Sections +

His Highness the Aga Khan

For improving the lives of millions of Asia’s most vulnerable

For improving the lives of millions of Asia’s most vulnerable



Spiritual Leader and Philanthropist


His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader to the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims, believes one of his hereditary responsibilities is to improve the lives of the world’s most disadvantaged people. For more than half a century, he has done exactly that — on a breathtaking scale.

More than a half-century ago, he founded the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) creating a global web of agencies in 30 countries employing some 80,000 people for the physical, social, cultural, and economic revitalisation of communitieis in some of the poorest regions of the developing world, including in South and Central Asia. His Highness places much emphasis on pluralism as a foundational principle of human development and has promoted the use of cultural assets and heritage as a distinct but complementary part of development, particularly in the Muslim world. The AKDN’s unique merger of commercial business and social development has allowed it to reach more people by reinvesting profits into development work. “[The Aga Khan] has a very fine mind for investing — and he does a good job balancing the task of increasing his capital with that of advancing the needs of his followers,” said former World Bank president James Wolfensohn. “At the end of the day, he is looking for human profits.”

For five decades, the Network has focused on those “human profits” — via work in rural development, health, education, civil society, and environmental initiatives to assist vulnerable populations, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds. It has done everything from helping Pakistani communities recover from devastating floods to spearheading initiatives to improve education for Afghan girls, and from promoting civil society to battling hunger. The goal has never changed: to spark progress and development in poorer regions in keeping with the values and ethics of Islam.

“There are those ... who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their lot,” the Aga Khan has said. “Unless these unfortunates can be touched with the spark which ignites the spirit of individual enterprise and determination, they will only sink back into renewed apathy, degradation and despair. It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.”

Buy Tickets

1 November 2017
6:00pm - 9:30pm

Asia Game Changer Awards and Dinner

25 Broadway
Lower Manhattan
New York, New York

Click for Directions

Add to Google Calendar