NAIROBI Kenya --
His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual
leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims arrived today at the Jomo Kenyatta
International Airport in Nairobi at the invitation of the Government of Kenya.
Upon his arrival, the Aga Khan was received by Amb Monica Juma, Cabinet
Secretary, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs And International Trade as well as
leaders from the Ismaili community and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
While in Nairobi, the Aga Khan is expected to meet with His Excellency the
President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, at State House.
The meeting is an occasion to celebrate the longstanding partnership between
the Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network.
The AKDN has been engaged in the development of Kenya for over a century and
has enjoyed a strong relationship with the government based on partnership and
collaboration in together, driving the development agenda of the country.
An Agreement of Cooperation for Development was signed with the Government of
Kenya in 1996 and recognises AKDN’s contributions to national development, while
creating an enabling framework for its activities.
AKDN is engaged in every sphere of development in the country: from social,
cultural to economic.
Through its several interventions in education, health, poverty alleviation,
finance, insurance, tourism promotion, conservation and civil society
strengthening, it has been improving the quality of life of Kenyans, some of
whom live in the poorest and most resource challenged areas of the country.
Every year the AKDN touches the lives of over 7.5 million Kenyans directly
and 4 million indirectly.
The visit to Kenya marks the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee- 60 years since his
accession to his role of spiritual leadership, and is part of a year-long
celebration which commenced on 11th July 2017.
The visit marks 60 years of his leadership and commitment to faith, pluralism
and improved quality of life.
As in many other traditions, Jubilees mark important anniversaries.
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations therefore represent both a recognition of
the Aga Khan’s work over the last 60 years and an opportunity to launch new
In October last year, the Aga Khan launched the Global Centre for Pluralism
Awards – among the recipients was Kenyan Alice Nderitu; peacemaker, conflict
mediator and gender equality advocate, who was recognized for unparalleled and
sustained commitment to building more inclusive, peaceful societies.
In December 2017, the Aga Khan inaugurated the Aga Khan University’s
Innovation Centre in Karachi, Pakistan.
The Centre, a state-of-the-art facility for technology-based learning, will
transform the education of health professionals through the use of simulation
and virtual reality technology to develop knowledge and skills before treating
In February, he inaugurated the Sunder Nursery in Delhi, one of the cultural
restoration projects of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, aimed at creatively
combining monuments, forest and nursery functions within one interactive
All projects are developed with the ultimate goal of improving quality of
life for all.
In Kenya, past Jubilee initiatives have included:
The Platinum Jubilee Hospital which was inaugurated by the Aga Khan in
1948 and which is now the non-profit Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi
(one of the few hospitals in Africa to be ISO- and JCI-accredited);
The Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust, which started off as a community
lending enterprise, and grew into a major retail financial institution – now
called Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) – that helps promote small and medium
enterprises across East Africa;
The Jubilee Insurance companies, the largest providers of life and
medical insurance across East Africa and Asia; and the non-profit Diamond
Jubilee Schools in India and Pakistan, which were among the first to educate
Ten years ago, during his Golden Jubilee, the Aga Khan expanded the role
of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Aga Khan University and Heart and