During the meeting, Prime Minister May emphasised the importance of ongoing collaboration between the Ismaili Imamat, the Aga Khan Development Network, the Ismaili community and various departments of the UK government to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged communities around the world.
“Our partnership with the Ismaili Imamat has had a positive impact on livelihoods and living conditions in some of the poorest and most isolated parts of the world,” said Prime Minister May at the meeting. “We are delighted that His Highness has invested in London as the home of higher education institutions which are doing important work to improve our understanding of the history and cultures of Muslim civilisations.”
These higher education institutions include the Institute for Ismaili Studies as well as the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, both of which will be housed in the Aga Khan Centre, which was inaugurated the previous day by Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Prince of Wales at King’s Cross, in the heart of London’s thriving Knowledge Quarter. The Aga Khan Foundation’s UK offices will also be housed at the new Centre.
Mawlana Hazar Imam thanked Mrs May and noted that he looked forward to strengthening the partnership between Imamat institutions and those of the United Kingdom. The UK has long been a leader in the field of development working in partnership in areas such as girls education where they are impacting not only young people today but the generations to come. For over forty years, institutions of the Ismaili Imamat have contributed actively to the fabric of British civil society and its rich heritage of academic endeavour and international development, while fulfilling an international mandate which has a far reaching, global impact.
Earlier in the day, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended a luncheon at Lancaster House in honour of his Diamond Jubilee, hosted on behalf of the government, by the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities, The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt.
Mawlana Hazar Imam thanked the Secretary of State and the UK government for the ongoing collaboration on common goals in both the United Kingdom and around the world.
Hazar Imam cited partnerships with the UK government in strengthening civil society as a foundational part of the relationship between the two organisations. Both parties expressed an openness to continue working together and deepening collaboration, particularly in the areas of early childhood education, entrepreneurship and access to finance, and community governance.
AKDN institutions and the UK government have a long history of cooperation around the world, dating back to the 19th century. The Aga Khan Foundation, works to improve the quality of life for some of the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and Asia.
The Foundation’s approach to community-led programming in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, and East Africa, has been adopted by governments, development agencies, and NGOs across the developing world.