Dar es Salaam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on Wednesday received the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship in a ceremony which concluded the three-day Degrees’ Citizen Space conference and the new public initiative of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, according to a statement released by the Aga Khan Development Network on Friday.
The award recognizes an individual whose life has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the ideals of belonging and inclusion.
Accepting the Prize in Toronto, the Aga Khan focused his remarks on the values of global citizenship and the spirit of pluralism on which it rests. He noted that embracing such values “should not mean compromising the bonds of local or national citizenship. The call of pluralism should ask us to respect our differences, but not to ignore them; to integrate diversity, not to depreciate diversity,” reads part of statement that quoted him. The Aga Khan also reflected on the responsibility to improve quality of life in places around the world where it is unsatisfactory. A “healthy pluralistic ethic,” he suggested, can be instrumental in fighting poverty, improving health and education, and expanding opportunity, according to the statement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his own warm sentiments in a video message played during the ceremony.
“In his address, the Aga Khan acknowledged that living with diversity is a challenging process but that the work of pluralism is always a work in progress. In speaking about these challenges, he reinforced that one’s identity need not be diluted in a pluralistic world, but rather fulfilled, as one bright thread in a cloth of many colours.”
His Highness concluded by commenting on the future of global citizenship, reinforcing that, no matter how difficult it is to achieve a pluralistic mindset, the attempt to integrate these values into everyday life is one of the most important tasks facing the world today: