Remarks by Michel David-Weill at the Hadrian Award Luncheon

The Plaza Hotel, October 25, 1996
New York, N.Y.

Thank you, Bonnie Burnham. And thank you, honored guests for taking the time and giving so generously to support the work of the World Monuments Fund and to recognize the profound achievements of a man of deep learning and vision, His Highness The Aga Khan. I also want to thank you on behalf of my Co-Chairman, Patricia Buckley, who has given so much time and attention in recent months to ensure the success of this event.

I am particularly pleased to have my name associated with that of His Highness The Aga Khan. because the values he has so well represented are the ones for which I have so long admired him. It is indeed rare to find a man such as The Aga Khan. He undoubtedly has an exalted position and great power because of who he is. But at the same time he has shown a sense of duty and a total acceptance of the responsibilities of his position. And, along a personal note, he has managed to accept all possible sites of his personality - a private individual, totally as ease in the United States, where he was educated, or in France, where he lives a great part of the time; and also a man incarnating so many of the Islamic values, at ease in his most difficult job as religious leader of a population who often had to face all of the difficulties -- and some of the horrors -- of the twentieth century. He truly has led a life in furtherance of a better life for the Ismailites, and as part of that better life he has understood the importance of the cultural heritage and, first and foremost, the great beauty of Muslim religious building, whose purity and form, through his efforts, have adapted even better to modern architecture. His work is living testimony to the idea that art and architecture enchance the way we see the world, and they add immeasurably to the quality of our lives.

Today's gathering is eloquent testimony to the broad range of people and nations which share their values. I am so pleased to see here today representatives of nations - Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey - whose people have benefited from His Highness The Aga Khan's work. And I salute the World Monuments Fund for its tireless efforts to promote this vision around the world.

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