A compendium of news and events at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
Updated 10 February 2017
Ali Velshi and moderator John Stackhouse discuss how the creation of fake news obscures facts and prevents needed debate about important world events.Akber Dewji
Toronto, 26 January 2017 — Mixed Messages: Fact, Fiction, and Judgement was the title of a very timely Ismaili Centre International Lecture and discussion featuring celebrated author and journalist Ali Velshi.
“Fake news is fed by a view of the media as perpetrators of an ‘elite consensus’ that questions some assumptions more than others,” said Velshi, Chief Business Analyst at NBC News and an anchor at MSNBC, to a full audience that included executives from Ryerson University, Global News and civil society leaders.
”The biggest problem with fake news isn’t just that it exists. It’s that it’s a wolf in a journalist’s clothing,” he continued.”It's that it’s now being used... by people who would have you believe that the real news is fake.”
Velshi — who was previously CNN's chief business correspondent and a primetime anchor at Al Jazeera America — went on to present his interpretation of the two roles of journalism. The first is to simply bear witness to current events and document what is happening. The second is to hold authority to account, and to speak truth to power. He stressed that we should take great care to not become a society where “we are not even able to discern the truth.”
The event was moderated by John Stackhouse, Senior Vice-President in the Office of the CEO at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and former editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail. Global News anchor Farah Nasser was the emcee.
Closing remarks were given by Ismaili Council for Ontario President Sheherazade Hirji, who said, "it is not just the media’s responsibility to engage in respectful, ethical, balanced and reliable journalism. It is our collective responsibility...to ensure that the narrative and the manner in which we consume and share that information is consistent with the values and ideals of an inclusive and tolerant world where we embrace differences and diversity.”
Hundreds of people watched the event live on TheIsmaili.org. It was presented in partnership with Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communications & Design and Global News.
Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal with his family and members of the Ismaili Council for Ontario.Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Ontario
Toronto, 5 August 2016 — Ghalib Iqbal, former Ambassador of Pakistan to France, visited the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum today, accompanied by his family and guests from the Pakistani community.
The President of the Ismaili Council for Ontario and senior executives from the Aga Khan Museum welcomed Ambassador Iqbal. The tour included a walk through the Aga Khan Park and a viewing of various spaces within the Museum.
Ambassador Iqbal, who recently completed his term as Pakistan’s chief diplomat to France, served as the Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto between 2002–07.
Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal, who joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1983, recently completed his term as Pakistan’s chief diplomat to France. He previously served as the Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto between 2002–07, and has been posted in a number of countries around the world, including Sweden and Italy.
Canadian Ambassador to Portugal Jeffrey Marder at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Ghulam Ali
Toronto, 27 July 2016 — The Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre welcomed His Excellency Jeffrey Marder, Canada’s Ambassador to Portugal this afternoon. During his visit, Ambassador Marder toured the Museum, including the Alvaro Siza exhibition, the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre.
An experienced executive public servant and diplomat, the ambassador has served in Latin America and the Caribbean, South America, the Andean Region, Chile, and Mexico.
Later in the day, Brigadier General Chaudhary Sarfraz Ali also visited the Aga Khan Museum, the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre. Brigadier General Ali has served as the Defence and Military Attaché at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC since January 2015.
Pamela Kertland Wright, Honorary Consul for Canada in Kampala, Uganda with her father and Sadru Jetha.Courtesy of Sadru Jetha
Toronto, 26 July 2016 — Pamela Kertland Wright, Canada’s Honorary Consul to the Republic of Uganda visited the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre. The Government of Canada is the largest funder of social development activities conducted by the Aga Khan Development Network in Uganda, and the visit served to strengthen an already special relationship with the Canadian Consulate in Kampala.
“I was utterly enchanted by the collection at the Museum and am already planning a return visit so I can meander through it all at a slow, slow pace,” wrote the Honorary Consul of her visit. “The tour of the Ismaili Centre was fascinating, and it was a real privilege to stand barefoot under the impressive crystal dome of the Jamatkhana.
Pamela Wright is also a founder and director of Wildplaces Africa and the Uganda Safari Company, which in addition to offering lodging and high-end safaris to tourists visiting Uganda, also works with communities to promote conservation and greater awareness of environmental issues.
A multimedia art installation by Faisal Anwar in the Ismaili Centre Atrium Lounge for the Festival of Flight.Salim Nensi
Toronto, July 16–17 2016 — The Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park, in collaboration with the Ontario Science Centre, hosted a magical, family-friendly Festival of Flight this weekend. Inspired by flight, flying, the skies, stars and heavens, the event attracted over 1 500 families.
The weekend was filled with aerial themed activities. Workshops hosted by the Ontario Science Centre allowed children to learn about principles of flight as they created their own flying objects including origami paper birds, paper kites and planes. An exciting up-close demonstration allowed children to come face to face with live birds of prey in the Aga Khan Park.
On the patio of the Ismaili Centre Social Hall, kids (and parents) were captivated by water rockets that were propelled by pumping air into a bottle of water — and getting soaked in the process!
One of the most endearing activities at the festival took place in the Ismaili Centre Atrium Lounge where acclaimed artist Faisal Anwar had installed the multimedia art project Up in the Sky High 2016. The art showcased the Toronto skyline and eco-friendly white balloons, inviting viewers to experience the many faces of the sky above us.
Children of all ages made wishes before releasing their flying origami bird — propelled upwards by a balloon — into the heavens. Storytellers recounted mythical tales from the conference of the birds, and held the attention of adults and children alike.
The Park was alive with the sounds of drummers from the Maracatu Mar Aberto Brazilian band and the mystical folkloric music from the deserts of Rajasthan by the band Rajasthan Josh.
The event was hugely popular with kids and parents, with entertainment for the entire family, food stalls in the park, and movies, arts and crafts activities at the Aga Khan Museum.
The Festival of Flight is part of a signature partnership in the City of Toronto’s Cultural Hot Spot Program.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Akber Dewji
Toronto, 5 July 2016 — Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders toured the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park, along with members of his senior team, and his family. The visit was an opportunity to learn about the significance of these projects and their contribution to promoting an informed understanding of Islam and Muslim society.
Chief Saunders said that he and his team were "very interested and impressed by the [Ismaili] Centre, prayer hall and art." He also had a chance to learn about the Jubilee Games Fanous and to hold it before it traveled to Dubai for the 2016 Jubilee Games.
The Chief is in his 32nd year with the Toronto Police Services, an organisation that he represents through numerous leadership roles in committees and partnerships. He has received several awards for his passion for policing and encourages community-building initiatives as a way to improve communication between the city's communities and its police force.
Chief Saunders later posted on Twitter about the tours, writing that he had a “wonderfully rich cultural, historical, architectural and educational experience.”
Shamez Mohamed discusses the making of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Salim Nensi
Toronto, June 2016 — A series of lectures on the making of the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park were held over three consecutive weeks at the Ismaili Centre.
Shamez Mohamed, Executive Officer of Imara (Wynford Drive) Limited and Imara (Sussex Drive) Limited led a team of volunteers and staff in the management of these projects over the construction period. He provided an inside perspective on the three projects, sharing stories behind various decisions that were made, and some of the challenges that had to be overcome.
From the Ground Up: Creating the Aga Khan Park retraced the journey of the Park’s Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic as he travelled to multiple Islamic parks, seeking inspiration for his design. He sought to develop a park that would allow the visitor to experience all the five senses — sound, sight, hearing, taste and touch. Today, with its precisely engineered reflecting pools surrounded by crushed gravel, over 8 000 shrubs and some 550 trees, the Aga Khan Park is a park for all seasons.
In the second lecture, Spaces for Contemplation, Discovery and Learning: Development of the Ismaili Centre Toronto, Mohamed began by recounting the acquisition of the properties and looked back on the design competition that led to the late Charles Correa being selected as architect for the Ismaili Centre. The third lecture, Inspired by Light: Making the Aga Khan Museum, discussed the complex and linear architecture of the Museum along with stories about the construction of the galleries, the auditorium and the Bellerive Room.
All events were at capacity attendance and included a lively question and answer session to end the evening.
A tour guide explains some of the artwork at the Ismaili Centre, TorontoAkber Dewji
Toronto, 1 June 2016 — The Ismaili Centre opened its doors to the public on 28 and 29 May as part of Doors Open Toronto, an annual city-wide celebration of architecture.
Some 5 800 visitors toured the Jamatkhana, described as “one of the great rooms in Toronto” by Alex Bozikovic at the Globe and Mail, and marvelled at the tranquility of the space and the uniqueness of its architectural elements.
During their journey through the building, visitors learned about the intricate art and calligraphy installations, and enjoyed viewing the Our Stories, Our Images, Our Future exhibition, which showcases photographs by youth in Canada, India, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Since 2000, Doors Open Toronto has offered free and rare access to approximately 700 architecturally, historically and socially significant buildings across the city. Produced by the City of Toronto, it is Canada's largest Doors Open event and one of the largest anywhere in the world.
Farrokh Derakshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, highlights the shortlisted projects for the 2016 cycle.Alnoor Meralli
Toronto, 20 May 2016 — The Aga Khan Award for Architecture held a special presentation at the Ismaili Centre, announcing the 19 projects shortlisted for the 2016 cycle of the award.
Presentations were made by members of the Award Steering Committee, Dr Azim Nanji and Hanif Kara, as well as Farrokh Derakshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, who explained the impact that the award has had on Islamic architecture since its inception in 1977.
The shortlisted projects had been selected by the Master Jury from amongst 348 initiatives nominated for the 13th award cycle, and each was featured as part of a panel exhibition. Over 215 participants attended the event and many others had viewed posters of the projects in advance.
Established in 1977 and awarded every three years, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture selects projects that not only exhibit architectural excellence, but also improve quality of life. The Award is unique in its wide recognition of the roles played by municipalities, builders, clients, master craftsmen, and engineers in the realisation of a project.
Around the world, the Award is seen as an important influence in global architectural discourse, and in the built environment of the Muslim world in particular.
Toronto City Councillor Chin Lee, Adam Nanjee of MaRS Discovery District and Dr Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District at the innovation showcase.Courtesy of Ismaili Council for Canada
Toronto, 12 May 2016 — Executives and business leaders from across Canada and Hong Kong gathered at the Ismaili Centre to share ideas on global innovation and entrepreneurship. The conference, held by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited and MaRS Discovery District, included a panel discussion featuring global entrepreneurs and a showcase of companies and technologies.
“We are thrilled to have brought together innovation communities from Toronto and Hong Kong to showcase and drive collaboration around financial and legal technologies,” said Adam Nanjee, Head of Financial Technology at MaRS.
Cyberport and MaRS are the largest innovation hubs respectively in Hong Kong and North America. The conference focused on innovations in the legal, financial and consumer fields.
Judges from the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice with national and local Jamati institutional leaders.Moez Visram
Toronto, 7 May 2016 – Members of the judiciary from the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice toured the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum, where they learned about the significance of the site, including the Aga Khan Park and the role that each landmark plays in promoting an informed understanding of Islam and Muslim communities.
During their visit, the judges also had an opportunity to explore the Our Stories, Our Images, Our Futures photo exhibition featured at the Ismaili Centre, which showcases the photographic storytelling skills of 20 youth aged 14–18 from urban and rural backgrounds in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, and Canada. The stories depicted in these photographs animated a discussion about the work of the Aga Khan Development Network and its projects, designed to improve the global human condition.
“I really appreciated the opportunity that this special tour of the Centre and Museum provided to share my positive experience with a dozen of my colleagues,” remarked Justice Sheila Ray of the Ontario Court of Justice. “I wanted them to see the Canadian influences on the Islamic art and architecture of the Centre through the use of wood, and feel that this was both Islamic and Canadian architecture, reflective of Canada's diversity.”
Additional tours over the course of the year are being planned to introduce other leading members of the Canadian legal community to the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum.
Toronto, 22 April 2016 — Experts and leaders from a variety of disciplines came together at the Ismaili Centre to take part in a thought-provoking dialogue on stigma in mental illness and poverty.Muhammad Mamdani, Chair of the Aga Khan Health Board Canada with participants at the Mental Health roundtable discussion.Amir Hemraj
Hosted by the Aga Khan Health Board for Canada, the roundtable discussion aimed to better understand and find ways to decrease the role of stigma for individuals dealing with mental illness and poverty. Global News television anchor Farah Nasser moderated the discussion.
With representation from the public service, police services, poverty and mental health advocacy organisations, researchers, clinicians, and the Ismaili institutions, the discussion brought a variety of perspectives to bear on a very important issue, and demonstrated the value of plurality and multi-sectoral approaches to community building and learning.
According to one participant, the event was an opportunity for learning and networking and offered a “meaningful exchange of ideas and expertise to improve our health and humanity.” Others described it as “relevant,” “powerful,” “wonderful,” and “real,” and were grateful for the “spirit and humility” shared by their fellow participants.
The passionate dialogue was accompanied by commitments to act, ranging from talking to coworkers about the role of stigma to changing the way government policies are structured to combat it more effectively. A white paper capturing the essence of the roundtable discussion will then be shared with the public in the hope of influencing policies related to mental health and poverty.
Artist Khasan Dzhumaev demonstrates carving techniques on plaster blocks, the same material used on the canvasses at the Ismaili Centre.Zeeanna Ibrahim
Toronto, 10 April 2016 — A hands-on Carving Workshop led by talented artists Khasan and Firdavs Dzhumaev was held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. The father and son team from Tajikistan have created intricate plaster canvasses at the Ismaili Centres in Toronto and Dushanbe.
The event encouraged an understanding of the tradition, history and interpretations around Islamic artwork, and served as an opportunity for youth to create their own works of art.
The workshop allowed 15 students between the ages of 13–25 to learn from the artisans, and to put their carving skills to the test. It was held in collaboration with the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board.
Students gained a new appreciation for the techniques used by these craftsmen and used the same tools and processes to carve their own work. Participants reported that the workshop was “informative” and “engaging” and allowed them to better appreciate the work of the artists after learning about the thought and effort behind each piece.
Ismaili Centres around the world are known for displaying Islamic artwork through many different mediums, including the luminous plaster work by the Dzhumaev family.
Exploring the power of storytelling in contemporary society with author and documentary filmmaker Tahir Shah, Egyptian storyteller Chirine El Ansary and Aubrey Davis.Salim Nensi
Toronto, 7 April 2016 — Torontonians gathered to hear the tales of Tahir Shah and Chirine El Ansary, two well-traveled storytellers, who performed readings at the Ismaili Centre as part of the Toronto Storytelling Festival.
Storytelling is at the heart of Tahir Shah’s travels and work. Many of his 15 books chronicle a wide range of outlandish journeys through Africa, Asia and the Americas. Chirine El Ansary is a Cairo-born storyteller who lives in France and has performed around the world. She is dedicated to the art of story-performing and specialises in traditional Arab folk tales.
As one of North America’s biggest urban celebrations of traditional and contemporary storytelling, the Toronto Storytelling Festival brings together the world’s finest storytellers, troubadours, tradition-keepers, spoken word reciters, prize-winning writers, scholars, activists and family yard-spinners. The 2016 festival, which features community storytelling across the city, was sponsored in part by the Ismaili Council for Canada and the Aga Khan Museum.
Lee Hilling with guests at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto for the first of six book launches to be held across Canada for "A Place of Miracles."Najeeb Sumrani
Toronto, 2 April 2016 — Against all odds and in the face of overwhelming obstacles, a children’s hospital in Kabul is transforming the lives of families in Afghanistan, and the world needs to hear about it, says Lee Hilling.
The Chairman of the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), Hilling was speaking at a launch event for his book A Place of Miracles: The Story of a Children’s Hospital in Kabul and the People Whose Lives Have been Changed by It, held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
“Why do I call it A Place of Miracles? Simply because [there are] things have been accomplished at FMIC that could never before be accomplished in Afghanistan,” he told the audience. Arising during a seemingly never-ending war, the French Medical Institute for Children was opened in 2006 as a four-way public-private partnership between the governments of Afghanistan and France, the Aga Khan Development Network and French NGO La Chaîne de l’Espoir.
Hilling recounted how FMIC was able to save the life of a premature newborn girl whose parents could not find another hospital willing to admit them; the story of a child who needed surgery for the life-threatening condition of esophageal atresia; and how FMIC surgeons were able to successfully separate conjoined twin sisters. He also explained that the hospital’s patient welfare programme helps absorb the high cost of these advanced procedures.
“It is an institution that I have come to deeply admire,” he said. “The people who are served by it, the people who — despite tragedy and hardship — have committed themselves to it, to me are heroes. And I felt their story deserved to be told.”
The evening was moderated by Dr Karima Velji, President of the Canadian Nurses Association, who introduced Lee Hilling, whose decades of experience includes his past role as Global Director of Aga Khan Hospitals in Africa, Pakistan and India.
Attendees included Dr Michael Apkon, CEO of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, as well as other executives and physicians. The event included a question and answer session and concluded with a book signing by the author.
Additional launch events for the book are due to be held in cities across Canada including Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and at the Ismaili Centre in Vancouver.
CEO of Girl Guides of Canada Deborah Del Duca addressed the Board of Directors and Provincial Commissioners at the Ismaili Centre.Inaara Karsan
Toronto, 12 March 2016 — The Girl Guides of Canada–Guides du Canada held meetings for their Board of Directors, Provincial Commissioners and Senior Management Team at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Attendees commenced the day with a tour of the Ismaili Centre, which they found to be both inspirational and meaningful.
“Your key messages about Ismaili service to the community, volunteerism and inclusion resonate with the commitments of Girl Guides Canada,” said Deborah Del Duca, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Guides of Canada. She added that the tranquility of the environment contributed to the success of their meetings.
Some 150 physicians attended the AGM of the Ontario Medical Association, District 11 held at the Ismaili Centre.Gulam Ali Kassam
Toronto, 10 February 2016 — The Ontario Medical Association’s District 11 held their 2016 Annual General Meeting at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. The meeting was attended by some 150 physicians.
The keynote speaker was Dr Ross Upshar, Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research and Professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. His presentation, Population-Based Approaches to Clinical Care Delivery and Implications for Practice, generated dialogue and debate about how family physicians can harness the strength of the doctor-patient relationship to impact better patient-focussed care for large populations and improve prevention and management for multiple chronic diseases.
The new President of the Ontario Medical Association, Dr Mike Toth, also addressed the gathering. He discussed a number of initiatives that the 28,000-strong association of doctors is leading that seek to enhance the province’s health care system.
Denise Dwyer and Sheherazade Hirji led a discussion on pluralism that included Professor Ali Asani of Harvard and Dr Ruba Kana’an of the Aga Khan Museum, among other participants.Ismaili Council for Canada
Toronto, 8 February 2016 — Representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ismaili Council for Ontario held a policy discussion on pluralism at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
Led by Denise Dwyer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Leadership and Learning Environment Division, and Sheherazade Hirji, President of the Ismaili Council for Ontario, the gathering included international experts and leaders in civil society.
Working within the aegis of the Agreement of Cooperation signed between the Province of Ontario and the Ismaili Imamat in May 2015, the group shared ideas for a conference on pluralism that they plan to co-host.
The discussion centred on the importance of fostering a pluralist disposition among young people, who will interact with people of different and competing values throughout their lives. It was agreed that a 21st century citizen should be able to understand and appreciate the varying norms and views that they will encounter both in person and through virtual mediums.
Organising committee with presenters at the Finance and Accounting Professionals Alliance meeting.Shafiq Shamji
Toronto, 31 January 2016 — Social Media was the topic of this year’s meeting of the Finance and Accounting Professionals Alliance, Ontario, which was held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
Social media has transformed the way people find information and interact with each other. It has become an important addition to the marketing and communication tools available to everyone; professionals and businesses are no exception to this.
The Alliance, in collaboration with other like-minded organisations, hosted a learning and networking luncheon event for an audience of over 200 professional staff and businesses, with a focus on how to enhance the use of Social Media in the professional environment. The event concluded with a question and answer session.
Dr Amr Abdullah takes part in a moderated discussion with Fareen Jamal after delivering an Ismaili Centre Lecture in Toronto.Salim Nensi
Toronto, 30 January 2016 — As part of the Ismaili Centre Lecture Series, Dr Amr Abdallah addressed a full audience of leaders and members of the ummah on the topic of Retrieving Islam’s Humanistic Heritage: Islamic Perspectives on Conflict Resolution.
During his presentation, Dr Abdallah spoke about conflict resolution practices, and suggested the need for a deeper, more humanistic understanding of Islamic sources based on the principles of maqasid and the practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), as opposed to only legalistic jurisprudence known as fiqh.
A Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security of Addis Ababa University and a Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution with the non-profit organisation KARAMAH, Dr Amr followed his lecture by taking part in a moderated discussion with Fareen Jamal, a lawyer, accredited mediator and Deputy Judge in Milton and Burlington, Ontario. He also answered questions from the audience.
Members of Parliament Yasmin Ratansi, Ali Ehsassi and Rob Oliphant answer questions from attendees at a town hall meeting.Ibrahim Meru
Toronto, 20 January 2016 — Local community members were given an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns at a pre-budget town hall meeting held in the social hall of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Led by Members of Parliament Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East), Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale) and Rob Oliphant (Don Valley West), the session aimed to increase community engagement and awareness through a facilitated discussion of current and future government tactics for building a better Canada.
The main themes of the evening included how to better support Canadian youth and seniors, how to invest in various sectors for long-term growth and stability and how to generate a higher level of productivity in the Canadian workforce. The MPs agreed on many important issues such as the need for continued investment in public housing and the current lack of funding for health care.
The meeting served as an avenue of community engagement for approximately 275 attendees, many of whom were visiting the Ismaili Centre for the first time.
Ontario Minister Liz Sandals speaking with Ismaili Council for Ontario President Sheherazade Hirji during the Minister's visit to the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Ismaili Council for Canada
Toronto, 17 December 2015 — The Ontario Minister of Education, the Honourable Liz Sandals toured the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre for the first time today. The visit provided an occasion to advance discussions related to the curriculum sub-agreement under the Accord of Cooperation between the Province of Ontario and the Ismaili Imamat, and to discuss additional opportunities for collaboration.
Minister Sandals is the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Guelph. She has served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of Health and Long-Term Care, Transportation, Education, Government Services, and Community Safety and Correctional Services.
War Child founder Dr Samantha Nutt delivers the 2015 Ismaili Centre International Lecture at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Gulam Ali Kassam
Toronto, 9 December 2015 — Dr Samantha Nutt presented the 2015 Ismaili Centre International Lecture as part of a cross-Canada series that included Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.
The founder of the renowned international humanitarian organisation War Child spoke on the theme Perspectives on Global Development. She talked about War Child and the driving force behind her determination to work in the humanitarian sector, and particularly in areas of war.
An award-winning humanitarian and best-selling author, Dr Nutt has travelled to dozens of countries as part of her work. War Child now works with over 400,000 children each year. Following her presentation, she participated in an on-stage discussion with Farah Nasser, co-anchor at Global Toronto News, and took questions from the audience.
The event was generously sponsored by RBC Royal Bank and was followed by a book signing.
The Gryphon Trio perform Constantinople, a multi-media theatrical performance at the Ismaili Centre TorontoSingers Maryem Hassan Tollar and Patricia O’Callaghan performing Constantinople at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Alnoor Meralli
Toronto, 26–28 November 2015 — Constantinople, a multi-media theatrical performance by the Gryphon Trio was showcased for three nights at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
Violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker, accompanied by singers Maryem Hassan Tollar and Patricia O’Callaghan explored the spirit of an ancient city at the cultural crossroads of East and West — a diverse urban centre often challenged by political division and clashes of faith.
A reminder of what can be beautiful in our complex, often divergent modern existence, Constantinople is about present day urbanism with its multiple faces and its multiple histories: our cities, which — like the Constantinople of old — are poised to become a living experiment in the future culture of the “global village”.
“It was incredible,” said Nitza Perlman, a first time visitor to the Ismaili Centre. “Every aspect of it — the trio, vocals, visuals — was incredible. It was a prize performance.”
Composed by award-winning, Toronto-based composer Christos Hatzis, Constantinople had its premiere in 2004 and has since been performed to acclaim throughout Canada, the United States and at London’s Royal Opera House.
“Performances are like jigsaw puzzles, they have to fit,” explains 10-year-old Zahra Somji, a performer with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. “This performance really came together as one. I really enjoyed it.”
Constantinople marked a milestone in programming at the Centre, signalling the end of Cities of Arrival, a year-long curated programme of lectures, workshops and performances at the Ismaili Centre, exploring the past, present and future of cities and urban spaces.
Consul General Juan Alsace and Ismaili Council for Canada Executive Officer Mohamed Dhanani at the Ismaili Centre Toronto.Ismaili Council for Canada
Toronto, 20 November 2015 — Consul General Juan Alsace toured the Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum with the Centre’s Executive Officer Mohamed Dhanani and Museum Director Henry Kim. The Consul General discussed expanding cross-border and cross-cultural dialogues during his first visit to the site.
Consul General Alsace was joined by Hilary Renner, Public Affairs Officer and Claudia Valladolid, Program Assistant for Cultural/Academic Affairs.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office Executive Director Ahmed Hussein and TNO staff celebrate 30 years of programming.Moez Visram
Toronto, 19 November 2015 — The Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO) celebrated 30 years of operations at a gala event held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
Over 200 guests from local business and community organisations celebrated TNO’s success as a leader in community engagement and community building. The evening featured Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne as keynote speaker and CityNews anchor Gord Martineau as master of ceremonies.
A model for neighbourhood programming and community development since 1985, the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office is a multicultural, multi-service agency that provides a wide range of services to a number of communities in Toronto, including Flemingdon and Thorncliffe. With more than 120 staff working at four locations, TNO provides free services in over 40 languages.
Toastmasters International President Jim Kokocki at the Ismaili Centre, talking about the importance of developing effective communication and leadership skills.Amir Hemraj
Toronto, 13 November 2015 — Jim Kokocki, President of Toastmasters International delivered the keynote address at a communication and leadership skills event held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Canadian actor and television personality Husein Madhavji, who currently stars in the medical drama Saving Hope, was the evening’s host.
Kokocki walked the audience through his personal journey at Toastmasters — from being a member at his local chapter to becoming the International President — highlighting the impact that the programme has had on his life. He discussed the importance of effective communication and conflict resolution skills, and illustrated how they can lead to greater confidence and allow individuals to reach for new heights.
Some 350 people attended the event, while hundreds more tuned in to the webcast at Jamatkhanas across Ontario. The evening was organised by the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Ontario to introduce the Toastmasters programme and encourage youth and young professionals to strengthen their communication and leadership skills.
The evening concluded with a networking session and an opportunity for audience members to sign up for Toastmasters.
Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath and MPP Jennifer French with Ismaili Council leaders at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Moez Visram
Toronto, 13 November 2015 — Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party and Jennifer French, Member of the Provincial Parliament visited the Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum today.
In the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Andrea Horwath represents the riding of Hamilton Centre. She was chosen as leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party at its 2009 leadership convention, becoming the first woman to lead the NDP.
Jennifer French, elected in 2014, is the MPP for Oshawa. French is also the NDP Caucus critic on Pensions and Community Safety and Correctional Services.
This was their first visit to the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre.
Ontario Minister Charles Sousa with leaders of the Ismaili Councils for Canada and Ontario at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Moez Visram
Toronto, 12 November 2015 — The Honourable Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and Member of the Provincial Parliament representing Mississauga South visited the Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum today.
Minister Sousa has held many leadership positions in government, including currently the Vice-Chair of the Treasury Board and Management Board of Cabinet. Previously, he was Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Para Pan American Games. Sousa also served as Minister of Labour from 2010–11 after having been Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade.
This was his first visit to the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre.
Toronto Mayor John Tory welcomes attendees to the "Sharing Economy" forum held at the Ismaili Centre.Moez Visram
Toronto, 29 October 2015 — The Ismaili Centre, Toronto played host to a City of Toronto forum titled The Sharing Economy: What is the role of government? Toronto Mayor John Tory gave the welcome address.
The forum was an opportunity to introduce the sharing economy to 140 municipal, provincial and federal leaders and decision makers, and discuss related challenges and considerations through the lens of government and policy makers.
The sharing economy is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It can take a variety of forms, including using information technology to provide individuals, corporations, non-profits, and governments with information that enables the optimisation of resources through the redistribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.
“The central purpose of the [Ismaili] Centre is to encourage mutual exchanges and understanding,” said Tracey Cook, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards Division, City of Toronto at the event. “It is meant to be an inclusive space for broadening intellectual horizons and fostering an appreciation of pluralism. As we were developing this forum and considering venues, it became quickly obvious that this would be a perfect place for this dialogue.”
His Royal Highness Prince Edward and the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell enter the Ismaili Centre, Toronto for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony.Shafiq Shamji
Toronto, 27 October 2015 — His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex presided over the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Gold-level awards of achievement were presented to 117 recipients, including four members of the Ismaili Muslim community.
Hosted by the Ismaili Council for Canada, the ceremony was also attended by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Prior to the commencement of the ceremony, Prince Edward and the Lieutenant Governor visited the Aga Khan Museum.
Dave Levac, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, visits the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Moez Visram
Toronto, 7 October 2015 — The Honourable Dave Levac, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and Member of the Provincial Parliament for Brant, visited the Aga Khan Museum, the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
The visit provided an opportunity for the Speaker to learn about the work of the Ismaili Imamat in Canada and around the world. It was his first visit to the site.
Foreign Minister of Tajikistan and delegation visit the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan MuseumToronto, October 2, 2015 — His Excellency Sirodjidin Aslov, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan, Dr Zafar Adeel, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Ahmad Saidmurodov, Assistant to the Tajik Foreign Minister and Idibek Kalandrov, Head of the Organizations Department of the Tajik Foreign Ministry visited the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum. The delegation was welcomed by the Ismaili Council for Canada and senior executives from the Aga Khan Museum.Tajik delegates, including Foreign Minister Aslov, together with institutional leaders at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Moez Visram
The visit was an opportunity to deepen relationships with the Government of Tajikistan and introduce key members of the delegation to the work of the Ismaili Imamat in Canada that is intended to contribute to the global reservoir of knowledge, promote respect and appreciation for pluralism and diversity, and encourage mutual exchange and understanding. Delegates were able to appreciate — through guided tours and their own exploration — how the Ismaili Centre, the Park and the Museum provide fora for articulating thought and make a positive impact on the wider community.
The delegation also met with two Tajik artists who designed and continue to work on the magnificent original decorative carvings in the Ismaili Centre that are similar to those that adorn architectural monuments in Tajikistan. Those delegates who had also visited the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe remarked on the beauty of each Centre, which is evident not only in their uniqueness but also in their commonality.
The Together exhibition, ready to receive visitors on the grounds of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Moez Visram
Toronto, 17–19 September 2015 — Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s exciting mobile exhibition visited the grounds of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. This interactive display has been travelling across the country in a 53-foot-long trailer that has made stops at universities, museums and cultural centres.
Titled Together: An Exhibition on Global Development, the bilingual educational experience showcases the long-term work of Canadian non-governmental organisations to combat global poverty. It help Canadians understand that we are all global citizens and encourages everyone to participate in making the world a better place.
While parked at the Ismaili Centre, it hosted visits from local Bait-ul Ilm students, national committee members, and donors and supporters of AKFC. Gazalla Hirji, a visitor, shared her impressions: “During my tour of the exhibit, I learned how Canadians just like us are making a difference by turning their personal interests and strengths into opportunities to create global change. I was inspired to take AKFC’s Global Citizen quiz and find out how my own interests can blossom into great ideas. It was remarkable to discover how various Canadians’ simple notions have become widespread solutions to combating global poverty!”
The mobile exhibition, which will be closing down for the winter, begins a tour in western Canada in the spring.
Dr Kwame McKenzie presents the keynote address at the LHIN symposium held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Scott Baker
Toronto, 10 September 2015 — In an effort to promote health equity for Torontonians, over 300 health care providers attended the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Networks’ (LHIN) Health Equity Symposium at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
The Toronto Central LHIN has placed renewed emphasis on the importance of taking a population health approach to regional health planning. By bringing together a broad group of partners with strong representation from outside the healthcare system, the symposium aimed to strengthen cross-sector communication, coordination and collaboration.
The symposium was divided into two sessions. The first session focused on affirming health equity’s growing presence on provincial and municipal agendas and aimed to inspire a coordinated, cross-section approach, backed by strong organisational leadership. The second session drew on the unique and complimentary expertise of cross-sector partners to inform the development of the Toronto Central LHIN’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan.
Speakers included Dr Robert Bell, Deputy Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Dr Kwame McKenzie, CEO of The Wellesley Institute and Sophia Ikura, Senior Director of the Toronto Central LHIN.
Members of the Ontario Historical Society Board of Directors at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Ismaili Counci
Toronto, 22 June, 2015 — The Ontario Historical Society held its annual general meeting at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto today. The selection of the Ismaili Centre as the venue for the meeting was in keeping with the Society's effort to celebrate new cultural assets in Ontario.
Established in 1888, the Ontario Historical Society is a non-profit organisation that provides a forum for individuals, organisations and institutions to exchange ideas, research and experiences related to the rich history of the province, including built heritage, natural heritage, cemeteries, and research and scholarship. OHS members participated in tours of the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum.
The Sufi music ensemble captivates the audience at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Gulam Ali Kassam
Toronto, 20 June 2015 — Echoes from the Mughal era, a music and culture programme featuring Dr Karim Gillani and a Sufi music ensemble, enchanted the audience at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, the ensemble is a blend of Persian and Indian musicians. Using stories of the past, musical compositions and interpretations of modern art, the ensemble echoed the sentiments of tolerance and acceptance of the Mughal civilisation. The musicians used a variety of traditional instruments such as the Persian santur, Persian sitar, Persian tombak, Persian tar, Indian sarangi, Indian tablas, Indian harmonium, and their voices.
The ensemble performed original compositions based on classical poems of the Mughal era with a theme of Rah e Ishq – The Path of Love. This theme is particularly relevant in the Canadian context, where traditions from around the world come together.
Ambassador of Brazil to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh visits the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili CentreAmbassador Wanja Campos da Nóbrega together with guests at the Aga Khan Park. Akbar DewjiAmbassador Wanja Campos da Nóbrega together with guests at the Aga Khan Park.Akbar Dewji
Toronto, 4 June 2015 – Her Excellency Wanja Campos da Nóbrega, Ambassador of Brazil to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, visited the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum. During her visit, the Ambassador met with Munir Merali, Aga Khan Development Network Resident Representative for Bangladesh.
Her Excellency served in a number of Brazilian Embassies over her 25-year career including Bolivia, Australia, Algeria, and the United States. She was the Deputy Consul General of Brazil in Toronto and the Trade Commissioner of Brazil to Canada from 2006 to 2012. In 2012, she was appointed to her current post.
Maximum City camp participants discuss the Aga Khan Park.Zulfikar Hirji
Toronto, 4 June 2015 — Thirty students in Grades 4 to 11 explored the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum as part of the Maximum City Summer Camp.
Based at the University of Toronto Schools, Maximum City encourages students to engage with urban issues through experiential, education and problem-based learning and field trips. Campers tackle real-life issues from sustainability to the use of smart technology.
On their day-long visit to the Aga Khan Park, the participants, their teachers and camp counsellors were hosted by members of the Cities of Arrival programme team, including Ontario STEP teachers, who designed and led workshops for the students on how to use the senses, art and social media to engage with civic spaces. The Aga Khan Museum also conducted gallery tours for the students.
The partnership with Maximum City camp is part of Cities of Arrival — a year-long programme of lectures, workshops, performances, exhibitions and roundtables exploring the pasts, presents and futures of cities and urban spaces being held at the Ismaili Centres in Toronto and Burnaby. For more information programming please visit www.citiesofarrival.com
A group of visitors during Doors Open Toronto receive a tour of the Ismaili Centre. Moez VisramA group of visitors during Doors Open Toronto receive a tour of the Ismaili Centre.Moez Visram
Toronto, 23 May 2015 — The Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum are among more than 155 buildings in the city to open their doors to the public this weekend, as part of Doors Open Toronto.
Ismaili Centre tour guides led some 6 000 people through the building today, which includes a place of prayer as well as spaces for social, educational and cultural activities. Many also took the opportunity to visit the adjacent Aga Khan Museum, where architectural tours of the building were being offered.
The two buildings are situated within the Aga Khan Park, which is due to be inaugurated on Monday.
Now in its 16th year, Doors Open Toronto provides free and rare access to architecturally, historically, culturally, and socially significant buildings across the city. The city-wide open house event concludes tomorrow.
Toronto, 9 May 2015 – The Ismaili Centre hosted the launch of the book Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan with a symposium at the Aga Khan Museum, a photo exhibition and a series of illustrated lectures on Central Asia’s spectacular funerary architecture and religious traditions. The events were organised by the Ismaili Council for Canada in partnership with the University of Central Asia, the Global Centre for Pluralism and the Aga Khan Museum.Dr Elmira Köchümkulova speaks with an event attendee at the launch of the book "Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan" by Professor Margaret Morton.Akbar Dewji
During the evening, author and photographer Professor Margaret Morton and University of Central Asia Professors Dr Nasser Rabbat and Dr Elmira Köchümkulova took the audience on a journey through Kyrgyzstan’s cemeteries and religious life and their significance for Islamic civilisation. The lectures were followed by an interactive question and answer period and a book signing.
Professor Morton’s book is part of the University of Central Asia's Cultural Heritage Book Series, a growing collection of works by regional and international scholars aimed at preserving Central Asia’s unique and diverse cultural heritage through research, documenting, archiving and supporting regional scholarship.
The exhibition, Cities of the Dead: Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan, will be open from 9 May to 30 July 2015 at the Ismaili Centre. The exhibition is part of Cities of Arrival – a curated programme of events held throughout 2015 that explores the pasts, presents and futures of cities and urban life, and critically imagines how humanity will share the most densely populated spaces on our planet.
Leaders from Edmonton during a visit to the Ismaili Centre, Toronto in May 2015. Ismaili Council for CanadaLeaders from Edmonton during a visit to the Ismaili Centre, Toronto in May 2015.Ismaili Council for Canada
Toronto, 9 May 2015 — This weekend, a group of high profile and influential thought leaders travelled from Edmonton to Toronto to visit Canada’s newest cultural destination, as well as to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the Muslim world.
During the two-day visit, the leaders engaged in dialogue that fostered a greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions that Muslim civilisations have made to world heritage. In addition to attending a live performance of Footsteps of Babur at the Aga Khan Museum, the group toured the museum, the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre.
The group included Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton; Dave Hancock, former Premier of Alberta; Masood Paracha, Chair of the Edmonton Council for Muslim Communities; Issam Saleh, Chair of the Muslim Association of Canada; and representatives from the University of Alberta: Debra Pozega Osburn, Vice-President of University Relations; Dr Stanford F. Blade, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences; and Professor William A. Dafoe from the Department of Medicine.
Traditional musical instruments showcased at the Ismaili Centre Toronto.Shafiq Shamji
Toronto, 7 May 2015 – The Aga Khan Music Initiative hosted an informative session at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto highlighting select performances from In the Footsteps of Babur: Musical Encounters from the Land of the Mughals.
The audience was introduced to the work of the Aga Khan Music Initiative and the sounds and styles of music fostered by the Initiative. The evening included performances by Homayun Sakhi playing the rubab — a fretted lute-like instrument from Afghanistan — and Salar Nader playing the tabla.
The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education programme that works to support talented musicians and music educators in preserving, transmitting and further developing their musical heritage in contemporary forms.
Contestants compete at the Spelling Bee of Canada Provincial Championship finals held at the Ismaili Centre Toronto. Gulam Ali KassamContestants compete at the Spelling Bee of Canada Provincial Championship finals held at the Ismaili Centre Toronto.Gulam Ali Kassam
Toronto, 3 May 2015 — Children and youth competed in the Spelling Bee of Canada’s 28th Provincial Championship finals held at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.
The atmosphere was charged with excitement as young people aged 6–14 competed in primary, junior and intermediate categories. First place winners were from Mississauga, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia.
Guest speakers included Spelling Bee of Canada founder Julie Spence and Christopher Usih, interim Associate Director at the Toronto District School Board. The speakers encouraged students to give back to their communities and focus on personal and intellectual growth.
The event was hosted by the Ismaili Council for Canada.
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan greets Leslie Gabriel Mezei, Holocaust survivor and Minister of the Universal Worship Service. Vazir KarsanPir Zia Inayat-Khan greets Leslie Gabriel Mezei, Holocaust survivor and Minister of the Universal Worship Service.Vazir Karsan
Toronto, 2 May 2015 — Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, a prominent scholar of Sufism and grandson of Hazrat Inayat Khan, one of the earliest Sufi figures in the West, spoke at the Ismaili Centre about the meeting of Muslim and Hindu civilisations in Mughal India. His talk explored the shared aesthetic and spiritual values that arose through this interaction, the progress of Sufi thought, and the Mughal period’s legacy of cultural sharing and tolerance.
The talk was prefaced by remarks from Toronto Area Interfaith Council president Zul Kassamali: “When the Mughal leader Bahbur, his descendants and their people pushed into India, the encounter was not an easy one… We are here in part to remind ourselves that the rewards of building each other up, of celebrating each other’s differences, are far greater than anything gained by conflict.”
The event included a classical Indian raga performance by bassist and Indo-Jazz composer Justin Gray, featuring the unique “bass veena,” an instrument invented by Gray that resembles the veena sound in modern electrical bass form. His performance was followed by an exploration of the Aga Khan Museum’s Visions of Mughal India exhibition, and concluded with an interactive question and answer session.
In attendance were Leslie Gabriel Mezei, an interfaith leader and member of the Sufi Order International, as well as Narendra K. Wagle, Professor Emeritus of South Asian History at the University of Toronto.
Canadian Professor of Anthropology discusses her book and the impact of violence on women in AfghanistanDr Parin Dossa speaking with an audience member before delivering her presentation at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Najeeb SumraniDr Parin Dossa speaking with an audience member before delivering her presentation at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Najeeb Sumrani
Toronto, 29 April 2015 — Dr Parin Dossa, Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, spoke at the Ismaili Centre about her book Afghanistan Remembers: Gendered Narrations of Violence and Culinary Practices. The book examines the recollections “of violence through memories and food practices” of Afghan women, according to the University of Toronto Press. “Her work reveals how the suffering and trauma of violence has been rendered socially invisible following decades of life in a war-zone.”
Dr Dossa recounted some of her interactions with women while in Afghanistan, and their courage, resilience and ability to give meaning to their lives within spaces of devastation. She shared the stories of two women illustrating the violence that has shaped their lives and their resilient spirit.
She encouraged the audience to acknowledge the global culture of violence and to address the issue by tackling it at a grassroots level. The presentation was followed by an interactive question and answer session.
Toronto, 28 April 2015 — The Ismaili Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Canada hosted a roundtable discussion on access to dispute resolution mechanisms in urban centres by immigrant and first generation populations. The dialogue covered a range of topics including the socio-economic challenges that immigrant and first generation populations face in accessing justice through the court and dispute resolution services, the importance of a reflective and pluralistic justice system, the development of a dispute resolution process that prioritises the needs of the public or the user, the need for innovation in dispute resolution, the importance of knowledge sharing, and the need for culturally sensitive dispute resolution processes.
Professor Trevor Farrow, Associate Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and Director of the Winkler Institute of Dispute Resolution, provided the opening remarks and Nicole Aylwin, Acting Executive Director of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, facilitated the roundtable discussions. Participants included senior officials from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice (Canada), the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, Legal Aid Ontario, academia and leaders of the Ismaili Muslim community.
The roundtable is part of Cities of Arrival – a curated program of events being held throughout 2015 that explores the pasts, presents and futures of cities and urban life, and critically imagines how humanity will share the most densely populated spaces on our planet.
Preparations for the Canada 150 event held at the Ismaili Centre Toronto. Salim NensiPreparations for the Canada 150 event held at the Ismaili Centre Toronto.Salim Nensi
Toronto, 24 April 2015 — The Ismaili Council for Canada hosted a partners’ meeting for Canada 150: Canada’s Untold Stories, the country’s largest initiative to bring organisations together to record their family and community stories. The goal of the programme is to encourage Canadians to record their personal stories as a digital gift to Canada for its 150th birthday in July 2017. Canada 150 was founded in 1997 by author and caregiving educator Harry van Bommel.
The event included remarks by Paul Jones, former director of Canada’s History Society, and Harry van Bommel. Members from partner organisations discussed the programme’s proposed signature project, the Canada 150 History Relay, which would further demonstrate the pluralistic nature of Canada through widespread storytelling.
His Excellency Philip Eng, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Canada, speaks at The Lost Dhow exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum. Ghulam Ali KassamHis Excellency Philip Eng, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Canada, speaks at The Lost Dhow exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum.Ghulam Ali Kassam
Toronto, 13 April 2015 — Henry Kim, Director of the Aga Khan Museum, and President Malik Talib of the Ismaili Council for Canada hosted His Excellency Philip Eng, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Canada, and Toronto-based Singaporeans during a private tour of the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre. The visit included a special viewing of The Lost Dhow exhibition.
The High Commissioner spoke to the history of the Lost Dhow and its relics, and also to wider ongoing collaboration between the Aga Khan Development Network and Singaporean institutions. The Lost Dhow: A Discovery of the Maritime Silk Route is jointly organised by the Asian Civilisations Museum of Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Aga Khan Museum. The program concluded with a reception at the Ismaili Centre.
Author M.G. Vassanji sigs copies of his latest memoir at a March 2015 event held at the Ismaili Centre. Shafiq ShamjiAuthor M.G. Vassanji sigs copies of his latest memoir at a March 2015 event held at the Ismaili Centre.Shafiq Shamji
Toronto, 29 March 2015 — Giller Prize laureate M.G. Vassanji spoke at the Ismaili Centre about his book And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa. After reading for the audience, Vassanji held a discussion with Zainub Verjee, a consultant in the culture sector, that explored themes of identity, belonging, cultural memory and citizenship. The author spoke about his desire to write a book about Africa as an insider, to show the contrast between the Africa he grew up with and the one commonly portrayed in the media.
Federal multiculturalism minister Tim Uppal examines a photograph from the Faith & Places exhibition at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Akbar Dewji
Federal multiculturalism minister Tim Uppal examines a photograph from the Faith & Places exhibition at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Akbar Dewji
Toronto, 28 March 2015 — The Honourable Tim Uppal, Canada’s Minister of State for Multiculturalism, visited the Ismail Centre and the Aga Khan Museum today. Minister Uppal met with Ismaili Council for Ontario President Sheherazade Hirji, Honorary Secretary Aminmohamed Ladak and Linda Milrod, the Aga Khan Museum’s Head of Exhibitions.
During his tour of the Ismail Centre, the Minister explored the Faith & Places exhibition and discussed the shared history of the South Asian community in Canada.
Panelists Shainoor Khoja (left), Jenny Datoo (centre) and Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla (right) address the audience at the International Women’s Day celebrations. Nalina SacoorPanelists Shainoor Khoja (left), Jenny Datoo (centre) and Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla (right) address the audience at the International Women’s Day celebrations.Nalina Sacoor
Toronto, 28 March 2015 — The Women’s Development Portfolio of the Ismaili Council for Ontario, hosted a celebration in honour of International Women’s Day. The event focused on improving economic opportunities for all and brought together a panel of experts who spoke about adapting to changing economic realities.
The panel included Shainoor Khoja, Managing Director of Better Business Enterprises Ltd, Jenny Datoo, Senior Knowledge Management Officer at the World Bank, and Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla, President of Gulamani-Abdulla & Co Immigration Consulting. The session was moderated by Marina Mussani.
Community members share ideas to increase physical activity in local neighbourhoods. Ghulam Ali KassamCommunity members share ideas to increase physical activity in local neighbourhoods.Ghulam Ali Kassam
Toronto, 25 March 2015 — Urban planners, architects, community leaders and policy makers attended the Ismaili Centre for a full day of lectures and workshops on urban planning and design.
The keynote speakers included University of Toronto Professor Paul Hess, a leading academic in the field of urban planning and the renewal of civic space, and ERA Architects’ Graeme Stewart, noted for his work in urban renewal and tower block developments.
Discussion focussed on improving the quality of life of urban residents through community-driven urban design solutions, particularly for residents living in suburban areas such as Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park.
Author Elizabeth Laird shares stories from her travels in Ethiopia. Akbar DewjiAuthor Elizabeth Laird shares stories from her travels in Ethiopia.Akbar Dewji
Toronto, 23 March 2015 — Storytellers, teachers and a novelist brought the art of storytelling to the Ismaili Centre, Toronto as part of a citywide festival.
Acclaimed novelist Elizabeth Laird, Brazilian storyteller Regina Machado, First Nations storyteller Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, school librarian Leslie Ogilvie, and teachers Lynda Howes and Joan Bailey regaled 300 students in grades 4 to 6, as well as a large group of adults, with stories from around the world.
Participants learned about storytelling while being entertained by stories from different cultures and traditions. The full day event, held in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum, was part of the Toronto Storytelling Festival, which has become one of the world’s top urban storytelling celebrations.
Visitors attend the Faith & Place Exhibit at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Najeeb SumraniVisitors attend the Faith & Place Exhibit at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Najeeb Sumrani
Toronto, 18 March 2015 — The Faith & Place Exhibit, an exhibition that explores ancient social and cultural similarities between faiths in Northern India, is a partnership between the Ismaili Council for Canada, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The exhibition is comprised of stunning 19th century photographs from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s collection of Indian mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches. Through original and facsimile images, the exhibition demonstrates how the varied forms of architecture reflected the religious beliefs of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jains and their common need to build places of worship.
Faith & Place will be on display until 8 April 2015 in the Exhibition Hall of the Ismaili Centre Toronto.
Entrepreneurs mingle at the 2015 Start-Up Showcase. Shafiq ShamjiEntrepreneurs mingle at the 2015 Start-Up Showcase.Shafiq Shamji
Toronto, 14 March 2015 — The Aga Khan Economic Planning Board of Ontario’s Start-Up Showcase profiled eight companies. Each of the emerging entrepreneurs showcased their business ideas to a panel of judges who provided constructive feedback on the venture and marketing plan.
The winning teams included Supreme Air, a Canadian manufacturer of air purifiers for residential, commercial and industrial applications; Tech4Life Enterprises, a company specializing in medical devices and telemedicine solutions for the developing world; and Loopio, an online software platform to aid companies in developing and winning contracts.
The panel of judges included Salim Teja, Executive Vice-President, Ventures; Hussein Bawa, Managing Director of Alexander Magee International and Pinnacle Capital; Al-Karim Nasser, co-founder and Head of Product at Gallop Labs; and Reza Roohi, Angel Investor with York Angel Investors. The event was hosted by television personality Farah Nasser.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Honourable Michael Coteau tour the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum. Moez VisramOntario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Honourable Michael Coteau tour the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum.Moez Visram
Toronto, 13 March 2015 — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michael Coteau, the Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, toured the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum. The Premier and the Minister met with Ismaili Council for Canada President Malik Talib, Council for Ontario President Sheherazade Hirji and Aga Khan Museum Director Henry Kim. The visit provided an opportunity to discuss the work of the Aga Khan Development Network while showcasing the artistic creativity and achievements of Muslim civilisations.
Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as the 25th Premier of Ontario in 2013. Michael Coteau has been a Member of the Provincial Parliament since 2011.
Oshawa Mayor John Henry with Ismaili Council and Aga Khan Museum leadership. Ismaili Council for OntarioOshawa Mayor John Henry with Ismaili Council and Aga Khan Museum leadership.Ismaili Council for Ontario
Toronto, 5 March 2015 — His Worship John Henry, Mayor of Oshawa, Ontario, visited the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum. During his tour, Mayor Henry commented on the lasting contributions of the Ismaili community in Oshawa and across Canada.
John Henry was elected in 2010 and is serving his second term as Mayor of Oshawa after serving as Regional Councillor from 2006-2010.
The Honourable Dr Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, addresses attendees at an interactive conference exploring the future of Ontario’s Health Links programme. Shiraz MurjiThe Honourable Dr Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, addresses attendees at an interactive conference exploring the future of Ontario’s Health Links programme.Shiraz Murji
Toronto, 26 February 2015 — Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care spoke at the Ismaili Centre Toronto as part of a full-day healthcare conference focussing on Ontario's Health Links programme. The Honourable Eric Hoskins provided closing remarks at a full-day conference that brought together leaders in family medicine and social and community services to review and explore an integrated health care delivery model for patients with multiple, complex conditions. During his speech, the Minister commented on the importance of Health Links and referred to the programme as a model for patient-centred care.
Members of the Laurier Project Foundation at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto: Elena Cherney, Marco D’Arienzo, Matthew Thomas, Alison Loat, Sheherazade Hirji, Aleema Jamal, Howard Duncan, Ian Tudhope, Andrew Pickersgill, Mark Wiseman, Kilian Berz, Tom Milroy, and Rob Steiner. Shiraz MurjiMembers of the Laurier Project Foundation at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.Shiraz Murji
Toronto, 25 February 2015 — The Laurier Project Foundation hosted its quarterly colloquium session at the Ismaili Centre. Its board of governors, comprised of prominent Canadians from various fields, is driving towards a transformative effort for Canada, one that focuses on long-term, systemic change. The meeting brought together leading experts to envision Canada in 2100. The group’s broad mandate touches a range of subjects from innovation, human capital, and economic prosperity, to cities, pluralism, and social policy.
Members of the Laurier Project Foundation hold senior leadership positions with the following organizations: Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board; McKinsey & Company; Wessex Capital; BCG Canada; University of Toronto; Samara Canada; Global Canada; and the Wall Street Journal.
Students and teachers decide where to place their 3D-printed buildings on the Cairo exhibition model. Zulfikar HirjiStudents and teachers decide where to place their 3D-printed buildings on the Cairo exhibition model.Zulfikar Hirji
Toronto, 17 February 2015 — A teaching and community building architectural exhibition and associated 3D printing workshops titled Connect, Create, Cairo is being held at the Ismaili Centre Toronto from 9 November 2014 until end of February 2015. Using a novel exhibition concept that includes an architectural model of historic Cairo and the emerging technologies of 3D printing, the exhibition and workshops explore contemporary issues facing cities and urban spaces through a look at Cairo’s historic Islamic architecture and urbanism.
The workshops have been widely attended by various audience segments including youth, university students, adult learners and teachers in the Greater Toronto Area as well as to Bait-ul-Ilm students. Participants are introduced to the challenges facing contemporary cities with a focus on issues of living with a historically unique urban landscape. Participants also learn to use cutting edge 3D printing technology to visualize, design, build and collaboratively locate buildings that respond to the challenges facing 21st century cities. The buildings made by workshop participants are continually added to the exhibition’s architectural model of historic Cairo and will result in a unique vision of the city.
The project is part of a thematic series of programmes titled Cities of Arrival curated by Professor Zulfikar Hirji in collaboration with Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) teachers, volunteer architects, and MakeLab, a 3D printing start-up organisation that regularly runs large, interactive 3D printing and design events at public and private functions.
His Eminence Cardinal Collins and members of the Archdiocese with national and regional Ismaili Council leaders. Amyn KaraHis Eminence Cardinal Collins and members of the Archdiocese with national and regional Ismaili Council leaders.Amyn Kara
Toronto, 6 February 2015 — His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Christopher Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, visited the Ismail Centre, Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum. His Eminence was accompanied by other members of the Archdiocese. During the tour of the Ismaili Centre, His Eminence shared his views on the importance of dialogue in bringing peoples of faith together to address quality of life issues.
Cardinal Collins was named the tenth Archbishop of Toronto by Pope Benedict XVI on 16 December 2006.
Dr Zul Hirji and Dr Asma Afsaruddin discuss the importance of interfaith dialogue as a gateway to mutual knowledge and tolerance. Amir HemrajDr Zul Hirji and Dr Asma Afsaruddin discuss the importance of interfaith dialogue as a gateway to mutual knowledge and tolerance.Amir Hemraj
Toronto, 31 January 2015 — Milad-un-Nabi marks the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammed (may peace be upon him and his family). To commemorate this anniversary, the Ismaili Centre, Toronto held a lecture that marked the inauguration of a thematic programme titled Cities of Arrival, which takes a look at how humanity will coexist, as our cities grow more dense and diverse.
Guest speaker Dr Asma Afsaruddin, Professor of Islamic Studies at Indiana University Bloomington, spoke eloquently about the importance of interfaith dialogue as a gateway to mutual knowledge and tolerance. Dr Afsaruddin's speech was followed by a discussion with moderator Dr Zulfikar Hirji and a question-and-answer session with the audience.
Included in the diverse audience of over 400 people, were members of the ummah, the Diplomatic Corps, civil society leaders and multi-faith representatives. The event was co-sponsored by Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
Cancer Care Ontario offers accredited continuing medical education to Ontario physicians at the Ismaili Centre, TorontoSome 90 physicians and allied health professionals attend a Cancer Care Ontario accredited presentation on cervical and colorectal screening at the Ismaili Centre. Salima HusseinSome 90 physicians and allied health professionals attend a Cancer Care Ontario accredited presentation on cervical and colorectal screening at the Ismaili Centre.Salima Hussein
Toronto, 22 January 2015 — Dr Lisa Giudice, Regional Primary Care Lead (North) and Dr Ed Kucharski, Regional Primary Care Lead (South) delivered the 3.0 Mainpro-M1 accredited presentation for healthcare providers on cervical and colorectal screening in the presence of 90 family physicians and allied health professionals. The session was also live-streamed to physicians across Ontario. The presentation provided the most up-to date guidelines for cancer screening.
BC Premier Christy Clark tours the Aga Khan Museum with Museum Director Dr Henry Kim and Ismaili Council President President Malik Talib. Jordan McPheeBC Premier Christy Clark tours the Aga Khan Museum with Museum Director Henry Kim and Ismaili Council President President Malik Talib.Jordan McPhee
Toronto, 8 December 2014 — The Premier of British Columbia, the Honourable Christy Clark, visited the Aga Khan Museum, following her address to the Economic Club of Canada. The Premier toured the Museum and met with Ismaili Council for Canada President Malik Talib and Aga Khan Museum Director Henry Kim. The visit provided a tremendous opportunity to showcase the rich and diverse artistic history of Muslim civilisations.
Christy Clark was sworn in as the 35th Premier of British Columbia in 2011.
Tasneem Jamal in conversation with Craig Daniels about her novel “Where the Air is Sweet” at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto in November 2014. Ibrahim MeruTasneem Jamal in conversation with Craig Daniels about her novel “Where the Air is Sweet” at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto in November 2014.Ismaili Council for Canada
Toronto, 23 November 2014 — Canadian author Tasneem Jamal spoke at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto about her debut novel Where the Air is Sweet.
Launching into conversation with Craig Daniels, editor at Postmedia, Jamal discussed the Ugandan exodus and its impact on the community in Canada. The audience was also given an opportunity to listen to a reading from Jamal’s book and participate in an interactive question and answer session.
The discussion encouraged dialogue about immigration and integration, by revisiting an important point in Ismaili history to develop a greater understanding of the Ugandan exodus and its impact on the community in Canada.
Mohamed Dhanani explains to Consul-General Anne van Leeuwen the development of the Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Aga Khan Park. Sabira TejaniMohamed Dhanani explains to Consul-General Anne van Leeuwen the development of the Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Aga Khan Park.Sabira Tejani
Toronto, 5 November 2014 — Anne van Leeuwen, Consul-General of the Netherlands in Toronto, visited the Ismail Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park. During a tour of the site, the Consul-General commented on the remarkable addition to the cultural landscape of Ontario and Canada, and praised the work of the Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Development Network.
Mr Van Leeuwen was appointed Consul-General in Toronto of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2013.
The Ismaili Centre, Toronto is now open for tours. Anyone interested in visiting can book a guided tour using an online service. Learn more on the visitors' page.