The proclamation makes reference to the Aga Khan’s “longstanding commitment to improving the human condition” and his work in the global South through the development institution that he founded over 50 years ago, the Aga Khan Development Network. The network operates in more than 30 countries and has a broad scope, which includes education, health care, financial services and cultural and environmental preservation.
At first glance, the Aga Khan appears to be like any other rich philanthropist — another Bill Gates or George Soros perhaps, using his private wealth to venture into previously colonized worlds to rescue its people through service delivery. That, in fact, is one of the ways in which the Aga Khan is popularly viewed in Western contexts: a philanthropist, a social entrepreneur, a do-gooder.
The reduction of the Aga Khan’s work to these trendy idioms, though well-meaning, is misguided.
Read more at the source: Fair Observer
Shenila Khoja-Moolji is a scholar of gender, Islam and youth studies. She is the author of “Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia” and holds a PhD in education from Columbia University.