Photo Essay: Historic Signing of Agreement in Alberta Between His Highness the Aga Khan and Premier Alison Redford
Alberta: A Brief Introduction
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had a population of 3,645,257 in 2011 making it the most populous of Canada’s three prairie provinces. Alberta and its neighbour, Saskatchewan, were established as provinces on September 1, 1905. Alberta is located in western Canada, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the US state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S. state and is also one of only two provinces that are landlocked.
Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, is located near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada’s oil sands and other northern resource industries. Approximately 300 km (190 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, Alberta’s largest city and a major distribution and transportation hub. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta’s two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding 1 million. Notable tourist destinations in the province include Canmore, Sylvan Lake, Drumheller, Banff, and Jasper.
The current Premier of the province is Alison Redford, pictured above.
Government of Alberta is the first Canadian province to have agreement with the Ismaili Imamat
In the last decades I have come to an important conclusion about governance, about the fragility of governance in the developing world and what people can do to protect themselves from governance which is not effective. I think that history is beginning to show that civil society in its complexity, but also in its ability to impact the way people live, is probably the most important single feature that I know. Building civil society is a complex exercise that needs multiple inputs that I hope we will develop with your institutions in Alberta….From remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan, Edmonton, October 24, 2012.
On Wednesday October 24, 2012, Premier Alison Redford and His Highness the Aga Khan signed an Agreement of Cooperation to expand collaboration in the areas of health sciences, education, the environment, forestry and natural resources management, culture, and private sector and economic development. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Government of Alberta and the Ismaili Imamat. The ceremony that took place at Government House, was attended by senior cabinet Ministers, representatives of the province’s leading universities as well as corporate and civil society leaders from across Alberta.
The Ismaili Imamat and the AKDN have agreements and memoranda of understanding with over 20 states and nations around the world, including the states of California, Texas and Illinois, as well as the East African Community, the Portuguese Republic, the Government of Tajikistan, the Republic of Mali and the Government of Germany. AKDN agencies conduct their programs without regard to faith, origin or gender.
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He is also the Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). AKDN is an international network of nine development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalization of historic cities.
Alberta is seen as a world leader in health, environmental management and energy development on the international stage and partnerships like these give us yet another opportunity to share that expertise with the world. The Government of Alberta and the Imamat share a commitment to ensuring that the impoverished in our communities have access to the supports they need. This agreement allows us to build relationships beyond our borders in order to combat the problem of poverty not only here at home but across the globe…Premier Alison Redford, October 24, 2012.
The agreement notes that the Province and the Imamat share a commitment to confronting persistent, varied and large scale material poverty, recognizing it as one of the great challenges facing the global community. It further stipulates that Alberta and the Aga Khan Development Network will collaborate and learn from each other in fields of mutual interest, so as to further their common goal of equitable human advancement and social justice, based on the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity.
A Day of Magnificent Opportunity
My community has lived, obviously, for centuries in a large number of countries and therefore we have a permanent presence in these countries. That’s very different from being an occasional visitor. People live in these countries and they live in good and less good circumstances, they think, they analyse, they live in hope, but also they live in sadness and in difficulty, and the last few years have not been happy in many of the countries we’re working in. So our duty is to try to convert these countries into countries of opportunity. We can’t do that alone. But we can do it with Canada and we can do with the Province of Alberta. So in that sense today is a day of magnificent opportunity and I thank you so much…..Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan, Edmonton, October 24, 2012.