A grateful and deeply contented British Columbia Jamat bid farewell to Mawlana Hazar Imam on 7 May as Jamati representatives assembled for his departure to Calgary, where he will continue his Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada.

On the last day of his visit with the British Columbia Jamat, Mawlana Hazar Imam conducted ceremonies at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, which he opened in 1985 with then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Upon his departure, he remarked on the wonderful visit he had experienced and offered his congratulations to the Jamat.

Mawlana Hazar Imam later departed Vancouver, arriving in Calgary where he will meet with the Jamat from the Edmonton and Prairies regions. 

Mawlana Hazar Imam was welcomed to Calgary by Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell. For third-term Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, greeting Mawlana Hazar Imam was especially meaningful.

“My perspective on ethics, faith and how each of us contributes to cultivating a strong, sound society has been shaped by Mawlana Hazar Imam,” he said. “Welcoming him to the city I love was a proud moment.”

The Jamat in Edmonton and in the Prairies regions have for many years been an incubator for global leadership. The Agreement of Cooperation signed in 2012 between the Ismaili Imamat and the Province of Alberta was the first of its kind with a Canadian province. Similarly, a Memorandum of Understanding established between the Aga Khan University and University of Alberta in 2009 set the stage for decades of capacity building, professional development, and joint research. A multi-generational housing initiative in Calgary, established with Imamat and provincial government support and bringing together citizens of all ages, was the first of its kind in Canada and a model on which others are similarly being established. The Awali initiative based in Calgary similarly engaged a vast network of business leaders from the broader Calgary community in supporting the work of AKDN in various regions of the world.

Mawlana Hazar Imam has a long-established, fruitful connection with the Province of Alberta. The gift of an Islamic garden was first announced by Mawlana Hazar Imam during his address at a University of Alberta convocation in June 2009. The Aga Khan Garden, Alberta is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018. During the establishment of the endowment for the Garden, Mawlana Hazar Imam remarked, “How do you convince Western societies that Islam is a faith of civilisation, and not just a faith? Well I hope that the Islamic garden (at the University of Alberta), when it comes into place, will be able to show a different aspect of our faith.”

For his outstanding contributions to humanity, Mawlana Hazar Imam received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta, further highlighting the set of shared values that bind the Imamat and the University.

The Edmonton and Prairies Jamat look forward with great excitement and anticipation to Mawlana Hazar Imam’s five-day visit to the region.