Retrospective: 1988 Interview with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Co-ordinator for United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes relating to Afghanistan

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan poses for photographers 12 July 1988, as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, to be received as UN coordinator for Afghanistan. Son of Aga Khan III, Sadruddin worked 12 years as UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Graduated from Harvard, he was named in 1988 coordinator of United Nations Organization (ONU) for the rebuilding of Afghanistan, and, in 1990, as personal representative of General Secretary of ONU, Javier Perez de Cuellar, for the humanitarian assistance during the Gulf War. Aga Khan is also the Bellerive Foundation president founded in 1977 to study scientific, technological and peace issues. (Image credit PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan poses for photographers 12 July 1988, as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, to be received as UN coordinator for Afghanistan. Son of Aga Khan III, Sadruddin worked 12 years as UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Graduated from Harvard, he was named in 1988 coordinator of United Nations Organization (ONU) for the rebuilding of Afghanistan, and, in 1990, as personal representative of General Secretary of ONU, Javier Perez de Cuellar, for the humanitarian assistance during the Gulf War. Aga Khan is also the Bellerive Foundation president founded in 1977 to study scientific, technological and peace issues. (Image credit PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the historic agreement signed in Geneva on April 14, 1988 between Afghanistan and Pakistan, on May 11, the U.N. Secretary General appointed Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan to the position of Co-ordinator for United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes relating to Afghanistan.

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan who held the post of UN high Commissioner for refugees from 1966 to the end of 1977 granted an exclusive interview to REFUGEES in September 1988, in which he defined his aims and priorities.

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: The first priority, as determined by the Secretary-General, was to mobilize the entire UN system in a co-ordinated effort to facilitate the resettlement of fort to facilitate the resettlement of all those displaced by the conflict in Afghanistan – both the refugees out side and those who are now homeless and uprooted within their own country. After this, to build up the basic infrastructure, essential to return to normal living in a country which has, quite literally, been laid waste, and where the list of needs is endless.

My role, then, is basically to rally all the means at the UN’s disposal to develop an inter-agency action plan tailored to the situation and the needs of the Afghan people, and to make sure that fund raising efforts are integrated rather than coming from a number of different sources, because this would, of course, create considerable confusion. It is in any event , crucial for projects and programmes on a regional basis to be both unified and autonomous. We must at all costs avoid establishing a kind of dependence on charitable handouts from outside. This would be totally alien to the nature of the Afghans, who are a very dignified and independent people.

Another of my task, as I see my role, is to conduct negotiations – of necessity a very delicate matter in such a mercurial political situation – with all the parties concerned: the governments and the Afghan authorities, particularly in those regions where we will be called upon to take action. I also see my role as providing a clearing-house for all information relating to Afghanistan and of possible interest to the UN system: to the donor countries who will want to know how their contributions for each sector are to be used, and also to the non-governmental organizations already working in the field, or who will soon be working alongside us.

It is my belief that elements of the role entrusted to me by the Secretary-General have been clearly understood. They have been referred to right from the start in all the analyses of the situation in Afghanistan.

Excerpt presented below from Refugees – November 1988 and as referenced in the newly released autobiography of “Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: Humanitarian and Visionary.” Read the complete interview by Annick Billard of the Refugees magazine – November 1988 edition at The Heritage Society.

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Remarks by Nicola Spafford Furey, Vice President of Earth Focus Foundation at the book launch of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s biography (Image credit: Anvar Nanji) Speech: Remarks by Nicola Spafford Furey, Vice President of Earth Focus Foundation at the book launch of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s biography - “I was always amazed at his [Prince Sadruddin’s] great respect for the young, he said,…
Diana Miserez, author of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: Humanitarian and Visionary (Image credit: Anvar Nanji) Speech: Remarks by Diana Miserez, author of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: Humanitarian and Visionary - “And how appropriate it is for this tribute to be taking place in the building…
Remarks by UNHCR Chief Filippo Grandi at the book launch of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s biography (Image credit: Anvar Nanji) Video: Remarks of UNHCR Chief Filippo Grandi at the book launch of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s biography - “A true internationalist who transformed UNHCR … ”   – Filippo Grandi UNHCR Refugee Chief…
Social Media: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan's Book Launch Social Media: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s Book Launch - Social Media Posts. Live from UN Geneva - Book launch - Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: Humanitarian and Visionary By Diana Miserez
The late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan with Secretary-General U Thant at his home on 23 June 1971. (Image credit: Teddy Chan, United Nations via Simerg) What people are saying about the Prince Sadruddin biography by Diana Miserez - "This long needed biography seeks to do belated justice to a great humanitarian, who saw what was coming down the line and what would be needed..."
Talking to Diana Miserez, author of Prince Sadruddin’s biography and Nicola Spafford Furey, VP of Earth Focus Foundation one day before the book launch event at the UN - Diana Miserez, author of Prince Sadruddin's biography and Nicola Spafford Furey, VP of Earth Focus Foundation reminiscing about Aga Khan and Ismailis ahead of Prince Sadruddin's book launch at the UN in Geneva.
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan - Constellation of Honours (image credit: UNHCR) Prince Sadruddin’s Constellation of Honors - Resources on the internet summarize but a partial list of world wide honors invested on…
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Sadruddin Aga Khan UN High Commissioner for Refugees 1965-1977. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadruddin Aga Khan being interviewed in front of the "City of Galway". (Image credit: UNHCR / D. Vittet / June 1971) Contemplate: Prince Sadruddin’s inspiring 1975 address to the newly settled Ismaili community in Canada - Excerpts from Prince Sadruddin's address delivered to the Ismaili Muslim community on Wednesday, 22 January 1975 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
French Minister of Culture pays tribute to Prince Sadruddin as he decorates His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan and Prince Amyn with honors Reflection: French Minister of Culture pays tribute to Prince Sadruddin as he decorates His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan and Prince Amyn with honours - About 7 years ago, French Minister Frédéric Mitterrand paid an elaborate tribute to the Aga Khan family highlighting the contributions of Prince Sadruddin and the Noorani family.

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