The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) proudly marked its launch in Australia with an inaugural gala held in Sydney on Saturday 2nd of September 2023, attended by 250 people. This milestone event celebrated the Foundation’s arrival in the land down under and announced its intention to work with the Australian people to improve the quality of life for vulnerable communities in Asia and Africa.
The evening was enriched with an address by Michael Kocher, General Manager of AKF, who spoke about the work of the Foundation and the wider Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to help communities thrive and prosper. Each year, tens of millions of people benefit from activities that help communities adapt to climate change, access better education (especially girls), improve health and healthcare, provide safe drinking water, and build closer communities.
Emceeing the event was Farez Veldjee, the inaugural Country Officer of AKF in Australia. Attendees were also treated to a mesmerising Qawwali Concert by the ensemble Sufi Oz, led by Farhan Shah, a recipient of the UNESCO City of Music Award. The ensemble, composed of talented musicians from diverse nations, including Pakistan, India, Ireland, Chile, Syria, and Japan, beautifully embodied the spirit of pluralism that AKF champions.
AKF Australia was grateful for the attendance of valued partners, with notable representatives from Prince’s Trust Australia, the University of Technology Sydney, Affinity Intercultural Foundation, and the United Nations Association of Australia NSW Division.
This Gala event was not just a celebration but the culmination of important engagements across Australia and New Zealand. Over the past fifteen years, AKF has worked with the Australian government to advance lives and livelihoods in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia and North Africa. The collaboration with Australian partners has been driven by a shared vision for pluralism, enhancing the quality of life, and fostering self-reliance, aiming to uplift the vulnerable communities in Asia and Africa.
As we embark on this new chapter of AKF’s journey in Australia, the enthusiasm and possibilities are palpable. With the support of the Australian community, AKF looks forward to deeper partnerships and engagement to help build a future where we all thrive together.