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Clash of ignorance not clash of civilisations: Aga Khan-2006-09-22

Tuesday, 2009, September 22

Indo Asian News Service


Clash of ignorance not clash of civilisations: Aga Khan

Prince Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili community, Friday rejected the notion that tension and violence in today's world was a result of clash of civilisations, especially between the Islamic world and the West.

'I disagree with this assessment. In my view it is a clash of ignorance which is to blame,' he told a gathering at the foundation laying ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy for Excellence in Education on the city outskirts.

Aga Khan and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy laid foundation stone for the Academy, an international school of excellence, at Kancha Imarat in Ranga Reddy district.

Aga Khan said that the academies his network was establishing around the world would seek to remedy ignorance through the broad study of a variety of world cultures, including the study of Muslim civilization, which was often overlooked in some part of the world today.

'The city of Hyderabad with its rich history as a meeting point for different cultures including Christian, Hindu and Muslim traditions will provide particularly appropriate setting,' he said.

The Aga Khan Development Network and Aga Khan Foundation, which are involved in voluntary work in different parts of the world in the areas of education, social and economic development and culture, are developing the academy at a cost of $50 million on 100 acres of land allotted by the state government.

This academy will be a part of the global network of 18 academies in different countries of South and Central Asia, Africa and Middle East being set up with an investment of around a billion dollars.

Aga Khan, the 49th Imam or spiritual head of Ismaili community, said the school, which can accommodate 1,200 students, would start functioning by 2009. The residential school, which will offer education up to 12th standard, will have 750 students to begin with.

'Our curriculum will be designed to produce quality students for the widely respected international Baccalaureate degree and beyond that for admission to the very best university programme that may interest them,' he said.

The Switzerland-based Aga Khan Network is developing the academy in partnership with Aga Khan University, Harvard University, Oxford University and other eminent institutions.

Paris-based Agha Khan said the academies, which will provide access to the world-class education and also train the teachers, were the results of the realisation that the governments alone cannot meet the educational challenges of the 21st century.

'The answer lies in the expanding role of civil society. We hope that the Aga Khan Academies will become leading examples of civil society's potential role,' he said.

The academy, which will be linked electronically with the other academies in different parts of the world, will have the latest facilities including video conferencing to provide the best of the educational practices.

Reddy lauded the efforts of Aga Khan Network to develop residential schools in developing countries to impart education on par with international standards.

An Aga Khan Network official said it planned to set up six academies in the current year in various countries in Africa and Asia.

Aga Khan, who arrived here Thursday night, also held talks with the chief minister and state Governor Rameswar Thakur. He will meet members of the community Saturday, before leaving for Paris.

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