The Ethics in Action Exhibit established by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) was recently showcased at the Consulate General of India in New York. It helped explain the impact of AKDN’s economic, social, and cultural initiatives, as well as the work of Mawlana Hazar Imam to individuals within and outside the Ismaili community. Members of the Consulate, the Indian community, the Ismaili Council for the Northeastern US, and media outlets such as TV Asia, were present at the event. The evening began with a video highlighting AKDN’s global impact, followed by a welcome speech from President Shahjahan Merchant, describing the significance of the Diamond Jubilee year for the community.
Projected on the walls of the Consulate next to other images of influential leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, the video showed the global and community impact of AKDN projects like the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, and other projects in Africa and Asia. For many, this introduction provided a greater understanding of AKDN’s impact in education, healthcare, and the environment, and particular interest was generated about its work around India.
Following the video, President Merchant described some of the many awards received by the Imam in New York, including, in October of 2017, the “Champion of Global Change Award” by the United Nations, and in November 2017, the Asia Society’s “Lifetime Achievement Award,” presented by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Lieutenant Governor of New York also presented a Citation to him on behalf of Governor Cuomo.
Mr. Sandeep Chakrovorty, the Consul General of India. Mr. Chakrovorty described the AKDN as an “organization that is global—in every sense of the word.” He noted that in addition to the enormous amount of positive work done by AKDN around the world, the AKDN has specifically touched the lives of many people living in India. He continued to describe his own personal experience with the AKDN as a young boy, when he was personally supported by the Aga Khan Rural Support Program in India. He advised that, “in today’s world people should ask, ‘what are our religious leaders giving us,” and look towards His Highness Prince Aga Khan as an example of a true global leader deserving of his many honors.
After the speeches, individuals had an opportunity to walk through the Consulate to view the panels displaying describing the objectives and ethical principles of AKDN. As described by President Merchant, some of these ethics include:
- The Ethic of Compassion and Sharing: There are those who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of the motivation and means to succeed. Therefore, it is the responsibility of those more fortunate to spark the drive and motivation for those individuals.
- The Ethic of Inclusiveness: To live in a pluralistic society that embraces differences and replaces fear with hope.
- The Ethic of a Sustainable Environment: Each generation is ethically bound to leave behind a more sustainable and wholesome physical environment.
- The Ethic of Self-Reliance: That keeps human dignity at its core and empowers individuals in society to improve their quality of life.
- The Ethic of Education: Which encourages the pursuit and application of knowledge to improve the quality of life for others rather than for the sole purpose of personal gain.
- The Exhibit demonstrates the values and principles of AKDN and the journey of our Imam’s incredible vision for the AKDN.