His Highness the Aga Khan will visit Canada next month in celebration of his Diamond Jubilee.
July 11, 2017 marked the Aga Khan’s 60th anniversary as spiritual leader to over 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims globally. To celebrate the historic milestone, the 49th hereditary Imam has been touring around the world over the past nine months, launching new social, cultural, and economic development projects, as well as meeting with his followers.
In November 2017, the honorary Canadian citizen visited Eastern Canada, and is now set to visit Western Canada in early May.
In commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee, Governor General Julie Payette will host the Aga Khan for a state dinner at Rideau Hall while he is in Ottawa between May 1 to 4, according to Global Affairs Canada. The Aga Khan will then continue his tour in Canada, stopping in Vancouver and then Calgary.
The Aga Khan has been a long-time partner to Canada for many decades, which dates back to the early 1970s. Many Ismailis were living in East Africa at the time when dictator Idi Amin came into power as Ugandan President and ordered the expulsion of Asian residents, including Hindus and Muslims.
Thousands of residents were told to pack up and leave Uganda, given 90 days to exit the country. A friend to Pierre Trudeau, the Aga Khan called the Canadian Prime Minister for help, and Canada opened its doors to thousands of Ismailis, the first time the nation had accepted such a large group of non-European refugees.
Since then, Ismailis from Uganda, East Africa, Central Asia, India, and Pakistan have immigrated to Canada.
Today, approximately 100,000 Ismailis call Canada home.