Paris: The Aga Khan on Tuesday marked 60 years as a spiritual leader of around 15 million Ismaili Muslims.
To mark his occasion, Prince Karim Aga Khan, 80, will meet with government and faith leaders from more than 25 countries in Chantilly, France.
Followers of the Aga Khan, known as Ismailis, are scattered across Pakistan and India, while others live in Central Asia and the West.
As part of his role, the Aga Khan serves as founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a massive charitable organisation.
The network, which has its headquarters in Switzerland, employs 80,000 staff, aims to boost developing countries and alleviate poverty.
While guided by Islamic ethics, the AKDN claims to work for the common good of everyone, regardless of their gender, origin, or religion.
The AKDN’s agencies have mandates ranging from health and education to architecture, micro-finance, rural development, and revitalising historic cities.
Some of the new charity projects and initiatives to be announced or dedicated this year include increased access to finance for education, health and housing, early childhood development, and infrastructure projects in developing countries.
More resources and capacity will be given to some of the AKDN’s institutions, such as the Karachi-Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia.
Parallel celebrations will be held at Ismaili Community centres around the world.