The Nation (Nairobi)
May 21, 2002
Posted to the web May 20, 2002

The Aga Khan Backs Nairobi At Royal Show

His Highness the Aga Khan was present on Sunday night as mounted officers from the Kenya police joined in a unique tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, as head of the Commonwealth, on the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

The Aga Khan's support enabled contingents from Kenya as well as other Commonwealth countries to participate in a major international event honouring the Queen.

Recognising shared history and traditions as well as the strength of diplomatic linkages, the equestrian spectacular was one of the largest of its kind ever staged in the world.

The Aga Khan and the Begum Aga Khan joined the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, members of the Royal Family and ambassadors of participating foreign and Commonwealth countries that included, besides Kenya, the United States, Canada, France, Pakistan and India to view the presentation as part of an event entitled "All the Queen's Horses."

"This event serves to acknowledge the Commonwealth's importance in maintaining relations among countries through both good and less good times in their shared history," said the Aga Khan.

"The event honours the personal attention that Her Majesty the Queen has accorded to that history and the admirable manner in which she has exercised, and continues to exercise, the challenging role of Head of the Commonwealth."

Mrs Nancy Kirui, Kenya's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said: "Kenya is honoured to be the only African Commonwealth country participating in this event. We would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of His Highness the Aga Khan in enabling this participation."

The Kenyan contingent was drawn from the police's Anti-Stock Theft Unit based in Gilgil.

The Aga Khan is the Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslim community and spent some of his childhood in Kenya. The community has connections with East Africa going back at least a century, to its earliest settlement in the region.

Social and economic development institutions established by the Aga Khan's grandfather and predecessor as Imam, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, have over the past four decades been expanded by the present Aga Khan into the Aga Khan Development Network.

The Network's institutions in Kenya include a major tertiary hospital in Nairobi, two in Mombasa and one in Kisumu, schools from pre-primary to secondary level, financial institutions, industrial enterprises, Serena hotels and lodges as well as an innovative rural development programme in Kwale.

The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of private development agencies working to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in Asia and Africa.

The Network's agencies work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of their gender, origin or religion and its underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society.