Mawlana Hazar Imam was presented with the Champion for Global Change Award on 18 October at the 2017 Global Leadership Dinner, hosted by the United Nations Foundation in New York City.

The Global Leadership Awards ceremony recognises exemplary individuals, organisations, and institutions that align with the aims of the United Nations to advance global peace and progress. Mawlana Hazar Imam was accompanied to the ceremony by Princess Zahra and Prince Aly Muhammad.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented Mawlana Hazar Imam with the most esteemed honour of the evening, and offered congratulations on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee.

Mr Annan also drew attention to Hazar Imam’s tireless dedication, through the work of the AKDN, to improving the lives of people everywhere.

“As a global leader he continuously demonstrates that what unites us is far greater than what divides us,” Annan said. “The world, especially in these difficult times, needs people of vision and goodwill like the Aga Khan.”

In his remarks upon receiving the award, Hazar Imam said, “It is a special honour to be receiving from the United Nations Foundation its Champions of Global Change Award… especially as I look around this room at so many people who have truly been outstanding champions of change in so many fields of endeavour, including the others being honoured tonight. I am indeed humbled to be in their presence.”

Drawing links between various sectors of enterprise, he went on to explain that the partnerships which most effectively contribute to positive change and development are those which combine the efforts of private, public, and civil society institutions, rather than selecting one over another.

“The question is not which sector can be most effective in the march towards progress — the central question is how these sectors can become effective partners in the quest?” he said.

Hazar Imam’s fellow honorees included US Senator Bob Corker; Director of the United Nations Mine Action Service Agnès Marcaillou; CEO and President of Mars, Incorporated Grant F. Reid; and singer-songwriter, and climate change advocate Ellie Goulding; who also performed at the event. Attendees included UN Secretary-General António Guterres, actor Daniel Craig, and journalist Larry King.