On December 13th Ismaili Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan.  

His Highness the Aga Khan became Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan.  He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.

The Aga Khan spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, and then attended Le Rosey School in Switzerland for nine years.  He graduated from Harvard University in 1959 with a BA Honors Degree in Islamic history.

Like his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan before him, the Aga Khan has, since assuming the office of Imamat in 1957, been concerned about the well-being of all Muslims, particularly in the face of the challenges of rapid historical changes.

Today, the Ismailis live in some 25 countries, mainly in West and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as in North America and Western Europe.

Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a network of private, non-denominational development agencies.

Operating in Tajikistan since 1992, the Network draws on a strong base of experience in working with mountain societies.  It works in all regions of the country and employs over 3,500 people through its operations and investments.  The AKDN supports the establishment of programs and institutions that allow the Government of Tajikistan, private sector and civil society to play complementary roles in increasing prosperity and creativity within a pluralistic society.

On October 12, 2009, the Ismaili Center was opened in Dushanbe by Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, and His Highness the Aga Khan.  It is the first such Center in Central Asia – a region that has been home to Ismaili Muslims for more than a thousand years. 

The Ismaili Centre Dushanbe is part of a network of Ismaili Centers that includes Vancouver, Torono, London, Lisbon, and Dubai.  The Ismaili Centers incorporate spaces for social and cultural gatherings, intellectual engagement, and spiritual reflection.