“Your Highness, we are here building the future,” said Professor Manuel Heitor, Portugal’s Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education. “We are not just signing an agreement between Portugal and the Aga Khan Development Network, we are essentially putting together our common effort towards the development of scientific capacity in African countries.”
The Minister signed the Agreement of Cooperation with Nazim Ahmad, Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to the Portuguese Republic. Mawlana Hazar Imam and members of his delegation, as well as Ministry staff were present at the signing ceremony, which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We are convinced that this protocol is another significant step in the expanding nature and extraordinary potential of this relationship, of the sincere commitment of the Ismaili Imamat in its goal to promote the improvement of the quality of life in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries,” said Nazim Ahmad.
The accord emphasises research in the areas of poverty alleviation, food security and biodiversity, early childhood development, sustainable energy systems and urban development, resettlement of migrants, civil society and pluralism. It will also build research capacity to support the forthcoming establishment in Lisbon of the International Centre for Advanced Training of Researchers from Portuguese speaking Countries.
Earlier in the day Mawlana Hazar Imam visited the Assembly of the Republic, where he met with the President of Parliament, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues and members of parliament. The President of Parliament hosted a luncheon in Hazar Imam’s honour. A meeting between Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prime Minister António Costa followed, which took place at the Prime Minister’s official residence.
Hazar Imam also held meetings today with former Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in Lisbon to receive an award.
Mawlana Hazar Imam departed Lisbon this evening, wrapping up a two-day visit to the country — his first official visit since a landmark agreement establishing the global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal came into effect.