BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP: Nathan Deal (right) presents the Aga Khan with the proclamation from the state of Georgia; and (below) the Aga Khan receives a saber salute by the Texas A&M Ross volunteers, the state’s official honour guard

THE Aga Khan is touring the US as he marks the diamond jubilee of his leader­ship as the imam of the Shia Ismaili Mus­lim community.

Last Sunday (18), at a lunch hosted in honour in Houston, Texas governor Greg Abbott paid tribute to the Aga Khan’s lead­ership and the achievements of his organi­sation in improving healthcare and educa­tion for people in developing countries.

“We have a state motto – and that motto is friendship. This is a friendship that has lasted many years and that we expect will continue many years into the future,” the governor said.

The Aga Khan said: “Civil society is a key resource for development. Everything we do together to invest and enhance the ca­pacity of civil society is a blessing that you give to the populations in those countries.”

A military honour guard and saber sa­lute by the Texas A&M Ross volunteers greeted the Aga Khan upon his arrival in Texas. Secretary of state Rolando Pablos, city of Houston chief of protocol Deanea LeFlore, and Sugar Land mayor Joe Zim­merman welcomed the Aga Khan and the mayor presented him with a Key to the City of Sugar Land.

Last Wednesday (14), Georgia governor Nathan Deal presented the Aga Khan with a state proclamation in recognition of his philanthropic activities.