In the historic coastal city of Porto in Northern Portugal, Mawlana Hazar Imam was presented with the Keys of the City during a ceremony at Porto City Hall on 2 May 2019.

Prince Amyn accompanied Hazar Imam to the ceremony, which was also attended by the Mayor of Porto Mr Rui Moreira, AKDN and Jamati leadership, key political leaders, diplomats, and representatives of the business, civil society, religious, and academic communities.

Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, is known for its history, industry, and culture. At certain points in its history, the city has been occupied by the Celtic people, the Roman empire, and the Umayyad dynasty, which has lent a diverse character to the urban area. Porto’s historical core was proclaimed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.

In his remarks during the ceremony, Mr Moreira paid tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam’s global contributions to society.

“We all respect very much what you have been doing for the world, for peace, for understanding, for tolerance,” Mr Moreira said. “For generations we have appreciated your contribution, not only to Portugal, but also to Europe, to the world, because you believe in the construction of a better society.”

During his acceptance remarks, Mawlana Hazar Imam said, “I also want to thank you for the keys of this magnificent city. This is an old, historic tradition that has existed in many countries in many parts of the world, but I’m going to use these keys to open as many doors as possible. Doors to happiness, doors to peace, doors to unity, doors to human progress. So I thank you, and I treasure these keys very much indeed.”

Earlier in the day, Hazar Imam and Prince Amyn attended a ceremony acknowledging the donation by the Ismaili Imamat of a painting by Bento Coelho da Silveira (1620-1708) entitled “Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple” to the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

The painting joins two others by Bento Coelho da Silveira, which Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Amyn donated to the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon in March. The paintings were obtained with the acquisition of the Palacete Henrique de Mendonça — now designated as the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat — and have been donated to ensure that they are shared with the public.

“When these three pictures were discovered in the Palacete in Lisbon, we decided that the quality was such that they really should be shared with the public and the people of Portugal in general and hence the decision to donate two of these paintings to Lisbon and to bring this one to Porto,” Prince Amyn said during his remarks at the ceremony.

Portugal’s Secretary of State for Culture Ângela Ferreira acknowledged the importance of the donation to the two museums as well as the country as a whole.

“With these paintings, the collections of both museums are enhanced,” she said. “With today’s donation, we also reinforce the national strategy for the promotion of the different public and private collections in Portugal.”