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Speech by His Highness The Aga Khan at the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Ceremony, Ottawa 2019-11-20

Wednesday, 2019, November 20
His Highness the Aga Khan delivers remarks during the Global Pluralism Award ceremony held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imam
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)


The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean,
The Right Honorable Joe Clark,
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario,
Friends of the Global Centre for Pluralism,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you this evening to the second Global Pluralism Award ceremony.

Thank you, Meredith, for the warm introduction. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are delighted that you have joined the Centre as Secretary General.

This evening, we are honouring ten remarkable organizations and individuals.

Some have come from as far away as Myanmar, others are working right here in Canada.

Their areas of focus are diverse and include history education, music, political empowerment and virtual exchange.

Taken together, this outstanding group of recipients represents a new wave of leadership working around the world for a brighter future free of exclusion and division.

The Award should serve as a reminder that we can all take steps, in both our personal and professional lives, to foster a more positive and productive response to the changing diversity in our world.

A more inclusive, understanding approach to diversity is needed more than ever today. The Award offers examples to inspire how we take on that challenge.

This year’s recipients join the inaugural group of honourees from 2017, to form a growing global community of pluralism leaders.

Their stories and expertise are being shared in all parts of the globe, illustrating how pluralism can be put into practice even in the most intractable situations.

The three Award winners are receiving $50,000 each to further their endeavours. The Centre will collaborate closely with them over the next year to help amplify their important work.

By bringing their stories to an international audience, the Centre aims to help deepen awareness of their accomplishments and connect them to global partners. Shortly, we will have the opportunity to learn more about each of them.

But first, I would like to salute the international jury. The jurors had the very difficult task of selecting three winners and seven honourable mentions among a very impressive pool of submissions.

Their diligent work in selecting these ten from over 500 submissions, received from 74 countries, is very much appreciated.

I congratulate the jury’s skilful chair, former Canadian Prime Minister the Right Honourable Joe Clark, as well as its other distinguished members: Ms. Paula Gaviria Betancur, Dr. Siva Kumari, Dr. Tarek Mitri, His Worship Naheed Nenshi, Ms. Ory Okolloh, and Ms. Pascale Thumerelle.

Finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you for joining us for what will certainly be a dynamic evening of celebration and storytelling.

I invite you to sit back and let the achievements of the Global Pluralism Award honourees inspire you and move you.

Thank you.

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