Board of Directors

Composed of four international members and seven Canadians, the Centre’s Board of Directors is chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. Click on each Board member’s image below to read their biographies.

His Highness the Aga Khan


His Highness the Aga Khan – Chairman

His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary spiritual leader (Imam) of the Ismaili Muslims, and founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Over the past 40 years the AKDN has grown to encompass development agencies, institutions and programs with mandates ranging from health and education to economic development and the revitalization of cultural heritage. All AKDN programmes are conducted without regard to the faith, origin or gender of the people they serve. The Aga Khan has emphasized the view of Islam as a thinking spiritual faith, one that teaches compassion and tolerance and that is inherently pluralistic.


Princess Zahra Aga Khan


Princess Zahra Aga Khan – France

Princess Zahra, the eldest child of His Highness the Aga Khan, heads the Social Welfare Department (SWD) located within the French Delegation of the Aga Khan Development Network. She has policy and management responsibility for the health, education, and planning and building services companies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). She also plays a key role in policy and strategy matters relating to the other social development institutions of the Network. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University and works with institutions supported by the Ismaili Muslim community in the areas of social welfare, women’s activities and youth programs.


The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson


The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson – Canada

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, PC, CC, CMM, COM, CD, was Canada’s 26th Governor General from 1999-2005. She was the first person not born in Canada to be named to this post. In 1942 she and her family came to Canada from Hong Kong as refugees of the Second World War. She has had an impressive career in the arts as a journalist, novelist, publisher, public servant and television personality, and has received numerous honorary degrees. Her interest in Canada’s North framed much of her tenure as Governor General as she attempted to forge stronger ties between Canada and northern aboriginal people. Since her time in office she has published an autobiography, Heart Matters, and co-founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) with her husband, the author and scholar John Ralston Saul.


Mike DeGagné


Mike DeGagné – Canada

An Ojibway from the Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation, Mike DeGagné serves as the President & CEO of Indspire, an Indigenous charity investing in education for Indigenous populations across Canada. M. DeGagné holds a PhD from Michigan State University, focussing on Indigenous post-secondary success, and Master’s degrees in administration, Law, and Public Ethics. Mr. DeGagné is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Most recently, he received an Indspire Award for Public Service, was inducted into the Nipissing District Human Rights Hall of Fame, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Dalhousie University.

He was appointed Nipissing University President and Vice Chancellor in 2013, becoming one of the first Indigenous presidents of a Canadian public university. While President of Nipissing, Mr. DeGagné dedicated much of his work to Indigenous issues and ensuring that Nipissing University took a leading role in the indigenization of the post-secondary education sector. He later served as the first President of Yukon University, a new hybrid post-secondary institution in Whitehorse, Yukon. During this time, he managed its transition to a university. His career also includes working with the federal government in management of Indigenous programs and as a negotiator of comprehensive land claims.


Kim Ghattas


Kim Ghattas – Lebanon

Kim Ghattas is an Emmy-award winning journalist, analyst, and author with more than 20 years of experience covering the Middle East, international affairs, and US foreign policy for the BBC, the Financial Times and de Volkskrant. She is currently a contributing writer for The Atlantic magazine, a regular contributor to the Financial Times, and a 2023-2024 Inaugural Distinguished Fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for Global Politics.

Ms. Ghattas is the author of The Secretary, the New York Times best-seller about US foreign policy and her travels around the world with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her second book Black Wave, about the Saudi-Iran rivalry, was named New York Times notable book in 2020 and has since become a reference for universities and diplomats. Ms. Ghattas is currently writing her third book, which revisits Lebanon’s civil war as the origin story of the US-Iran clash in the Middle East.

As a leading voice on Middle Eastern affairs, Ms. Ghattas shares her expertise on risk and opportunities in regional and geopolitical trends with a variety of key players and institutions in the region and in the United States. She serves on the board of trustees of the American University of Beirut and was chair of the board of directors for the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism network from 2020 to 2023. She sits on the advisory council of the Atlas for Impunity. Ms. Ghattas is also a former nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2017–2022), a former public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2017) and a former Civitella Ranieri fellow (2019).


Huguette Labelle


Huguette Labelle – Canada

Huguette Labelle holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Education. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada, and has been awarded honorary degrees from 12 Canadian universities and the University of Notre Dame, as well as several additional honours. She served for a period of 19 years as Deputy Minister of various Government of Canada departments, including the Secretary of State, Transport Canada, the Public Service Commission, and the Canadian International Development Agency. She was Chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 1994 to 2011 and serves on many Boards. Huguette Labelle is currently Chair of the Board of Transparency International, a member of the Board of the UN Global Compact, a member of the Group of External Advisors on the World Bank Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy, a member of the Advisory Group to the Asian Development Bank on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, a member of the Executive Board of the Africa Capacity Building Foundation, a member of the Board of the Global Centre for Pluralism, a member of the Advisory Council of the Order of Ontario, and Vice-Chair of the Senior Advisory Board of the International Anti-corruption Academy. She also serves on additional national and international boards. She provides advisory services to national and international organizations.


The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin


The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin – Canada

The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin PC, CC, CStJ, FCIArb, served as Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 to 2017. She is the first and only woman to be Chief Justice of Canada and was also Canada’s longest serving Chief Justice, building experience and skill in leading and consensus-building for many years as the head of a diverse nine-member court.
Throughout her judicial career, Ms. McLachlin has been involved with countless areas of the Canadian legal system, both common law and civil law, and both private and public law, in English and French. In 2018 Ms. McLachlin was appointed to the Order of Canada as a recipient of its highest accolade, Companion of the Order of Canada. She has received over 35 honorary degrees from universities in Canada and abroad, and numerous other honours and awards. She holds a B.A (Honours) in Philosophy, and M.A in Philosophy and an LL.B from the University of Alberta.
Ms. McLachlin is a Member Arbitrator at Arbitration Place and works as an arbitrator and mediator in Canada and internationally. She sits as a Justice of Singapore’s International Commercial Court and the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal.


Rohinton P. Medhora


Rohinton P. Medhora – Canada

Rohinton P. Medhora is the former president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and a Professor of Practice at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. Previously, he was vice president of programs at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Dr. Medhora served on The Lancet and Financial Times Commission on Governing Health Futures 2030 and is a member of the Commission on Global Economic Transformation. He is the chair of the Board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, vice-chair at the McLuhan Foundation, Board member of Partnership for Economic Policy and is on the advisory boards of the WTO Chairs Programme, UNU-MERIT and Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Toronto, where he subsequently taught. He earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Toronto, where he majored in economics.


James Irungu Mwangi


James Irungu Mwangi – Kenya

James Irungu Mwangi is the Executive Director of the Dalberg Group, a collection of impact-driven businesses that seek to champion inclusive and sustainable models around the world. Mr. Mwangi leads integration and innovation across Dalberg’s five core businesses, which together employ over 600 staff in 25 locations across the globe, including 11 countries in Africa. He launched Dalberg’s presence in Africa in 2007, and previously served as Global Managing Partner of Dalberg Advisors from 2010 to 2014. He currently serves on the boards of Old Mutual, The Skoll Foundation and One Acre Fund. He holds an honors degree in Economics from Harvard University, was previously with McKinsey & Company, and is a Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow (2009), a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (2013), and a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.


Azim Nanji


Azim Nanji – Canada

Azim Nanji is currently Special Advisor to the Provost, Aga Khan University. He has served most recently as Senior Associate Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, where he also lectured in the Department of Religious Studies. Previously he was Professor and Chair, Department of Religion, University of Florida (1989-1998), and Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London (1998-2008). Born in Kenya, he is a graduate of Makerere University and obtained his Ph.D. from McGill University. He is the recipient of awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Canada Council, and the National Endowment for Humanities. Dr. Nanji has authored, co-authored and edited several books, including The Penguin Historical Dictionary of Islam (2008).


Marty Natalegawa


Marty Natalegawa – Indonesia

Marty Natalegawa served as Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia between 2009 and 2014. He also served as Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN in New York (2007-2009), coinciding with Indonesia’s membership of the Security Council. He currently serves as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation. He also serves as Asia Society Policy Institute Distinguished Fellow; as a member of the International Academic Advisory Board of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS-Washington, D.C.); International Crisis Group Board of Trustees; Global Advisory Committee of the Jeju Forum; UWA Public Policy Institute Advisory Board and is a Prominent Research Scholar of the Bank of Indonesia Institute of the Central Bank. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) degree from the Australian National University in 1993.


Khalil Shariff


Khalil Shariff – Canada

Khalil Shariff is Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC). Prior to joining AKFC in 2005, Mr. Shariff was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he advised governments, financial institutions, and health care providers on strategy, organization, and operational improvement. He served on AKFC’s National Committee for five years. He is a graduate, J.D. magna cum laude, of the Harvard Law School, where he cultivated his interest in international development and conflict resolution issues as Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Negotiation Law Review, and Policy Coordinator and Research Associate, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research.


Directors Emeriti

    Kofi Annan

    Kofi Annan –

    Kofi A. Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for “bringing new life to the organization.”  As Secretary-General, Kofi Annan led a comprehensive program of reform aimed at revitalizing the UN and making the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners. At his initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the UN to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel. He played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the adoption of the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and the acceptance by Member States of the “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  After leaving the UN, Mr. Annan continued to press for better policies to meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly in Africa, and used his experience to mediate and resolve conflict. Up until his death in 2018, Mr. Annan was the Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation.


    Iain T. Benson

    Iain T. Benson –

    Iain T. Benson is a lawyer, writer, lecturer and consultant who publishes widely and consults internationally on constitutional law and human rights. He is Professor Extraordinary in the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, and a fellow of several institutes in Canada, South Africa and the United States and was a visiting professor at the University of Western Ontario. His writing on the nature of the “secular” and “secularism” has been cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Constitutional Court of South Africa. For several years he has been one of eight members of a Continuation Committee to create the South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms. He holds degrees from Queen’s, Cambridge and Windsor and a doctorate (law) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


    Rudyard Griffiths

    Rudyard Griffiths –

    Rudyard Griffiths is a social entrepreneur, author and television broadcaster. He has edited 13 collections of essays on Canadian and international political and historical themes and is the author of Who Are We: A Citizen’s Manifesto (2009). He has been a columnist with the National Post and the Toronto Star and television anchor with CTV News Channel and the Business News Network. Rudyard Griffiths is also the moderator and organizer of the semi-annual Munk Debates. Recent Munk Debates participants include Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, Fareed Zakaria, Paul Krugman and Lawrence Summers. Rudyard Griffiths is the President of the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation and its sister public policy foundation, Aurea. In 2006, Rudyard Griffiths was recognized by the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.


    Yash Pal Ghai

    Yash Pal Ghai –

    Yash Pal Ghai is the Director of the Katiba Institute in Nairobi. Formerly he was the head of the UNDP Constitution Advisory Support Unit in Nepal, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia. Mr. Ghai has had an international academic career as a professor of law and as a constitutional expert, beginning with the establishment of East Africa’s first law school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In 1989, he was appointed Professor of Public Law at the University of Hong Kong. He has advised in over twenty countries on constitution making and other issues, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Fiji, Somalia, Libya, and Kenya (where he chaired the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) from 2002-2004, as well as the National Constitutional Conference (“Bomas”). His research interests include constitutionalism and human rights, ethnic conflicts, sociology of law, and federalism and autonomy. He has published extensively on public law, human rights, and ethnic conflicts. In 2011 Professor Ghai established the Katiba Institute to promote knowledge and studies of constitutionalism and to facilitate the implementation of Kenya’s new constitution. Its activities include publications on the Constitution, workshops on constitutional issues, public interest litigation, development of the legal and judicial system, establishment of county governments, land reform, review of legislative bills to implement the Constitution, and promoting the participation of Kenyans in public affairs. It works in partnership with a number of Kenyan and overseas civil, academic, and state institutions.


    Margaret Ogilvie

    Margaret Ogilvie –

    Margaret Ogilvie is Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University, Ottawa, and a member of the Bars of Ontario and Nova Scotia.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1993) and a recipient of the David W. Mundell Medal (1996) for legal scholarship, the Law Society Medal (2001) from the Law Society of Upper Canada, and holds two honorary doctorates in recognition of her contributions to the legal profession, both in Canada and abroad. She has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Edinburgh, Emory, Oxford and Toronto, and twice at the Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the author of 14 books and over 200 law review articles on religious institutions law, banking law and contract law primarily. She has served on several boards in the not-for-profit sector in Canada.  In 2008 she was invested into the Order of Ontario in recognition of her lifelong achievements as an educator and legal scholar. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.



    Marwan Muasher

    Marwan Muasher –

    Marwan Muasher is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Most recently, he was senior vice president of external affairs at the World Bank from 2007 to 2010. Previous to that, Muasher served as foreign minister (2002–2004) and deputy prime minister (2004–2005) of Jordan. In 1995, Muasher opened Jordan’s first embassy in Israel, and in 1996 became minister of information and the government spokesperson. From 1997 to 2002, he served in Washington again as ambassador, negotiating the first free trade agreement between the United States and an Arab nation. He has authored two books, The Second Arab Awakening, published by Yale University Press in January 2014 and The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation, also published by Yale University Press, June 2008. He served on the Global Centre for Pluralism’s Board of Directors from 2015 to 2019, and has served on the American University of Beirut’s Board of Trustees since 2007.


    Eduardo Stein

    Eduardo Stein –

    Eduardo Stein is former Vice President (2004-2008) and Foreign Minister (1996-2000) of the Republic of Guatemala. He has worked with various international organizations in development programs in Central America, as well as the Esquipulas peace process and in the San José Dialogue for Central American Peace negotiations. He headed the OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Peru in 2000 for Mr. Fujimori´s try for a third term, which resulted in the disqualification of the elections for serious irregularities. He presided over the Honduras Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2010-2011. Dr. Stein is an independent consultant, coordinates a Central American network of think tanks, la RED, and is a member of the Board of the Inter-American Dialogue and of the Global Leadership Foundation.