Victoria, British Columbia—February 1, 2008 – This evening, at the Victoria Conference Centre, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation joined Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Chief Executive Officer Khalil Z. Shariff along with local dignitaries and other guests to officially launch Bridges that Unite, a new, interactive exhibition showcasing our national ability to bridge the developed and the developing world.

The traveling exhibition invites visitors to consider Canada’s role in the world through the lens of a remarkable 25-year partnership with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in some of the world’s most isolated and impoverished regions.

“Bridges that Unite is an opportunity to explore what we’ve learned, to build on our experience and to chart a way forward for Canada and the world,” said Khalil Z. Shariff, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, which is presenting the exhibition. “Canada at its best has had a real impact in a way that is sensitive, thoughtful and sustained,” he said. “The exhibition draws on our rich experience in the developing world to spark a conversation about what Canada and Canadians can contribute to ensure a more peaceful, prosperous and pluralist world.”

“Over the years, as Canada has contributed to the work of the Foundation, we have seen the solid results achieved by the Foundation, often in extremely challenging environments,” said Minister Oda. “In many diverse ways, the partnership between Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Government of Canada has been a long and successful one.”

Twenty-five years ago, Canada invested in an innovative partnership with the AKDN in northern Pakistan – one of the world’s poorest, most isolated and volatile regions. Since then, this partnership has grown in scope and depth and created a wealth of knowledge and practical experience that has had a ripple effect across Asia and Africa. Visitors to the exhibition will discover that, from Afghanistan to Zanzibar, a ring of chairs, in which people meet to discuss and find solutions to their problems, has become a symbol of lasting, positive change.

Embarking on a national tour following a two-week stop in Victoria, Bridges that Unite offers a vibrant, interactive space in which to explore some of the most pressing questions of the 21st century. Thought-provoking stories of initiatives spanning several continents are told through powerful images, evocative soundscapes and interactive, multimedia components.

This stimulating environment will also provide a compelling backdrop for lectures, workshops, and cultural events. Online discussions and exhibit highlights at will allow visitors to continue the conversation as Bridges that Unite travels across Canada.

For more information on the Bridges that Unite exhibition including venues, dates and program details, please consult our website at


Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) is a Canadian international development organization, and an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, founded in 1980. Working primarily in Asia and Africa, AKFC works to address the root causes of poverty.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of non-denominational development agencies founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, with wide-ranging mandates covering social, economic and cultural development.


Jennifer Morrow,
Aga Khan Foundation Canada


More Related Information

  Posted in         General, Islamic Articles, Ismaili News