A pluralistic environment is a kaleidoscope that history shakes every day.
What was once beyond our view is now at our side – and, indeed, to use the popular expression, “in our face.” Almost everything now seems to “flow” globally – money and credit, goods and services, microbes and viruses, pollution and armaments, and of course, people.
I was keyed into a recent speech by his worship the Aga Khan at the Lafontaine-Baldwin Lecture that Mayor Naheed Nenshi quoted from in his energizing speech to the Commonwealth Club of Canada. Incidentally, If you have not watched Mayor Nenshi’s incredible speech, it is absolutely worth the 30 minutes and can be viewed here.
During his speech, Naheed spoke about being Canadian, being a citizen, and the I thought I might share this Quote from his worship the Aga Khan:
This year’s 10th annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium on Oct. 15 featuring His Highness the Aga Khan was a huge success. The Aga Khan spoke about pluralism and diversity to a sold out audience at Koerner Hall in the Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning.
CITIZENSHIP WEEK – BUILDING CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES
Citizenship Week was from Oct. 18 to 22 this year and the ICC celebrated with community ceremonies all across the country! Our Building Citizenship committees held ceremonies at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Ismaili Centre Burnaby, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Immigrant Centre in Winnipeg, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Hamilton’s Mohawk College and Thorncliffe Park Public School in Toronto, which was featured on CBC’s Metro Morning.
Following Mawlana Hazar Imam’s lecture at the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium in October 2010, Sheherazade Hirji of The Ismaili Canada magazine met with former Governor General of Canada the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and Mr John Ralston Saul to discuss the lecture series, and the work of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
Last night, I was fortunate enough to catch most of this speech by the Aga Khan on the CBC radio. His was the opening lecture for the 10th annual Lafontaine-Baldwin Symposium at Koerner Hall in the Royal Conservatory in Toronto which took place in October of last year. His highness spoke most eloquently about pluralism and diversity, not only in Canada, but in history and worldwide.
I found the speech captivating …
In the lecture, Mawlana Hazar Imam talked about the long history of pluralism, the intensification of these challenges and how best to respond to that challenge. “The world we seek is not a world where difference is erased, but where difference can be a powerful force for good, helping us to fashion a new sense of cooperation and coherence in our world, and to build together a better life for all,” Mawlana Hazar Imam said.
The entire lecture will be broadcast on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9 pm EST on CBC Radio One. The Lecture will also be available as a downloadable podcast on Monday, January 24, 2011.
Thursday, January 13
THE LAFONTAINE BALDWIN LECTURE
His Highness the Aga Khan is the forty-ninth hereditary imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. In this talk, recorded in Toronto, in October 2010, he traces the history of pluralism and the challenges it poses in our globalized world.
Photographs at the source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/instituteforcanadiancitizenship/
By Dilnoor Panjwani
Toronto: His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, made a spirited defines of pluralism and its importance to well being of modern world in a speech delivered at the prestigious 10th Annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture. “The world we seek is not a world where difference is erased, but where difference can be a powerful force for good, helping us to fashion a new sense of cooperation and coherence in our world, and to build together a better life for all,” noted the Aga Khan. He was invited by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) founded by Former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson.
- Welcome Address by John Ralston Saul
- Introduction by The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
- Speech at AKDN.org
- Photographs at AKDN.org
- AKDN in Canada
- Coverage at TheIsmaili.org
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As societies come to think in pluralistic ways, I believe they can learn another lesson from the Canadian experience, the importance of resisting both assimilation and homogenization — the subordination and dilution of minority cultures on the one hand, or an attempt to create some new, transcendent blend of identities on the other.
What the Canadian experience suggests to me is that identity itself can be pluralistic. Honouring one’s own identity need not mean rejecting others. One can embrace an ethnic or religious heritage, while also sharing a sense of national or regional pride. To cite a timely example, I believe one can live creatively and purposefully as both a devoted Muslim and a committed European.
Click on “Launch the Windows Media Video Presentation” at the source.
Toronto, Canada, 15/10/2010 – His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, delivered the prestigious 10th Annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture, at the invitation of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), which was founded by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson in 2005 as her legacy project. The ICC is co-chaired by Clarkson and John Ralston Saul.
Speaking on the lessons of Canadian pluralism, His Highness noted: “As societies come to think in pluralistic ways, I believe they can learn another lesson from the Canadian experience, the importance of resisting both assimilation and homogenization -the subordination and dilution of minority cultures on the one hand, or an attempt to create some new, transcendent blend of identities, on the other.”
When I first received this invitation, I was deeply honored. But I was also, perhaps, a bit intimidated.
I was impressed by the Lecture’s prestigious history, the contributions of nine former Lecturers, and the Lecture’s focus on Canada’s civic culture.
Toronto, 15 October 2010 — Mawlana Hazar Imam addressed the prestigious 10th annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium in Toronto this evening. He was accompanied at the event by Prince Amyn and Prince Rahim.
Speaking at the invitation of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Hazar Imam was warmly welcomed by former Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and her husband, the prominent Canadian essayist and novelist John Ralston Saul, who together co-chair the Institute.
In a world where technology and human migration push people of differing backgrounds increasingly “in each other’s face,” spiritual leader the Aga Khan hailed Canada as a country that has got pluralism right.
The religious leader — imam — of the world’s 14 million Shia Ismaili Muslims praised this country for allowing citizens to keep their identity as they become Canadian.
“What the Canadian experience suggests to me is that honouring one’s own identity need not mean rejecting others,” he said Friday in the keynote address to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s prestigious annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium.
He spoke to more than 1,000 of Toronto’s intellectual class at the glittering new Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music, a setting he did not fail to note as he described the theme of pluralism.
“We might talk not just about the ideal of harmony — the sounding of a single chord — but also about counterpoint,” he said. “In counterpoint, each voice follows a separate musical line, but always as part of a single work of art, with a sense both of independence and belonging.”
TORONTO – The Aga Khan says Canada’s embrace of diversity makes it more likely to be counted amongst the most successful economic nations.
He says countries that are exclusionary are more likely to erupt into internal wars and suffer economic decline.
The spiritual leader of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims was in Toronto Friday to deliver a speech as Canada kicks off “Citizens’ Week” beginning next Monday.