During the course of his stay, the Aga Khan is expected to meet with the Rulers of Dubai. The Aga Khan, who has been visiting the Middle East and Gulf region earlier will brief them on the range of activities being undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in the region.
On 13th December, the Aga Khan will be present at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai, at which the Chief Guest will be His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence, United Arab Emirates. The Ismaili Centre, Dubai, when completed, will be comparable in scope and standing to existing major centres in London, Vancouver and Lisbon, the one underway in Dushanbe, and the one in an advanced planning stage in Toronto.
The AKDN is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies whose mandates range from the fields of health and education to architecture, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. Its agencies and institutions, work together and seek to empower communities and individuals, in order to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in Africa and Asia. They collaborate in working towards a common goal, which is to build institutions and programmes that can respond to the challenges of social, economic and cultural change on an ongoing basis. Active in over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, the Network's underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society and its agencies and institutions work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of origin, gender or religion.
The Network's agencies are active in the Gulf and Middle East region in the areas of urban development, conservation, restoration, education, healthcare, microfinance, higher education, culture and rural development.
A Media Briefing on the Aga Khan's visit , the Ismaili Centre, Dubai and the Aga Khan Development Network will be held at the Dubai Press Club on Saturday, 13th December, 2003 at 1:00 p.m.