15 August 2007

Kenya: Country Honours Aga Khan

Kampala — HIS Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, has received Kenya's highest medal of honour.

President Mwai Kibaki awarded him "The Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya" during a ceremony at a State banquet in the Aga Khan's honour, according to a statement.

Kibaki commended him saying he had recorded an impressive and enduring legacy of service both to his religious group and to other people.

The Kenyan President enumerated the different fields of development that the Aga Khan had invested in such as health, education, business and investment.

"We value your contribution and look forward to even stronger bonds in the years ahead," Kibaki said.

The Aga Khan's achievements, he added "are an eloquent testimony of your dedication to your spiritual calling as well as selfless commitment to the well being of mankind, irrespective of race or religion."

The medal was awarded hours after the Aga Khan announced the launch of East Africa's first private medical school. The Faculty of Health sciences is part of the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

His Highness is expected in Uganda on Sunday, where he will lay a foundation stone for another Aga Khan Academy in Kampala.

He is also expected to launch the Bujagali hydropower project as part of the celebrations to mark his 50 years of leadership this month.

The IPS Group of Companies, the economic arm of the Aga Khan Group, is the biggest sponsor of the project.

The Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims. They number 15 million and live in 25 countries around the world.

He is the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network.

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