Also present were Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir and Member of Legislative Assembly Lorne Dach from the Government of Alberta, in addition to senior representatives of the Ismaili Imamat.
The meeting explored the sharing of knowledge and exchange of best practices in a variety of fields, building on the existing Agreement of Cooperation in place between the Government of Alberta and the Ismaili Imamat.
In a statement reflecting on the partnership, Premier Notley noted "The Diamond Jubilee is an important milestone. It is an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous contributions the Ismaili Imamat and the Ismaili community have made to the world. It is also a time to reflect on Alberta’s longstanding relationship with the Ismaili Imamat, and the many values we share, including the importance of cultivating pluralism in a diverse society, reducing poverty, early childhood development, and continuously improving the quality of life for all members of society."
The discussions provided an opportunity to review progress on Generations, an innovative Golden Jubilee initiative located in Calgary’s Skyview Ranch neighbourhood. Established as a multi-generational housing community, the 6.4-acre complex was established to improve the quality of life of Alberta’s seniors. Phase I, consisting of 40 one- and two-bedroom rental units for independent senior living, was completed in 2012. Phase II, currently under development, consists of 120 assisted-living and long-term care units for seniors. In addition to an early childhood development centre incorporated into the design, Phase II will include units specifically for residents with dementia, critical in a country where the number of people diagnosed with dementia is increasing dramatically. Phase III will be developed in the future as a family oriented housing complex. This project, a first of its kind in Canada, is designed to provide a supportive atmosphere for seniors where their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing are enhanced through meaningful interactions and a wide variety of programming driven by volunteers.
The Premier expressed excitement at the future opening of the Aga Khan Garden, currently in the final stages of construction. The Garden, an undertaking of the University of Alberta made possible by contributions from the Ismaili Imamat, will feature 4.8 hectares of stunning Mughal-inspired landscape integrating secluded forest paths, stepped terraces, geometric water features and native wetlands along with a unique orchard. The Garden, which will be open to visitors in the coming weeks, will be an important addition to Alberta’s cultural assets and showcase a variety of programming.
In spring last year, Premier Notley unveiled the design of the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta at a ceremony at the University of Alberta. She praised Mawlana Hazar Imam’s determination to help people better understand Islam, and his passion to promote pluralism to improve the human condition. In offering gratitude for the gift, she said, "Our diversity makes us stronger. This garden will serve as a living reminder of the diverse heritage of our open and welcoming province, which is a big part of what makes Alberta such a great place to live.”
The discussions between Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Government of Alberta and their respective delegations further cement a strong relationship and underscore a common vision to enhance quality of life and exchange knowledge for the betterment of all.