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.


Kofi Annan (1938-2018)


Kofi Annan (1938-2018) - Ghana

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. Since 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 continued to use his experience to mediate and resolve conflict. Mr. Annan is the Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation.


Iain T. Benson


Iain T. Benson - Canada

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 of Law at the School of Law, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, 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.


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.


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.


Marwan Muasher


Marwan Muasher - Jordan

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.


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).


Margaret Ogilvie


Margaret Ogilvie - Canada

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.


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.


Eduardo Stein


Eduardo Stein - Guatemala

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.