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Canada visit diary
TheIsmaili.org
9 November 2008
  • Tuesday, 18 November 2008

    Upon his arrival in Ottawa, Mawlana Hazar Imam is received by President Mohamed Manji of the Ismaili Council for Canada. The Honourable Ministers John Baird and Jason Kenney welcomed Hazar Imam on behalf of the Canadian Government. Photo: Gary Otte
    Upon his arrival in Ottawa, Mawlana Hazar Imam is received by President Mohamed Manji of the Ismaili Council for Canada. The Honourable Ministers John Baird and Jason Kenney welcomed Hazar Imam on behalf of the Canadian Government. Gary Otte

    This afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam landed in Canada's capital city of Ottawa, commencing an eight-day Golden Jubilee visit to the country at the invitation of the Government of Canada.

    In a ceremonial welcome, which included a rendition of the Nashid al-Imamah and the Canadian national anthem, Mawlana Hazar Imam was received on behalf of the Government by the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Mohamed Manji, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, was joined by a delegation of Jamati leaders from the local Ismaili Councils for Ottawa and Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, in welcoming Hazar Imam on behalf of the Canadian Jamat.

    Senator Mobina Jaffer and Members of Parliament Robert Oliphant, Yasmin Rattansi and Justin Trudeau were also among the dignitaries gathered at the airport to receive Mawlana Hazar Imam.

    • Also see the video of Mawlana Hazar Imam's arrival in Ottawa and a related press release at the AKDN website.

    From the airport, Mawlana Hazar Imam drove by Lansdowne Park, where the Ottawa Jamat had gathered to welcome him. Hazar Imam smiled and waved at the assembled crowd, before proceeding to the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat along Sussex Drive. He visited the new building, in anticipation of its official opening in early December.

    Wednesday, 19 November 2008

    Mawlana Hazar Imam with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall. Photo: Gary Otte
    Mawlana Hazar Imam with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall. Gary Otte

    This afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam called on Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall. She warmly welcomed Hazar Imam to Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee.

    Mawlana Hazar Imam then visited Parliament Hill where he met with the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism.

    In the evening, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended a working dinner with the Honourable Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation and Margaret Biggs, President of the Canadian International Development Agency.

    Friday, 21 November 2008

    Attorney General Chris Bentley and MPP Reza Moridi welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam to Toronto. Photo: Gary Otte
    Attorney General Chris Bentley and MPP Reza Moridi welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam to Toronto. Gary Otte

    Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived at Pearson International Airport in Toronto this evening. He was received on behalf of the Government of Ontario by the Honourable Chris Bentley, Attorney General of Ontario, and Reza Moridi, MPP.

    Mayor Frank Scarpitti of Markham and Jamati institutional leaders were also present at the airport to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam.

    Saturday, 22 November 2008

    Mawlana Hazar Imam and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at Queens Park. Photo: Gary Otte
    Mawlana Hazar Imam and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at Queens Park. Gary Otte

    This morning, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Aga Khan University and McMaster University, which addresses objectives shared by both institutions in the health sciences, the social sciences, humanities and in business. The Memorandum was signed by McMaster University President, Dr. Peter George, and President Firoz Rasul of the Aga Khan University, in the presence of Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Bev Oda, and Mawlana Hazar Imam.

    In his address, President George noted that Mawlana Hazar Imam “has been a shining example of the enlightened world leader, a man with a deep interest and investment in redefining the potential of the developing world through advancements in the fundamental pillars of human security and achievement – health care, education and cultural enrichment.”

    Later, Mawlana Hazar Imam called on the Premier of the Province of Ontario, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, at Queens Park.

    In the afternoon, thousands of murids gathered at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where Mawlana Hazar Imam granted the first of four historic Golden Jubilee Darbars in Canada.

    Sunday, 23 November 2008

    A ceremonial guard representing the Calgary Police Services, the Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Services welcomed Mawlana Hazar Imam to the city. Photo: Gary Otte
    A ceremonial guard representing the Calgary Police Services, the Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Services welcomed Mawlana Hazar Imam to the city. Gary Otte

    On his final day in Toronto, Mawlana Hazar Imam granted the second Golden Jubilee Darbar of his Canadian visit at Rogers Centre, where thousands of murids from Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces, as well as other parts of the world, had gathered in the afternoon. Afterwards Hazar Imam departed Toronto and flew to Calgary.

    At his arrival Mawlana Hazar Imam was received by the Honourable Ron Stevens, Deputy Premier of the Province of Alberta and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, His Worship David Bronconnier, Mayor of Calgary, and Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Alison Buie. A ceremonial guard representing the Calgary Police Service, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services greeted Hazar Imam, and Jamati leaders were also present to welcome him to the city.

    The Mayor of Calgary presented Mawlana Hazar Imam with a gift of a glass bowl created by Alberta artist Mark Gibeau. The piece was selected from the artist's Face Series, and reflects the people from his prairie surroundings and the native cultural environment of his youth.

    Hundreds of Ismailis had lined the streets of downtown Calgary to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam. With his window open, Hazar Imam smiled and waved as he was driven past the crowd.

    Monday, 24 November 2008

    Mawlana Hazar Imam in discussion with the Honourable Norman L Kwong, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and his wife, Her Honour Mary Kwong. Photo: Gary Otte
    Mawlana Hazar Imam in discussion with the Honourable Norman L Kwong, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and his wife, Her Honour Mary Kwong. Gary Otte

    In Calgary this morning, Mawlana Hazar Imam met with Linda Hughes, Chancellor of the University of Alberta, and Dr Carl Amrhein, the University's Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

    Later in the morning, Mawlana Hazar Imam called on the Honourable Norman L Kwong, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and his wife, Her Honour Mary Kwong, at McDougall Centre.

    Mawlana Hazar Imam then attended a reception and luncheon hosted by the Aga Khan University, where he addressed a group of Canadian businessmen who founded the Awali Project in partnership with the University's Institute for Educational Development. Awali – which means beginning in Swahili – has brought together private Canadian citizens, the Canadian International Development Agency and the AKU to invest in the development of quality education in East Africa.

    “Your Highness, you lead a wonderful people who make vitally important contributions to world peace based on the practice of understanding, pluralism and thoughtfulness,” remarked Jim Gray, an Awali founder, during the luncheon. “Our Awali Family is proud to be partners with Aga Khan University in East Africa.”

    In the afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam granted a Golden Jubilee Darbar to thousands of murids who had gathered at the Calgary Roundup Centre. Following the Darbar Hazar Imam departed Calgary for Vancouver.

    The Honourable Steven L Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, received Mawlana Hazar Imam as he arrived in Vancouver. Jamati leaders were also present to greet him. In a warm welcome ceremony, two children from the Jamat presented flowers to Hazar Imam before renditions of the the Nasheed al-Imamah and Canadian national anthem were performed.

    Tuesday, 25 November 2008

    Premier Gordon Campbell hosts a luncheon with community, education and business leaders in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to British Columbia. Photo: Gary Otte
    Premier Gordon Campbell hosts a luncheon with community, education and business leaders in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to British Columbia. Gary Otte

    This morning, Mawlana Hazar Imam met with the Mayor of Burnaby, His Worship Derek Corrigan at City Hall.

    Later, British Columbia Premier, the Honourable Gordon Campbell, hosted a luncheon in honour of Mawlana Hazar Imam. Guests included prominent members of Vancouver's academic and corporate sectors, as well as community leaders. Among them were the mayors of Vancouver and other British Columbia municipalities, environmentalist David Suzuki, leaders of the Jamat and representatives of the Aga Khan Foundation.

    In his welcome remarks, Premier Campbell reminded guests and the media that Mawlana Hazar Imam's message of education, pluralism and tolerance is applicable not only to the Ismaili community, but also to Canadians and indeed to the entire world.

    “Your message touches us all,” he told Hazar Imam, noting that the endeavour to build an “infrastructure of hope based on education, healthcare and pluralism” was an inspiration to everyone.

    Mawlana Hazar Imam thanked Canada for its generosity and its helpfulness, while expressing admiration for the opportunity that Canadians enjoy of living in a society that is conscious of diversity and of human dignity. He also discussed the emergence of global knowledge societies, the challenge faced by developing countries in embracing new knowledge, and the important role that Canada plays in humanising knowledge so that society can advance according to “merit and not manipulation.”

    In the afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam granted a Golden Jubilee Darbar to the local and international Jamat that had gathered at BC Place.

    Later in the evening, Mawlana Hazar Imam was the guest of honour at a dinner reception hosted by the Ismaili Council for Canada and other Jamati institutions at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. During the dinner, Hazar Imam and the guests were entertained by the National Ismaili Musical Ensemble and were treated to a short play titled Alim Wa'l Ghulam: The Master and His Disciple.

    Jamati leaders then bid farewell to Mawlana Hazar Imam at Vancouver International Airport, as the first leg of this Golden Jubilee visit to Canada drew to a close. Hazar Imam is expected to return to Canada on 5 December to open the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa.

    Friday, 5 December 2008

    Mohamed Manji, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, welcomes Mawlana Hazar Imam and Princess Zahra to Ottawa. Photo: Gary Otte
    Mohamed Manji, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, welcomes Mawlana Hazar Imam and Princess Zahra to Ottawa. Gary Otte

    Commencing the second leg of his Golden Jubilee visit to Canada, Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Ottawa this afternoon, accompanied by Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim, Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya.

    Prince Amyn and Prince Rahim, who travelled separately, stopped over in Toronto and visited the site of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum, on Wynford Drive.

    On Saturday, Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, will officially inaugurate the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building. Members of Hazar Imam's family will also attend the ceremony.

    Saturday, 6 December 2008

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, with Mawlana Hazar Imam in front of the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa. Photo: Gary Otte
    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, with Mawlana Hazar Imam in front of the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa. Gary Otte

    Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, officially inaugurated the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat today. The opening ceremony followed a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister at his official 24 Sussex Drive residence, for Mawlana Hazar Imam and the members of his family.

    The ceremony was held in the glass-domed atrium of the Delegation building in the presence of Prince Amyn, Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim, Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya. The 350 guests also included senior government ministers, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, several members of Parliament, diplomats, senior leaders of the global Jamat as well as heads of various AKDN agencies and institutions.

    In his address, Mawlana Hazar Imam remarked that “the establishment of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat represents yet another step on a long path. It will give us another platform for strengthening and extending our relationship. It will be a site for robust dialogue, intellectual exchange, and the forging of new partnerships – with government, and with the institutions of civil society and the private sector of Canada and so many other countries.”

    Prime Minister Harper thanked Mawlana Hazar Imam for establishing the Ismaili Imamat's first Delegation building in the world in Ottawa. He commented that for half a century, Mawlana Hazar Imam has provided spiritual guidance for Ismailis and worked to improve the quality of life in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.

    “Your name has become synonymous with humanitarian aid and development in countries beset by conflict and poverty,” said the Prime Minister. “Just as importantly you have worked tirelessly as a bridge-builder between faiths and cultures.”

    Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prime Minister Harper then unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat.

    Sunday, 7 December 2008

    Mawlana Hazar Imam waves as he prepares to depart Canada, completing his Golden Jubilee visit to the country. Photo: Gary Otte
    Mawlana Hazar Imam waves as he prepares to depart Canada, completing his Golden Jubilee visit to the country. Gary Otte

    Mawlana Hazar Imam departed Ottawa today, following the inauguration of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa yesterday. Hazar Imam's departure marked the completion of his Golden Jubilee visit to Canada.


    Additional photos are available in the Delegation opening gallery and the main Canada visit gallery.