London, 4 February 2016 — Deploring the devastation in war-ravaged Syria, Mawlana Hazar Imam called for the establishment of “islands of stability” to provide areas of relative safety in the midst of conflict. Hazar Imam pledged $200 million towards achieving peace, stability, and reconstruction in the country.

“I am deeply distressed over the indiscriminate and widespread devastation of life and property, including that of irreplaceable cultural assets which are the manifestation of Syria’s stunningly rich pluralistic history,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam in his remarks to the Supporting Syria and the Region conference, co-hosted by the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations today in London.

The Aga Khan Development Network, he continued, “is fully engaged with the peace process under UN leadership, and is firmly committed to helping build a Syria that continues to respect pluralism, remains secular, and embarks on a political process led by Syrians.”

Since 2011, AKDN has already dedicated $50 million to projects in the country. At the conference, Mawlana Hazar Imam pledged to expand activities in Syria, contributing $200 million over the next four years.

AKDN had been active in Syria for many years before the war began. Since the war, the Ismaili Imamat has been assisting efforts to assist internally displaced people, “supporting local community leaders, teachers, doctors, engineers and others to foster stability, protecting their families and their communities” and “investing in communities by supporting agriculture, income generation, early childhood education, schools, and hospitals,” explained Hazar Imam.

“Our goal is to sustain hope,” he said.

Mawlana Hazar Imam addressing the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London on 4 February 2016.