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An aerial view of Port-au-Prince's downtown area demonstrates the extent of damage inflicted by the powerful earthquake that hit the Haitian capital on 12 January.

In January, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shattered the Republic of Haiti. Horrified by the disaster, countries, civil society organisations and individual donors responded with desperately needed help. Among them were many Ismailis who used their resources and skills to find creative ways to provide timely assistance to Haitians.

Voided silk-velvet textile fragment from Iran, dating from the first quarter of the 17th century. This fabric represents the type of luxury silks that were produced as a result of Shah Abbas’ stimulus to trade with Europe.

A major exhibition on the Safavid Emperor Shah Abbas I, whose rule of Persia spanned the 16th – 17th centuries is on at the British Museum in London. It provides a historical and cultural introduction to Persian culture and achievement, and situates it within the wider context of world events in the same period.

Sabeen Virani in Aleppo at the Church of St. Simeo

Sabeen Virani talks about the growing phenomenon of young people across North America going overseas to study, work, or volunteer. She recounts her own experience in Syria as well as other individuals’ ventures to places like Sudan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uganda.

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