The University of Calgary conferred Mawlana Hazar Imam with its highest academic honour: a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, reserved for the most distinguished individuals who have made extraordinary achievements in community, national, or international services. 

Speaking about the prestige of the award and the University’s honour in bestowing Mawlana Hazar Imam with its tribute in the presence of various leaders and dignitaries in attendance, University President Elizabeth Cannon described the conferral as recognising “the friendship, partnership, and the spiritual example” of Hazar Imam who “stands as a living legend, a model for every conscience.”

She continued, referring to Hazar Imam as being “the beloved leader of 15 million Ismailis, a global community representing the abundant traditions and values of a people who have enriched culture and pluralism in more than 25 nations.”

Commenting on how he embodies the values and ethics of the faith, President Cannon described Hazar Imam as “a living manifestation of how we must work together to support human advancement, at home and around the world.”

The President also generously embraced the Ismaili community in her remarks referring to the Jamat as a reflection of the ideals promoted by Hazar Imam.

“Here in Canada, Ismaili Muslims contribute enormously to the fabric of diversity that we cherish so much. Their superb intellectual and educational background and their integrative cosmopolitanism, are outstanding. Their ethos of working to relieve hardship, pain, and ignorance shapes their social conscience, but extends to all around them,” President Cannon said. She went on to say that Mawlana Hazar Imam “leads this resilient and altruistic community, who believe that faith is demonstrated by contributing to the general welfare and doing good for all. The Ismaili presence in our radiantly diverse and youthful city has greatly benefitted Calgarians.”

As she extolled the virtues and contributions of Hazar Imam, President Cannon also spoke about the close relationship that exists between the Ismaili Imamat and Canada as reflected by the “unique initiatives” undertaken by the Imamat in Canada. Examples include the Aga Khan Museum and the Global Centre for Pluralism as well as the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta which Hazar Imam inaugurated earlier this week. Other initiatives include two Ismaili Centres in Canada, the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, and the Aga Khan Park in Toronto, soon to be joined by another park in Burnaby, British Columbia.

President Cannon also spoke about the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), referring to it as Hazar Imam’s “tangible way of bringing together faith and action, diligently seeking solutions to hunger, poverty, illiteracy and ill-health.”

“His Highness has been instrumental in forging universal ideals and aspirations, promoting pluralism, compassion, cultural amplitude, and human dignity,” President Cannon said. “His measure is that of a significant figure in international development, one who has literally reshaped its landscape.”

As she concluded the ceremony, President Cannon considered the spirit and essence of Hazar Imam’s work, and ultimately declared that “Heart is the kernel of what His Highness embodies: heart, a passion to inspire, not only through words, but with actions.”

Mawlana Hazar Imam will conclude his visit to Canada with a joint honorary degree conferral ceremony being held by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University — the first of its kind — in honour of his contributions to humanity on 19 October 2018.

The UBC and SFU degree conferral ceremony will be webcast at and is expected to commence at 3:30 PM PDT on 19 October 2018.


University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University Degree Ceremony Webcast:


3:30 pm

19 October


4:30 pm

19 October


5:30 pm

19 October


6:30 pm

19 October


11:30 pm

19 October


12:30 am

20 October


1:30 am

20 October


2:30 am

20 October


3:00 am

20 October


3:30 am

20 October


3:30 am

20 October


4:00 am

20 October


9:30 am

20 October