H.H. The Aga Khan AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE AND THE UNITED NATIONS - 1980-12-10
On December 10, 1980, an enthusiastic crown of government officials, architects, diplomats, journalists and others had gathered at the Hirshorn Museum to welcome Mowlana Hazar Imam to Washington. The program focused on the Architectural Awards and was hosted by the National Committee to Honor the Fourteenth Centennial of Islam. The 'Islam Centennial Fourteen' is a group of influential Americans who have come together to focus attention on Islamic civilization and culture, particularly, contributions Islam has made to world culture. Members are Muslim and non-Muslims, and come from a wide spectrum of American life: education, government, the arts, religion, diplomacy and industry. Co-sponsoring the program was the prestigious Smithsonian Institute, which provided the appropriate setting for a splendid cultural evening.
Dillon Ripley, Director of the Smithsonian, and Ambassador Lucius Battle, Chairman of the Committee, welcomed Mowlana Hazar Imam with warm praise for the Awards Program. Hazar Imam then delivered an address, describing his motivation for creating the Architectural Award, pointing out that it shares the goals the Smithsonian and the Committee 'through its international program to identify, encourage and recognize the strength and diversity of Islamic culture as expressed in contemporary architecture.'
The audience also enjoyed an illustrated talk by Mr. Nadar Ardalan who discussed diversity in the Islamic world and architectural trends in its various regions. Dr. Renata Holod presented descriptions and visual images of the first 15 winners of the 1980 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. A reception was held following the program in an adjoining gallery decorated with posters of the winners.
'Service to the world community is a family tradition for His Highness...' With these words, Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim welcomed Mowlana Hazar Imam to the United Nations in New York on December 11, 1980. The occasion was a special address and illustrated presentation on the first 15 winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture announced in Lahore in October.
The Trusteeship Council Chambers were crowded with UN diplomats, architects, journalists and others who had gathered for the special event, hosted by UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and UNDP Administrator Bradford Morse.
Bradford Morse also welcomed Mowlana Hazar Imam and spoke of his special relationship with the United Nations, in particular, recognition of the Aga Khan Foundation as a cooperating organization by the UNDP. In a glowing introduction, he described Hazar Imam as 'a man who had the vision to extend his own search for a contemporary architecture into an unparalleled international program of study and competition for the benefit of us all; a man, who in his own way, is in the forefront of thinkers and practitioners in the struggle for a new international order; and a man, who I have the privilege of calling my friend...'
In His reply, Mowlana Hazar Imam responded 'The Award and the United Nations share the common goal of human development and self determination. The United Nations...seeks to preserve and support the culture and traditions of all nations, races and creeds, so too the Aga Khan Award has begun a process to identify, encourage and recognize the diversity and vitality of Islamic culture as expressed in contemporary architecture.' Hazar Imam's speech was followed by illustrated presentations by Steering Committee members Mr. Nader Ardalan and Dr. Renata Holod. A reception followed the program, at which Mowlana Hazar Imam and Begum Salima along with Mr.and Mrs. Waldheim and Mr. Morse greeted the guests. Source: American Ismaili (July 1981)