Thousands of Ismailis from Jamats around the world have gathered in Lisbon, Portugal for the launch of an historic celebration, to mark the conclusion of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. 

At the renowned Parque das Nações on the Lisbon seafront, hundreds of volunteers from numerous countries have been working tirelessly day and night, and in harmony towards a joint objective: to ensure the global Jamat can successfully come together, share experiences, and make fond memories at the conclusion of the Diamond Jubilee year.

An atmosphere of excitement can be felt around the Parque das Nações, and at the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon — a hub of the Jamat in Portugal for the past 20 years — which will host tours of the building and its gardens throughout the weeklong celebration.

Rahim Firozali, President of the Ismaili Council for Portugal remarked on the mood of anticipation, and the spirit of a united community at both venues: “We are excited to host the global Jamat for the historic occasion of the conclusion of the Diamond Jubilee. In Portugal, we will have the opportunity to come together and celebrate our faith, culture, and traditions as One Jamat.”

He also commented on the great contributions of the volunteers who have come together in preparation for the event: “Thousands of volunteers from Portugal and around the world have been preparing to deliver an event befitting the commemoration of 60 years of Hazar Imam’s Imamat,” President Firozali said. “We look forward to providing a warm welcome and a truly memorable experience for everyone traveling to Lisbon.”

As an international community spread across continents, Ismailis have long celebrated our unity in diversity and our cultural heritage, both historical and contemporary.

Artists, musicians, dancers, photographers and filmmakers from Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe, have been arriving into Lisbon to take part in the inaugural Jubilee Arts International Arts Festival. Simultaneously, the Altice Arena is being prepared to welcome recording artists of global stature for the finale of the Jubilee Concerts series.

A space called Pátio Mela will act as the central hub of the celebrations, and will include live music, performances, and interactive activities on a number of stages. Exhibitions will also be housed at the celebration, bringing together international exhibits highlighting the positive impact of of the Ismaili Imamat and Aga Khan Development Network over a number of decades in multiple regions around the world.

Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, Chairman of the Ismaili Leaders International Forum, explained the context of the occasion in Lisbon: “Arts and Culture holds a special place in the history of the Ismaili community and the wider Muslim Ummah. The weeklong Diamond Jubilee Celebration is an opportunity to showcase the diversity and artistic talent that exists within our Jamat worldwide.”

Chairman Eboo also commented on the significance of the various programmes taking place: “During the week, the Jamat will have an opportunity to experience a number of the ‘Jubilee’ programmes such as Jubilee Arts, Jubilee Concerts, and the various exhibitions. Together with Jubilee Games and Global Encounters Camps, these will become part of the legacies of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Jubilees, while interactive spaces such as Pátio Mela offer the chance to meet, celebrate together, and learn something new.”

To coincide with the Diamond Jubilee Celebration, Mawlana Hazar Imam is expected to arrive into Lisbon on Friday 6 July. Following his arrival into Lisbon, Hazar Imam’s motorcade will drive past Jardim Amália Rodrigues, at Parque Eduardo VII, where arrangements have been made for members of the Jamat to gather and welcome him to the country for his Diamond Jubilee visit.

While the final preparations are being made to host thousands of Ismailis in Lisbon to celebrate six decades of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat, the Diamond Jubilee Celebration provides us the unique opportunity to meet and acknowledge the talent, diversity, and unity within the Jamat, for an event which will long live in the memory of thousands.