His Highness the Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee marks a commitment to improve quality of life

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Statues celebrate Houston's diversity, Pooja Lodhia reports. (KTRK)

His Highness the Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee marks his 60th anniversary as the Imam, the spiritual leader, of the Shia Ismaili Muslims around the world.

Celebrations will bring together the global Ismaili community, partners of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and government and faith community leaders in over 25 countries. The Diamond Jubilee celebrates the occasion on July 11 in which the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims 60 years ago, at the age of 20.

Tuesday begins a year of redoubling the Aga Khan's commitment to improve the quality of life of people around the world. His Highness has improved the living conditions for millions of people worldwide over the last six decades in the areas of health, education, cultural revitalization and economic empowerment.

Throughout the yearlong jubilee, the Aga Khan will travel to countries where the AKDN operates to launch new programs that will help alleviate poverty, increase access to finance for education, health, early childhood development, among others.

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Aga Khan marks 60 years as leader of Ismaili Muslims.



"The world we seek is not a world where difference is erased but where difference can be a powerful force for good, helping us to fashion a new sense of cooperation and coherence in our world and to build together a better life for all," he said.

Houstonians began celebrating during the days leading up to the Diamond Jubilee and will partake in a religious ceremony Tuesday. There was a private event for His Highness and the leaders of the Ismaili community, making a historic occasion.

"During the Jubilee year and in the future, poverty alleviation will continue to be a primary area of focus for my Jamat and all the AKDN institutions," said the Aga Khan in the address to the global Ismaili community.

The Tolerance Sculptures along Buffalo Bayou Park and Allen Parkway are a visible gift Houston has received from the Aga Khan. The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center is also a well-recognized venue for civic, cultural and educational programming. Additionally, the Ismaili community works with a variety of programs, including the Houston Food Bank, Citizenship Month, Blue Bonnet Project and Compassion.

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