Intercultural School Stamp Ceremony at the Ismaili Centre of Lisbon 12TH JANUARY 2017

The Ismaili Center in Lisbon, hosted last Thursday, the 12th of January 2017, the Intercultural School Stamp Ceremony, an event where 32 schools were distinguished by their educational projects and good practices in terms of recognising and valuing the linguistic and cultural diversity, as an opportunity and source of learning for all.

The ceremony was opened by Rahim Firozali, President of the National Council of the Ismaili Community in Portugal who focused "diversity as a gift" quoting His Highness, the Prince Aga Khan, and praised the Intercultural School Stamp as an initiative that contributes to a more fraternal and sustainable society.

The General Director of Education, José Vítor Pedroso spoke about a "fruitful partnership" with both the Aga Khan Foundation and the High Commission for Migrations, also responsible for the initiative of the Intercultural Schools Network.

The Secretary of State of Citizenship and Equality, Catarina Marcelino, finalised the opening session reinforcing that "citizenship can only be developed in Portugal with an intercultural education project in schools". The Secretary of State mentioned the Aga Khan Foundation as the strong enabler of this project, and took advantage of this occasion to mention the work developed by the Aga Khan Foundation, with K’CIDADE project, innovative approach which was an inspiration for the current Local Development Social Contracts.

After the opening session, the short movies developed by the award-winning schools were presented, and the certificates were handed out to schools representatives.

Two beautiful artistic moments were presented: a dance from the Nepalese Group Dance by the Luís de Camões High School and a performance from the Pano para Mangas project, from the School of Dance of the Orfeão de Leiria (Conservatory of Arts).

Karim Merali started the last part of ceremony recalling that it is part of the mission of the Aga Khan Foundation to contribute to pluralism in European societies. Karim thanked the partners involved in the project for all the lessons learned through the fruitful work together.

Pedro Calado, High Commissioner for Migrations, recalled that "an intercultural approach starts within ourselves" and that, as a nation, we should "reinterpret our identity as we will find out that diversity is part of it."

Finally, the Secretary of State of Education, João Costa, closed the ceremony with some words for the Aga Khan Foundation to thank the dedication and strong commitment in several national projects promoting diversity. He also acknowledged, on behalf of the State, the great effort AKF has been doing to push forward this agenda and to influence practices and policies for a better quality of life of vulnerable populations. Referring to the national school rankings reported by the media, he ended his speech praising the award-winning schools, as they are in the top places "of the rankings of those who can transform the world." :)

Content created by Aga Khan Foundation, Portugal. Photo credit: Aga Khan Foundation Portugal and Lisbon Ismaili Centre. For more information, please contact carolina.coelho@akdn.org

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