Aug 26, 2008

Aga Khan Arrives in Syria on the Occasion of His Golden Jubilee

Press release

Damascus, Syria, 24 August, 2008 - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam, (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, and founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), arrived in Damascus today, on a 6-day official visit to Syria. He was received at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Mr Abdullah Al-Dardari, Minister of Tourism, Dr Sadallah Agha Al-Qala, various faith leaders as well as leaders from the Ismaili Community in Syria and officials from the AKDN.

The visit comes in response to an invitation from the Syrian Arab Republic Government, and within the context of His Highness’ Golden Jubilee - the Aga Khan acceded to the Ismaili Imamat on 11th July 1957 and is visiting some 30 countries around the world which have long-standing and close relations with the Imamat to express his gratitude and friendship with governments, leaders, and other partners of the AKDN.

During his visit to Syria, the Aga Khan, is scheduled to meet with Dr. Bashar Al Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to hold meetings with the Syrian Prime Minister and a number of political and spiritual leaders in Syria to discuss ways of furthering cooperation and coordination in the areas of healthcare, nursing, education, microfinance, tourism and culture. Within this framework, a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed to further development in these areas and enhance sustainable integrated development in the country.

In a ceremony to be held in Aleppo on Thursday 28th August 2008, the Aga Khan will also mark the completion of cultural revitalisation work on the Citadels of Aleppo, Salah ad-Din and Masyaf, carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in partnership with the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums.

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