His Highness the Aga Khan: ‘the fruits of learning are to be at the service of all humanity’

His Highness the Aga Khan Evora
His Highness the Aga Khan is bestowed with the “Honoris Causa” doctorate degree in honour of “the extraordinary work of economic, social and cultural and educational assistance” through the Aga Khan Development Network. – Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte

“It is a privilege to be associated with a University which has remained true for so many centuries to the principle that the fruits of learning are to be at the service of all humanity. In Islam, this is a core principle of belief. In that tradition, my forefathers, the Fatimid Imam-Caliphs of Egypt, who founded Al-Azhar University and the Academy of Knowledge in Cairo a thousand years ago, viewed the acquisition of knowledge as a means to understanding, so as to serve better, God’s creation.

For them the true purpose of scholarship, and the gift of reason was to help build society and guide human aspirations. Lest it be forgotten, the society of their times was richly pluralistic when the Quranic notion of the Ahl al-Kitab – the People of the Book – and of one humanity were the driving force for tolerance and respect for difference.”

Excerpts from Remarks made by His Highness the Aga Khan upon receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Evora, Portugal, February 12, 2006

Read full speech at http://www.akdn.org/Content/229/University-of-Evora-Honorary-Doctorate

Research by Nimira Dewji

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