Road to Jubilee Games: Aga Khan, Sports & Diplomacy

di·plo·ma·cy (noun)

the art, practice and skill of handling affairs in maintaining good relations with all without arousing hostility

 

Sports Diplomacy

Yesterday, I visited the magnificent new Aga Khan educational institution. I was shown enough of its work to convince me that this school compared with the finest in the world.

 

One event which I witnessed was a boxing match between two Ismaili boys — one African, one Asian. I saw a good fight and at the end I think each of them thought he had won. Perhaps both were right!

 

To me, this friendly contest reflected something of tremendous importance to our community. It reflected first the qualities of determination and endurance which are demanded by our faith.

These qualities are also necessary to the future leaders of the community and for the country as a whole.

 

At the end of this sporting event, the two boys shook hands and stood together to be photographed.

 

To me this symbolised the partnership between different races which I am convinced is the only condition of peace and prosperity.”

 

– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims

Takht Nashini (Enthronement) Ceremony, Kampala, Uganda, October 25, 1957

 

Competitive Skiing

A champion skier, Mawlana Hazar Imam represented Iran in the men’s downhill skiing at the IX Olympic Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria in 1964 in addition to winning the 1962 Robert of Kandahar Cup at Davos, Switzerland for downhill skiing.

Prince Karim Aga Khan in a ski race in Villars, Switzerland - 1960 (Photo by Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)
Prince Karim Aga Khan in a ski race in Villars, Switzerland – 1960 (Photo by Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)

Karim Aga Khan at a skiing competition in the ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, Kitzbühel, Austria -January 22, 1962 (Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images)
Karim Aga Khan, waiting his turn, at a skiing competition in the ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, Kitzbühel, Austria. January 22, 1962 (Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images)
Karim Aga Khan, passing the finish line banner at a skiing competition in the ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, Kitzbühel, Austria. January 22, 1962 (Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images)
Karim Aga Khan, passing the finish line banner at a skiing competition in the ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, Kitzbühel, Austria. January 22, 1962 (Photo by Philippe Le Tellier/Paris Match via Getty Images)

 

Soccer at Harvard University

Prince Karim Aga Khan on Harvard's soccer team. (Photo by Willy Rizzo/Paris Match via Getty Images)
Prince Karim Aga Khan on Harvard’s soccer team. (Photo by Willy Rizzo/Paris Match via Getty Images)

 

“I was born right-handed, I had the good fortune to come into this world left-footed. Soccer players who could kick with their left foot were very rare in the United States in those days. This meant that I was able to make the Freshman Soccer team as the left wing.

 

We were a distinguished group; we turned in an undefeated season, and also had the distinction of all being on a list in the Dean’s office, not to be confused with the Dean’s list, although we were never troubled to explain that fine distinction very fully to our parents.

 

To this day I am convinced that I owe my Harvard degree to my left foot.”

 

– His Highness the Aga Khan, Keynote Address at the Association of American Universities Centenary Celebration

 Washington D.C. April 22nd, 2001

Association of American Universities is a nonprofit association of 60 U.S. and 2 Canadian preeminent public and private research universities

 

His Highness the Aga Khan at Harvard - coaching moment (Image - Life Magazine)
His Highness the Aga Khan at Harvard – coaching moment (Image – Life Magazine)

His Highness the Aga Khan during soccer practice at Harvard (Image – Life Magazine)
His Highness the Aga Khan during soccer practice at Harvard (Image – Life Magazine)

 

Canada & Ice Hockey

Aga Khan praises Canada as role model of freedom and tolerance
The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, is applauded as he arrives to deliver an address in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, February 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Photograph by: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick , Postmedia News

“I must also thank you, Prime Minister, for inviting me to become an honorary citizen. May I congratulate you on the gold medals of your remarkable hockey teams in Sochi.

 

As an ex-player myself I was hoping you would require your honorary citizens to join your team. I am convinced that the Dalai Lama and I would have been a formidable defense.”

 

– His Highness the Aga Khan, addressing both the Houses of the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa, Canada Thursday, February 27, 2014.

 

Prince Karim Aga Khan, an accomplished athlete seen here playing hockey. Le Rosey's hockey team was so strong that it competed against men's teams in the national championships.
Prince Karim Aga Khan, an accomplished athlete seen here playing hockey. Le Rosey’s hockey team was so strong that it competed against men’s teams in the national championships. (Photo: Ismaili.net)

His Highness the Aga Khan among the five in Canada's history to be honoured with the Honorary Canadian Citizenship. Aga Khan/Stephen Harper. Top: Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (posthumously in 1985); former South Africa president and Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela (2001); the Dalai Lama (2006); and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi (2007), a Nobel laureate (Photo: TheIsmaili.org)
His Highness the Aga Khan among the five in Canada’s history to be honoured with the Honorary Canadian Citizenship in 2009. Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulates His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan while handing him the Honorary Canadian Citizenship.
Top: Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (posthumously in 1985); late South Africa president and Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela (2001); the Dalai Lama (2006); and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi (2007), a Nobel laureate. (Photo: TheIsmaili.org)
1st August 1953: Prince Amyn Aga Khan about to break the tape in a race at Le Rosey, Switzerland. (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images)
1st August 1953: Prince Amyn Aga Khan about to break the tape in a race at Le Rosey, Switzerland. (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images)

 

Road to Jubilee Games

The year 2016 heralds to be a banner year for international sports competitions around the world. In the world of soccer, COPA America concluded last week and yesterday, Portugal won the UEFA Euro 2016 in France. Earlier in the year, cricket fans around the world enjoyed Sixth Season of ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India.

Looking ahead, in less than 10 days, Ismailis around the world will be converging in Dubai to celebrate the 2nd Jubilee Games

Later in the summer – the Olympics in Brazil will capture the world’s attention.

All these large sporting events are opportunities for improving human relations through diplomacy in sports – realizing the power of sports to affect change and PEACE building through sports and culture.

 

Zul Abdul, President - Ismaili Council for Kenya in conversation with Prince Hussain Aga Khan
From Ismailimail Archives – Golden Jubilee Celebrations: Zul Abdul, President – Ismaili Council for Kenya in conversation with Prince Hussain Aga Khan at the 1st Jubilee Games in Nairobi, Kenya

 

Two summers ago, in 2014, Ismailimail prepared a special Sports Diplomacy series with that view in mind, to share inspiring views and actions from around the world, stemming from the encounter of people, places, soccer and everything in between. Here you will read about those stories that bring people together, binding them together in victory or defeat, sharing their moments of joy and sorrow – laughter and tears, strengthening the human fraternity with friendship and service. This dominant impulse of kinship and love for one another is what being human is all about.

Prince Karim Aga Khan playing tabble tennis in Gstaad, in Switzerland. January 1959 (Photo via Getty Images)
Prince Karim Aga Khan playing tabble tennis in Gstaad, in Switzerland. January 1959 (Photo via Getty Images)

We leave you with this incredibly inspiring video from the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa that is sure to touch your heart.

We hope you find these series as inspiring as we did in producing them!

 

Accelerate your awareness … Learn even more!

 

Sports Diplomacy

Aga Khan

 

Jubilee Games & Ismaili Games

 

Ismaili Impact

 

FIFA

 

Inspiring Stories

 


Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali


Author: ismailimail

Civil society media.   Find Ismailimail blog on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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