Recently launched in Toronto and Ottawa, Global Connections is a new exhibition that showcases the extraordinary work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Featuring large-scale photography and stories from around the world, Global Connections explores how commitment, drive, and collaboration are at the heart of building stronger societies globally — and how, together, Canada and the AKDN are contributing to lasting, positive change.
Presented on three large pillars, or "monoliths", the exhibit's structure reflects the AKDN's unique, three-part approach to development that integrates attention to the social, economic and cultural dimensions of quality of life. Global Connections introduces visitors to His Highness the Aga Khan, Founder and Chairman of the AKDN, and to the ethical foundations and belief in a shared humanity that drive the Network's global development efforts. The exhibition also highlights the decades-long partnership with Canada and Canadians to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and pluralist world for all.
Visitors can see the exhibition at the following locations:
The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat
199 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON
Free entry during visitor program hours. See the schedule here.
Exhibition Dates: Ongoing/ exhibition run to be determined.
Aga Khan Museum
77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON
During regular museum hours
Global Connections is an outdoor exhibition located on the front terrace of the Museum, and does not require purchase of Museum admission ticket.
May 26, 2017 – August 11, 2017
”We could not imagine that there are places in the world where kids like Sabina don’t have easy access to food, medical treatment, or education. She inspired us to act.“ School Team Captain Shreya Gandhi, Victoria, BC.
First-time School Team Captain Shreya Gandhi feels it is important that young people in Canada understand the challenges of those living in poorer parts of the world: “We need to look past ourselves, and to a greater purpose,” Shreya said.
For Shreya and her sister Riya, World Partnership Walk offers them the opportunity to do exactly that: to look at life beyond their own backyard and to be part of a global movement.
”Working for a cause as worthwhile as this has been fantastic and very rewarding. We hope that we are able to make a small contribution to the fight against poverty.”
The Walk has also given the Gandhi sisters an opportunity to develop and hone their leadership skills. “We are both a little quiet and shy at times, and learning to organize events in our school, delegating responsibility, and communicating with new people pushed us out of our comfort zone!”
Regardless of their humble demeanour, the sisters have certainly risen to challenge and enjoyed showing their peers at school “how easy and important it is to make a difference.”
“Our hope is to make our peers aware of…all the good that can be done with the funds raised. We’d like to show others how to be part of a solution,” said the sisters.
Shreya’s advice to other young people who want to support the Walk and raise funds to fight global poverty is to be organized, persistent, and to take advantage of all the great tools, resources, and support on hand.
When asked what has stuck with them about the Walk, Shreya and Riya pointed to Walk Day 2016 in Victoria. One moment at the end of the Walk gave them a true sense that they were part of a larger movement.
“There were hundreds of people, walkers, and supporters, and we felt a great sense of unity and belonging. [A]ll we could think was, ‘Wow!’ To know that we are making a difference together is an incredible feeling.”
Check out the Walk’s 2017 fundraising toolkit for great resources to engage your school, university, college, family, friends, or co-workers in World Partnership Walk and fighting global poverty.
Register for World Partnership Walk today!
There’s still time to register for the 2017 Walk as an individual or team and be part of Canada’s largest movement to fight global poverty.
Together, let’s show the world that Canada is here for them!
Learn more and register today!
Are you passionate about international development? Do you want to share your stories? Join the AKFC Speaker Bureau.
The Development Champions are a group of dedicated volunteers from across Canada that promotes discussion and learning on global issues and inspires Canadians to get involved in international development. Development Champions deliver presentations in their communities across Canada to raise awareness of international development and the impact of Canadian-supported projects overseas.
The Speaker Bureau provides a unique opportunity to refine and develop your personal narrative through storytelling, and expand your professional networks while fostering meaningful conversations on the importance of Canada’s international development efforts.
Jennifer Fieldhouse joined AKFC’s Speaker Bureau in 2015. She has since completed 17 presentations at schools, community groups and events across Canada. Jennifer shares her experiences as a Development Champion:
“We are all part of the global community and I have found it extremely rewarding to share my experiences in international development with classes and community groups. These presentations have opened doors to wonderful conversations as others have, in turn, shared their experiences with me.
I remember one grade 10 class where I put up a world map and together, we marked everywhere in the world someone in the class had been. As the world slowly became covered in dots, the students became more and more excited, celebrating as each new country was identified as a place their feet had touched down. On another occasion, in a grade 12 class, I introduced a video of Gilbert from South Africa who likes cranberry juice. The students enjoyed the irony of a Zimbabwean loving a juice made from a berry that grows here in Canada. They told me they felt like they had made a new friend, through his video.
The AKFC Speaker Bureau has opened the door to strengthening our global community and our stories are the building blocks.”
- Jennifer Fieldhouse
Feeling inspired? Applications are now open until May 31, 2017. Learn more and apply today.
For more than 35 years, Aga Khan Foundation Canada has brought the best of Canada to the world to change people’s lives for the better. From the very beginning, volunteers have been at the heart of our work.
In the early 1980s, a group of visionary men and women from the remote, high mountain areas of northern Pakistan came together voluntarily to form village organizations to lead the development of their communities. On the other side of the globe, a group of women in Vancouver came together in 1985 to raise funds to fight global poverty. All had come from Africa or Asia and wanted to give back to the communities they left behind. They persuaded 1,000 other Canadians to join them in a walk—and raised $55,000.
Today, with the support of a longstanding partnership with Canada, those communities in northern Pakistan have made remarkable gains in poverty reduction, improved health and education, and expanded social and economic opportunities for women and men. And in Canada, that first walk grew into a national movement with tens of thousands of Canadians each year raising funds and awareness to fight global poverty. As well, AKFC has many ways for Canadians from coast-to-coast to make a difference—from a volunteer speaker bureau, to a unique visitor program in Ottawa, to annual golf tournaments in seven cities.
For National Volunteer Week and Canada’s 150th anniversary, we want to celebrate the many ways that AKFC volunteers reflect the best of this country and contribute to building a more peaceful, prosperous, and equal world for all. Each of our thousands of volunteers has a unique, inspiring story. This month, we’ve asked three of them to share their experience with us:
Yasmin Nathoo is the Regional Donor Services Chair for Quebec and the Maritimes – a 30-year veteran with AKFC. While pursuing his studies at the University of Ottawa, Angjelos Fero volunteers as a Visitor Program Guide at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. Farah Bundeali has volunteered for several years as a World Partnership Walk Workplace Team Captain at KPMG in Toronto.
Yasmin (fourth from the right) at the 2016 World Partnership Walk, Montreal.
AKFC: What inspired you to become a volunteer?
Yasmin Nathoo (YN): After almost 30 years as a volunteer for AKFC, I simply keep going and going, just like the Energizer Bunny in the advertisement. My source of inspiration is rooted in the ethic of our faith to render assistance to those who are less fortunate. Being part of the Donor Services team enables me to fulfill this noble calling.
Angjelos Fero (AF): I am incredibly intrigued by the space of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat itself and by the dialogue that occurs within its walls. To me, these really encapsulate what international development is from a Canadian perspective: acceptance, equality, and the celebration of diversity, culture, and ethnicity. It is amazing that this sort of dialogue can occur in one space with so many brilliant minds, who work tirelessly to support international development. I find inspiration in the events that AKFC holds at the Delegation, as experts and development professionals travel from all over the world to open up dialogue on a plethora of global issues.
Farah Bundeali (FB): This is some of the most fun I’ve had! You inspire others, which only brings smiles. With simple steps, you can contribute to a great cause. You meet new people, you create new awareness, and the reward is when people start to ask to be involved. A Team Captain is a kind of ringleader—and you gain respect and credibility. It offers something different from your normal day job!
AKFC: What has been your volunteer journey? What has your volunteer experience taught you?
YN: My volunteer journey began with the inception in 1987 of “The Partnership Walk – for Third World Development” in Montreal. Over the last thirty years, my volunteer journey has taken me through various roles from being a member of the Organizing Committee to my current position as the Regional Donor Services Chair for Quebec and Maritimes.
It has been said that, “blessed is the person, who plants a tree, not knowing if he will be there to enjoy its shade.” I’m truly blessed to have witnessed, from a humble beginning, how the Walk has grown in scope and stature and the difference it is making in improving the quality of life of marginalized populations in Asia and Africa.
AF: My volunteer experiences have taught me to enter every possible situation I encounter with an open mind, as well as the willingness to listen. Since beginning work as a volunteer for AKFC, I have met a wide array of individuals, and from all of them, I’ve gained a piece of knowledge or perspective. Whether I chat with a group of visitors to the Delegation during one of my tours, or occasionally chat with colleagues that work within AKFC, I have never left without having learned something new about development, the Delegation, or the global Ismaili community.
FB: As a woman and a leader [both for the Walk and in the business sector], I think the key challenges are to be heard and for people to take you seriously. Passion is often seen as “emotions” rather than a reflection of true reality. The key has been to be persistent and not give up. Your voice can be heard, and each time you speak louder. You often shy away from rejection or fear of rejection, but what I have learned is that if you don’t ask at least twice or more, you will not be heard.
Angjelos (left) volunteering at an event at the Delegation of the Ismalili Imamat, Ottawa.
AKFC: What unique skills have you been able to develop as a result of your volunteer work?
YN: Working with Donor Services team has enabled me to develop a number of skills sets including team building, managing/coaching volunteers, communication skills, event planning, and new web-based applications.
AF: As a result of my work as a Visitor Program guide, I have become a better public speaker. I’ve given tours to large groups of people from all walks of life and levels of knowledge of the Delegation, as well as assisted at events with high-profile individuals from all over the world, including many ambassadors, diplomats, professors, and development experts. My communication skills have definitely benefited from such an opportunity.
FB: Developing a team has been the biggest skill –motivating, inspiring and profiling people. People want encouragement, some level of motivation, and often have a “what’s in it for me” thought process, so profiling their role on the team at KPMG has created a lot of success in getting people to be involved and asking to do more when they see it tied to recognition in addition to a personal cause. Working with people is critical to success, so you have to make sure you share that success.
AKFC: What do you enjoy the most about being a volunteer?
YN: [I most enjoy] being part of the AKFC family of volunteers and working with other talented and dedicated volunteers—and knowing that the work I do is important and appreciated.
AF: What I most enjoy is the unique opportunity I am granted to educate and open dialogues about the building and the institutions it contains. I meet individuals and groups that may have little knowledge of the Delegation, AKFC, or the Aga Khan Development Network, and some who may have an extensive amount of knowledge. What I find fantastic is that in either situation I am able to participate in incredibly interesting conversations.
My favourite part of the Delegation building would have to be the Char Bagh! The Char Bagh is a wonderful space for reflection and, from my perspective, it is a beautiful transition space between tours for visitors to enjoy the flora and fauna, the architecture of the Delegation, and discover the interesting twist behind the “missing” central fountain – an essential element in traditional Islamic gardens.
FB: Meeting new people – you never realize what passion lies within your organization or the different people who you can connect with until you tie it back to a cause that has nothing to do with work! We all work for the same company, but we may never have met. A common cause, a common goal, a common passion has created new relationships and has allowed us to extend our relationships beyond those we see each day. That is a true achievement when you work for an organization with over 5,000 employees.
Farah (left) at the 2016 World Partnership Walk, Toronto.
AKFC: What would your advice be to someone considering becoming a volunteer—or for businesses considering supporting volunteer opportunities such as Walk Workplace teams?
YN: Get involved and serve with passion and intensity. As a member of the Donor Services team, you are in a position of trust. Discharge your responsibility with integrity and professionalism expected by our donors.
AF: My advice to someone considering becoming a Visitor Program guide is that you should be prepared to learn. A lot. What I cannot stress enough is the number and complexity of topics you will cover in tours and events at the Delegation. At the end of the day, you will almost always leave any tour or event hungry for more knowledge or conversation. I find that very exciting and motivating.
FB: I think businesses need to understand their connectivity to the world. Often we focus too closely on the people next to us. What is happening globally is important, and the impact we can have on these issues has a direct connection back to us here in Canada. We are not immune to the issues in other parts of the world, and businesses need to see that global connectivity.
Clearly, there is personal satisfaction for everyone involved to “do good” and make a difference in the world. However, there is more, because as a business, we have been able to create engagement with our colleagues. We have been able to bring our people together and enable them to focus on something a greater shared goal that goes beyond the work of our company. We have created global citizens and inspired in them the desire to do more given all the opportunities we have [in Canada].
AKFC: What's been your best experience, or most memorable moment, as a volunteer?
YN: I have two memorable moments. In 1994, Princess Zahra Aga Khan graced us with her presence at the World Partnership Walk in Montreal. Organizing the first Donor Services Volunteers Appreciation event in Montreal was another experience that I shall remember. It was a great source of motivation to see the silent workers recognized and awarded certificates for their years of hard work and dedication.
AF: My best experiences as an AKFC volunteer would have to be assisting at the events held at the Delegation. I find them great opportunities to learn. As a student at the University of Ottawa completing a degree in communications and minoring in law, I always draw inspiration from the experts that come to speak, as I hope to pursue a career in development myself. A memorable moment? There have been far too many!
FB: My proudest moments have been when diverse Canadians from our organization not only stepped up to participate but asked to lead as individual city Team Captains. They saw how much more [meaningful] the Walk was than a single event and brought new ideas, fresh thoughts, and wider participation. Our numbers grew, the profile of this event grew, and today, the level of engagement is wonderful across the firm!
Inspired by our volunteers to get involved with AKFC for Canada’s 150th? Learn more here.
Note: Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” - Rumi
For Tabish Jiwani, the words of the Persian poet Rumi reveal a deep truth.
Drawing on her childhood in Uganda, Tabish channels her “river” into her role as a workplace team captain for the World Partnership Walk.
Tabish moved to Canada for university in 2013, leaving behind her friends and family in Uganda. Today, she lives in Edmonton, working as a commercial associate for HighStreet Insurance Group.
In 2016, Tabish banded together colleagues from Edmonton’s HighStreet Insurance Group to raise $5,000 to fight global poverty through the Walk. In 2017, they are aiming to double that amount.
Her motivation to build brighter futures overseas comes from her personal and volunteer experiences in Uganda. After losing her father when she was young, Tabish’s family faced financial hardship – but she says the experience taught her “no matter how hard life gets, never give up on anything. If you fall, stand up again.”
Before Tabish moved to Canada, she saw the impact of AKFC’s work to improve quality of life in the developing world. Tabish volunteered with the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme in Uganda, an initiative supported by AKFC and Global Affairs Canada, providing crucial preschool education for vulnerable children.
“I believe we all have a responsibility in this world to help one another,” says Tabish.
In many workplaces, employees want to make a difference in the world – but often don’t know how they can contribute. The World Partnership Walk offers a channel for businesses and organizations to motivate their employees, building teamwork and showing they care.
For Tabish, being a workplace team captain has also spurred personal growth, networking opportunities, and the chance to mobilize change— first by educating her colleagues on crucial global issues, and then by inspiring them to empower communities living in poverty by raising funds.
“The Walk has allowed me to enhance my leadership skills; ability to work in a team; and communicate with a variety of audiences. It also made me more empathetic towards people and allowed me to build diverse relationships,” says Tabish. “Most of all, I was able to challenge myself and achieve the goal of creating a team.”
Tabish attributes part of her team’s success to the Walk staff and volunteers who she describes as walking by her side as she built her team. “They held ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, educated my work team, and gave them a better understanding of what the Walk does,” she says.
Having found volunteering and raising funds for World Partnership Walk through her workplace a rewarding experience, Tabish encourages others to start a team in their workplace.
“Take the challenge,” she says. “If you are passionate about helping others, you will be a great Team Captain. Go for it!”
Join hundreds of workplace team captains across Canada who are dedicated to making a long-term impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in the world. Inspire your colleagues to come together, step forward, and end global poverty!
Q: I am currently a high school student but I have been accepted into a college/university program, may I participate in the competition?
A: Unfortunately not, you must be currently enrolled, undergraduate or graduate student in an architecture, civil engineering or design program at a college or university to participate. We will accept high school teams if one of the team members meets the eligibility requirements.
Q: I am a PhD student may I participate?
A: PhD students fall under the graduate student category and may participate in the competition
Q: I am recently graduated but continue to work for my university as a Teach/Research Assistant, may I participate?
A: If you are still enrolled as a student at your affiliated institution you may participate. If you are no longer a student, you, unfortunately are unable to participate.
Q: Do all the participants have to be students?
A: Yes, all participants should be students, we will not accept a team mixed with students and (recent) graduates.
Q: I am currently working between my undergraduate and graduate degrees, may I participate?
A: Only if you are currently in a program may you participate in the competition.
Q: I am currently a co-op student, may I participate?
A: If you are enrolled in an eligible program you may participate.
Q: Can we include members from other fields of study (e.g. Fine Arts)?
A: Yes, as long as there is a least two members from architecture, civil engineering or design program.
Q: Is there a registration process?
A: No, Please pick a unique five-digit number (see next question)
Q: How do I pick a unique five-digit number?
A: The number can be any number you want, it is unlikely that two groups will be the same but we request that you do not chose simple sequences such as 12345 or repetitions like 11111.
Please ensure that both posters and the Team Information sheet have the number plainly visible, preferably in the top or bottom right corner of each poster and at the top of the Team Information Sheet.
Q: Do you want to see specific information on each of the two A2 panels?
A: It is up to the discretion of the teams to determine how to layout the required information of each poster, we do not have a preference.
Q: Do you have a preference between landscape or portrait format?
A: No, but the two posters should be in the same orientation.
Q: Do you have a required format for the Team Information Sheet?
A: No, please include all required information, include your five digit code and use a clear font (Arial, etc.) of reasonable size (e.g. 12 pt)
Q: Can we write our descriptions and poster annotations in French?
A: Yes, you may submit the poster in French, we have translation services that will translate.
Q: Will electricity be provided to the pavilion site?
A: The pavilion will be wired for electricity. You are welcome to include electrical outlets which might offer the opportunity for particular activities or evening events.
Q: Can projects propose alternative electricity options (e.g. photovoltaic panels, etc.)
A: You are welcome to provide alternatives, please ensure that they work in your general budget.
Q: Do I/we have to use only wood for the pavilion?
A: While wood does not have to be the only material, it is the predominate material. We would prefer if the pavilion has a wood structure as it minimizes cost and the trades required for construction but you may suggest alternatives if they are key to your proposal.
Q: Is the seating permanent; do we have to account for the storage of seasonal furniture?
A: Yes, the seating is fixed and permanent. No you do not have to account for storage of seasonal furniture
Q: For shelter from the rain, is a roof enough or should the pavilion be enclosed
A: A canopy is what is requested. Walls might support the but we do not want an enclosure
Q: Who might use the pavilion?
A: Anyone that visits the Just Food Farm may visit the pavilion – it will be a public space when the Farm is open.
Q: What activities might occur in the pavilion?
A: The Pavilion will be a gathering place. It will hold community events related to the activities of the Just Food Farm inviting visitors to reflect on the importance of local and global issues.
Q: How accurately do I have to estimate the cost?
A: We recognize that this is a student competition and therefore participants will have a range of professional experiences. We request that you endeavor your best to understand the unique elements which will impact cost and that you diagram, draw and maybe technically clarify those key ideas.
We do not need a specific cost plan.
We request that teams submit proposals, which they have designed to be constructed within the allocated budget.
“It had become a tradition for some of us on Walk day to gather around at noon and print the fundraising results together. Looking at that final total was always a heartwarming feeling because it reminds you of what is possible when people coast-to-coast come together and unite around a cause.”
It would be apt to describe Sultanali Ladhani as one of our World Partnership Walk “rock stars.” Sultanali truly epitomizes the commitment, determination, and professionalism of our world-class Walk volunteers.
Sultanali is a big believer in “providing a hand-up to anyone in need,” as he describes it, and this is the very reason he was inspired to join the Walk team.
“The Walk in support of AKFC provides an opportunity to lend a helping hand to those in need through sustainable development, whether it is through a daycare centre for children in Bangladesh or a small business program in Cabo Delgado, [Mozambique],” he says.
Sultanali describes the volunteer learning opportunities with the Walk as “endless.” He joined Walk as a university team captain and fundraiser, organizing a carnival on campus to raise funds, but he has come a long way since then. He worked his way up to city chair, leading the Kitchener-Waterloo Walk, giving him personal and professional development opportunities at a young age.
“I am still early in my professional career, so this was a great opportunity to learn how to recruit and manage a team of people,” he says. “In addition, I have always wanted to know what it takes to run a business and serving as the city chair was a great simulation in learning what it takes to be successful, from building a strategy to grow the Walk to surrounding yourself with good people on your team.”
Today, Sultanali is one of our volunteer national directors, leading on market development strategies for the Walk. As a passionate and seasoned Walk fundraiser, Sultanali is perfectly suited for this exciting new role.
For 2017, Sultanali is leading a new Walk initiative called “Fundraise My Way” aimed at arming Walk ambassadors with a fundraising toolkit to help them develop unique and fun activities to raise funds. Everything from a lemonade stand, to a BBQ or pet wash are in the mix.
“This is a fun way for people to get involved with the Walk by challenging them to get creative in holding a fundraiser of their own,” he says. “This is a great opportunity for new participants to get involved so we will be looking to you all to build momentum with this initiative!”
If Sultanali could offer one piece of advice to someone considering volunteering for the Walk it would be to go for it, and if you are prepared to work hard, the sky’s the limit.
“Like any other professional organization, AKFC looks for hard working, dedicated people and if you put in the time and effort, they will make sure you have the opportunity to grow within the organization and experience the many initiatives AKFC is involved with.”
Ottawa will get a little bit greener in 2017, when AKFC and Just Food bring Canadians together in 2017 to plant and maintain a new community garden. This project will enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike for decades to come, connecting local and global issues of food security and environmental sustainability, and providing a platform for Canadians to engage with important issues both in Canada and abroad.
Growing our Community will empower the community to create a space that promotes inclusion, idea-sharing, community-building, and environmental stewardship for residents and visitors to Canada’s capital. Growing our Community is funded by Ontario 150 and is part of Ottawa 2017’s community legacy project to install 20 new community gardens across the city for Canada’s 150 anniversary celebrations.
Want to get involved?! Here’s how: