Mawlana Hazar Imam and Governor Rick Perry shake hands prior to signing the Agreement of Cooperation. Zahur Ramji
Austin, Texas, 30 October 2009 – At the invitation of Texas State Governor Rick Perry, Mawlana Hazar Imam traveled to Austin yesterday to sign an Agreement of Cooperation between the State of Texas and the Ismaili Imamat. During the visit, Hazar Imam and Governor Perry also held talks at the State Capitol on a range of issues of mutual interest.
The Agreement of Cooperation, which is an outcome of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to the United States in 2008, marks a historic milestone. It establishes a basis for long term collaborative programmes between the State and the institutions of the Imamat in the fields of education, health sciences, natural disaster preparedness and recovery, culture and the environment.
Describing the importance of the agreement, Governor Perry explained that “traditional Western education speaks little of the influence of Muslim scientists, scholars, throughout history, and for that matter the cultural treasures that stand today in testament to their wisdom.” The Governor recalled the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University of Texas and the Aga Khan University last year, noting that with this new agreement, “we further advance our shared efforts to bridge the cultural divide between East and West.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam reflected similar sentiments, saying that the agreement “opens for us today the opportunity to build bridges to the best of civil society in Texas and in the United States.” He explained that the Ismaili Imamat's concern for the quality of life in developing countries, necessitates engaging the technologies of the modern world. “In order to bridge that gap,” said Hazar Imam, “we come to you in humility and we ask for help. And we ask for that help on the basis that it is good for the improvement of the quality of life of people around the world.”