MAY 15, 1987


Canada's McMaster University, on Friday May 15th, 1987 conferred upon Mawlana Hazar Imam an honorary degree (LLD) in recognition of Mawlana Hazar Imam's leadership in the advancement of health and education in the third world.

At a colorful ceremony at Hamilton Place in Hamilton Ontario, attended by over 2,000 people and estimated to be the University's largest-ever Health Sciences Convocation, the President of the University, Mr. Alvin Lee paid handsome tribute to Islam and to Mawlana Hazar Imam.

"We are fortunate" he said, "that the presence of His Highness enables us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of McMaster by recognizing our involvement in the development of the Islamic world and our historic debt to that same world. Much of the classical Greek tradition which we have come to view as part of the Western tradition and as the foundation for many of our fundamental beliefs about education and reason was preserved and transmitted to us by the Medieval Islamic centers of education. In that Islamic tradition, which treasures education, rest the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and their religious leader, His Highness the Aga Khan."

President Lee then spoke of the role played by the School of Nursing of the Aga Khan University in the improvement of medical care in Pakistan and referred to Mawlana Hazar Imam's "sober and responsible leadership in the advancement of the Third World; his promotion of education and the ideal of education; his major contribution to health care in Pakistan and his involvement of McMaster University in that project; and his extraordinary efforts in bridging many and very diverse religions and cultures." "For which," said President Lee "he is unique in bridging the underdeveloped and the highly developed worlds."

In his convocation address, Mawlana Hazar Imam discussed the issues of ethics and standards in Science. "Nations cannot assign these issues to a priesthood of scientists: they require the resources of the human spirit as well as the mind."

"The Islamic world," said Hazar Imam, "was dealing with these questions on two fronts simultaneously, first, in the reintroduction of science and its skeptical world view that is not part of current tradition; second, Islamic societies are rediscovering the importance to the modern, secular world of the Islamic ethical underpinning."

"Science is a wonderfully powerful tool. But it is only a beginning in the new age we are entering," Hazar Imam said. "Islam does not perceive the world as two separate domains of mind and spirit, science and belief. Science and the search for knowledge are an expression of man's designated role in the Universe, but they do not define that role totally. Surely there is no more worthy area in which East and West can work to bond these two aspects of man's understanding than the field of health sciences," Mawlana Hazar Imam told the graduating class.

Earlier in the day, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended a signing ceremony at which the University renewed a nursing training agreement with the Aga Khan University in Pakistan alongwith the Canadian International Development Agency. In 1979 an agreement was drawn up between the Aga Khan University and McMaster University to establish a four year educational program for nurses who will teach at the new School of Nurses. The program will be completed this summer and the nurses will return to Karachi to begin teaching.

During this 4-day visit, Mawlana Hazar Imam and Begum Saheba were hosted at a dinner in Ottawa by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honorable Brian Mulroney. In Ottawa also, Hazar Imam had a series of meetings with Government Ministers and officials of the Canadian International Development Agency.

In Toronto, Mawlana Hazar Imam and Begum Saheba met the Honorable David Peterson, the Premier of Ontario and members of the Ontario cabinet at Queen's Park.

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