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Lusophone Presidents welcomed at the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat 2024-04-24

Wednesday, 2024, April 24
Their Excellencies Presidents José Maria Neves of Cabo Verde, Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of

Heads of State from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) were hosted yesterday at the Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat. Prince Rahim and Prince Aly Muhammad welcomed Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and leaders from other Lusophone countries. | Em português

In attendance were Their Excellencies José Maria Neves, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, José Ramos-Horta, and Carlos Manuel Vila Nova—the Presidents of Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, and Sao Tome and Principe, respectively, accompanied by their delegations.

Other guests at the event included the President of Portugal’s Parliament, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Rangel and other senior state officials and diplomats. The President of the Ismaili Council for Portugal, Yasmin Bhudarally, and the leaders of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Portugal also attended.

The CPLP was founded in 1996 as a forum to enhance mutual friendship and cooperation amongst its member-states, which include Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste.

Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal, welcomed the guests and highlighted the value of multilateralism in uniting people of diverse faiths and cultures by promoting knowledge, dialogue, and pluralism. He also spoke of AKDN’s work around the world.

“Social responsibility guides our action at all levels,” he said, “in different corners of the world, for the economic, social and cultural development of the populations with whom we cooperate.”

The reception comes during this week’s 50th anniversary commemoration of the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, a turning point in Portugal's history.

“On the eve of April 25—the day dedicated to the struggle for peace and multilateralism, the Ismaili Imamat is an example of peace-building and multilateralism in the world,” said President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in his remarks.

Since the 1930s, Portugal and its colonies had been ruled by an authoritarian government. But on 25 April 1974, a spontaneous, peaceful revolution broke out, which led to an overthrow of the dictatorship and a rapid decolonisation process. Citizens were given the freedom to express opinions, vote for their leaders, and participate in decision making, which set the stage for the country to embrace democracy and embark on a path of progress.

Soon after, Portugal opened its borders to migrants from its African territories, including a number of Ismailis from Mozambique, who made the country their home. The revolution also opened opportunities for growth and development: Portugal became more connected with Europe and the rest of the world, while making strides in areas like education, healthcare, and the economy. Ever since, 25 April has been celebrated annually as Dia da Liberdade, or Freedom Day.

AKDN agencies have been present in Portugal since 1983, with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) working in the areas of early childhood education, social inclusion, and urban poverty. Across all its activities, AKF seeks to help communities drive their own progress, connecting people from all walks of life, and working with them to help identify and realise their aspirations.

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