AKU agrees to establish Hospital and Medical College In Hyderabad
The Aga Khan University (AKU) Board has agreed in principle to a proposal of Commissioner Hyderabad to establish Aga Khan Hospital and a Medical College at Hyderabad.
The board agreed to establish the hospital and medical college during a meeting held here a few days back.
The Commissioner Hyderabad Muhammad Abbas Baloch was instrumental in convincing the Aga Khan University (AKU) Board to agree on opening of AKU Hospital and Medical College at Hyderabad Following which, the AKU delegation visited some areas of Hyderabad to identify the land for the establishment of the hospital and college.
Commissioner Baloch, who accompanied the AKU Board delegation during land identifying visit, directed the revenue officials to facilitate the AKU Board for the acquisition of land for the project.
Baloch said that by establishing the hospital and college in Hyderabad, modern, better and improved health facilities will be provided to the people of the region.
The AKU Board already runs a Maternity Hospital located at Jamshoro Road Hyderabad near Rajputana Hospital. The Maternity Hospital was established in the early 1990s. It is also expected that the proposed AKU Hospital and Medical College would be established in the vicinity of existing Aga Khan Maternity Hospital.
Mawlana Hazar Imam to address first AKU Global Convocation
In his capacity as Chancellor of the Aga Khan University, Mawlana Hazar Imam will deliver an address at the University’s first ever global convocation on 22 May 2021. The special virtual ceremony will bring together AKU’s graduating classes in Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the UK, for a unique celebration of knowledge and learning.
Chief Guest Melinda French Gates will also deliver remarks at the event. Melinda is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, her work has led her to increasingly focus on gender equity as a path to meaningful change.
The virtual ceremony will feature a multi-campus cohort of 667 AKU graduands who will be recognised for their academic achievements and for continuing a long-standing tradition of pursuing educational excellence, and joining a growing community of alumni in the process.
AKU alumni — two-thirds of whom are women — make up a respected community of leaders in the fields of healthcare and education, whose accomplishments are having an increasingly positive impact across the world.
The Aga Khan University was founded by Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1983 as Pakistan’s first private university, initially taking the form of a nursing school. Since then, it has expanded to six campuses across three continents, facilitating learning in a wide variety of disciplines.
For more than three decades, the University has aimed to improve quality of life in the developing world and beyond through world-class teaching, research and healthcare delivery. It also empowers women and the disadvantaged, builds support for pluralism, and collaborates with local partners and world-renowned organisations to achieve shared goals.
In an address at the 2003 Convocation, Hazar Imam laid out his aspiration that AKU should “be on the frontiers of scientific and humanistic knowledge, radiating intelligence and confidence, research and graduates, into flourishing economies and progressive legal and political systems.”
Today, the University educates students for local and global leadership, generates new knowledge to solve problems that affect millions of people, and raises standards and aspirations in the countries in which it works. Learn more about the Aga Khan University’s work to empower people in the developing world.
The scheduled programme on Saturday, May 22 will commence with a global video stream at the following times:
- 5:30 PM in Pakistan
- 6:30 PM in India
- 3:30 PM in East Africa
- 1:30 PM in the UK
- 8:30 AM in Toronto, Canada and New York / Atlanta, USA
- 7:30 AM in Chicago / Houston / Dallas, USA
- 5:30 AM in Vancouver, Canada and Los Angeles, USA
Upon conclusion of this video, you will be able to tune in to the individual country's local video stream, and switch between them at any time.
Mawlana Hazar Imam congratulates AKU graduands for embarking on a path of service
Graduation ceremonies often signify moments of avid hope and possibility. The Aga Khan University’s first ever global convocation was no different, as hundreds of graduands — all dressed in green convocation robes — celebrated with faculty, trustees, and guests, while a worldwide audience participated in the virtual festivities.
As part of the unique occasion, Mawlana Hazar Imam delivered the Chancellor’s address to graduands in Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the UK on the milestone event of their graduation, and took the opportunity to acknowledge the selfless and crucial efforts of essential workers over the past year.
“It is a great privilege to join you today in recognising and celebrating the Class of 2020. I do so in circumstances unlike any the world has faced in my lifetime, reminding us all, how vital, how essential, nurses, doctors, researchers, and teachers are to our collective health and well-being,” he said.
“And so, to our graduates, I begin by thanking as well as congratulating you. Each of you has chosen a path of service to humanity that is admirable and necessary.”
Hazar Imam went on to recount AKU’s contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic and outlined the University’s plans to prepare for and address future global health crises. Building the capacity to harness the potential of artificial intelligence, genomic medicine, and stem cell science to tomorrow’s healthcare challenges in Africa and Asia will form an important part of these plans.
He also explained his aspiration for AKU to evolve into a multi-disciplinary research institution active in the humanities and social sciences, so as to carefully balance complex innovation on the one hand with long-standing traditions and culture on the other.
“I am confident that the Class of 2020 will walk in the footsteps of your fellow alumni, as leaders in the pursuit of excellence, wherever your paths may lead you,” Hazar Imam said, laying out his ambition for graduating students, while also offering a wish of hope for the broader audience.
“As you start that journey, this is a day for all of us to renew our commitment to an ever more hopeful future, one that will be richer in the products of human ingenuity, more just in their distribution, and more abundant in respect and compassion for one another.”
A unique celebration
The convocation ceremony was made all the more special as it marked the very first simultaneous multi-campus event in the University’s history. Thanks to the wonders of technology, a live-streamed broadcast brought together graduands, family members, faculty, trustees, and well-wishers across multiple countries and time zones around the world.
“Only a uniquely international institution like AKU could connect so many people across so many borders and boundaries,” said Firoz Rasul, delivering his final convocation address as President of the Aga Khan University. He paid tribute to AKU’s health professionals who have bravely served on the front lines during the course of the pandemic — and continue to do so — providing a shining example of compassion and dedication. He also saluted the researchers who helped to deliver new testing and tracking tools, contribute towards clinical trials, and develop innovative healthcare applications.
Having overseen AKU’s rapid growth in scale and contributions over the past 15 years, President Rasul will hand over to Sulaiman Shahbuddin, to continue and expand the institution’s legacy in the years ahead, as the world continues to grapple with long-term challenges beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Malnutrition, lack of education, gender inequality, chronic illness — these are daunting problems. As part of the Aga Khan Development Network, the AKU is tackling all of them and many other issues with the fearlessness and creativity that have defined the University for the past 38 years,” he said. “And today, the 667 members of the Class of 2020 are joining this fight.”
Chief Guest Melinda French Gates also addressed the 667 students, who will become essential change agents representing an essential institution, asserting that the “Aga Khan University is not only a global resource — it is a transformative force for public health and women’s health.”
“As graduates of AKU, you join a remarkable group of women and men who are changing lives for the better all over the world. And let me tell you: the world desperately needs your energy and your leadership,” she continued.
As part of her role as co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ms French Gates advocates for gender equity and the empowerment of women and girls. The foundation has collaborated with AKDN and other partners for many years in the fields of health, education, and economic development, and has been instrumental in the global pandemic response.
“The only way the world will rebound is by putting women at the center of recovery efforts. And we need more leaders everywhere to make that case and act. And that’s why I’m so inspired to be here today,” she said.
“Wherever you go and whatever you choose to do with your degree, I have tremendous faith that you will be the architects of a better, fairer, and more equitable world.”
The audacity to hope
Two young women who exemplified Ms French Gates’ aspirations were the class valedictorians, who spoke passionately about their cohort’s potential to make a positive impact in society, while fully aware of the pitfalls they may come across along the way.
“This is life. It's never a straight and smooth path. It is filled with hills and rough terrains, and unexpected curveballs,” said Scoviah Masudio, student valedictorian at the Kampala campus.
“Every time we fall, we get an opportunity to rise stronger and wiser... The number of times you fall doesn’t matter; it is the number of times you refuse to stay on the ground that counts.”
Having come through turbulent times to reach this point may be the ideal preparation to face our complex and increasingly uncertain world. After all, finding a way to make a real difference in the world by serving humanity requires perseverance and hope.
“All of you in this beautiful green regalia are not only celebrating your hard work, blood sweat and tears, sacrifices and accomplishments… You are celebrating being change makers and leaders in a world that needs you,” said Anam Ehsan, student valedictorian at the Karachi campus.
“Today, as we leave the nest, I have the audacity to hope. The hope that if we give it our all, if it is one life that we save, one child we teach, one story we change — it is more than enough. It is the hope of a better future, together.”
2021, May 22: - For this first global AKU virtual Convocation, H.H. The Aga Khan was joined by his sons Prince Rahim, Prince Hussain, Prince Aly Muhammad, his daughter Princess Zahra and brother Prince Amyn.
Last edited by Admin on Sat May 22, 2021 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total
Our Chief Guest, Melinda French Gates
Chairman Haile Debas and the Members of the Board of Trustees
President Firoz Rasul
Provost, Deans, Faculty and Staff of the University
Generous donors and well wishers of the University from around the world
Parents, family members and Graduates​
It is a great privilege to join you today in recognising and celebrating the Class of 2020.
I do so in circumstances unlike any the world has faced in my lifetime, reminding us all, how vital, how essential, nurses, doctors, researchers, and teachers are to our collective health and well-being.
And so, to our graduates, I begin by thanking as well as congratulating you. Each of you has chosen a path of service to humanity that is admirable and necessary.
We are honoured on this occasion by the participation of Ms. Melinda French Gates. Through her leadership, the Gates Foundation has helped improve human health, advance economic development, and empower women and girls across the globe. The longstanding partnership between the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network and the Gates Foundation has featured collaboration in each of these areas, working together in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and East Africa.
In light of this special relationship, we are particularly pleased to welcome her to this Convocation.​
For decades, both the Aga Khan Development Network and the Gates Foundation have devoted significant effort to improving health and health systems. Indeed, this university was founded upon the conviction that the quality of healthcare professionals is fundamental to any progress in these domains. It therefore gives me great pride to see the response of AKU and its hospitals during this pandemic, undertaken with the generous support from the Gates Foundation and others. I salute the courage of AKU’s health-care staff and administration, who have worked tirelessly through months of crisis, braving these difficult times with fortitude and resolve.
The University has made a critical difference – advising national governments, training public sector medical staff, working with teachers and schools, raising awareness through media and journalism, and doing everything possible to treat patients and to save lives.
I would also like to recognise the resilience and agility of our University faculty and students.
In these challenging times, all of you have shown impressive adaptability, dedication and perseverance. Thank you.
AKU’s contributions represent another chapter in the long story of great universities that have helped guide the world through the turbulence of history. The global pandemic response has been built on decades of earnest research, often conducted in relative obscurity, but making possible the development of new tests, tracing strategies, therapies, and vaccines. While we should regret the unequal distribution of these achievements, we must also appreciate the intellectual triumph that their development represents.
Melinda French Gates and the Gates Foundation have played a crucial and catalytic role. As you know, AKU researchers have also been part of this progress, identifying and tracking new Covid mutations, assessing vaccines and evaluating therapies.
AKU aims to be as relevant for the next global health crisis as it has been for this one. Today, AKU is building its capacity for cutting-edge research applicable to the distinctive health risks for populations in Asia and Africa. It will seek to harness the enormous potential of advances in artificial intelligence, genomic medicine and stem cell science to address tomorrow’s challenges, as well as today’s.
Translating this potential requires more than innovation. It requires professionals capable of complex judgements in balance with the cultures and traditions of these regions. This is why AKU is evolving into a comprehensive University, active in the humanities and social sciences.
As our thoughts turn to the future, and the bright potential of AKU and its graduates, I must pause to reflect on this moment of significant transition.
Today’s Convocation marks a meaningful juncture in our University’s history. For only the third time since our founding in 1983, AKU will have a new President.
As you all know, President Rasul has asked to retire, and I have reluctantly agreed, understanding how important it will be for Firoz and Saida to spend the coming years with their children and grand-children in Canada.
Under Firoz’s leadership, our University has known remarkable growth in the past 15 years: new facilities, new campuses, new faculties and impressive new technologies. The University has also grown as a leading academic and intellectual force. AKU graduates are reaching the highest levels of qualification and accomplishment. It is most gratifying to see that some of them are now returning to AKU as faculty and leaders.
These achievements are a source of great happiness for our Trustees and me. President Rasul’s impressive accomplishments have given us the confidence to broaden our horizons and expand our aspirations of excellence.
With these aspirations in full view, I have appointed Sulaiman Shahabuddin as President of AKU. Sulaiman, who began his career at AKU 35 years ago, is coming “home,” along with his wife, Zeenat, who is a graduate of the University and holds a PhD in nursing.
I have known Sulaiman for many years. He has been the Regional CEO of the Aga Khan Health Services in East Africa for a decade and previously CEO of the Aga Khan Hospitals in Kenya and Tanzania. I have been continually impressed by his commitment, his capacities as a leader, and his continuing dedication to learning.
Please join me in welcoming them both back to AKU.
I spoke earlier of transitions. You came to this convocation as students. At the end of today’s ceremonies, you will be graduates of the Aga Khan University, stepping into new roles and new responsibilities.
I am confident that the Class of 2020 will walk in the footsteps of your fellow alumni, as leaders in the pursuit of excellence, wherever your paths may lead you.
As you start that journey, this is a day for all of us to renew our commitment to an ever more hopeful future, one that will be richer in the products of human ingenuity, more just in their distribution and more abundant in respect and compassion for one another. ​
The first-ever global convocation ceremony of the Aga Khan University (AKU) was live-streamed to a worldwide audience on Saturday, as 667 students in three continents received their degrees and listened to speeches by the Aga Khan, Chief Guest Melinda French Gates and AKU President Firoz Rasul.
“His Highness the Aga Khan, AKU’s founder and Chancellor, expressed his pride in the University’s contributions to the fight against the pandemic and saluted the courage and resilience of its faculty, staff and students. He praised the graduates in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom for having chosen a path of service to humanity,” said an official statement.
“The University has made a critical difference – advising national governments, training public-sector medical staff, working with teachers and schools, raising awareness through media and journalism, and doing everything possible to treat patients and to save lives,” the Aga Khan said.
He also noted the role of AKU researchers in tracing new mutations of the coronavirus, assessing the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and evaluating therapies for Covid-19.
Melinda French Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commended the University for its leadership in improving health and empowering women, and voiced confidence in the graduates.
“The Aga Khan University is not only a global resource – it is a transformative force for public health and women’s health,” Melinda said. “We’re proud of our partnership with AKU over the years,” she added
“As graduates of AKU, you join a remarkable group of women and men who are changing lives for the better all over the world,” she told the graduates. “And let me tell you: the world desperately needs your energy and leadership.”
The Gates Foundation and the Aga Khan Development Network – including AKU – are working together in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and East Africa to improve health, advance economic development and create opportunities for women and girls.
To date, the foundation has provided approximately $90 million in funding for research and other projects at AKU in areas including maternal and child health, infectious diseases, malnutrition and Covid-19.
The Aga Khan thanked Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation for their support of AKU and noted their “crucial and catalytic role” in battling the pandemic, improving health globally and advancing gender equality.
President Firoz Rasul told the graduates their AKU education has prepared them to make a profound difference in people’s lives. “You can be at the forefront in building the independent intellectual and scientific capacity that will enable Asia and Africa to tackle the biggest challenges facing them and the wider world,” he said.
Evidence that AKU prepares its graduates for global leadership was furnished by AKU alumna Dr Anita Zaidi, who currently leads the Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality division, as well as its Vaccine Development and Surveillance, and Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases programmes. Introducing Melinda Gates at the ceremony as a leader with a remarkable grasp of “both the technical and human aspects of delivering progress,” Dr Zaidi called AKU “a beacon of knowledge, advocacy and action on maternal and child health” that had shaped her career.
Today, the Aga Khan said, AKU has “the confidence to broaden our horizons and expand our aspirations of excellence.” He said it would continue to increase its capacity to improve quality of life in Asia and Africa, both through cutting-edge research in fields such as stem cell science and artificial intelligence, and by developing into a comprehensive university active in the humanities and social sciences.
“This is a day for all of us to renew our commitment to an ever-more hopeful future,” he said.
Students received diplomas and degrees from AKU’s medical colleges, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Institutes for Educational Development, Graduate School of Media and Communications and Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
AKU awards degrees to 667 students at first global convocation
Published May 23, 2021 -
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan addresses the convocation along with AKU’s outgoing president Firoz Rasul, Dr Nuru Kondo from AKU’s post-graduate medical education programme in East Africa and Co-chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda French Gates.
• Aga Khan lauds varsity’s contributions to fight against pandemic
• Melinda Gates terms AKU transformative force for public health
KARACHI: The class of 2020 ended its journey at the Aga Khan University (AKU) as some 667 students from three continents received their degrees in the first-ever global convocation of the varsity that was live-streamed to worldwide viewers on Saturday.
The graduates belonged to Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
Addressing the ceremony through video link, His Highness the Aga Khan, the AKU’s founder and chancellor, praised the graduates for having chosen the path of service to humanity. He expressed his pride in the university’s contributions to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and saluted the courage and resilience of its faculty, staff and students.
“The university has made a critical difference — advising national governments, training public-sector medical staff, working with teachers and schools, raising awareness through media and journalism, and doing everything possible to treat patients and to save lives,” Aga Khan said.
He also noted the role of AKU researchers in tracking new mutations of coronavirus, assessing safety and effectiveness of vaccines and evaluating therapies for Covid-19.
Co-chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda French Gates commended the AKU for its leadership in improving health and empowering women, and voiced confidence in the graduates.
“The Aga Khan University is not only a global resource — it is a transformative force for public health and women’s health,” Ms Gates said. “We’re proud of our partnership with the AKU over the years.”
“As graduates of AKU, you join a remarkable group of women and men who are changing lives for the better all over the world,” she told the graduates. “And let me tell you: the world desperately needs your energy and leadership.”
She also congratulated the many who are the first of their families to be graduates. “And I am glad to find 70 per cent of women amid the graduates,” she said.
She stressed the need for putting women at the centre of recovery efforts during the pandemic. “I am inspired to be here. You are the leaders we need. You will be the architects of a better, fair and equitable world,” she said to the graduating students, especially the majority of females among them.
The Gates Foundation and the Aga Khan Development Network — including the AKU — are working together in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and East Africa to improve health, advance economic development and create opportunities for women and girls. To date, the foundation has provided approximately $90 million in funding for research and other projects at the AKU in areas including maternal and child health, infectious diseases, malnutrition and Covid-19.
Aga Khan thanked Ms Gates and the Gates Foundation for their support to the AKU and noted their “crucial and catalytic role” in battling the pandemic, improving health globally and advancing gender equality.
Earlier, in his welcome address, AKU outgoing President Firoz Rasul told the graduates their university education had prepared them to make a profound difference in people’s lives. “You can be at the forefront in building the independent intellectual and scientific capacity that will enable Asia and Africa to tackle the biggest challenges facing them and the wider world,” he said.
Evidence that the AKU prepares its graduates for global leadership was furnished by its alumna Dr Anita Zaidi (from the university’s first batch of graduates 32 years ago), who currently leads the Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality division as well as its Vaccine Development and Surveillance, and Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases programmes.
Mawlana Hazar Imam to deliver virtual address during historic ceremony at Aga Khan University in Kenya
In a momentous occasion, the Aga Khan University will receive its Charter from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and will inaugurate a new state-of-the-art University Centre in the heart of Nairobi. The event will air live on The Ismaili TV tomorrow, 11 June, and will feature an address by Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Friday 11 June will be remembered as a significant day in the history of AKU, as the University will be granted an official Charter in Kenya, laying out the institution’s functions, powers, obligations, and governance.
On the same day, AKU will also celebrate the official opening of the University Centre — its new main campus in Kenya, located across the street from the AKU Hospital and Darkhana Jamatkhana in Parklands, Nairobi. The building will be home to AKU’s Graduate School of Media and Communications, Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Institute for Human Development, and Brain and Mind Institute.
The new Centre features 23 floors above and below ground, and was designed by the internationally renowned architecture firm Payette, which has also designed university buildings for Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and Columbia. It has been constructed to feature a variety of spaces to enhance the working and learning experience for faculty, staff, and students.
As an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, AKU’s mission is to improve quality of life — through world-class teaching, research and health-care delivery, and by educating students for local and global leadership. It aims to generate new knowledge to solve problems that affect millions of people, especially the most vulnerable.
In the coming years, the new Charter and University Centre will make a valuable contribution towards achieving this mission.
Watch the ceremony at the.ismaili/tv https://tv.ismaili/ on Friday 11 June. Live coverage begins at 12 pm (London), 2 pm (Nairobi), and 4 pm (Karachi).
Mawlana Hazar Imam accepts newly granted Charter for AKU in Kenya
President Uhuru Kenyatta presented the Aga Khan University with a newly granted charter at a special ceremony held in Nairobi yesterday. The event also included the inauguration of AKU’s University Centre, and featured an address by Mawlana Hazar Imam.
On a sunny day in Kenya’s capital city, dignitaries, guests, and partners of the Aga Khan University (AKU) gathered for the granting of a new Charter for AKU in Kenya. They were joined by thousands of well-wishers via an online stream, on a day which also marked the official opening of the impressive University Centre in Nairobi.
These two new developments are a significant part of AKU’s evolving story, as it continues to expand its footprint in Kenya and across the region. The Ismaili Imamat has been working for many decades to improve quality of life in East Africa, dating back to the schools founded by Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah in the early 1900s.
“The long standing partnership between the Kenyan government, the Ismaili community, and the Aga Khan Development Network spans well over 100 years, and this relationship has brought about tremendous benefits to the welfare of many Kenyans across the country,” said President Kenyatta, shortly after signing the Charter and handing over the instruments of authority.
In recent decades, the Aga Khan University has played a major part in this effort, and its new Charter will enable an ever-growing contribution to education and knowledge in the coming years.
“The possibilities brought forth by education and knowledge drive dreams, fuel innovation, spur gender equality, and create limitless possibilities for individual as well as national progress,” the President continued.
Accepting the newly granted Charter, Mawlana Hazar Imam thanked President Kenyatta for his confidence in AKU and for “creating an enabling environment that has allowed AKU to flourish.”
“AKU has developed into an institution capable of delivering problem-solving knowledge, and of sharing its expertise with other organisations,” Hazar Imam said, via a broadcasted video message.
Since 2002, the University has educated thousands of doctors, nurses, teachers, and journalists — many of whom are now leaders in their respective fields, raising standards in their industries and across the region.
Today, AKU — along with other agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network — is a recognisable feature of society in East Africa in general, and in Kenya in particular. Yet, the institution remains ambitious and continues to symbolise continuing progress in the region.
Its newly inaugurated University Centre, standing proudly in the heart of Nairobi, is a testament to AKU’s aspiration, and presents a light and spacious physical location from which to train and produce cutting-edge innovation, critical thinking, and policy analysis.
“[The University Centre] will be an exciting place to work, to learn, to teach, and to expand the frontiers of knowledge,” said AKU President Firoz Rasul. “Just as the Aga Khan University Hospital has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of health care in East Africa through international standards and accreditation, AKU’s new campus will be at the centre of the drive to raise standards in university education and research in Kenya.”
The new building includes laboratories, classrooms, studios, and a learning resource centre, all featuring state-of-the-art technology and multimedia facilities. The Centre also houses architectural features to stimulate interaction and intellectual exchange between faculty, staff, and students, including a large atrium, lush courtyard, outdoor amphitheatre, large terraces, exhibition hall, a café, and cantina.
Located across the street from the Aga Khan University Hospital and Darkhana Jamatkhana in Parklands, Nairobi, the University Centre will be AKU’s principal campus in Kenya, housing its Graduate School of Media and Communications, Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Institute for Human Development. It will also be home to AKU’s new Brain and Mind Institute, which will conduct research for the improvement of mental health.
Mawlana Hazar Imam concluded his address by looking to the years ahead.
“As its student body and its faculty grow in size, its visibility and impact will increase, new programmes will come online, much about the Aga Khan University will change,” he said. “What will not change is its principle of uncompromising quality and its mission of improving quality of life in Kenya.”
Aga Khan University aims to raise the bar in university education
The Aga Khan University (AKU) received its Charter from President Uhuru Kenyatta and inaugurated its new $50 million (Ksh 5 billion) state-of-the-art University Centre in the President’s presence on Friday at a ceremony featuring an address by His Highness the Aga Khan. Professor Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, Chairman of the Commission for University Education, and AKU President Firoz Rasul also addressed the audience.
The Charter details AKU’s functions, powers, obligations, and governance. It sets forth the University’s mission, which is to improve quality of life by educating individuals for leadership in the knowledge-based economy, by generating and sharing problem-solving knowledge and innovations in partnership with other institutions, and by meeting international standards of quality.
Located opposite the Aga Khan University Hospital in Parklands, Nairobi, the University Centre will be AKU’s main campus in Kenya, housing its Graduate School of Media and Communications, Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Institute for Human Development, Brain and Mind Institute and other programmes. It features 23 floors above and below ground, encompasses 37,500 square metres (400,000 square feet), and was designed by the internationally renowned architecture firm Payette, which has designed buildings for Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Columbia. This development is a further testament to the Aga Khan Development Network's ongoing commitment and contribution to Kenya's development.
“The phrase 'Aga Khan' has become synonymous with elevating educational standards and delivering holistic training,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta. “From pre-school to tertiary learning, its footprints are felt in this nation and region as a whole; with the present university that we are awarding a Charter today, being the latest testament of the journey of academic excellence that is, the Aga Khan brand.”
“Our new University Centre is the soaring embodiment of AKU’s commitment to Kenya, and determination to ensure that its people have access to the very best in higher education and health care,” said His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the Aga Khan University. His Highness called the awarding of the University’s Charter by President Kenyatta “a vote of confidence in AKU” and thanked the President “for creating an enabling environment that has allowed AKU to flourish, and for recognising that private institutions can play a vital role in promoting public welfare.” He also thanked the Kenyan and international donors whose gifts made it possible for AKU to build the Centre, praising their “extraordinary generosity.”
The Centre’s classrooms are equipped with the latest technology, and its science, microbiology and pathology laboratories are state-of-the-art. Its library will feature a Digital Scholarship Centre to help faculty and students integrate new media into teaching and learning, study rooms with videoconferencing equipment for webinars, a laptop borrowing programme, and access to 65,000 books and 100,000 journals. The Graduate School of Media and Communications’ facilities include a multimedia newsroom and radio and television studios.
One of the University Centre’s most notable features will be East Africa’s first cutting-edge centre for simulation-based education in the health sciences. The $2.5 million (Ksh 250 million) Centre for Innovation in Medical Education will enable AKU’s nursing and medical students to hone their clinical skills using high-tech, lifelike patient mannequins in simulated hospital suites. Students will be able to safely practice delivering babies, performing advanced lifesaving procedures, caring for patients with highly contagious diseases such as COVID-19, and many other skills. As a result, AKU graduates will be exceptionally well-prepared to deliver high-quality care.
The University Centre also features an array of spaces that will enhance the experience of working and learning for faculty, staff and students, including a soaring atrium and adjacent courtyard, an outdoor amphitheatre, large terraces for studying and socializing, a café and cantina. It also has a 100-seat auditorium equipped for video streaming, as well as an exhibition hall.
“The Aga Khan University becomes the 21st private university to be chartered Kenya. This is a milestone, not only to the institution but also to the country given the University’s global status,” said the Chairman of the Commission for University Education, Prof Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha. “This offering aligns well with the government development goals such as the Big Four Agenda, especially Universal Healthcare.”
“The University Centre will be an exciting place to work, to learn, to teach, and to expand the frontiers of knowledge,” AKU President Firoz Rasul said. “Just as the Aga Khan University Hospital has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of healthcare in East Africa, AKU’s new campus will be at the centre of the drive to raise standards in university education.”
The University Centre will enable the University to expand its enrollment – giving more Kenyans access to international-quality education – and to add new programmes. Among the degree programmes AKU plans to launch is a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
University of Michigan and AKU to deepen ties
June 18, 2021
Written by Fernanda Pires
The University of Michigan and Aga Khan University have agreed to deepen their collaboration across a range of academic and scientific initiatives to transform data science for global health.
Joseph Kolars, director of the U-M Center for Global Health Equity, and AKU Provost and Vice President Carl Amrhein signed an agreement between the two institutes during a virtual ceremony on June 18. U-M President Mark Schlissel and AKU President Firoz Rasul also attended the signing ceremony.
“A core part of our mission is serving the people of Michigan and the world,” Schlissel said. “International collaboration enables us to pursue unique research opportunities and tackle critical challenges facing our societies in ways that we simply could not do alone. This includes working with global partners who share our core values, which is certainly the case with AKU.”
U-M and AKU have been collaborating on projects since 2019 with an emphasis on research initiatives that use data science to improve health outcomes. U-M is one of the largest public research institutions in the world and enrolls more than 64,000 students annually across its three campuses within the state of Michigan. These students represent 139 countries.
During the event, both universities acknowledged how their shared values would enable them to launch projects that would generate knowledge and create opportunities to expand access to high-quality health care and education.
“Successful and consequential partnerships are based on shared values. And clearly, AKU and Michigan share fundamental values,” Rasul said. “We believe in the power of knowledge and the power of collaboration to address the challenges that individuals and families face in their daily lives.
If we want to make a real dent in scourges like child mortality or the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases in low-income countries, we need globe-spanning partnerships like the one between AKU and U-M.”
Scholars from the two universities said that the impact of these joint projects was likely to be greater since AKU and U-M already have experience and expertise in working on common themes such as strengthening health systems, informing policy on health determinants, leveraging technology for health equity and empowering women.
“You’ve really managed to bring out the best in us,” Kolars said about AKU. “I’m particularly attracted to the commitment that Agha Khan has made to education and translating new knowledge into action. I’ve always admired your ability to build new bridges, and to really be relevant to the communities that you’re called on to serve.”
The two universities are already collaborating on data science and artificial intelligence projects in East Africa that seek to strengthen local health systems and to raise health care standards.
In the future, both partners also plan to cooperate on new teaching and scholarly projects, faculty development and student internship initiatives.
The Schools2030 project is aimed at empowering schools to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), aimed at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education thereby promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Ms Janat Namatovu, the AKF Schools2030 project coordinator, explained that the project is aimed at supporting teachers through “human centred design thinking” approach.
By Juliet Nalwooga
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A total of 100 schools in Kampala and Arua districts are set to benefit from The Aga Khan Foundation’s (AKF) Schools2030 project, a move aimed at equipping front line teachers with technology skills.
Speaking at the national launch of the 10 year-project last week, the AKF country manager, Ms Meralyn Mungereza, said the Schools2030 programme,” now operational in 10 other countries, is one of the initiatives by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) aimed at improving the quality of education.
Ms Mungereza added that AKF came up with the project to close gaps in the education sector created by the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that left many teachers without pay since learning had almost been halted.
“AKF has responded with the Schools2030 programme; a 10-year programme aimed at redefining learning and teaching by making the school environment more appealing to make learning more enjoyable as well as improve the teaching capabilities of teachers to deliver human centred programmes,” she said
Ms Janat Namatovu, the AKF Schools2030 project coordinator, explained that the project is aimed at supporting teachers through “human centred design thinking” approach.
According to Ms Namatovu, it is through this assessment programme that teachers will be able to identify skills and learning challenges amongst their learners.
“When we identify these skill gaps, the teachers will be supported to design solutions that are specific to their classrooms, which we are calling prototypes in the incubation space,” she said.
She added: “Once these prototypes are developed, the teachers will be funded by the Aha Khan Foundation to test them and see if they work.”
Ms Namatovu further explained that the project will provide a platform for teachers from the two districts to network and share experience on how to be more effective. The director of basic education in the Education ministry, Mr Ismail Mulindwa, who was the guest of honour at the event, said lack of better skilled teachers is a big challenge for the sector.
“This is the key issue that we have been grappling with. We should do this as a team to support our teachers with the necessary skills to provide quality education to our learners. It’s for real, our teachers are lacking in this area,” Mr Mulindwa said.
Appeal to teachers
He urged teachers across the country to always endeavour to take up refresher trainings and courses to keep up with the changing digital era.
Ms Aisha Namaganda Ntege, the head teacher of Kiswa Primary School in Ntinda, Kampala, told this newspaper that even teachers in the city are in dire need of the project’s services because most of them are not well versed with ICT. This, she said, is the reason why majority of them did not continue facilitating online teaching during Covid-19 induced lockdown in March last year.
Likewise, Mr Jackson Ezati, the head teacher of Binze Primary School in Arua City, said most teachers and parents have a negative attitude towards a life skills oriented education approach since it cannot be examined.
Mr Ezati is optimistic that the Schools2030 project will help change how life skills training is perceived.
The Schools2030 project is aimed at empowering schools to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), aimed at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education.
AKU President Firoz Rasul receives medal in Portugal
Jun 29, 2021Share
​AKU President Firoz Rasul has been awarded Portugal’s Medalha de Mérito Científico, Medal of Scientific Merit, by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education.
The award was presented by Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and the Minister of the Presidency and of Administrative Modernisation, Mariana Vieira da Silva at the opening of the Science Meeting 2021 in Lisbon on June 28, 2021.
The Medalhas de Mérito Científico, launched in 2009, is an initiative of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education that rewards individuals who, due to their high professional qualities and the fulfillment of their duty, distinguished themselves by their valuable and exceptional contribution to the development of science or scientific culture in Portugal.
Dr Rasul, who has served as president of the Aga Khan University since 2009, coordinates campuses, programmes and hospitals of the University across six countries: Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Afghanistan and United Kingdom. He has led the development of several high level projects for the Aga Khan Development Network, AKDN, including the Global Centre for Pluralism and the Aga Khan Museum. He has been closely involved in the development of social and community-based institutions in Africa.
In particular, he has helped promote the collaboration between AKDN and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology on the Initiative for Development which aims at improving the quality of life, mainly in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, by funding research in several areas. It has already led to the development of several projects through its two calls for proposals in 2017 and 2019, with the next call in 2021.
Portable ventilator developed by Pakistani scientists receives US patent
ISLAMABAD: A portable ventilator developed by Pakistani researchers at Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi has received a US patent, the university confirmed on Wednesday.
The Resuscitation Automation Device (RAD) can provide emergency oxygen to patients such as those with severe forms of pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which are among the main causes of death in Pakistan.
“The patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office recognizes over 20 innovative aspects of the University’s Resuscitation Automation Device, RAD, that can offer prompter, lifesaving treatment for patients suffering from critical respiratory problems,” Aga Khan University said in a statement.
Usually, such devices are bulky, and available only at medical facilities. The RAD, which AKU doctors and engineers started developing in 2016, is briefcase-sized and portable, inventors say. It can be operated through a mobile application, which means that emergency room doctors can remotely manage the device’s settings.
“The app also gives hospital staff access to real-time data about the patient’s health before his or her arrival at the emergency room enabling prompter care to be provided,” AKU said.
Clinical trials on the RAD are set to begin soon, AKU said, adding that early tests show the device can provide a regular supply of oxygen.
Dr. Huba Atiq, assistant director at AKU’s Center of Excellence for Trauma and Emergencies, who was part of the team that proposed the idea, said the inventors wanted it to address the existing gaps in Pakistan’s critical care.
“In Pakistan, critically ill patients present late to health care facilities due to a lack of proper health care infrastructure. Even if they manage to reach the tertiary care facility after traveling a huge distance, the underdeveloped critical care process, lack of trained health care staff and resources, especially mechanical ventilators, results in an increased rate of critical care mortality,” Atiq said, as quoted in the AKU statement.
“The invention of a low-cost, operator-friendly, mechanical ventilator represents a solution to bridge this gap and provide timely appropriate critical care services.”
Princess Zahra Pavilion offers world-class care and a welcoming oasis
At a special ceremony held in Karachi this week, the Aga Khan University Hospital’s New Private Wing was officially named the Princess Zahra Pavilion. The state-of-the-art facility has been offering the highest standards of excellence and care to patients since it first began operating in 2019.
In his remarks, President Firoz Rasul welcomed guests to the event, and shared the Aga Khan University (AKU)’s vision behind the design and construction of the New Private Wing at the Hospital in Karachi.
“This is the result of a globe-spanning collaborative effort to reimagine what an inpatient hospital facility can be,” he said. “It is both a venue for the delivery of world-class care and a welcoming oasis of comfort and beauty for patients and their family members.”
Due to rapid progress in medical technology and best practice, it became clear that a new building would be required to replace the existing one, which had served patients well for more than 30 years.
The new facility has been designed to provide peace and tranquillity to patients as they recuperate from clinical procedures. Inspired by Islamic Art and Culture, the architecture and landscaping have been carefully crafted to create a calming environment that contributes to patients’ healing process and early recovery. The complex houses 85 rooms, including private rooms, suites, special care rooms and isolation rooms, in addition to family lounges, a dining court, roof terraces, and more.
President Rasul also paid tribute to Princess Zahra’s contributions to international development and health projects over the course of many years, saying that “countless people have benefited from her knowledge, her wisdom and her dedication to serving those in need.”
“In naming the New Private Wing the Princess Zahra Pavilion, we recognise the tremendous impact that Princess Zahra has had, and continues to have here in Pakistan and across the world,” he continued.
“It is an honour for me that this building should bear my name as does the original pavilion, which was constructed over 20 years ago in Nairobi,” said chief guest Princess Zahra, who is also a member of AKU’s Board of Trustees.
She went on to describe the importance of the pavilion to the wider objectives of AKUH, especially in offering care and financial assistance to underprivileged individuals through the hospital’s patient welfare programme.
“The pavilion is an important source of revenue for the hospital, and thus it is an important contribution in our ability to serve the disadvantaged segment of the population,” Princess Zahra said.
One out of every ten patients at the hospital earns less than two dollars per day. Yet, all patients, regardless of means, are treated by the very same surgeons and medical staff in the same operating rooms and facilities.
Similar to the pavilion in Nairobi, the new one in Karachi offers an international-standard of care, and a high level of comfort and service to patients and their families.
“The entire team responsible for its design and construction deserve congratulations. And every single person responsible for its day to day operations should be proud to work here,” said Princess Zahra. “As a result of all their efforts, Pakistanis no longer need to leave their country or their families or to bear the expense and anxiety associated with doing so in order to access such care.”
Her comments were echoed by Dr Shahid Shafi, CEO of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. Dr Shafi, who himself graduated from AKU’s medical college almost 40 years ago, has seen the institution grow over the course of decades, in terms of its patient bed numbers, the physical footprint of its various buildings, and its expansion to other countries.
“During this time, AKU has trained thousands of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and hospital managers who are now serving all over Pakistan and of course elsewhere in the world as well,” he said, highlighting that an investment in physical infrastructure is also an investment in people.
“We take a special pride in empowering women,” continued Dr Shafi. “Especially women from low and middle-income families who have been able to lift themselves and their families up out of poverty, through the education they received right here on this campus.”
Along with the Princess Zahra Pavilion, this empowerment and education effort is part of a broader endeavour by AKU to improve healthcare provision in various parts of the developing world.
Like many other countries, Pakistan has been adversely affected by the rampant spread of Covid-19 among its population. Yet, the Aga Khan University health system has served as a beacon of hope over the past 18 months, caring for sick patients, delivering vaccinations, and tracking the rise of new variants.
In a rapidly-changing world, this continuing endeavour stems from the long-standing values embedded at AKU and the wider Aga Khan Development Network — what Dr Shafi referred to as “an unwavering commitment to pursue excellence in everything that we do.”
President Sulaiman Shahabuddin takes office at AKU
Karachi, 15 September 2021 - Today, the Aga Khan University (AKU) welcomed into office President Sulaiman Shahabuddin, the University’s third president since its founding in 1983. President Shahabuddin leads an institution that has 3,200 students on three continents, cares for two million patients in a typical year and has recently been ranked amongst the world’s top 100 universities in several fields thanks to its research prowess. He succeeds Firoz Rasul, who has retired after leading AKU to new heights during the 15 years he served as president.
President Shahabuddin is uniquely well prepared to lead AKU. He is an accomplished healthcare leader who previously served as Regional CEO of the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) in East Africa, which cares for more than one million patients annually. During his tenure, AKHS hospitals and health centres attracted almost US$ 150 million in external funding, underwent substantial growth, were accredited by international organisations and expanded access for low-income patients. President Shahabuddin knows the University well: he joined AKU in Karachi in 1986, spent the first 15 years of his career at the University and has worked closely with its deans to launch new nursing and medical degree programmes. He is also intimately familiar with the two regions in which AKU is primarily located. He was born, raised and educated in Pakistan, and has spent the last two decades living and working in Kenya and Tanzania.
“Today is the proudest moment of my career,” President Shahabuddin said. “AKU’s excellence in education, research and health care delivery, public-service ethos and ability to bring people together across boundaries of all kinds make it unlike any other university in the world. In returning to AKU, I feel that I am coming home.”
“With Sulaiman Shahabuddin at its helm, Aga Khan University is in good hands,” said Dr Haile Debas, Chairman of the AKU Board of Trustees and the former Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco. “His record of success, wealth of highly relevant experience and passion for the University’s mission will be invaluable in leading the University through its next era of growth and development.”
President Shahabuddin grew up in Karachi. He attended the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration and an MBA. He later earned an MSc in Sustainable Development at Imperial College London/SOAS University of London and is currently finishing a Doctorate in Health Administration from Central Michigan University.
President Shahabuddin joins an AKU that has grown significantly in size, scope and stature. The University has opened cutting-edge facilities for teaching, learning and health care delivery in Nairobi and Karachi. It has launched new training, degree and research programmes in partnership with institutions such as Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Columbia University and the University of California, San Francisco. Its hospitals have repeatedly achieved international quality standards, the number of patients it treats has greatly increased and it has substantially expanded access for low-income patients. AKU’s plans for the future include building new hospital facilities and launching additional academic programmes in fields outside of the health sciences.
During the pandemic, AKU has been a valued adviser to governments, a crucial resource for patients and a trusted partner in multiple international COVID-related clinical trials.
“President Rasul pursued the vision set forth by AKU’s founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, with tremendous energy and success,” President Shahabuddin said. “I look forward to building on his formidable legacy and to working to fulfill the Chancellor’s vision for the University.”
President Shahabuddin has two AKU alumni in his immediate family. His wife, Zeenat, received her nursing degree from AKU and went on to earn a Doctorate in nursing from Johns Hopkins University. Today she is the global Head of Quality, Clinical Programmes and Projects for the Aga Khan Health Services, as well as the new Regional CEO for AKHS in East Africa. Their daughter, Anjiya, earned her medical degree from AKU in 2019. The couple also has a son, Basim, who recently graduated from the University of Toronto.
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