The Ismaili Centre Dubai Hosts Annual Suhoor
The Ismaili Centre Dubai together with its partners, the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture hosted its annual Suhoor, The Inspiration to Aspire.
A presentation by the renowned architect and the CEO of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in Afghanistan, Mr Ajmal Maiwandi gave an overview of the work of AKTC in Afghanistan. AKTC, part of the Aga Khan Development (AKDN) focuses on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalisation of communities in the developing world. An ongoing commitment to Afghanistan’s diverse culture and civil society, he shared the example of recently restored 12.5hectare Chihilsitoon Garden in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Renovation work began in early 2015 and incorporated the existing sport and recreation facilities already on site. The landscaping was further enhanced through a network of formal paths and trails that link a variety of spatial experiences, an outdoor amphitheatre and the historic formal promenade, which features the original marble fountains.
He showcased a number of other projects such as the Stor Palace in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which along with approximately 140 other heritage sites around the country has been restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture with the strong support of the Afghan government and international partners. Mr Maiwandi highlighted, “the importance of involving the surrounding communities of restoration projects so that there is a sense of ownership and belonging.”
The evening echoed what His Highness the Aga Khan said in a speech at the Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan in Geneva, Switzerland on 28 November 2018, “the experience of the past seventeen years has strongly reinforced my conviction that the path to sustainable peace in Afghanistan depends heavily on two key principles – regional cooperation, which is key for national development and stability; and a commitment to pluralism – the country’s diversity must be cultivated as a source of strength. Everyone in all regions should benefit from investment that creates hope for the future. This is a guiding principle of our investment in Afghanistan.”
The President of the Ismaili Community in the UAE, Mr Amiruddin Thanawalla, commented on how AKDN institutions involvement in Afghanistan is guided by a fundamental belief in and respect for human dignity, diversity, pluralism and the importance of demonstrating compassion for one's fellow man. “The AKDN institutions aim to create an enabling environment in order that individuals, and thereby communities, might become self-sufficient.”
His Excellency Abdul Farid Zikria, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was, also in attendance, and in his address, shared his personal experiences of the work of the AKTC in his home country and expressed his gratitude, “we are grateful of the affinity and partnership that we have with AKDN and hope that we can further strengthen the bond between us.”
Diplomats including Ambassadors and Consul Generals from several countries as part of an audience of about 200 people.