Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, earlier today, His Highness the Aga Khan, joined by the Right Honourable David Johnston, officially opened the new international headquarters of the Global Centre for Pluralism, located at 330 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, an event I had the honour to attend.
For over four decades, the Aga Khan has invested in Canada’s cultural and social fabric. The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Aga Khan Garden in Edmonton, the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa and the Ismaili Imamat Centres in Vancouver and Toronto have become iconic places for engagement and enlightenment.
The Global Centre for Pluralism, which represents a unique partnership between the Ismaili Imamat and Canada, was inspired by a shared commitment with Canada’s leadership to the profound importance that pluralism must play in an interconnected world. This commitment was shared by Prime Ministers Chrétien, Martin, Harper and Trudeau, all of whom contributed to the creation of this institution.
Honourable senators, in a time where politics is becoming increasingly divisive, the Global Centre for Pluralism is a reminder that diversity is not a weakness but instead is a powerful force for good — that values of tolerance, justice, pluralism and mutual respect are very much a part of the Canadian identity.
To quote His Highness the Aga Khan:
. . . pluralism, in essence, is a deliberate set of choices that a society must make if it is to avoid costly conflict and harness the power of its diversity in solving human problems.
Our hope and expectation is that the Global Centre for Pluralism will become a vital force in our world for research, learning and dialogue, engaging Canadians from all walks of life, and joining hands with a widening array of partners.
Honourable senators, I encourage you not only to visit the Global Centre for Pluralism, which is a restoration masterpiece in its own right, but to understand how this institution can be a force in promoting global stability and harmony.
Finally, I would like to congratulate His Highness the Aga Khan, chair of the centre’s board of directors, for his significant investments in different regions in Canada and for the betterment of the world.