Dubai, UAE, June 7, 2017: The Ismaili Centre Dubai, in collaboration with The Embassy of Portugal and The Consulate General of Canada observed the holy month of Ramadan, a month of giving, with the message of enabling pluralism. The event, attended by over 200 dignitaries and guests of the Embassies of Portugal and Canada brought together voices from various backgrounds in hopes of attaining a world where difference is a powerful force that can help us build together a better life for all.
The event, held at the Ismaili Centre Dubai, reflected a strong partnership between the Ismaili Imamat and the two countries, Portugal and Canada who together, aim to support the vision of pluralism and attain peaceful ways to overcome the challenges of living amongst diverse societies. The Ismaili Imamat, through various partnerships and agreements with the two countries has established itself in contributing towards knowledge, research and dialogue to understand and extend the values of pluralism.
Mr. Amiruddin Thanawalla, President of the Ismaili community in the UAE, welcomed the guests by saying, ‘We are especially pleased to be able to host this event given that it’s theme – “Enabling Pluralism” – touches upon a subject, the relevance of which has never been greater than it is today, which resonates so strongly with the policies pursued by the countries represented by our speakers, the ethos of Ismaili Community and in relation to which His Highness The Aga Khan has devoted a lifetime of work, culminating most recently in the establishment of the Centre for Global Pluralism in Ottawa, Canada.’
The recent opening of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Canada, a partnership between His Highness the Aga Khan and the Canadian government illustrates the commitment of the Imamat to strive for a higher understanding of pluralism in today’s globalized world. The Centre, headquartered in 330 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, seeks to advance the understanding of the sources of inclusion and exclusion in Canada and globally, through research, education and dialogue.
His Excellency Joaquim Lemos, Ambassador of Portugal to the United Arab Emirates spoke of the signing of the historical agreement between the Republic of Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat, “…The community was able to find welcoming ground in Portuguese territory must have been taken in due consideration by his Highness Aga Khan to establish Lisbon as the world formal Seat of the Ismaili Imamat. It was a landmark agreement signed two years ago, with no precedents in modern history, that makes us very proud.”
The highlight of the event was the immensely intellectual and thought provoking talk by Dr Mohamed Keshavjee. In his talk, he demonstrated how countries such as the UAE have embraced pluralism through the launch of initiatives such as National Tolerance Program launched by the UAE government in 2016. He further highlighted the five themes of the program. Nazneen Shafi and Dr Mohamed Keshavjee then engaged the audience further discussing pluralism as set of values and actions that are founded on respecting diversity and supporting and sustaining inclusive societies.
The discussion led to an understanding that pluralist societies are societies that choose to ensure full participation of all people in political, economic and socio-cultural life. This ethos echoes nicely with the pluralistic and inclusive values fostered by Dubai as a widely recognized cosmopolitan hub.
Finally, amidst the inspiring ambience of symmetry and geometric design of the Ismaili Centre, guests enjoyed a delightful suhoor feast.