Mawlana Hazar Imam met with the President of the World Bank, Mr. Lewis Preston, in Washington, D.C. On October 23, 1992. Mawlana Hazar Imam and Mr. Preston exchanged views on the role of non-governmental organizations (NGO's) in development and discussed the commonality between the strategic objectives of the Bank and those of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The one-on-one meeting was followed by a luncheon with senior Bank staff and representatives of AKDN institutions. During the week, AKDN representatives, including Guillaume de Spoelberch and Robert Shaw (Aga Khan Foundation), David Fraser (Aga Khan Health Services and Aga Khan Education Services), Shamsh Kassim-Lakha and Jack Bryant (Aga Khan University Medical College), and Anwar Poonawala (Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development) met with Bank officials from the Pakistan and East Africa Country Departments to discuss longer-term opportunities for collaboration. They also met with the Bank's 1993 World Development Report team, and provided input on certain health-related issues, including primary health car community involvement, hospital management, equity and medical education.

All the World Bank meetings touched on issues related to NGO capacity and scale of programmes and the operating environment for NGO's in developing countries. AKDN participants felt that these first-of-a-kind meetings were successful, and recognised that the process of broadening AKDN's relationship with the World Bank, a large and complex organisation whose experience is largely in working with client governments, will necessarily be a gradual one. The ongoing sharing of AKDN development experience will most likely take place through direct dialogue with the Bank's operations and policy staff, and through the Aga Khan Foundation's membership in the World Bank/NGO Committee. The Aga Khan Foundation has been a member of the Committee since 1991.

During the visit, Mawlana Hazar Imam also met with the Aga Khan Foundation USA's National Committee, chaired by Dr. Zul Esmail. The Aga Khan Foundation USA, which serves as the liaison point for the AKDN's relations with the Bank, was responsible for coordinating and organising the World Bank meetings.

(Source: Ismaili Canada October 1992)

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