Agreement of Cooperation between the government of Alberta and the Ismaili Imamat

Premier, dear guests,

There are days in one’s life that mark an individual, that mark an institution and today is one of those days.

What are those days, those are days which I think open doors to the future, give you a sense of hope, a sense of confidence, a sense of not being alone in trying to achieve the goals that one has set one’s self as an individual or as an institution and that is what you have allowed Premier for me today and I thank you for that. My community has lived obviously for centuries in a large number of countries and therefore we have a permanent presence in these countries. That’s very different from being an occasional visitor; people live in these countries. And they live in good and less good circumstances, they think, they analyze, they live in hope, but also they live in sadness and in difficulty and the last few years have not been happy in many of the countries we are working in, so our duty is to try to convert these countries into countries of opportunity. We can’t do that alone, but we can do it with Canada and we can do it with the province of Alberta. So in that sense today is a day of magnificent opportunity and I thank you so much.

I would add that in the last decades I have come to an important conclusion about governance, about the fragility of governance in the developing world and what people can do to protect themselves from governance which is not effective.  And I think that history is beginning to show that civil society in its complexity but also in its ability to impact the way people live is probably the most important single feature that I know and building civil society is a complex exercise, needs multiple input and that multiple input again, I hope we will develop with your institutions in Alberta. I would like to add also that this support that you are giving us should not be one way and I hope that we will be able to create new opportunity for Canadian institutions, Canadian enterprises, Canadian academic centers that need global knowledge to work with us to strengthen their ability to perform at home and to perform internationally. Today we are looking at number of case study situations. How do you build for the aged and how do you make sure that they don't get isolated in society? And what can we learn from an initiative in Canada that could be replicated elsewhere in Canada but also in the industrialized world. How do you convince western societies that Islam is a faith of civilization and not just a faith? Well I hope that the Islamic garden when it comes into place will be able to show a different aspect of our faith. We have other initiatives here, the collaboration with the University of Alberta.

We have a big problem in the developing world.  We don't do research and because we don't do research we will constantly find ourselves running behind the capacities of the industrialized societies to deal with the evolution of healthcare. And the fact is that today non-communicable disease is becoming the dominant situation in many of the countries where we are living. Our universities are not research universities so we have to work with universities that are at the top of human knowledge to bring that knowledge to our communities and our populations. So these relationships that are being discussed today and that will I hope be part of this agreement, are very very important indeed for us. So when I say that there are days that mark ones own convictions and hope, now I hope you understand why that is such a day for me today.

Thank you Premier.