Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Canada today, accompanied by Princess Zahra, in advance of a ceremony to recognise the recipients of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award.

Hazar Imam and Princess Zahra were welcomed in Ottawa by Ismaili Council for Canada President Ameerally Kassim-Lakha, AKDN Resident Representative for Canada Dr Mahmoud Eboo, and Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie.

On Wednesday 20 November, Mawlana Hazar Imam will preside over a ceremony hosted by the Global Centre for Pluralism at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat to honour the winners of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award. 

This year, the award is being granted to three recipients: the Center for Social Integrity, an organisation that provides youth from Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions with the skills to be leaders for change; Deborah Ahenkorah, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher; and Learning History that is not yet History, a network in the Balkans developing a new approach to teaching the history of conflict. The recipients will each receive $50,000 in support of their work to build more “peaceful, sustainable and successful societies.”

The winners were chosen from 10 finalists who will also receive honourable mentions during the ceremony. The event will be webcast at

The occasion will mark the second conferral of the Global Pluralism Award, with the Centre’s inaugural award ceremony having taken place in 2017. 

While in Ottawa, Mawlana Hazar Imam will also chair a series of meetings of the Centre’s Board of Directors. 

This will be the first meeting of the Board of Directors since Global Centre for Pluralism Secretary General Meredith Preston McGhie assumed the role in October 2019. Secretary General McGhie is a global leader in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and diplomacy, having served for over 20 years in some of the world’s most troubled settings, including Kosovo, Northern Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, and Somalia.

Established through contributions from Hazar Imam and the Government of Canada, the Global Centre for Pluralism was created “to advance positive responses to the challenge of living peacefully and productively together in diverse societies.”

Prior to the 2017 award ceremony, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, spoke about pluralism: “Identifying in pluralism is one of the most important things — identifying with the other, identifying with that person who is not you and who would never be you because they may be another colour, another race, another religion, have other cultural values,” said Clarkson, who serves as a board member with the Global Centre for Pluralism. “That recognition that they are they, and you are you, is terribly important, and that is the base of pluralism.”