Inspirational Global Architecture at the Aga Khan Garden

Inauguration of Diwan Pavilion completes the northernmost Islamic garden in the world

EDMONTON, AB, Sept. 28, 2022 /CNW/ - The University of Alberta today is inaugurating the Diwan Pavilion at the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta, part of the University's Botanic Garden in Edmonton.

Presiding over the ceremony will be Lieutenant Governor Salma Lakhani, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, University of Alberta President Bill Flanagan and Princess Zahra Aga Khan, on behalf of her father, His Highness the Aga Khan.

The completion of the project marks another landmark in a history of shared partnership between the Ismaili community and the university, during a milestone year celebrating 50 years of Ismaili history in Canada.

The Aga Khan Garden was inaugurated in 2018 in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. It symbolizes the hope, peace and unity that come when people interact with each other amidst the beauty and inspiration of nature. The Diwan pavilion was part of the original vision for the garden to ensure it could be used year-round.

"Here at the Aga Khan Garden, His Highness wanted to showcase the environmental ethic in Islam through its emphasis on human stewardship, on our responsibility to nature and the protection of the natural world, the power and mystery of nature, and that we should strive for beauty in our imperfection," said Luis Monreal, general manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

"The Diwan is a beautiful community space, designed for education and cultural understanding. Its opening is particularly momentous as we celebrate 50 years of Ismaili history in Canada," said Bill Flanagan, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta. "I am thankful for the special relationship between our communities and our mutual commitment to create spaces where different perspectives are embraced for the benefit of all."

The project was a collaboration of three firms: design architect AXIA Design Associates, architect-of-record Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd., and interiors by Arriz and Co.

In keeping with the mandate of his role as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan has worked to improve the quality of life of all people regardless of their birthplace, background or religious belief.

The inauguration of the Diwan pavilion is one of a number of events this week marking 50 years of significant presence of the Ismaili Muslim community in Canada. Additional events are planned across the country to commemorate important partnerships to improve quality of life, both here in Canada and around the world:

  • September 25, 2022: Global Ismaili Civic Day fostered local civic engagement in communities across Canada with a focus on environmental stewardship including park clean-ups, tree planting, recycling drives and more.

  • September 25, 2022: In Toronto, Prince Amyn Aga Khan attended the ceremonial street naming of Aga Khan Boulevard and received the Key to the City on behalf of His Highness the Aga Khan.

  • September 27, 2022: In Toronto, Prince Amyn Aga Khan attended the groundbreaking of Generations, a charitable community-based housing project that will support vulnerable individuals, families and seniors within an intergenerational framework.

  • September 29, 2022: The Ismaili Imamat will sign an Accord of Cooperation with the Province of British Columbia committing to advance joint efforts for development work in B.C. and around the world.

Photo and video opportunities of the Diwan Pavilion are available at the inauguration ceremony on September 28 at 2 p.m. MT. Project architects and University of Alberta Vice-President, Facilities and Operations, Andrew Sharman will also be available for questions on site.

Media must pre-register to attend. RSVP to rishma.kassam@iicanada.net by 11:00 a.m. MT on September 28. Please bring your media ID to confirm registration on site.

SOURCE Ismaili Council for Canada

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