The honour was bestowed upon Hazar Imam at a ceremony at le Quai d’Orsay by France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean Yves Le Drian in commemoration of his Diamond Jubilee. Minister Le Drian commended Hazar Imam on his accomplishments for France and the wider world, before presenting him with the decoration on behalf of the country’s President, Emmanuel Macron. “Tonight, we are celebrating your 60 years as the head of the Ismaili community. Sixty years of commitment to the most vulnerable populations wherever they are. Sixty years dedicated to building bridges, to dialogue between cultures and religions. Sixty years spent in the service of tolerance and peace.”
Expressing his deep gratitude for the honour bestowed upon him, Mawlana Hazar Imam spoke about the importance he placed on a partnership built on shared values. “For years, we have worked together in different fields, in France, abroad and always in a close partnership, of common points of view, of common objectives and, above all, respect for all the great values of France. For me this partnership is particularly important. It is a partnership built on historical values. And these historical values have proven themselves around the world. These are values of French origin, but which today are universal values,” he said.
The award ceremony was followed by a dinner hosted by the French government in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam, and attended by government officials and leading members of French social, economic, and cultural civil society organisations. Prince Amyn, Prince Rahim, and Princess Zahra were also in attendance together with leaders of the Jamat and AKDN.
French Minister Le Drian and Hazar Imam also had a bilateral discussion on further strengthening the partnership between the Government of France and the Ismaili Imamat. This followed a meeting between Hazar Imam and President Macron at the Élysée Palace the previous day, in which the two leaders discussed development initiatives in parts of the world where the Imamat and France collaborate, as well as regional issues of interest.
The occasion marked the tenth anniversary of the 2008 agreement of cooperation signed between AKDN and the French Government, resulting in a number of development projects in health, education, and economic spheres. The partnership has positively impacted the quality of life of millions of people in some of the world’s most remote and troubled regions.
The Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour is the highest French Medal of Honour and was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Previous recipients include HRH Prince Charles (UK), Emperor Akihito (Japan), King Willem-Alexander (Netherlands), Václav Havel (Czech Republic), King Hussein (Jordan) as well as French Presidents and former Prime Ministers.