Portugal -- His Highness
the Aga Khan has arrived in Portugal for a visit
commemorating his Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years
of leadership as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual
leader) of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslim
This visit, at the invitation of
the Portuguese Government, represents the
culmination of celebrations that have been
undertaken worldwide since 11 July 2017 - 60 years
to the day that he acceded to the office of the
Ismaili Imamat in 1957 at the age of 20 years.
Over 40,000 people from the global Ismaili
community will gather in Lisbon over the next week
to commemorate this special occasion and to
celebrate the Aga Khan’s commitment towards
uplifting the lives of thousands of vulnerable
communities, and promoting the values of peace and
Activities will include Jubilee concerts
featuring world-renowned performers as well as
artists from the Aga Khan Music Initiative;
exhibitions; an international talent showcase
featuring Ismailis from around the world; an
international art gallery; a film festival, and a
series of other celebrations.
While in Portugal, the Aga Khan will meet with
various government leaders to discuss ongoing
partnerships implemented through the Aga Khan
Development Network (AKDN) and areas of further
A feature of His Highness’ schedule will be an
address to the Portuguese Parliament on 10th July.
His Highness will also meet with members of the
Portuguese and global Ismaili community gathered in
Lisbon during his week-long visit in the country.
In June 2015, the Ismaili Imamat, concluded and
signed a landmark agreement for the establishment of
a Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal.
The agreement, which was unanimously ratified by
the Parliament of the Portuguese Republic, builds on
a series of earlier accords and provides an enabling
framework for the facilitation of the Imamat’s work.
The agreement will result in intensified
co-operation between Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat
in improving the quality of lives of people within
the Republic of Portugal and elsewhere around the
As in many other traditions, Jubilees mark
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 initiatives – for the Ismaili Muslim community
as well as the communities in which they live.
During this Diamond Jubilee year, His Highness
has visited a number of countries around the world
including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Pakistan,
the United Arab Emirates, the United States of
America., Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.,
at the invitation of their respective governments.
During those visits, His Highness met with
various leaders of the Government, civil society
institutions, development organisations and other
partner agencies of the AKDN, as well as with
project staff, volunteers and beneficiaries.
These meetings and visits have enabled His
Highness to strengthen and expand a number of AKDN
initiatives to improve the quality of life in areas
of greatest need.
Examples of Diamond Jubilee initiatives include
the Sunder Nursery in India, the Global Pluralism
Award of the Global Centre for Pluralism
which goes to individuals who contribute in
innovative and high-impact ways to building
societies where diversity is respected and valued
and the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME),
a state-of-the art facility for technology-based
learning for health professionals in Karachi,
Most recently, the Aga Khan Centre in London’s
Knowledge Quarter was opened and with its
institutions, will continue to serve as a knowledge
hub and build bridges of understanding about Muslim
cultures and societies.
Jubilee years are also special in that they
provide an occasion for members of the global
Ismaili community to express their gratitude to His
Highness for his leadership.
The Aga Khan’s visit to Portugal represents yet
another milestone for the Ismaili Imamat and the
Republic of Portugal’s strong and centuries-old
relationship. Reflecting on this partnership,
Portugal’s President de Sousa remarked during a 2016
visit of His Highness:
"What really brings us together is a joint
commitment to defend and apply the principles and
values that honour the ethical importance of human
life, pluralism of societies and respect for the
dignity of human beings."
"The values of your civil society are the same
values that we defend," responded His Highness.
"We have therefore great commonality in the work
we do, not only here in Europe, but in Africa, Asia,
of the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga
His Highness the Aga Khan
commenced his Diamond Jubilee, or 60th year as the
49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the
world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims.
This worldwide celebration brings together the
global Ismaili community, partners of the Aga Khan
Development Network (AKDN), and government and faith
community leaders in over 25 countries.
It also commences a year of milestone
announcements by the Aga Khan for a global
commitment to partnerships based on the principles
of ethics in action, peace and pluralism.