Oct 23, 2007

Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya attend two Golden Jubilee initiatives in North America

Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya attend two Golden Jubilee initiatives in North America

Prince Hussain Aga Khan and his wife, Princess Khaliya, attended the formal inauguration of the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme’s (HCP) travelling exhibition at the City Hall, in Sugar Land, Texas, on 14 October 2007.
At the opening ceremony in City Hall, David Wallace, Mayor of Sugar Land, thanked Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya for their presence and the Council for USA for choosing Sugar Land as the site for this inaugural event. He recalled with pride, the 2002 opening of the Ismaili Jamatkhana in Sugar Land by Governor Perry of Texas and Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Inside City Hall, the HCP exhibition, an international Golden Jubilee initiative hosted by the Council for USA, featured large panels depicting various projects that the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has been involved with, through its Historic Cities Programme. Young Ismaili tour guides described the historic significance of particular sites, the ethical underpinnings of AKTC projects and their impact on the surrounding communities. Projects in the exhibition included the gardens of Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo and the Grand Mosque in Mopti.
A guest at the exhibition, Professor Donald Sweeney of Texas A & M University, commented: “What I saw in their approach to community development was very, very wise based on a huge amount of experience... I’m going to talk to my faculty and colleagues about it and to my students... I’m extremely impressed with the values and the skills of this organisation.”
After viewing the exhibition, the Prince and Princess walked out onto the Town Square, where 6 000 people were gathered to view the Aga Khan Foundation USA’s Partnership Village and enjoy the cultural dances and music. Addressing the audience, the Mayor said: “The Aga Khan Foundation is a leader in creating innovative solutions, helping to lift people out of poverty and offering something very precious, and that is hope.” The Mayor then presented Prince Hussain with the Key to the City of Sugar Land.
Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya went on to tour the exhibits in the Village. These exhibits are designed to show the daily challenges faced by people in some parts of the world and how the Aga Khan Foundation’s programmes improve the quality of their lives.
The last official programme for the day was a reception hosted for Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya by the Ismaili Council for USA and the Aga Khan Foundation USA. Dr. Eboo, President of the Ismaili Council for USA, thanked them for their presence and the Mayor for the city’s hospitality, cooperation, and support for the events that had taken place that day. Not only was it a special day, he said but “it is a special year. His Highness the Aga Khan, is celebrating his 50th anniversary as Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, so this entire year is a celebration for Ismailis all over the world.”Mayor Wallace, in his address, remarked on the enthusiasm and knowledge of the exhibition tour guides: “There is a saying that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. But I felt that the youth here today are the leaders of today.”
The finale to the evening was the Jubilee Dance, originally choreographed for the 11 July 2007 Imamat Day celebrations. The exciting performance by 42 youth reflected the cultures of several countries and received a standing ovation. It was an appropriate ending to a day that illustrated the significance of restoring and maintaining cultural sites and of the need to assist others around the world.
Running concurrently with the HCP exhibition in the USA is another international Golden Jubilee initiative taking place in Canada, A Mystical Journey, which premiered in Vancouver and will travel to five Canadian cities before touring other countries.
The performance of A Mystical Journey held in Edmonton, Alberta on 17 October 2007 was the next venue for Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya. The evening began with a pre-performance reception with the artists and invited guests, including Stephen Mandel, Mayor of Edmonton and Dave Hancock, Provincial Minister of Health and Wellness.
During the reception, the Mayor formally presented Prince Hussain with a Proclamation recognising him as an Ambassador of the city of Edmonton. He acknowledged Prince Hussain’s involvement with various projects under the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and said the institution’s work and values are “an example for all Edmontonians to follow.”
In his address, Dave Hancock, Provincial Minister of Health and Wellness, complimented the Alberta Jamat, saying he had found leadership to be a quality all Ismailis demonstrate on a daily basis. “The time and the effort that each and every one of you gives to make our community a better place is so important,” he said. Coming together to view A Mystical Journey therefore is the perfect way to “celebrate the role that each of you and your community play in building a better society.”
After the reception, Mohamed Manji, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, escorted Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya to an exhibition in the foyer of the Winspear Centre. The displays contained photographs of the major initiatives under the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and renderings of the four major Imamat projects currently underway in Canada.
President Manji said that it was fitting that A Mystical Journey premiered in Canada because “Canada has promoted pluralism among its citizens by welcoming people and traditions from all parts of the world,” he said. “We, as Canadians, are encouraged to celebrate our own culture and tradition as part of the diverse social fabric of this country. It is this diversity, that His Highness the Aga Khan calls 'Canada’s gift to the world' ”. He also expressed the honour Canadians felt as hosts to the Prince and Princess and thanked them for their visit on behalf of the entire Jamat.
Through the evening, Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya, along with a sold-out audience witnessed the enchanting sounds of the oud (lute), the strong beat of the tabla (hand-held drum) and the captivating dance of the whirling Sufis. Showcasing and celebrating the rich diversity of devotional expressions in Islam, the musicians and dancers represented various countries and cultures, including Algeria, Bosnia, Pakistan, Syria and Tajikistan. Guests observed differences not only in language, dress and instruments utilised throughout the evening, but also in the type of performances, such as qawwalis (devotional music tradition), kalams (poetic works) and rock songs. After the show Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya congratulated the artists on a successful performance.

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