​A Tradition of Internation​al Service​

In recent generations, the Aga Khan's family has followed a​ tradition of service in international affairs. The Aga Khan's grandfather was President of the League of Nations and his father, Prince Aly Khan, was Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations. His uncle, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, had been United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations' Coordinator for assistance to Afghanistan and United Nations' Executive Delegate of the Iraq-Turkey border areas. The Aga Khan's brother, Prince Amyn, entered the United Nations Secretariat, Department of Economic and Social Affairs following his graduation from Harvard in 1965. Since 1968, Prince Amyn has been closely involved with the governance of the principal development institutions of the Imamat. The Aga Khan's eldest child and daughter, Princess Zahra, who graduated from Harvard in 1994 with a BA Honors Degree in Third World Development Studies, has coordination responsibilities relating to specific social development institutions of the Imamat and is based at his Secretariat. His elder son, Prince Rahim, who graduated from Brown University (USA) in 1995, has similar responsibilities in respect of the Imamat's economic development institutions. His younger son, Prince Hussain, who graduated from Williams College (USA) in 1997, has recently joined the Secretariat and is involved in the cultural activities of the Network.

In consonance with this vision of Islam and their tradition of service to humanity, wherever Ismailis live, they have elaborated a well-defined institutional framework to carry out social, economic and cultural activities. Under the Aga Khan's leadership, this framework has expanded and evolved into Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve living conditions and opportunities in specific regions of the developing world. In every country, these institutions work for the common good of all citizens regardless of their origin or religion. Their individual mandates range from architecture, education and health to the promotion of private sector enterprise, the enhancement of non-government organisations and rural development.​