City, USA - His Highness the Aga Khan received the
Asia Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award - the Society’s most
esteemed - at the organisation’s Game Changer Award ceremony in
The awards are presented annually to
individuals, organiz-ations, and movements, that have
inspired, enlightened, and shown true leadership in
areas that reflect Asia Society’s core pillars of policy
and business, arts and culture, and education.
Accepting the award “for improving the
lives of millions in Asia and around the world,”
through the initiatives of the Aga Khan Development
Network (AKDN), the Aga Khan, accompanied by his
brother Prince Amyn Aga Khan, said, “Any leader of
any global community hopes and prays for one thing –
peace; peace in every community, in every country of
the world, so that men and women can live in safety,
build their futures with strength, courage, hope and
“These are the values that the leaders
of my community, my institutions and myself, are
intimately linked with and will continue to work
for, for many, many decades ahead.”
Highness the Aga Khan being presented Asia Society’s
2017 Asia Game Changer Lifetime Achievement Award by
Michael Bloomberg and Sharon Rockefeller.
PHOTO: AKDN / AKBAR HAKIM
/ MAIRAJ MANJI
The Aga Khan was addres-sing a
distinguished audience upon receiving the award which was
presented to him by Sharon Rockefeller, President and CEO of
WETA-TV and wife of former Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller,
together with Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City.
It represents the fourth major honor
bestowed on the Aga Khan in New York City this year, which also
marks his Diamond Jubilee as Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia
Ismaili Muslim community.
Earlier this year, he was awarded the
Foreign Policy Association Medal, and received the Architectural
League of New York’s President’s Medal, and the United Nations
Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award.
“Through the Aga Khan’s network and
his role as a spiritual leader, he has worked for decades to
help build a more peaceful and tolerant world,” said
“He has brought important attention to
areas and issues that need it most, including prote-cting
vulnerable communities from climate change, and helping
young people develop new skills that can help them succeed.
“He has also been a champion of using
public-private partner-ships to spread economic opportunity,
improve public health, and expand access to education.”
Asia Society’s President Josette
Sheeran also paid tribute to the Aga Khan, recognizing the role
of the AKDN and its efforts in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
“We know the power of your work; I
know the power of your network; I know what you have built.
“And we need more networks of people
determined to say this is a world of good, this is a world
of standing by each other, and this is what we honor here
tonight,” she said.
In addition to the Aga Khan, eight
other honorees were selected by the Asia Society’s global
network this year, for making a transformative and positive
difference for the future of Asia and the world.
Honorees included: Sesame Street, for
proving learning can be fun anywhere in the world; actor Dev
Patel for shining a spotlight on India’s poor; Sonita Alizadeh,
for using rap music to fight trauma in Afghanistan; Leng Ouch,
for risking his life to draw attention to illegal logging in
Cambodia; Jean Liu, for revolutionizing transportation in
China; Grammy winner Wu Tong, for showing that musical
virtuosity has no bounds; Tadashi Yanai, for building a global
retail empire that gives back to local communities; and famed
eagle huntress, Aisholpan Nurgaiv, for breaking gender barriers
at a remarkably young age.
Showcasing the music heritage of Asia
at the event, were artists of the Aga Khan Music Initiative
Ensemble: Homayoun Sakhi, Salar Nader and Wu Man, master
musicians who create new music inspired by their own deep