Reflection: Aga Khan III’s remarks at the League of Nations still ring true in today’s fractured world

“Indeed, all the problems that fall to the League of Nations may be ultimately reduced to one – that of man, and the dignity of man.

 

It is in that sense that the work of the League assumes its true significance and acquires its permanent value.

 

The tribulations of one people are the tribulations of all. That which weakens one weakens all. That which is a gain to one is surely a gain to all. This is no empty ideal.

 

It is a veritable compass to guide aright the efforts of statesmen in every country and of all men of good will who, desiring the good of their own people, desire the good of the whole world.”

 

– His Highness Aga Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III

President of the Assembly, League of Nations

Adjournment Speech – “The Task Before the League of Nations”

18th Assembly of the League of Nations

Geneva, Switzerland

October 6, 1937

 

18 Assembly showing His Highness Aga Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III in the Presidential Chair. Geneva 1937 - Closeup - Photo League of Nations Archieve
18 Assembly showing His Highness Aga Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III in the Presidential Chair. Geneva 1937 – Photo League of Nations Archieve

 

In the pre-independence years of India, Aga Khan III made a number of high profile visits abroad, including the imperial conference in London in 1930–31, the Geneva Disarmament Conference in 1932, and the League of Nations in 1932 and in 1934–37. In 1937, he was appointed the president of the General Assembly of the League of Nations for his pioneering leadership role.

 

“The basis of all security is a foreign policy rooted in mutual goodwill and cooperation; a foreign policy in which no country covets its neighbor’s possessions or seeks to infringe its moral and spiritual rights.”

 

– His Highness Aga Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III

India’s Delegate to the League of Nations at the 14th Session

Disarmament Conference, Geneva, Switzerland.

February 19, 1932

 

 

“These values have been upheld and embodied by your family to the highest degree.

 

In welcoming you here this evening we also pay homage to the memory of your grandfather, His Highness the 48th Imam, who had the onerous task of being Secretary General of the League of Nations in 1937 and 1938, in a political climate requiring courage from all who were advocates for peace.”

 

– M. Frédéric Mitterrand,

French Minister of Culture and Communication,

November 9, 2010

 

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