[Birthday] Happy 76th Birthday to HH Prince Karim Aga Khan


Compiled by Azeem Maherali, Atlanta, Georgia

A Portrait of the Aga Khan Family of the mid 20th century: Next to the late 48th Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan III, is his grand daughter, Princess Yasmin. Standing from left to right – grandson Prince Amyn Muhammad, his two sons the late Prince Sadruddin and Prince Aly Khan holding daughter, and second grandson Prince Karim, the present Imam. Photo: Zul Khoja Collection, Ottawa.

Prince Karim Celebrating his 2nd birthday

Seventy One Years Ago: Mawlana Shah Karim al-Husayni, left, celebrating his second birthday with Prince Sadruddin, centre, and Prince Amyn on December 13, 1938. Photo: Ilm magazine


Over the past five decades, His Highness the Aga Khan, or Mawlana Hazar Imam as he is known to his Ismaili followers, has been honored by numerous awards and prizes, decorations, titles, honorary citizenship and honorary degrees, in recognition of the various dimensions of his work. This compilation is a humble attempt to share the honors bestowed on him on one or more occasions from the governments and institutions of the following countries:

1. Bahrain 2. Canada 3. Comoros 4. Côte d’Ivoire 5. Egypt 6. England 7. France 8. Germany 9. Iran 10. Italy 11. Kazakhstan 12. Kenya 13. Kyrgyzstan 14. Lebanon 15. Mali 16. Malagasy Republic 17. Mauritania 18. Morocco 19. Ireland 20. Pakistan 21. Portugal 23. Scotland 24. Senegal 25. Spain 26. Sweden 27. Tajikistan 28. Tanzania 29. Upper Volta 30. United Kingdom 31. United States of America 32. Uzbekistan 33. Wales 34. Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania).

Prince Karim as the new 49th Imam

July 12, 1957: His Highness the Aga Khan pictured with the Ismaili leadership from around the world at Villa Barakat in Geneva after they had paid their allegiance to him.


1.  Aga Khan, first granted to Aga Hassanaly Shah, the 46th Ismaili Imam, by the Shah of Persia, in the 1830s (see vintage photo below)
2.  His Highness, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England (1957-07-26), two weeks after becoming 49th Imam.
3.  His Royal Highness, by His Imperial Majesty Shahin-Shah of Iran of Iran (1959-10).

This vintage engraving depicts the portrait of Aga Khan I (1804 – 1881), the 46th Imam of the Nizari Shia Ismaili Ismaili Muslims. The engraving was made by an unknown artist after a photograph circa 1870. © iStockphoto.com

The Aga Khan received the title “His Highness” from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on July 26th, 1957. Here he is pictured with Her Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Philip when the Queen hosted a dinner to mark his Golden Jubilee. The Imam and his family have had a close relationship over generations with the British Monarchy and the UK. Photo Credit: Akdn.org

His Highness the Aga Khan graduated from Harvard University in 1959 with a BA Honours in Islamic History. In this portrait photo taken in 1958 on the Harvard campus, he is seen in a Harvard University blazer carrying an armful of books. Copyright: Photo by Hank Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.


1.    Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, by the Sultan of Zanzibar (1957-08-12).
2.   Commander of the Order of Merit, Mauritania (1960).
3.   Grand Cross of the Order of Infante D. Henrique, Portugal (1960-10-27).
4.   Grand Cross of the National Order, Côte d’Ivoire (1965-08-04).
5.   Grand Cross of the National Order, Upper Volta (1965-08-05).
6.   Grand Cross of the National Order, by President Philibert Tsiranana of the Malagasy Republic (1966-11-15).
7.   Grand Cross of the Order of the Green Crescent, by President Syed Mohammed Sheikh of the Comoros (1966-11-20).

November 20, 1966: His Highness the Aga Khan received the Grand Cross of the Order of the Green Crescent from President Syed Mohammed Sheikh of the Comoros

8.   Grand Cordon of the Order of the Crown of IranNishan-i-Taj-i-Iran (1967).
9.   Nishan-i-Imtiaz, by President Yahya Khan of Pakistan (1970-01).

1970: His Highness the Aga Khan receiving Nishan-i-Imtiaz from President Yahya Khan of Pakistan

10. Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Gran Croce Della Republica Italiana by Prime Minister Guilio Andreotti of Italy (1977-12-08).

An honor normally reserved for heads of state, in recognition of his contribution to tourism development in Italy. The Aga Khan is the first Muslim and one of the few foreigners to be so honored.

11. Grand Officer of the National Order of the Lion, Senegal (1982).
12. Nishan-e-Pakistan by President Zia-ul-Haq  of Pakistan (1983-03-23).
13. Grand Cordon of Ouissam-al ArchLe Grand Cordon de l’Ordre du Trone Cherifienby King Hassan II of Morocco (1986-11-25).
14. Knight of LabourCavaliere del Lavoro, by President Francesco Cossiga of Italy (1988-10-26).


November 25, 1986: His Highness the Aga Khan being conferred by His Majesty King Hassan II, with Le Grand Cordon de l’Order du Trone Cherifien (Quissam Al-Arch) the highest Moroccan honour at the Royal Palace in Rabat. Photo: Ismaili.net

October 26, 1988: His Highness the Aga Khan receiving the Cavaliere Del Lavoro from the Italian Government at a ceremony in Rome. Photo: Ismaili.net

15. Commander of the Legion of Honour, by President Francois Mitterrand of France (1990-11-07).

It is the highest honor established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

16. Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, Gran Cruz de Merito Civil, by King Juan Carlos of Spain (1991-11-22).

Presentation ceremony at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. The award, one of Spain’s most important civil decorations, was presented on the recommendation of the country’s Foreign Minister.

17. Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, by President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal (1998-07-11).

July 11, 1998: His Highness The Aga Khan being invested with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit by President Jorge Sampaio for his “outstanding contribution to human understanding and to social and economic progress in different areas of the world.”

18. Order of Friendship, by President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan (1998-09-22).

September 22, 1998, Dushanbe: His Highness the Aga Khan being bestowed with the Order of Friendship by President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan, thus becoming the first foreign recipient of the country’s highest civilian honour.

19. Order of Bahrain (First Class) (2003).
20. Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England (2003-12-31).


June 6, 2005: His Highness the Aga Khan was invested as an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The ceremony was presided over by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada. Photo credit: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

21. Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada by Her Excellency the Right Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada (2005-06-06).

June 6, 2005: His Highness the Aga Khan seen signing the Guest Book at the Residence of the Governor General of Canada after being invested with the Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada. Photo credit: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

22. Grand Cross of the Military Order of Christ, Portugal (2005).
23. Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart, by President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya (2007-08-13).

August 13, 2007: His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki bestowed Kenya’s highest medal of honour, the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart, on His Highness the Aga Khan at the State House. They are seen here at an official state function after the Aga Khan received the medal. © Photo Credit: Akdn.org

24. Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali (2008-04-24).

April 24, 2008: His Highness the Aga Khan being honoured with the Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali by President Amadou Toumani Toure during a state banquet at the President’s Palace at Koulouba. © Photo credit: Akdn.org

25. Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2010-11-10).

By the French Minister for Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand, on behalf of the French government. Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of His Highness the Aga Khan was also honored with “Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters”.  The tribute by the French Minister for Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand to Mowlana Hazar Imam and Prince Amyn in addition to their family is outstanding. Brief excerpt:

“I have the very great honour of welcoming you here today as individuals who are cosmopolitan in essence, pluralist by religion, and outward-looking through education, and who have magnificently perpetuated a long family tradition of advocating pluralism and social and cultural engagement throughout the world. Of Italian and British parentage, your culture is Indian, you grew up in Nairobi and were educated in Switzerland and America: the planet is truly your home; openness, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue are your heritage. You have each made your mark on the contemporary world.”

Please read more at http://www.akdn.org/Content/1028


His Highness the Aga Khan has also received numerous awards and prizes from various professional organizations in recognition of his work in architecture and the conservation of historic buildings.

1.   Honorary Colonel of the 6th Lancers, Pakistan Army, Pakistan (1970-02).
2.   Honorary Membership, Pakistan Medical Association, Sind, Pakistan (1981-02-15).
3.   The Gold Mercury “AD PERSONAM” Award (1982-04-07).
4.   Institute Honor of the American Institute of Architects, USA (1984).
5.   Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Award in Architecture, University of Virginia, USA (1984-04-13).

Honored as Patron of Architecture becoming the 19th award recipient.

6.   Honorary Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), Pakistan (1985).
7.   Gold Medal of the Consojo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos, Spain (1987).

Presented by King Juan Carlos of Spain at a ceremony at the Royal Palace in the presence of members of the Spanish Architectural Association.

8.   Honorary Fellowship, Royal Institute of British Architects, United Kingdom (1991).
9.   Silver Medal of the Académie d’ArchitectureMedaille d’Argent – Academie d’Architecture de France, France (1991)
10. Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects, USA (1992)

October 25, 1996, New York City: His Highness the Aga Khan being presented with the World Monuments Fund’s prestigious Hadrian Award by David Rockefeler, a previous recipient of the Award.

11.  Hadrian Award, World Monuments Fund, USA (1996-10-25).

The Aga Khan said that the World Monuments Fund’s decision to honour him with the Hadrian Award “draws attention to, and support for, the endeavors of the Islamic world to revivify its own cultural heritage.” He reminded the gathering that Islamic architecture as an art had not escaped the wear of time. The goal of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture was to stop this decay and to impact the entire rich and diverse Islamic architectural world.

The key note speech was given by the Honorable Cyrus Vance, former U.S. Secretary of State, who noted that the Aga Khan’s initiative were “remarkable in treating design as a fundamental and enduring expression of a society’s distinct cultural identity. Through his work [the Aga Khan] has created constructive channels for dialogue, built upon the foundations of history, tradition and cultural heritage.”

October 25, 1996. His Highness the Aga Khan pictured with his younger brother, Prince Amyn, at the Hadrian Award Ceremony.

12.  Archon Award, International Nursing Honour Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, Sweden (2001-06-07).

June 7, 2001: His Highness the Aga Khan receives the prestigious Archon Award from the International Nursing Honour Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, Sweden. Photo: Ismaili.net

13.  Insignia of Honour, International Union of Architects, France (2001).
14.  State Award for Peace and Progress, Kazakhstan (2002).
15. Vincent Scully Prize, Smithsonian Institution’s National Building Museum, Washington, USA (2005-01-26).

Bruno Freschi, architect of the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Burnaby, B.C., said in an interview with Simerg:

“The Aga Khan was most deserving of the Award and I was happy to have been part of the process in getting this award for him. As you may know his support for architecture, indigenous, modern and social on a global scale has been inspiring to my profession all over the world. The Award Ceremony was a great event, and a new direction for the Vincent Scully Prize. This honour reflected both the pluralism and the cultural aesthetics of the Aga Khan, a new modernism.”


January 26, 2005: His Highness the Aga Khan pictured at the Vincent Scully Award Ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. © Photo Credit: Vivian Ronay, Washington D.C.

16. Die Quadriga Award, Germany (2005-10-03).

October 3, 2005: His Highness the Aga Khan being presented with the Die Quadriga Prize, the United We Care Award, by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

At a ceremony held in Berlin’s renowned opera house, the Komische Oper, Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and a previous Die Quadriga recipient, delivered the laudatory address as he presented the “United We Care” award to the Aga Khan, praising him as a humanist, peace-builder, democrat, philanthropist and “esteemed ambassador between civilisations.”

“While bringing people together, His Highness is striving not to diminish or remove cultural and religious differences, but to promote their acceptance and to work for a harmonious diversity,” President Karzai said. “It is this belief in an inclusive world that makes him an inspirational leader of our time…May many others be inspired to walk your path and make the world a more humane place for generations to come.”

October 3, 2005: His Highness the Aga Khan in Berlin where he received the “United We Care” Die Quadriga Award at a ceremony held at the renowned opera house, the Komishe Opera. With him are (l to r) Dr. Helmut Kohl, Fomer German Chancellor, Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR and Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania. © Photo Credit: Akdn.org

17. Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (2005-10-04).

At the Debating Chamber of Scotland’s Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and now Director of the Ethical Globalisation Initiative, presented the Medal to the Aga Khan.

“The Aga Khan’s values of pluralism, multiculturalism, and strengthening of civil society, are those we must all emulate,” said Dr. Robinson.

October 4, 2005: His Highness the Aga Khan, one of the six recipients of the 2005 Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. © Photo Credit: Akdn.org

18. Royal Toledo Foundation (Real Fundación de Toledo) Award,  Toledo, Spain (2006-03-02).

March 2, 2006: His Highness the Aga Khan makes his acceptance remarks at the Royal Toledo Foundation Award Ceremony in Toledo, Spain. Photo: Akdn.org

His Majesty Juan Carlos I, Patron of the Foundation made the formal presentation of the Toledo Award for the Aga Khan’s work in the preservation and revitalisation of historic cities in the Islamic world.

Speaking from the experience and conviction that comes with leading a diverse global commmunity, the Aga Khan said: “The creation of a humane, socially supportive built environment is crititcal to people’s quality of life.”

19. Tolerance Prize of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing, Germany (2006-05-20).

May 20, 2006: Dr. Friedemann Greiner, Director and Chairman of the Jury (left), presenting the Tolerance Award 2006 to His Highness the Aga Khan as Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (right), looks on. © Photo Credit: Akdn.org

“We honour an exceptional man, we honour a huge friend of mankind, we honour a courageous visionary, and we honour a person building bridges between societies,” said His Excellency Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, during his laudatory remarks.

November 21, 2006: His Highness the Aga Khan was the winner of the 10th Annual Sullevan Award Ceremony. Photo Credit: TheVoiceofRacing.com

20. Peter O’Sullevan Award, UK (2006-11-21).

The Aga Khan joined a select group of recipients as the winner of the 10th annual award at The Savoy in London. This annual event is the principal fund-raising initiative of  The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, which was set up in 1999 following the success of the first two Annual Awards. The perpetual bronze in the shape of Sir Peter’s own racing binoculars, sculpted by Janie Beardsall, is awarded for a lifetime’s contribution to the sport.

21.  Associate Foreign Member, Académie des Beaux-Arts, France (2008).

His Highness the Aga Khan was installed as an Associate Foreign Member of France’s Académie des Beaux Arts. The Aga Khan replaced the renowned Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange who passed away in 2005. The official ceremony, held under the dome of the Institut de France in Paris, was attended by the Académie’s President, Yves Millecamps and its Perpetual Secretary, Arnaud d’Hauterives, as well as other members of the Académie and representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was represented by his top aide on cultural affairs, Mrs. Isabelle Mariani.

2008: His Highness the Aga Khan with the Perpetual Secretary of the Académie des Beaux Arts, Arnaud d’Hauterives. © Photo Credit: Akdn.org

22.  Honoured Educator of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2008).
23. Personality of the Year 2008, International Association for Spiritual Renewal “Ruhaniat”, Kyrgyzstan (2009).

2009: His Highness the Aga Khan speaks to the distinguished audience at Portugal’s Academy of Sciences after being admitted as Foreign Member, Class of Humanities.© Photo credit: Akdn.org

24. Foreign Member of the Sciences Academy of Lisbon, Portugal (2009).

The Aga Khan was invested as Foreign Member, Class of Humanities, by Lisbon’s prestigious Academy of Sciences. The Academy, founded in 1779 by Queen Mary I of Portugal, is committed to promoting scientific research and stimulating the enhancement of thought, literature, language and other forms of national culture. Other Foreign Correspondent Members include Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, Jose Sarney, former President of Brazil, and some 70 other prominent scholars, writers and diplomats from over 20 countries.

May 28, 2009: His Highness the Aga Khan, Prince Amyn Aga Khan and France’s Minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, before the ceremony

25. Grand Mécène and Grand Donateur (Grand Patron and Grand Donor) of the Ministry of Culture, France (2009-05-28).

France’s Minister for Culture, Christine Albanel, honoured the Aga Khan in Paris with the titles of  Grand Patron  (Grand Mécène)  and Grand Donor (Grand Donateur) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural development in France through the Foundation for the Preservation and Development of the Chantilly Domain (Fondation pour la sauvegarde et le développement du domaine de Chantilly) as well as the numerous cultural programmes implemented by the cultural agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network throughout the world.

26. Prix de l’Entrepreneur philanthropique de l’année 2009 (Cour des comptes, palais Cambon) (2009 Philanthropic Entrepreneur of the Year Award), Court of Auditors, Palace Cambon, France (2009-12-17)

 27.  2011 Laureate of the J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development, , Urban Land Institute (ULI) , Los Angeles, CA, USA (2011-11-28). More at Nichols Prizeand The Ismaili – JC Nichols Prize


9 Responses to [Birthday] Happy 76th Birthday to HH Prince Karim Aga Khan

  1. usman kashif says:

    good person.

  2. HOMI says:


  3. Drasif Iqbal says:

    happy birth dy rspectable prience

    i like u and ur personality

  4. Drasif Iqbal says:

    i pray for ur long life

  5. mashooque ali says:

    Mein bohat khush naseeb hoon. jo mein es shakhseyat ka mured hoon our ye mera moula hai. I wish you a very very happy birth day hazar imam

  6. fahad hussain says:

    happy birthday..fahad

  7. soomro1994@yaoo.com says:

    Happy birthday

  8. ali mukhtar says:

    Happy birthday to u.Dear prince Aga Khan long live good health ant time smile.God bless u.

    Ali Mukhtar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: