The Aga Khan is the winner of the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.
The annual award recognises individuals who through thought and dialogue encourage approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect.
“We are pleased to announce that His Highness the Aga Khan is the first recipient of this globally relevant prize.
"The 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, His Highness has dedicated his life’s work to improving living conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations, and to fostering an understanding of the importance of pluralism to global harmony,” read a citation accompanying the announcement by the 6 Degrees, a new public initiative of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
The prize is named after Madam Adrienne Clarkson, a former Canadian governor-general.
“The symbolic importance of this prize has never been greater. In a time of unprecedented movement, displacement and resettlement by immigrants and refugees, one of the central challenges we face is how we all live together,” the statement added.
At the ceremony presided over by Ms Clarkson in Toronto on Wednesday, The Aga Khan shared his experiences with the audience on the issues confronting the world today. He was then joined on stage by Ms Clarkson.
Remarking on The Aga Khan’s lifetime commitment to ideals of inclusion, Ms Clarkson stated: “Through his words, through his actions and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has pioneered, he is a beacon of light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness.”
The ceremony took place at the end of the 6 Degrees conference, developed to bring together leaders to discuss issues which threaten co-existence.