In promoting the sanctity of human life, the Qur'an-e Shariff says that good health, like knowledge, is a divine gift. The family unit nurtures the lives of its members, assisting them in their physical and spiritual endeavours. The wellbeing of individuals, in-turn, contributes to the overall health of the family, and that of society at large.
Bridge-building between cultures and religions through dialogue and cooperation is an important means to promote a peaceful and humanistic society. In September, the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon played host to a lecture that was part of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Summer School programme.
Dedicated to promoting harmony among peoples of all faiths, World Interfaith Harmony Week is observed around the world each year during the first week of February. In Portugal, the UN Alliance of Civilizations sought to present a unique multicultural perspective on the week. The Ismaili Muslim community was among 15 religious traditions represented at the event.
In November, the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon was the venue of the 2009 Lisbon Forum, an annual event of the North-South Centre. Focused on the “creation of a culture of human rights through education,” the gathering was organised in partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the Aga Khan Development Network.
The Council of Europe, an organisation promoting democracy and human rights in Europe, will be launching a White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue with the support of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Portugal, and other international organisations.
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.