OCTOBER 23, 1980


The Award and the United Nations share the common goals of human development and self-determination, Mowlana Hazar Imam told the U.N. while discussing The Aga Khan Award for Architecture last December, 1980.

As the U.N. 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, he told the distinguished gathering.

He said that while the first series of Award has served to recognize and emphasize some of the future's needs, it is by no means the end of the effort, but that a process leading to the second Award in 1983 was about to be embarked. "The Aga Khan Award is, in itself, a process designed to be a means by which a collective search can be made for the answers to some of the challenges."

Hazar Imam said that faced with the challenge of self-determination we must explore our relationship to our roots and uphold our moral right to decide on the environment which will be ours. He emphasized that our past and our roots give us the right to say that choices we make should be our choices.

On the challenge of technology, Hazar Imam stressed the need to be selective in drawing from the endless array of technological wonders, those elements that are appropriate for our spaces and spirits. He said there were areas such as solar energy, water conservation, thermic control or prefabrications where we should become leaders rather than followers. He hoped that innovative answers would evolve from our experiences with such technology and would revolutionize the building process for the rest of the world.

Source: Canadian Ismaili, March 1981

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