Ottawa, Ontario―In an effort to improve prosperity in developing countries, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary for International Cooperation and Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade today convened a roundtable to engage Canadian expertise on ways to leverage the private sector for development. The private sector, including firms from Canada, is the driving force behind sustainable economic growth and as such can play an important role in reducing poverty around the world.
“The experience of the Aga Khan Development Network in Africa and Asia demonstrates that the private sector can make a significant contribution to improving quality of life, especially for the poor,” said Mr. Khalil Z. Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada. “Our work is helping to identify new business models that embrace both commercial and development objectives.”
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It’s a great privilege to have the opportunity to be here and to share the experience of the Aga Khan Development Network in the area of the private sector’s role in achieving international development objectives.
I want to begin by commending the committee for taking up this issue, because it is both important and difficult. I think you’ve already heard in previous testimony that there is now a very strong consensus around the pivotal role that economic growth plays in reducing poverty, and of course a central role that a robust private sector plays in underwriting economic growth. But you have also heard—and I think correctly—that not all economic growth is the same and it does not always translate into poverty reduction.
So your study, I think, allows us to explore the different dimensions of the issue and to figure out exactly how it is that the private sector can support growth, which in turn will support important development objectives across the entire spectrum of private sector actors: from large multinational firms to small enterprises, from commercial banks and insurance companies to microfinance institutions that reach remote villages, and from a business owner employing thousands of workers to an enterprising small farmer.
International Development Conference for Graduate Student Researchers
Mr. Khalil Shariff
Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada
Modesty, Ambition, and Imagination: International Development in the Knowledge Age
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM (PT)
Vancouver, British Columbia
PLEASE REGISTER for this event at http://idrn-keynote-ubc.eventbrite.com/.
MR. KHALIL SHARIFF, AGA KHAN FOUNDATION CANADA
Mr. Khalil Shariff joined Aga Khan Foundation Canada as Chief Executive Officer in August 2005. He was previously with the Toronto office of McKinsey & Company, an international management consultancy, where he advised governments, financial institutions, and health care providers on strategy, organization, and operational improvement.
President of the Ismaili Council for Ottawa, Zaina Sovani and CEO of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Khalil Z. Shariff were presented with the “Agent of Change” Medallion by Mayor Larry O’Brien, of the City of Ottawa, in recognition of Leadership in Volunteerism and as Change Agents. There are only just over 200 of these Medallions!
Photo courtesy: Official community newsletter
Khalil Shariff joined Aga Khan Foundation Canada as Chief Executive Officer in August 2005. He was previously with the Toronto office of McKinsey & Company, an international management consultancy, where he advised governments, financial institutions, and health care providers on strategy, organization, and operational improvement. Khalil served on AKFC’s National Committee for five years, and has cultivated his interest in international development and conflict resolution issues through a variety of activities including …
Khalil Z. Shariff, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, speaks to guests at the opening of Bridges that Unite in Ottawa. The exhibition runs until Februay 28 2010 at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology.
The evening of December 08, will definitely be remembered as an outstanding event for the Quilt of Belonging at a private reception held in Ottawa. The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella Speaker of the Senate and the Honourable Peter Milliken, M.P. Speaker of the House of Commons in collaboration with the Aga Kahn Foundation graciously hosted a reception to offer all MPs,Senators, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Supreme Court Judges and other dignitaries the opportunity to view the Quilt.
Khalil Z. Shariff, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, speaks to guests at From Kabul to Halifax: An evening of Afghan Music and Culture, a performance featuring renowned Afghan-Canadian Musician Vaheed Kaacemy. The event marked the closing of the Bridges That Unite exhibit in Halifax on November 3, 2009.
The government’s top players on the Afghan file put their heads together last week at the third edition of RoCK Talk, a forum that just keeps on growing.
Whereas the first RoCK Talk (named for the Representative of Canada in Kandahar) was a modest 20-person affair in Kandahar City, this edition attracted some 150 officials from across government.
Also on hand were folks like Canadian Ambassador to Pakistan Randolph Mank and Canada’s number two in Kabul Ben Roswell, as well as some civil society types like Aga Khan Foundation Canada CEO Khalil Shariff. In fact, the only obvious absence was Ambassador to Afghanistan Ron Hoffman—but then somebody has to man the fort.
The main focus of the meeting was to bring the “Class of 2009″—the Canadian civilians that will be deploying to Afghanistan this summer—up to speed.
Yesterday’s awareness event about the World Partnership Walk at AbeBooks’ headquarters attracted almost 50 people. Khalil Z. Shariff, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, was the keynote speaker and he spoke with passion about how the funds raised by the Walk helps tackle poverty in places like Africa and Asia.
Khalil Shariff, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada
The third panellist was Khalil Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. Mr. Shariff said, “We are going to be a panel in violent agreement” about what is needed. He encouraged taking an approach of “symbasa”, which roughly translates to “giving a boost.”
He told the audience that four principle premises should guide development work:
- Ideas and innovation, not scale. If we want to have impact without scale, we should think seriously about innovation and ideas. We now know that the basic model developed by CIDA is now generalized throughout the world.
- Take relationships seriously. In future, the countries with the greatest influence will be those that can hold and nurture the deepest set of relationships with the broadest set of actors. If we took the idea of relationship-building very seriously, we could become the hub of a whole series of ideas.
- Take a long-term approach. It simply cannot be overemphasized that development is a process, not an event. Unless we can nurture that process, we cannot command it.
- Focus on learning, research and communication. There is no reason why we should not have a vibrant constituency for development in this country. We have not ensured that our citizens are the best connoisseurs of development in the world. A vacuum will be filled. We need to exercise thoughtful leadership on what learning lessons looks like and sharing them with our constituents and with everyone else in the world.
In summary, Mr. Shariff said that the ripple effects of following these premises would be seen far beyond their immediate effect.
Food, development and Ottawa’s Micronutrient Initiative were just a few of the topics I chatted about yesterday with Khalil Shariff, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. I was visiting the newly inaugurated Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, on Sussex Drive. The delegation represents not only the Imamat of the Aga Khan, but also the very impressive Aga Khan Development Network. Shariff sees it as a place to bring the city together to speak about global issues; it’s a beautiful, iridescent building, oriented toward the public (walkthroughs, a courtyard, a resource library, a big atrium that will soon be the location for public events). There’s something about it that’s reminiscent of the nearby National Gallery. A lovely new asset for Ottawa.
Thanks to my long time friend, Matt, for this suggestion. Matt’s thoughts on Khalil:
Khalil is a good friend and one of the most dynamic and inspiring people I’ve ever met. I consider Khalil a great example of the sort of person I think most of us want to be but don’t have the discipline.
Khalil is inspiring to me for his level of integrity, and his ability to use his wonderful sense of humor to capture the hearts of people while his very sharp intellect captures their minds. He doesn’t push his opinions or beliefs upon people, yet one is left intrigued by what makes him tick due to his sheer charisma and genuineness.
Khalil is CEO of the Aga Khan foundation of Canada, and is just 33.
After crisscrossing the world for the past year, the Aga Khan arrived in Canada last week for the Canadian leg of his Golden Jubilee world tour.
In celebration of 50 years as imam of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan has visited dozens of countries in the past year across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
As he touched down in Ottawa, he was received by a group of MPs, including Transport Minister John Baird and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
The Aga Khan also had a meeting with Governor General Michaëlle Jean, who hurried back from delivering the Speech from the Throne to receive him.
After a brief stay in Ottawa, he continued on to Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
In Toronto, he signed an MOU to enhance co-operation between Hamilton’s McMaster University and the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.
Khalil Shariff, the CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, said McMaster helped establish AKU in 1983, and now increased co-operation and exchanges are being planned between the two school’s nursing faculties.
The Aga Khan will be back in Canada on Dec. 6 for the opening of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, the Ismaili diplomatic base in Canada. The striking building occupies a choice piece of real estate on Sussex Drive.
November 20, 2008 – The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canadian Ismaili Muslims are marking a half-century of leadership of the Aga Khan, as the spiritual leader to millions around the globe embarks on an eight-day visit across the country to mark the milestone.
The Aga Khan, imam to 15 million Ismaili Muslims, including between 80,000 to 100,000 in Canada, will meet with government leaders and dignitaries as he commemorates the occasion of his Golden Jubilee.
He will head west next week, first to Calgary to meet with Alberta Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong and officials from the University of Alberta, followed by a stop in Vancouver to meet British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and Burnaby, B.C., Mayor Derek Corrigan, whose city is home to a sizable Ismaili community.
June 19, 2008 – By Jessica Werb, Vancouver’s Straight.com
A circle of chairs and a flip chart: are these the key to addressing poverty in the developing world? Absolutely, according to Bridges That Unite, a travelling exhibition at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre until Sunday (June 22), which uses photographs, text, video, and interactive Web-based tools to explore Canada’s role in international development.
A celebration of a 25-year partnership between the Aga Khan Development Network and this country, Bridges That Unite brings to light stories you don’t typically read in the papers: progress in the education of women in Afghanistan; the creation of the University of Central Asia, with its three campuses under construction in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan.
At the centre of all these initiatives have been the humble flip chart and chairs, explains Khalil Shariff, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, by phone on his way home to Ottawa.
“It’s a symbol of the work we’ve done in helping to build strong, local, village-level institutions that then identify their own priorities at the village level and actually begin working toward them,” he says. “It’s not about handing things out. It’s really about investing in communities’ abilities to help themselves over a longer term.”
I often carp about the failures of Canadian aid to poor countries; Khalil Shariff prefers to celebrate its successes.
As the CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, which is marking its 25th anniversary of partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency, he has seen quite a lot of success to celebrate. The foundation, and its sister agencies that work under the umbrella of the international Aga Khan Development Network, are among the more effective organizations I’ve written about over my years of making periodic forays to developing countries.
You can access a major package of stories on AKDN work in Kenya that was published a couple of years ago in the Vancouver Sun through an earlier blog entry by clicking here.
And you can read my most recent column on Shariff and his views by clicking here.
Don Cayo, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, June 13, 2008
When critics like me sound off about shortcomings in Canada’s delivery of foreign aid, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that, problems aside, some very good things are still accomplished by Canadian people in Canadian agencies with Canadian dollars.
So it was refreshing to even curmudgeonly me to listen to Khalil Shariff, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, expound this week on some of the same themes he wrote about in an op-ed published Thursday in the Vancouver Sun.
Shariff, a Richmond boy now based in Ottawa, is back in town this week for an inherently upbeat purpose — the Vancouver launch of an exhibit called Bridges that Unite. This collection of text, photos and videos seeks to show Canadians what successful development should look like, and it celebrates a 25-year partnership between the Aga Khan agency and CIDA, the federal government’s development arm. Its aim to provoke a thoughtful discussion of what Canada’s role in the fight against mass poverty could and should be.
In discussions of this sort, I tend to hone in on what has gone wrong with development attempts of the past, and why we need to learn lessons from those policies and projects that have gone right. Shariff focuses instead on what has gone right, and how the lessons from successful policies and projects can be applied more broadly.
Complete at the source: Vancouver Sun