in New Delhi, and met with a delegation of Ontario-based auto parts companies. The Minister met with global industry representatives to highlight Ontario’s strengths as a partner in their global supply chain and as a location for their research and development activities, and to promote the province’s advantages for foreign direct investment in the auto sector.

Attracting new investment and helping the province’s businesses compete globally is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan is investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts
  • In total, seven agreements were signed today between Ontario delegates and their Indian partners. This is in addition to the 39 agreements that were signed during the Premier’s visits to New Delhi and Chandigarh. Agreements signed on the mission so far are valued at $112 million.
  • In May 2015, Premier Wynne and His Highness the Aga Khan signed a historic Agreement of Cooperation to promote education, diversity and economic development.
  • The architect who designed the new Aga Khan Park in Toronto was inspired by the grid layout of the watercourses and sandy paths of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, India.

Source: The Premier’s Office,Toronto


Related post:

Video: Province of Ontario and Ismaili Imamat Agreement of Cooperation Signing Ceremony

-NanoWisdoms org


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VIDEO: AKDN seeks to sustain hope in Syria says His Highness the Aga Khan at the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London on 4 February 2016.

His Highness the Aga Khan addressing the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London on 4 February 2016

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Source: The Ismaili org

See also:

The Aga Khan deplores devastation in Syria, Calls for Islands of Stability — AKDN Press Release|His Highness attends London Conference on international pledging for Syria.


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The Aga Khan deplores devastation in Syria, Calls for Islands of Stability — AKDN Press Release|His Highness attends London Conference on international pledging for Syria.

His Highness the Aga Khan addressing the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London on 4 February 2016

His Highness the Aga Khan addressing the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London on 4 February 2016. AKDN

London, United Kingdom, 4 February 2016 – His Highness the Aga Khan today called for the establishment of ‘islands of stability’ in war-ravaged Syria that could provide areas of relative safety in the midst of conflict.

“We seek to create ‘islands of stability’, where there is public consensus, in the face of war. It is my conviction that ‘islands of stability’ can be replicated wherever security permits. Investing in them will help to prevent displacement of people and anchor communities that would otherwise flee as refugees,” he said.

The Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims made the remarks in London at an international pledging conference devoted to Syria.

“I am deeply distressed over the indiscriminate and widespread devastation of life and property, including that of irreplaceable cultural assets which are the manifestation of Syria’s stunningly rich pluralistic history,” he said.

He pledged that the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), of which he is founder and Chairman, will expand its activities in Syria by contributing US$ 200 million over the next four years. The Aga Khan noted that AKDN has already dedicated US$ 50 million to projects in Syria since the conflict began.

“Our goal is peace, stability and reconstruction,” he said.

The Aga Khan said his network has adopted a dual approach in Syria by fostering civil society and at the same time investing in communities by supporting agriculture, income generation, schools and hospitals.

“We aim to meet the urgent needs of the present, but where also possible to protect and strengthen the foundations for the future,” he said. “Our goal is to sustain hope.”

The Imam of the Ismaili community and AKDN agencies are fully engaged in the peace process under the United Nations leadership and committed to helping build a Syria that “continues to respect pluralism, remains secular, and embarks on a political process led by Syrians”.

Source: AKDN org


Statement by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference

04 February 2016

His Highness the Aga Khan


Co-hosts of the Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region,


Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the co-hosts for organising this much needed initiative to deepen the understanding of, and garner international support for the peoples of Syria, Alongside all those present here today, I am deeply distressed over the indiscriminate and widespread devastation of life and property, including that of irreplaceable cultural assets which are the manifestation of Syria’s stunningly rich pluralistic history.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which is the Ismaili Imamat’s global agency for supporting development, is fully engaged with the peace process under UN leadership, and is firmly committed to helping build a Syria that continues to respect pluralism, remains secular, and embarks on a political process led by Syrians.

AKDN’s development and humanitarian work in Syria began many years before the war. In the present situation, we have committed resources and efforts to ensure that Internally Displaced People receive humanitarian assistance, and are supported to sustain their livelihoods. We are taking two approaches:

First, we are supporting local community leaders, teachers, doctors, engineers and others to foster stability, protecting their families and their communities. We are thus building and strengthening civil society to take as much responsibility as possible for their own future.

Second, we are investing in communities, by supporting agriculture, income generation, early childhood education, schools, and hospitals. We also provide vocational training to create skills. Our goal is to sustain hope.

We aim to meet the urgent needs of the present, but where also possible to protect and strengthen the foundations for the future. We seek to create “islands of stability”, where there is public consensus, in the face of war. It is my conviction that “islands of stability” can be replicated wherever security permits. Investing in them will help prevent displacement of people and anchor communities that would otherwise flee as refugees.

Since the onset of conflict in 2011, AKDN has dedicated $50 million towards these endeavours in Syria and is now committing to increasing this investment to $200 million over the next four years. Our efforts will expand to wider areas of the country. Our goal is peace, stability, and reconstruction.

Thank you

Source: AKDN org


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"The Settlers": New Film Reveals History & Consequences of Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Land —Democracy Now interview with Director Shimon Dotan

Democracy Now!

Democracy Now!

Published on 28 Jan 2016 – As Israel faces international condemnation over its plan to build 153 new settlement homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the watchdog group Peace Now reports Israel’s defense minister has approved the construction of the new Jewish-only homes last week. The plan sparked swift criticism from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called the settlements “an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community.” In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Ban Ki-moon’s criticism gives “a tailwind to terrorism” and that the “U.N. lost its neutrality and moral force a long time ago.” This comes as President Barack Obama spoke at the Israeli Embassy to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, saying, “We are all indeed Jews.” We examine the history and consequences of decades of Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian lands in an interview with Shimon Dotan, the director of an extraordinary new film, “The Settlers,” which just had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. “It is such a heated and often discussed topic, but I find that so little is known about it, and often the discussion is misinformed,” Dotan says.
Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on nearly 1,400 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9AM ET:


The Settlers – Documentary —  by Ludwig Watzal on Der SEMIT de

Veröffentlicht am 1. Februar 2016 von Gastbeitrag

by Ludwig Watzal

The Israeli government’s settlement project, which is de facto a land-grabbing colonial enterprise, has to be “sold” more aggressively to a much wider public. Without the financial support and the complicity of the various US administrations, the success wouldn’t have been so resounding. Every critic of Israel’s encroachment on Palestinian land has also to blame the US government. Just recently, Israel announced the building of 150 Jewish-only new settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank that led to international condemnation also  by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Shimon Dotan, an Israeli Award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer, presented his new documentary, “The Settlers”, at Sundance Film Festival 2016. Currently, he teaches political cinema at NYU School of Journalism and at the New School University in New York City.

The documentary reveals the history and consequences of Israeli settlement policy. According to Dotan, “in no point in time (did) any Israeli government decide […} that it’s in the best interest of the State of Israel to keep settlements in the West Bank”. Apparently, it all happened in a sort of haphazard way and without a rational and calculated decision by the government.


Up until now, there are almost 600 000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Golan Hights. An estimated 80 000 of them are ideologically driven. Back in 1974, the late Yitzhak Rabin called the settlement movement Gush Emunim a “cancer in the democratic fabric of the State of Israel”, yet all Israeli governments expedited the building of settlements and they are flourishing.

Israel can manage the occupation and control the Palestinian people, especially with the active support of president Mahmoud Abbas’ regime that tries to stifle every protest against the Israeli colonial regime. What the right-wing Israeli government can’t handle is disintegration from within. And it might find it impossible to manage forever Apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Sooner or later even Israel proper – i.e. within the 1967 borders – may turn into an Apartheid-like state. The signs on the wall are already visible.

As long as the occupation and the settlements are in place, resistance will continue.

Read full on Der SEMIT de


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WEBCAST: Please Use Responsibly: Journalism as a Tool for Development (March 20, 2014)

Aga Khan Foundation CanadaAga Khan Foundation Canada

Published on 3 Jul 2015

Original webcast date: March 20, 2014


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Ismaili Centre, London: Nurjehan Mawani (AKDN) and Shireen Rahmani (Roshan Telecom) to talk on Women’s Roll in Afghanistan on International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day, the Aga Khan Foundation and the Ismaili Council Women’s Activities Portfolio invite you to a talk by:

Nurjehan Mawani, Diplomatic Representative, Aga Khan Development Network, Afghanistan and, Shireen Rahmani, HR Director, Roshan Telecommunications.

Nurjehan Mawani,Shireen Rahmani

Nurjehan Mawani will discuss how the AKDN is helping to shape a stronger Afghanistan by placing inclusivity and women’s participation at the heart of its endeavours. Shireen Rahmani will share her insights about professional life for women in Afghanistan, and how she became a director at one of its leading corporations.

Nurjehan and Shireen will then be joined in conversation by Meena Baktash, Head of the BBC Afghan Service, for what promises to be a thought-provoking and inspiring evening. We hope you can join us. Non Ismaili family, friends and colleagues are welcome.

DATE: Thursday 3rd March 2016
VENUE: The Ismaili Centre, London, SW7 2SL
TIME: 8.15pm (refreshments from 7.45pm)

About Mrs. Mawani

Since 2013, Mrs. Mawani has coordinated the AKDN’s activities through a period of transition in Afghanistan. She had previously served as the AKDN Diplomatic Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic with responsibility also for engagement in Kazakhstan. Prior to her service with the AKDN, Mrs. Mawani had a long and distinguished career with the Canadian Public Service as the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s largest tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board. Over her career Mrs. Mawani has received several awards for her work including the UNIFEM Canada Award for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of women.

 About Shireen Rahmani

Shireen Rahmani has been with Roshan Telecommunications since 2003. Under her leadership, Roshan’s HR department has applied successful strategies aimed at building local capacity, recruiting and training a new generation of young Afghan leaders. Mrs. Rahmani has also helped recruit and train female staff members who now form almost 19% of Roshan’s workforce and 18% of the company’s management, a considerable achievement in Afghanistan. In 2015, Shireen became the first Afghan woman to be recognized as one of the ‘100 most talented Global HR leaders’ at the World Human Resource Development Congress in India.

Women and the future of Afghanistan is part of the Aga Khan Foundation UK’s ‘Breaking the Cycle of Poverty’ series.

Source: Aga Khan Foundation UK


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Bernie Knows What Time It Is — by Abby Zimet on Common Dreams org


Sanders ascending. Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The drama in Iowa gave us so much. It offered up the spectacle of a surge for the nasty, messiah-minded, what-separation-of-church-and-state Cruz who has vowed “the body of Christ (will) rise up to pull us back from the abyss” and his unimaginable supporters, those “most skin-crawlingly creepy folks in the religious right (who) use Jesus as a cover to push their lifelong obsession with controlling other people’s sex lives.” It provided the archetypal “wake-up call” for a smug Democratic party that tried hard to “package up a nomination and tie it off with a bow” but proved woefully out of touch with the real change that so many voters, especially young ones, now devoutly seek. And it gave us this fabulous photo of gleeful hard-won triumph. The one of a stalwart Bernie at 5 a.m. in the back of a pickup in New Hampshire, hoarsely exhorting an exuberant  crowd, comes in a cool second. Wheel‘s still in spin.

More on Common Dreams org


See also:

After ‘Astounding the World in Iowa,’ Sanders’ Revolution Marches On — by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams org

Sen. Bernie Sanders, reflecting on his near-win in Iowa, told reporters: "I think the significance is, for folks who did not think Bernie Sanders could win, that we could compete against Hillary Clinton, I hope that that thought is now gone." (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, reflecting on his near-win in Iowa, told reporters: “I think the significance is, for folks who did not think Bernie Sanders could win, that we could compete against Hillary Clinton, I hope that that thought is now gone.” (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The virtual tie in Iowa between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Monday evening is being hailed as a symbolic victory for the Sanders campaign, bolstering the fight for “political revolution,” which the candidate vows will continue all the way to the Democratic National Convention.


“Imagine telling Bill Clinton in 1992 that 25 years later his wife would be neck and neck with an ‘independent socialist’ in the Democratic primary. This wasn’t supposed to be possible.”

Read more on Common Dreams org


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Video:Hazir Imam Birthday Song—Sung by Ismaili Sister Manzura at St.Petersburg, Russia on 13 December 2015

Noorun MubeenNoorun Mubeen

Published on 26 Dec 2015

A young talented Ismaili Sister Manzura sings a wonderful song on the occasion of Hazir Imam’s 79th Birthday.
The celebration took place in St.Petersburg,Russia in 13/12/2015/


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Gulshan Mahal, a former Ismaili-owned heritage building in Mumbai becomes the National Museum of Indian Cinema


In the 1920s and ’30s, a sprawling Victorian-Gothic bungalow named Gulshan Mahal on Mumbai’s Peddar Road would draw the cream of society to its musical soirées and cultural gatherings. It was home to India’s first female documentary filmmaker, who would later be turned out of it as a Partition evacuee and see her bungalow confiscated by the Indian government. Eighty years later, this bungalow in the Films Division campus on Peddar Road is set to open its doors to culture once again, as the National Museum of Indian Cinema.

Gulshan Mahal, a former Ismaili-owned heritage building in Mumbai becomes the National Museum of Indian Cinema

This is the first museum dedicated to films in India. Through movie clips, photographs, film equipment and other film memorabilia, it will take visitors through the history of cinema from across the country. But the history of Gulshan Mahal – both before and after Partition – is itself an intriguing tale.

(A 1930s photo of the Jairazbhoy family outside Gulshan Mahal, courtesy Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy. Khurshid sits in a white sari on the right.) (A 1930s photo of the Jairazbhoy family outside Gulshan Mahal…

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Videos on activities of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in India

Buniyaad – Coordination and Convergence

Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)


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Find names to oversee work: Tribunal — The Hindu com|Lawyers lack expertise on architectural conservation says AKTC

The Wakf Tribunal here on January 25 directed the counsels for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and Mohammed Jaferuddin to discuss and form a proposal to find suitable names for the High Powered Supervisory Committee to oversee the ongoing works at the Qutub Shahi Tombs.

Justice Bande Ali, Chairman of the Wakf Tribunal, orally passed the order after the AKTC’s counsel Shafeeq Mohajir argued that there is no reason for two lawyers to be on the committee, as they lack expertise on architectural conservation.

In his argument, which lasted for over two hours, Mr. Mohajir pointed out that it would be better to have experts on the committee, like the AKTC’s CEO Ratish Nanda, under whose supervision works are going on at the site currently. In a previous order, the tribunal had ordered for the committee to be constituted which would include counsel for both sides; in this case Jaferuddin’s counsel Mohammed Ilyas, and the counsel for the Department of Archaeology.

The case was filed in 2007 by Jaferuddin at the tribunal, seeking to declare the agreement dated May 16, 1977 between Mukarram Jah and the then Governor of Andhra Pradesh, giving custody of the Qutub Shahi Tombs to the State government as illegal, null and void.

Read more on The Hindu com

Related post on PBSJ Blog

The restoration effort helmed by Aga Khan Trust for Culture is clearly visible on the two tombs in Qutub Shahi tombs complex

The restoration effort helmed by Aga Khan Trust for Culture is clearly visible on the two tombs in Qutub Shahi tombs complex.–Photo: Serish Nanisetti


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[VIDEO] What it means to live with diabetes — The Star Co Kenya


FULL LIFE: Eric at his graduation in 2014. He must set aside Sh12,000 for medication every month.

FULL LIFE: Eric at his graduation in 2014. He must set aside Sh12,000 for medication every month.

Eric must set aside Sh12,000 every month to buy insulin and other drugs

As an impressionable young man straight from form four, January of 2006 was my first month in “freedom”.

But then, I started getting continually thirsty and would suffer frequent headaches, which I attributed to the hot and dry weather.

Eventually, I checked into hospital because of high fever, believing I had contracted malaria. But the lab results were negative.

The doctor suggested that from my symptoms, he should test for diabetes.

The results showed that my sugar levels were a high of 33, while a normal person’s sugar levels are between 4.5 to 6.5. I could hardly tell what awaited me.

I was admitted at the high dependency unit of the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi for three days as doctors struggled to lower my dangerously high blood sugar, and later spent two days recovering in the general ward and learning how to use the diabetic pen to inject myself.

I had joined the more than 1.8 million young Kenyans living with diabetes.

Read more on The Star Co Kenya

Diabetes Interview With Eva Muchemi, the executive director of the Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI)


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Three Canadian journalists named International Development Reporting Fellows — News Wire Canada’s Press Release

OTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ – From Liberia to Kenya, and all the way to the tiny island nation of Kiribati, three Canadian journalists are about to spread out across the globe to bring the world’s stories home to Canadians.


Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists are pleased to announce that this year’s Fellowships for International Development Reporting will be awarded to freelance journalist and Ottawa Citizen columnist Shannon Gormley, CTV’s Kayla Hounsell, and freelance journalist Marc-André Sabourin.

They will each receive $25,000 to report from the developing world.

Gormley will travel to Kiribati to report on the intersection of migration and international law for populations affected by climate change. Her reporting will be published by the Ottawa Citizen.

Hounsell’s project for CTV’s W5 will look at the long-term impacts of the Ebola outbreak. She will report from Liberia, a country that lost more lives than any other West African nation, with nearly 5,000 deaths.

Sabourin will explore a model of low-cost private education in Kenya, and its impacts on the quality of schooling for poor communities. His reporting will appear in L‘actualité.

“These important stories will give Canadians a deeper understanding of pressing issues in places where we don’t often find Canadian correspondents,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “The CAJ applauds AKFC’s solid commitment to ambitious, global journalism, and we can’t wait to see what Shannon, Kayla, and Marc-André produce.”

An independent selection committee, chaired by Taylor-Vaisey, chose the fellows. The jury included Anyck Béraud, Radio-Canada; Jean-Thomas Léveillé, La Presse; Stephen Puddicombe, CBC; Rachel Pulfer, Journalists for Human Rights; and Robert Steiner, Munk School of Global Affairs.

“The developing world is evolving at a rapid pace, and journalists play an important role in making sense of the complex dynamics at work,” said Khalil Z. Shariff, AKFC’s chief executive officer. “This program invests in journalists who want to tell stories that illuminate the process of global development for Canadians.”

In 2015, the inaugural fellowships were awarded to Marc Ellison, whose project on child marriage in Tanzania is currently under development for the Toronto Star, and Mellissa Fung, who reported on post-NATO development in Afghanistan for Global News.

The fellows have one year to complete their projects. The next round of applications will open in June 2016, with an autumn deadline for submissions.

The fellowship offers recipients $25,000 to undertake a substantial reporting project which helps Canadians develop a greater understanding of the complex issues facing the developing world. Fellows are encouraged to engage in ambitious foreign reporting during an era of tighter news budgets and be a part of fostering a community of Canadian journalists who share an interest in reporting original topics from the developing world.

The CAJ leads the fellowship selection committee, and contributes to the strategic direction of the program. Administration and funding for the program are provided by AKFC with additional funding from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

AKFC is a nonprofit international development agency, working in Asia and Africa to find sustainable solutions to the complex problems causing global poverty. Established in 1980, AKFC is a registered Canadian charity and an agency of the worldwide Aga Khan Development Network.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

Source: CNW Canada


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Israeli lawyer: Palestinians ‘have the right to fight’ — Video on Al Jazeera talked to Lea Tsemel

Al Jazeera EnglishAl Jazeera English

Published on 1 Aug 2015

The Israeli parliament has passed a new law legalising the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes.For Palestinians in Israeli jails, hunger strikes are a strong mode of protesting detention and occupation.The United Nations, the Palestinian Prisoners Commission and the Israeli Medical Association have all condemned the new law. The country’s medical association are urging doctors to not partake in force-feeding, saying it is effectively torture and violates medical ethics.But Israel has said that Palestinian hunger strikes could lead to deaths and set off protests across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is a move that highlights the treatment of Palestinian prisoners and how those defending them face difficult odds.One of these defenders is lawyer Lea Tsemel, who has had a career spanning more than four decades and is a rarity in Israel.

See also:

EU concerned over Israel’s use of administrative detention — IINA News org| Calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all prisoners


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EU concerned over Israel’s use of administrative detention — IINA News org| Calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all prisoners

Jerusalem, (IINA) – The EU’s missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed on Wednesday their longstanding concern about Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention without formal charge against Palestinians, WAFA reported.

 “Beyond the well-known cases of Etraf Rimawi of the Palestinian Bisan Center for Research and Development, and Mohammed Abu Sakha, a trainer at the Palestinian Circus School, there are over 500 Palestinians, amongst them at least 4 minors, who are currently being held in administrative detention”, the EU mission said in a press release.
The mission said it was especially concerned about the deteriorating health condition of journalist Mohammed Al-Qiq, held in administrative detention in Israel for more than two months now, and on hunger strike since November 25, 2015.

“The EU calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all prisoners. Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention, must be granted access to legal assistance, and be subject to a fair trial”.
Multiple human rights groups have accused Israel of using administrative detention as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and that Israeli authorities use this kind of detention when they fail to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.
Israeli officials claim the practice is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence, but it has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as by both Israeli and Palestinian rights groups.

The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, said international law stipulates that administrative detention may be exercised only in very exceptional cases. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities routinely employ administrative detention on thousands of Palestinians.

Source:IINA News org


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Video:Aga Khan Foundation Canada International Youth Fellowship Information Session

Aga Khan Foundation CanadaAga Khan Foundation Canada

Published on 22 Jan 2016

Learn how AKFC’s International Youth Fellowship Program has impacted the lives of two alumni. Nabeel Ahmed and Faaria Meghji discuss their experiences in Bangaldesh, India and Kyrgyzstan in this live presentation and Q&A.


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How the West Undermined Women’s Rights in the Arab World — by Nicola Pratt on Jadaliyya com|Based on the research conducted by the author

Mother of the martyr. Photo by Nicola Pratt[Mother of the martyr. Photo by Nicola Pratt]


Decolonizing Gender in the Arab World

My research has sought to critically engage with two core assumptions underpinning the formulation of such a paradox. The first assumption is the reduction of women’s activism to the act of resisting patriarchy. This assumption is embedded within the concept of the private/public divide, whereby feminists argue that women are relegated to the private sphere, whilst men dominate the public sphere. This division becomes problematic when we look at evidence from the Arab world, where women’s participation has been encouraged as a means and marker of modernization. Since the end of the nineteenth century, nationalist discourse across the Middle East constructed the figure of a so-called new woman, who was educated and publicly visible.[1] In this context, middle class and elite women began to enter public life, primarily by founding charitable associations but later also creating women’s unions that called for greater rights for women within marriage and widened women’s access to education. These women were not merely ‘resisting patriarchy’ but rather saw themselves as contributing to the struggle against ‘backwardness’ and for the modernization of the nation. In particular, women’s visibility became a key marker of identity for the emerging middle classes and anembodiment of the  notion of ‘middle class modernity’ [2].

The second assumption underpinning the question of women’s rights in the Arab world is embedded within a long-standing orientalist epistemology that sees women’s condition as a marker of the Arab world’s backwardness. On this basis, a popular answer amongst Western commentators to why women’s activism has not resulted in progress in women’s rights has come to be ‘because of the resilience of Arab patriarchy.’ This answer is problematic because of the way it reduces the causes of women’s subordination to Arab cultural values and beliefs, implying that the ‘West’ sets the civilizational standard for women’s rights. Moreover, arguments about the deficient nature of Arab culture with regards to women completely erase structures of power based particularly on class and nationality and ignore the role of global political economy and geopolitics in the reproduction of these intersecting hierarchies. Therefore, to formulate the title of this article as ‘How the West Undermined Women’s Rights in the Arab World’ is not to promise an exposé of Western government covert operations but rather to problematize, from the start, the way that we commonly think about women’s rights and women’s activism in the Arab world. In particular, I wish to highlight the geopolitical dimensions in the construction of gender norms and the resistance to them, as well as to extend our understanding of women’s rights beyond laws and public policies to include the ways in which women publicly subvert and resignify gender norms through their public participation.

The Rise of Radical Movements after 1967 (…)

Read and Listen on Jadaliyya com


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“Diversity, in fact, is part of the essence of Islam. The unity of the Ummah does not imply sameness.”– Aga Khan

Quote of His Highness the Aga Khan

“Diversity, in fact, is part of the essence of Islam. The unity of the Ummah does not imply sameness.”

– Aga Khan, Doha, Qatar, November 24, 2010

Click Image to watch video


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Aga Khan University Hospital: Extraordinary Alumni Gift to Provide Hope for Paediatric Patients

Karachi, January 29, 2016: The Aga Khan University Medical College’s Class of 1999 has donated US$ 350,000 for an Endowment Fund for child care, which will allow the Aga Khan University Hospital to provide financial assistance and support to needy children from semi-urban and rural communities in Pakistan. 

President Firoz Rasul and Dr Babar Hasan shake hands after the gift-signing ceremony

  President Firoz Rasul and Dr Babar Hasan shake hands after the gift-signing ceremony 

At the gift signing agreement ceremony, AKU President Firoz Rasul said that the gift comes at a particularly fitting time in the University’s history. “We have the medical professionals and facilities that allow us to treat premature babies, infants and children with very complex health problems. This contribution to our endowment will help us in treating the sickest and most fragile babies in our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the only one of its kind in Pakistan.”

He noted that since 2013, the University Hospital has provided Rs 30.5 million to over 3,200 children to access quality healthcare.

Spearheaded by the Class of 1999 representative Dr Babar Hasan and assisted by Dr Rizwan Khalid, Dr Sharmeen Feerasta, Dr Kamran Karimi and Dr Shabana Naz, and the support of 67 per cent of the class, the Paediatric Welfare Endowment will provide hope for the thousands of children in Pakistan, both as hospital patients and in the clinics.  It will support children who require heart surgery at AKUH, which is the only centre performing complex surgeries using minimally invasive approaches.

Dr Hasan noted, “Paediatric care is most neglected in developing countries. This is why the Class of 1999 decided to support the Paediatric Welfare Fund. All of us feel that AKU has played a major role in shaping our present – thank you for helping us reach where are today”.

“The Medical College Class of 1999 plans to grow the fund and looks to other alumni to contribute to the fund”, he added.

The ceremony was also attended by the class’s favourite instructor Dr Perwaiz Iqbal.

Source: AKU edu


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Diary of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto: Amulti-media theatrical performance|US Consul Generals visit to Museum|Duke of Edinburgh Gold ceremony|Tajikistan delegation’s visit and many more

The Gryphon Trio perform Constantinople, a multi-media theatrical performance at the Ismaili Centre Toronto

Singers Maryem Hassan Tollar and Patricia O’Callaghan performing Constantinople at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto

Singers Maryem Hassan Tollar and Patricia O’Callaghan performing Constantinople at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Alnoor Meralli

Toronto, 26–28 November 2015Constantinople, a multi-media theatrical performance by the Gryphon Trio was showcased for three nights at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.

Violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker, accompanied by singers Maryem Hassan Tollar and Patricia O’Callaghan explored the spirit of an ancient city at the cultural crossroads of East and West — a diverse urban centre often challenged by political division and clashes of faith.

A reminder of what can be beautiful in our complex, often divergent modern existence, Constantinople is about present day urbanism with its multiple faces and its multiple histories: our cities, which — like the Constantinople of old — are poised to become a living experiment in the future culture of the “global village”.

“It was incredible,” said Nitza Perlman, a first time visitor to the Ismaili Centre. “Every aspect of it — the trio, vocals, visuals — was incredible. It was a prize performance.”

Composed by award-winning, Toronto-based composer Christos Hatzis, Constantinople had its premiere in 2004 and has since been performed to acclaim throughout Canada, the United States and at London’s Royal Opera House.

“Performances are like jigsaw puzzles, they have to fit,” explains 10-year-old Zahra Somji, a performer with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. “This performance really came together as one. I really enjoyed it.”

Constantinople marked a milestone in programming at the Centre, signalling the end of Cities of Arrival, a year-long curated programme of lectures, workshops and performances at the Ismaili Centre, exploring the past, present and future of cities and urban spaces.

US Consul General Juan Alsace visits the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum

Consul General Juan Alsace and Ismaili Council for Canada Executive Officer Mohamed Dhanani at the Ismaili Centre Toronto.

Consul General Juan Alsace and Ismaili Council for Canada Executive Officer Mohamed Dhanani at the Ismaili Centre Toronto. Ismaili Council for Canada

Toronto, 20 November 2015 — Consul General Juan Alsace toured the Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum with the Centre’s Executive Officer Mohamed Dhanani and Museum Director Henry Kim. The Consul General discussed expanding cross-border and cross-cultural dialogues during his first visit to the site.

Consul General Alsace was joined by Hilary Renner, Public Affairs Officer and Claudia Valladolid, Program Assistant for Cultural/Academic Affairs.

Prince Edward presides over Duke of Edinburgh Gold ceremony at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto

His Royal Highness Prince Edward and the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell enter the Ismaili Centre, Toronto for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony

His Royal Highness Prince Edward and the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell enter the Ismaili Centre, Toronto for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony. Shafiq Shamji

Toronto, 27 October 2015 — His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex presided over the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Gold-level awards of achievement were presented to 117 recipients, including four members of the Ismaili Muslim community.

Hosted by the Ismaili Council for Canada, the ceremony was also attended by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Prior to the commencement of the ceremony, Prince Edward and the Lieutenant Governor visited the Aga Khan Museum.

Foreign Minister of Tajikistan and delegation visit the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum


Tajik delegates, including Foreign Minister Aslov, together with institutional leaders at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Moez Visram

Toronto, October 2, 2015 — His Excellency Sirodjidin Aslov, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan, Dr Zafar Adeel, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Ahmad Saidmurodov, Assistant to the Tajik Foreign Minister and Idibek Kalandrov, Head of the Organizations Department of the Tajik Foreign Ministry visited the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum. The delegation was welcomed by the Ismaili Council for Canada and senior executives from the Aga Khan Museum.

The visit was an opportunity to deepen relationships with the Government of Tajikistan and introduce key members of the delegation to the work of the Ismaili Imamat in Canada that is intended to contribute to the global reservoir of knowledge, promote respect and appreciation for pluralism and diversity, and encourage mutual exchange and understanding. Delegates were able to appreciate — through guided tours and their own exploration — how the Ismaili Centre, the Park and the Museum provide fora for articulating thought and make a positive impact on the wider community.

The delegation also met with two Tajik artists who designed and continue to work on the magnificent original decorative carvings in the Ismaili Centre that are similar to those that adorn architectural monuments in Tajikistan. Those delegates who had also visited the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe remarked on the beauty of each Centre, which is evident not only in their uniqueness but also in their commonality.

AKFC’s mobile exhibition comes to the Ismaili Centre Toronto


The Together exhibition, ready to receive visitors on the grounds of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Moez Visram

Toronto, 17–19 September 2015 — Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s exciting mobile exhibition visited the grounds of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. This interactive display has been travelling across the country in a 53-foot-long trailer that has made stops at universities, museums and cultural centres.

Titled Together: An Exhibition on Global Development, the bilingual educational experience showcases the long-term work of Canadian non-governmental organisations to combat global poverty. It help Canadians understand that we are all global citizens and encourages everyone to participate in making the world a better place.

While parked at the Ismaili Centre, it hosted visits from local Bait-ul Ilm students, national committee members, and donors and supporters of AKFC. Gazalla Hirji, a visitor, shared her impressions: “During my tour of the exhibit, I learned how Canadians just like us are making a difference by turning their personal interests and strengths into opportunities to create global change. I was inspired to take AKFC’s Global Citizen quiz and find out how my own interests can blossom into great ideas. It was remarkable to discover how various Canadians’ simple notions have become widespread solutions to combating global poverty!”

The mobile exhibition, which will be closing down for the winter, begins a tour in western Canada in the spring.

Promoting Health Equity for Residents of Toronto, Ontario

Dr Kwame McKenzie presents the keynote address at the LHIN symposium held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto

Dr Kwame McKenzie presents the keynote address at the LHIN symposium held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Scott Baker

Toronto, 10 September 2015 — In an effort to promote health equity for Torontonians, over 300 health care providers attended the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Networks’ (LHIN) Health Equity Symposium at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.

The Toronto Central LHIN has placed renewed emphasis on the importance of taking a population health approach to regional health planning. By bringing together a broad group of partners with strong representation from outside the healthcare system, the symposium aimed to strengthen cross-sector communication, coordination and collaboration.

The symposium was divided into two sessions. The first session focused on affirming health equity’s growing presence on provincial and municipal agendas and aimed to inspire a coordinated, cross-section approach, backed by strong organisational leadership. The second session drew on the unique and complimentary expertise of cross-sector partners to inform the development of the Toronto Central LHIN’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan.

Speakers included Dr Robert Bell, Deputy Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Dr Kwame McKenzie, CEO of The Wellesley Institute and Sophia Ikura, Senior Director of the Toronto Central LHIN.

Ontario Historical Society holds AGM at the Ismaili Centre Toronto

Members of the Ontario Historical Society Board of Directors at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto

Members of the Ontario Historical Society Board of Directors at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Ismaili Council

Toronto, 22 June, 2015 — The Ontario Historical Society held its annual general meeting at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto today. The selection of the Ismaili Centre as the venue for the meeting was in keeping with the Society’s effort to celebrate new cultural assets in Ontario.

Established in 1888, the Ontario Historical Society is a non-profit organisation that provides a forum for individuals, organisations and institutions to exchange ideas, research and experiences related to the rich history of the province, including built heritage, natural heritage, cemeteries, and research and scholarship. OHS members participated in tours of the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum.

Sufi music ensemble performs at the Ismaili Centre Toronto


The Sufi music ensemble captivates the audience at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.

Gulam Ali Kassam

Toronto, 20 June 2015 — Echoes from the Mughal era, a music and culture programme featuring Dr Karim Gillani and a Sufi music ensemble, enchanted the audience at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.

Based in Edmonton, Alberta, the ensemble is a blend of Persian and Indian musicians. Using stories of the past, musical compositions and interpretations of modern art, the ensemble echoed the sentiments of tolerance and acceptance of the Mughal civilisation. The musicians used a variety of traditional instruments such as the Persian santur, Persian sitar, Persian tombak, Persian tar, Indian sarangi, Indian tablas, Indian harmonium, and their voices.

The ensemble performed original compositions based on classical poems of the Mughal era with a theme of Rah e Ishq – The Path of Love. This theme is particularly relevant in the Canadian context, where traditions from around the world come together.

See more on The Ismaili org


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Sahabzada Yaqub-Khan: diplomat with ‘unfair advantage’ — By Tariq Masood on Tribune com Pakistan

Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
صاحبزادہ یعقوب خان;

Sahabzada_Yaqub_Khan_(cropped)Khan in Paris, 2002. -Photo courtesy Wikipedia

ISLAMABAD: It is rare for a diplomat less so an ordinary individual to know nearly a dozen languages. Such an unusual gift gave Sahabzada Yaqub-Khan (SYK), as Henry Kissinger of the United States of America (US) put it, an “unfair advantage” in the arena of diplomacy.


In 2002 when the world was preparing to launch the Operation Enduring Freedom, he in a lecture in Islamabad outlined a solution for the Afghanistan problem which if heeded would have yielded positive results. He blamed the short political attention span of the western democracies for the turmoil in Afghanistan. “The void after the withdrawal of the Russian forces was filed by rustic radicals. People left Afghans to the devices of regional warlords. Taliban were unwisely isolated and denied an opportunity to moderate their policies. They were high jacked by alQaeda , he pointed out.  ”Long-term sustained support to rebuild Afghanistan was essential to replace the culture of conflict with culture of peace. Without this, long term objective of world peace will elude us.” And elude it does till today.


The Aga Khan University conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 2001 for his services as Aga Khan University board of trustees founding chairman for 17 years since its formation in 1984. “The degree has been awarded to only three individuals in 18 years history of the university, said university chancellor Prince Karim Aga Khan at the award ceremony. It has been a great joy and privilege to benefit from Sahabzada Yaqub-Khan’s exceptional intellect, his skills of diplomacy and his wise council. No better way to sum-up the person named Sahabzada Yaqub-Khan.

Read full on Tribune com Pakistan

See also:

Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, 1920-2016 —AKU

Sahabzada-Yaqub-Khan2016-largeimageJanuary 26, 2016

​Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, Pakistan’s former foreign minister and founding chair of the Aga Khan University’s Board of Trustees, passed away at the age of 95. He is survived by his wife Begum Tuba Yaqub-Khan and sons Samad and Najib.

Sahabzada was a high-profile figure who held the most senior military and government positions in the Pakistan Government.

After the establishment of AKU – the first private university in Pakistan – Sahabzada became the founding chair of its Board of Trustees and played a pioneering role in the reshaping of the University for 16 years until his retirement in 2001.

Sahabzada was born on December 23, 1920 in Rampur in British India. He studied at the Rashtriya Indian Military College and joined the Indian Army. After independence, he opted for Pakistan where he went on to enjoy a distinguished career in the Pakistan Army.

After his retirement from the army, he embarked on a career as a diplomat, serving as Pakistan’s ambassador to France, the United States and the Soviet Union from 1972 to 1982. Later, he served as the foreign minister from 1982 to 1991, and then as the caretaker foreign minister from 1996 to 1997.

Sahabzada became an international figure when he played a central role in the UN-sanctioned negotiations to end the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan, and also took part in negotiations to end the civil war in Nicaragua.

He also served as the Special Representative of the United Nations for Western Sahara in 1990.​



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