Aga Khan gives $50m

By NATION Correspondent

LONDON, Friday - His Highness the Aga Khan today announced that he was making grants totalling $50 million to five institutions founded by him over the 40 years of his Imamat (spiritual leadership) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

These grants are in addition to the recurrent funding of the institutions' annual programmes and reflect a new policy of committing resources to build endowments for the enhancement of their financial capacity. The Aga Khan was meeting, at the Ismaili Centre in London, with leaders of the Ismaili Muslim community from around the world to mark the 40th anniversary of the Imamat.

Pointing to the immense changes that have occurred over the past four decades in countries where Ismailis live, the Aga Khan described the ``strong effort made to anticipate these changes through the creation of new institutions and programmes as well as the refocusing of existing ones,'' a number of which were created by his late grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. Recognising that it was now ``possible, perhaps for the first time in 40 years, to look ahead of the lurking risk of imminent crisis,'' the Aga Khan said it was logical to strengthen his network of institutions by harnessing new human and material resources.

Four institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network, serving people of all faiths and backgrounds, will be beneficiaries of grants of $10 million each: The Aga Khan University, Karachi, the first private university in Pakistan, founded in 1984 (consisting of a medical college, a school of nursing and an institute for educational development) receiving a grant which raises its present international endowment to more than $100 million.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva, which conducts the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the world's largest architectural prize and related restoration and education programmes in societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.

The Aga Khan Foundation, Geneva, which supports programmes in health, education and rural development open to all in selected countries of the developing world.

The for-profit Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Geneva, which promotes private sector development through equity participation in industry, tourism and financial services in Africa and Asia, which will receive its grant in the form of increased shareholder commitment.

The fifth grant is being made to the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, a centre promoting scholarship and learning relating to Muslim cultures and contributing to a better understanding of their leadership with other societies and faiths. A direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammed, the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20 as the 49th hereditary Imam of 12 to 15 million Muslims in 30 countries worldwide.

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