Apr 21, 2008

MHi in USA 18 April 2008 -theismaili.org

Mawlana Hazar Imam in conversation with an Ismaili involved in the field of Education at the reception following the IBO meeting. Salim Bhatia, Director of the Aga Khan Academies Programme looks on. Photo: Gary Otte
This morning, Mawlana Hazar Imam met with Governor Sonny Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue of Georgia at the Governor’s Mansion. During a lunch hosted in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam, Governor Perdue paid tribute to the Imam’s work and vision. “The Aga Khan is not only a spiritual leader to millions but also a champion for causes benefiting the developing countries of the world,” said the Governor. “His devotion to lifting up others through faith and service is an example to us all.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam thanked the Governor for his warm welcome to Georgia and expressed his appreciation for the United States’ relief efforts in Central Asia. “Islam is a faith of generosity; it is not always seen as a faith of generosity. You have an ethic of generosity in the United States. Generosity is also an ethic of our faith. Our faith reminds us constantly to care for the poor, the weak and the marginalized in society” he explained.
Also see photographs at the official website of the Governor of Georgia.
In the afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam delivered the annual Peterson Lecture to the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) at their annual meeting. The event also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the IBO.
In his speech, Mawlana Hazar Imam commented on the importance of pluralism. “Experience tells us that people are not born with the innate ability nor the wish to see the other as an equal individual in society,” he said. “Pluralism is a value that must be taught,” he added.
He also spoke about the challenges facing educationalists. "I believe that the coexistence of these two surging impulses — what one might call a new globalism on one hand and a new tribalism on the other — will be a central challenge for educational leaders in the years ahead.,” he said. “And this will be particularly true in the developing world with its kaleidoscope of different identities," he added.
Also see the press release and the full text of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech, as well as the speech by Dr Monique Seefried, Chairman of the IB Board of Governors on the AKDN website.
Following the lecture, Mawlana Hazar Imam met with the Board of Governors of the IBO as well as educators and teachers invited to the event.
“This country is the leader in the knowledge society. I think that there probably isn’t an area of human endeavour, in which we do not have today a murid who is exceptional in his own or her own field.”
In the evening, Mawlana Hazar Imam was the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by the Jamati Institutions of the USA. During the dinner, guests were treated to performances of music and dance reflecting the multiple traditions within the Jamat. Hazar Imam was particularly touched by the entertainment and paid tribute to the performers who were selected from across the United States.
In his address to the gathering, President Eboo, thanked Mawlana Hazar Imam on behalf of the Jamat, for having undertaken this extensive visit to the USA. He also presented a gift to Hazar Imam on behalf of the assembled leadership.
In his address to the leadership, Mawlana Hazar Imam commented that this had been a very happy visit and expressed his admiration to the USA Jamat for the progress they have made. “This country is the leader in the knowledge society. I think that there probably isn’t an area of human endeavour, in which we do not have today a murid who is exceptional in his own or her own field.”
Upon Mawlana Hazar Imam’s departure, he posed for a photograph with the talented youth who had performed earlier in the evening. After his departure, the excitement and happiness was evident as the leadership and the youth broke into singing and dancing.

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