By Abdulmalek Merchant
His Highness the Aga Khan and the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson in conversation following the presentation of the Global Citizenship Award to the Ismaili Imam on September 21, 2016, in Toronto.
There were many cherishable and memorable moments in last night’s (Wednesday, September 21, 2016) event at Koerner Hall in Toronto marking the presentation of the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship to His Highness the Aga Khan. World renowned vocalist and songwriter Rufus Wainwright welcomed the audience with a wonderful rendition of Bernard Cohen’s song Hallelujah. We were also reminded by Rufus that it was Cohen’s birthday yesterday – his 82nd. A video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s congratulatory message to His Highness Aga Khan received a big applause from the packed auditorium hall, as did the actual presentation of the unique award to His Highness by Madame Clarkson. This was followed by her welcome speech and the 49th Ismaili Imam’s words of wisdom.
But of all the absorbing moments that the event offered, there was one defining moment in Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech that I took to my heart. In concluding his speech, Mawlana Hazar Imam defined what it takes for each one of us to be a Global Citizen. He said:
“These are just a few thoughts as I look to the future of Global Citizenship. The challenges, in sum, will be many and continuing. What will they require of us?
“A short list might include these strengths: a vital sense of balance, an abundant capacity for compromise, more than a little sense of patience, an appropriate degree of humility, a good measure of forgiveness, and, of course, a genuine welcoming of human difference.”
It was with reference to this last sentence that Madame Clarkson then began her conversation with Mawlana Hazar Imam. The following is a transcript that Simerg has prepared from a tape recording of the event, and we invite our readers to listen to the video of the wonderful event through the link that we have provided at the bottom of this page.
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