Celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Imamat of His Highness the Aga Khan commenced on July 11 2017 and will conclude on July 11 2018 in Portugal.  The Jubilee marks 60 years since His Highness became the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the gCelobal Shia Ismaili Muslims.

According to press release issued by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), during the year, His Highness received invitations from Heads of various states to visit the countries with official visits. These countries have close and long-lasting relationship with the Ismaili Imamat.  This week, the leader of Ismaili Community will arrive to Portugal to commemorate the conclusion of his Diamond Jubilee. 

Over 40,000 Ismaili Muslims will gather in Lisbon for a series of special events for this commemoration of the 60-years of leadership of the Aga Khan.

The festive week will be the culmination of the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan.

During this week Lisbon will host the following events:

A global Diamond Jubilee Festival will be held in Lisbon over the days of July 5-11 2018, and will include two Jubilee concerts featuring world-renowned performers; an international Jamati Talent Showcase; an Art Gallery; a Film Festival, and a series of general celebrations.

Jubilee concerts will be held with participation of famous performers, including Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Salim Suleiman, Nobovar Chanorov, Cheb Khalid and Vishal Shekhar.

Two exhibitions - Rays of Light, Ethics in Action are targeted at raising awareness on the work and achievements of His Highness the Aga Khan in the last 60 years.

Jubilee Darbar will conclude the Jubilee year.

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan became Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on 11th July, 1957 at the age of 20, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan.  He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.

In recent generations, the Aga Khan’s family has followed a tradition of service in international affairs. His grandfather was President of the League of Nations and his father, the late Prince Aly Khan, was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations.  His uncle, the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, served as the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations’ Coordinator for assistance to Afghanistan and United Nations’ Executive Delegate of the Iraq-Turkey border areas.

Since acceding to the Imamat, Prince Karim Aga Khan, like his grandfather, has focused on efforts concerning the well-being of the Ismaili community, the wider Muslim Community, and the people amongst whom they live.  The Aga Khan’s work is underpinned by an emphasis on Islam as a spiritual faith which cherishes the role of the intellect, teaches compassion and tolerance, and upholds the dignity of humankind.  

More than his grandfather, the Aga Khan IV has had to deal with multiple governments, each with its own aspirations.  Adaptation to change, at an ever faster pace, has been a consistent feature of the period since 1957. It is because of rapid changes in the local and national circumstances in which the Ismaili community has lived since 1957, that Prince Karim Aga Khan has avoided his direct personal involvement with international agencies and has replaced the direct personal roles that were held in the past by his grandfather and other members of his family by new relationships between these agencies and apex entities of the Ismaili Imamat.  His Highness has, thus, preserved and upheld traditional political neutrality of his office.  The Ismaili Imamat is completely above, and independent of, politics and political allegiances.  The Imamat has, however, either directly or through the instrumentality of AKDN, developed close structured relationships with individual countries, regions and international organizations, through formal diplomatic Protocols and Agreements of Cooperation, which provide an enabling framework for the Imamat and its development agencies and which accord diplomatic status to the Imamat and its representatives and missions.

Most notably, in November 2015, the Republic of Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat signed a landmark agreement which had two significant outcomes.  At the invitation of the Portuguese Government, the Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims established the Seat (global headquarters) of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon.  The treaty, which was unanimously passed in the Portuguese parliament, recognizes the Ismaili Imamat by the Portuguese Republic as an international entity endowed with the legal personality and capacity to act in national and international relations.

AKDN is the Ismaili Imamat’s contemporary endeavor to realize the social conscience of Islam, through institutional action.  At present, the Network brings together ten agencies as well as other programs and projects that have been built up over the past sixty years by the Aga Khan, in some cases, building on those established by his grandfather.

The AKDN is present in 35 countries across South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.  Their combined mandate is to improve living conditions and to help relieve society of the burdens of ignorance, disease, and deprivation.  Their individual mandates range from education, health, economic development, culture, and the strengthening of civil society: global experience shows that a meritocratic and pluralist civil society is an underwriter of human progress.  AKDN agencies conduct their programs without regard to the faith, origin or gender of the people they serve.  The underpinning impulse for the Network is the Muslim ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society and the duty, guided by the ethics of Islam, to contribute to improving the quality of all human life.  To pursue their mandates, AKDN institutions rely on the energy, dedication, and skills of volunteers as well as remunerated professionals, and draw upon the talents of people of all faiths.

The AKDN is an independent, self-governing system of agencies, institutions, programs, and partnerships under the leadership of the Ismaili Imamat.  The Network is supported by the Ismaili community, with its tradition of philanthropy, voluntary service and self-reliance, as well as resources from the Ismaili Imamat, national and local governments, and civil society partners including non-governmental organizations, private sector enterprises and individuals.