The most recent decade of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat began with the commencement of the Golden Jubilee which ran from 11 July 2007 to 13 December 2008. Mawlana Hazar Imam visited 22 countries, met with leaders from government and civil society, built partnership agreements to strengthen the capacity of the Imamat institutions, and established new projects to improve the spiritual and material quality of life of the Jamat and wider society. Mawlana Hazar Imam also blessed the Jamat with Darbars.
The last 10 years have seen a global economic crisis, the growing popularity of smartphones, increased engagement with social media, threats to the natural environment, growing political uncertainty, and the quickening pace of change. In response to a more complex world, Mawlana Hazar Imam’s continued Imamat global development activities and institution building saw the opening of Ismaili Centres in Dubai, Dushanbe, and Toronto, and parks in Zanzibar, Khorog, Mali, Kabul, and Toronto in the Islamic tradition of bringing people together in harmony. In addition, three significant institutions were inaugurated in Canada: the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto - the first museum dedicated to Muslim civilisations in North America.
In the fields of education and health care, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended the opening of the Aga Khan University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, the Heart and Cancer Centre at the AKU Hospital, and the foundation ceremony of the Graduate School of Media and Communications — all in Nairobi, Kenya. He also announced the creation of a new AKU Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. At the same time, the first of three campuses of the University of Central Asia was opened in Naryn, in the Kyrgyz Republic. Mawlana Hazar Imam inaugurated the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad, India, and attended foundation ceremonies for Academies in Kampala and Dhaka. Four cycles of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture took place during this decade, with ceremonies in Malaysia, Qatar, Portugal, and the UAE.
Over the course of the last 60 years, Mawlana Hazar Imam has received more than 70 international honours, awards, and Honorary Degrees from various governments, universities, and civil society organisations. In addition to being the fifth person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen, Mawlana Hazar Imam also became just the sixth foreign dignitary to address the Canadian Parliament.
Other key addresses by Mawlana Hazar Imam in this decade include those made at Harvard and Brown Universities, and a UNESCO conference in China, along with the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture in Toronto, and the International Baccalaureate’s Peterson Lecture.
Numerous accords and partnerships were also signed, but the most historic was the agreement signed between the Republic of Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat for the establishment of the Global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. The Agreement marked the first such accord in the Imamat’s modern history. At the signing, Mawlana Hazar Imam noted that the agreement provided an enabling framework, which would facilitate the work of the Ismaili Imamat and the Imam globally.
In this series, we have reflected on the immense scope and impact of the work of the Imamat since 1957. This work has demonstrated Mawlana Hazar Imam’s tireless efforts, not only for the benefit of the Jamat, but for wider humanity. He has guided the Jamat through periods of struggle and turmoil, and has prepared the Jamat to look to the future with a sense of confidence, fortitude, and hope.