The 6 Degrees Citizen Space conference is the new public initiative of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The award recognises 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,” he remarked.
The Aga Khan acknowledged that “living with diversity is a challenging process” but that “the work of pluralism is always a work in progress.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his own warm sentiments in a video message played during the ceremony. “Thank you, Your Highness. Canada and the world are stronger and richer because of your commitment to diversity and to finding common ground, to helping those most vulnerable and to believing in a better, closer, more inclusive world.”
The Aga Khan, an honorary Canadian citizen and Companion of the Order of Canada, is the 49th hereditary imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and chair of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The AKDN is active in 30 countries and employs approximately 80,000 people.