Now I have spent the last ten days at the estate of the Agakhan -- this is the first interview he has given to North American television. He is the leader if some 15 million Ismaili Muslims who revere him as their 49th Imam. ....The Agakhan shuns pubicity, but he is one the greatest and most effective philanthropist in the world. For the past 30 years, he has used his wealth, his influence and his business acumen to bring education and health care to much of the third world. He has built research foundations, nursing schools in areas that have not been reached by any other agency -- and he can do it -- he just bypasses governments and works on his own because it is a private thing. It is his passion to do this all over the world. He even has some investments in Canada. He has a research contract with McGill and McMaster and architects in Canada work with him on buildings, etc. anyway. Housing, farming complexes, business ventures have all benefitted from his staffs' knowledge and his largesse. When we said goodbye, I told him I was coming out there to Edmonton today to the Canadian Hospital Association Convention, and I asked him if he had any words of wisdom I could pass along and he said and I quote, "always remember whose needs are being fulfilled. Are they yours or are they the persons you are trying to help. In the third world, where the need is the greatest, many organizations and governments throw in money. I throw in people -- dedicated people to train, to educate and to encourage. I believe that there is no such thing as an underdeveloped country - only undermanaged countries and for me the most important word is Accountability. We must be accountable at all times to the organizations we serve and to the people we serve."
The Agakhan Foundation employs over ten thousand people of all races, all creeds -- he doesn't care what your religion is, as long as you get the job done -- hand picked, and the finest in their fields. I interviewed several of the people who work with him -- people who have worked with the Ford Foundation, the United Nations. All sorts of high powered places and they all say that they have never worked so hard in their lives before as they are working now, but they also say that they never had the satisfaction of the job that they have now. They work quietly, without fanfare and with great love and effectiveness in the service of humanity.
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