On Saturday, they held a talk on “Cosmopolitan Ethic in Action” at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre at Bashundhara in Dhaka.
Members of the academia, representatives of civil society, business leaders, and members of the Ismaili community were present.
Sulaiman Ajanee, President of the Aga Khan National Council for Bangladesh, welcomed all and remarked that the diamond jubilee of the Aga Khan has provided a “significant opportunity” to reflect on his vision, the efforts of the Aga Khan Development Network and on the ethics and values that underpin these efforts, one of which is the “cosmopolitan ethic”.
As the keynote speaker, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairman and Founder of BRAC, said cosmopolitanism is “acceptance and appreciation of the fact that we human beings will choose to express ourselves in different ways”.
He also shared how the cosmopolitan ethic has been reflected in the work of BRAC, which has “significantly contributed” to the development of the people of Bangladesh.
Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group, said cosmopolitan ethic means that “we neither expect nor desire that every person or society should converge on a single mode of life, that is not possible but we have a moral and ethical choice to change whatever we can within our own means”.
Munir M Merali, AKDN Resident Diplomatic Representative to Bangladesh, said the “cosmopolitan ethic also means to bring hope where there is despair and poverty, to embrace diversity, and to promote pluralism while employing meritocracy in all that we do”.
The Aga Khan is 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.
At the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan as the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims 60 years ago.
Today, the Aga Khan leads a global community of some 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, living predominantly in South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and the Far East.
AKDN has been working for over six decades in Bangladesh across a broad spectrum of activities and programmes ranging from the promotion of the jute sector to early childhood development, primary and pre-tertiary education, and financial services.
Building upon bilateral agreements, the AKDN in Bangladesh is actively engaged with the government and a variety of development partners to help bring social and economic progress for all the people of Bangladesh.
The campus of the Aga Khan Academy, state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility, is under construction in Dhaka.