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Scholarship Programme News (Archives 2002-2003)

News from India (April 2003)
For a larger picture, click on image.On April 30, ISP alumni and AKF staff met for lunch at a restaurant in New Delhi. The alumni shown in the photo below are (in the front row, from left to right): Sunil Batra (ISP 88-89), Nemat Hajeebhoy (ISP 95-97), Pinki Virani (ISP 79-82) and Ghazala Shahabuddin (ISP 94-98). Participants from AKF were Kusum Sharma, Nizamuddin Ajani, Catherine Hieronymi, Ratish Nanda and Somnath Bandyopadhyay. Sunil is a child psychologist and education consultant; Nemat is a health professional currently working as Programme Manager for Health with the Aga Khan Foundation (India); Pinki is a journalist and well known non-fiction writer; and Ghazala is an environmentalist working as a researcher in the Environmental Studies Group of the Council for Social Development. These alumni had not met previously and, since their fields are very different, found a lot to talk about. They are considering holding more such meetings in the future.

Nemat Hajeebhoy, who has an Master's degree in Health Systems Management from Johns Hopkins University, has been working for AKF(India) for the past two years. She is responsible for the three health programmes and the health component of a reconstruction and rehabilitation programme supported by AKF. The health programmes are being implemented in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and cover a population of approximately 400,000.

The Gujarat Health Systems Development Project is a five-year project (1998-2003) which aims to reduce health disparities in two districts of Gujarat by establishing a three-tier system of community outreach, health centres and diagnostic centres. Emphasis is on improving the quality of primary care services, enhancing access to secondary care and augmenting the capacity of community based organizations such as Village Health Committees to manage their own health care initiatives.

The Partnering in Child Survival Project (2001-2003), implemented by a local NGO, benefits residents of 24 villages in Maharashtra. The project aims to improve reproductive and child health status by working in partnership with private and public providers and village institutions primarily Panchayati Raj Institutions and Womens' Self Help Groups. The focus is on creating a de-centralized, community owned health system at the village level enabling all partners to sustain health gains of programme interventions.

The Gujarat Environmental Health Improvement Project designed and managed by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, India, has proposed a new village coverage approach that gives the community a key role in the development, financing and management of rural water supply and sanitation infrastructure and related behaviour change. Over the programme's seven-year period, the aim is to reach a beneficiary base of 265,000 in the three districts of Junagadh, Patan and Jamnagar. KF provides funding for all three projects.

One of the recent Indian alumni who missed the New Delhi meeting is Pallavi Aiyar (ISP 2000-02). Pallavi has a Master's degree in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and the University of Southern California. She is currently teaching English to journalism students in Beijing. Two recent articles she wrote on the SARS epidemic in China appeared in Indian newspapers. Please click on the following links for the articles:

Unmasking China's real face: SARS scare has made Beijing a different city
Today, its stretches resemble a surreal hospital with manic surgeons on the loose, says Pallavi Aiyar, From India Express, Wednesday, April 30, 2003.

Alumni/Student Meetings in Salamieh and London
The first ever ISP dinner was held in Syria in 2002, with eight alumni from the Salamieh region participating.  Aleem Walji, the AKDN Programme Coordinator based in Damascus, gave a briefing to the alumni about the work of the Aga Khan institutions in Syria.  The participating alumni were Namaan Adra (ISP 95-99), who is working with AKF on its water resource management programme in the District of Salamieh ; Dr. Md. Samir Al-Magott (ISP 89-95), a Rheumatologist with Salamieh Hospital who also has his own private practice; Dr. Mhana Al-Tanakhee (ISP 80-85), the Director of a Technical School in Salamieh; Dr. Mohamed El-Cheikh (ISP 74-80), Head of the Department of Geography at the University in Tartous, who also owns a citrus and an olive orchard in Al-Kawabi which he farms himself; Dr. Ayman Hosari (ISP 88-92), a Gastroenterologist from Homs; Dr. Saifuddin Kassir (ISP 75-78), the Head Master of a secondary school in Salamieh; Dr. Farid Seifo (ISP 89-94), an Endocrinologist, and Dr. Hussein Wardeh (ISP 86-90), a Paediatrician, both from Salamieh.  Dr. Shahira Deebeh (ISP 82-83), another ISP scholar who has returned to Syria and who is a Gynaecologist/Obstetrician with her own practice in Damascus, was unfortunately unable to attend the dinner.  Most of the assembled alumni had studied at French universities, though Mhana al-Tanakhee's degrees were from Rumania and the Ukraine and Naaman Adra's from the USA and Canada.  The languages heard around the table were Arabic, French and English, with some Russian expressions thrown in to complete the cosmopolitan chatter.

Salamieh group photo
Mohamed El-Cheikh
Shahira Deebeh
Mhana Al-Tanakhee
Farid Seifo


In November 2002, 26 scholarship students/alumni in the UK participated in ameeting and lunch in London.  Mitali Atal, Programme Assistant at AKF(UK), gave a talk about AKDN activities after which Sarfaroz Niyozov (ISP 97-01) from Tajikistan and Himat Mir (ISP 01-02) from the Northern Areas of Pakistan talked about their experiences at Western Universities.  Sarfaroz has a PhD in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, and Himat has just completed a postgraduate diploma in Mathematics Education from Oxford.  Their presentations were followed by lively discussions among the assembled ISP group who hailed from an interesting mix of countries: India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kenya, Tunisia, Tanzania and Syria.

Click on thumbnails for larger images.
Sarfaroz Niyozov from Tajikistan
Husnoro Dodikhudoeva from Tajikistan
Akbar Keshodkar from India
Sabiha Khemir from Tunisia
Juzar Hooker from Kenya
Seema Kazi from India

Alumni visit AKF Geneva
Two senior Indian academics, ex-AKF scholarship recipients, who are working at US universities visited AKF Geneva recently.  Rafiq Dossani (ISP 79-80) was in Geneva in October 2002 to attend an UNCTAD Expert Meeting on Improving the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or SMEs.  Rafiq is a Senior Research Scholar at the Asia/Pacific Research Center at Stanford University in California and was presenting a paper on "Providing Financing for Technology-based SMEs".  The Asia/Pacific Research Center concentrates on economic, political, technological, strategic and social issues related to Asian-USA relations.  It also serves as a meeting place for scholars and business and government leaders involved in or from the Asia/Pacific region.  Another recent paper by Rafiq dealt with "Chinese and Indian Engineers and their Networks in Silicon Valley" and described the contribution of the mainland Chinese, Taiwanese and Indian-born immigrants in the Silicon Valley IT businesses and how they use their local ethnic networks for information sharing.  For further information on the Asia/Pacific Research Center and its work, you can consult their website.

Karim Maredia (ISP 80-85) stopped in Geneva during a business trip in Switzerland, and updated AKF on his work as Associate Professor & Technology Transfer Coordinator at Michigan State University's Institute of International Agriculture.  Karim also described the activities of the Sidhpur Foundation, an admirable initiative which he and his wife, Mywish, started in 1997.  Sidhpur is an agricultural region in Gujarat, India, from which many people have immigrated to North America.  The Sidhpur Foundation, an NGO registered in the USA, aims to improve the educational status of Sidhpur communities in the USA, Canada, India and Pakistan.  It provides information, advice and guidance to students and their parents, as well as low-interest education loans for university students. The Foundation's programmes are managed by a network of volunteers and supported through donations and gifts by the members of the Sidhpur community worldwide.  The Foundation's newest initiative is an Internship Program to help students obtain practical experience and exposure to the working environment through three-month internships in financial institutions and banks, development and government agencies, international organisations and Sidhpur community institutions.  For further information, please see

News from India, Kenya, the UK and the USA
Pratima Joshi (ISP 86-87) is a founding member of Shelter Associates, an NGO working in Pune, India, where she heads a team of architects, planners and social workers. They have recently updated and redesigned their website :, which provides information about their activities with the urban poor.  Shelter Associates works primarily with women in the slums to facilitate and provide technical support for community-managed housing and infrastructure projects.  It works together with collectives of the urban poor and the government of Maharashtra and acts as a link between the poor and other agencies that fund or provide resources for housing and basic infrastructure.  It also provides skills which the poor may not have, such as, preparing drawings and structural designs.  Some of their recent achievements in Pune have been the resettlement of 50 families whose dwellings were demolished when a road was widened, the building of 13 community toilets, taking a census of urban slum dwellers and drawing up a proposal for the rehabilitation of a slum settlement. 

Dr. Onesmo K. Ole MoiYoi (AKH 64-68) of Kenya was honoured by Soka University, Japan, with the degree of Doctor, Honoris Causa.  Professor Ole MoiYoi is a senior scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi.  His honorary degree was conferred with the following citation:

"Whereas you have promoted the sanctity of life in society as a renowned medical doctor based on your sublime philosophy and actions, you have also contributed to the cause of world peace, education and culture.  While you have served in numerous important positions including Chairman of Kenyatta University Council, principal scientist and founder of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology-Africa and member of WHO and UNESCO, you have made immense contributions to the enhancement of education in Africa.  In recognition of your many illustrious achievements, we hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor, Honoris Causa."

The Chicago Tribune, datelined September 2, 2002, Johannesburg, carried the following article about AKF alumnus, Farouk Jiwa (ISP 94-98):
"Sustainable development doesn't come in a much neater package than Farouk Jiwa's Honey Care Africa business in Kenya.

Using $300,000 in private investment and a smaller start-up grant from the United Nations Development Program, Jiwa has distributed beehives to 2,500 subsistence farmers in Kenya, most of them with tiny half-acre plots of land too small to support their families.

As the bees do their work, the farmers harvest the honey and Jiwa buys it, providing a guaranteed market and distributor.  Last year he collected and sold 80 tons of honey on the Kenyan market, and the farmers earned at least $360 each, doubling their income and bringing them for the first time above the $1-a-day international poverty line.

Just as important, the farmers are slowly paying back to Jiwa the cost of the hives, which they will eventually own, and two years into the project, Jiwa finally is earning a salary.  Even the investors are expected to get their money back, plus interest, within five years.  And on the farms, the pollinating bees have raised crop production 15 percent.

'I'm not doing this out of the goodness of my heart.  This is how to do the right thing for the community and still turn a profit,' says the fourth-generation Kenyan, whose project is among the success stories touted at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg."

Sabiha Khemir (ISP 85-89) and Khalil Pirani (ISP 82-89) have recently published essays in their specialised fields.  Sabiha's article is entitled "Mobile Identity and the Focal Distance of Memory" which appeared in Displacement and Difference, Contemporary Arab Visual Culture in the Diaspora, edited by Fran Lloyd and published by Saffron, Eastern Art Publishing, London, 2001.  This collection of essays and images focuses on the multiplicity and diversity of Arab identities shown in contemporary works by expatriate Arab artists.  Several of Sabiha's exquisite drawings illustrate her essay.  Khalil Pirani's article "Discovering Concepts from Faith" is included in Understanding Islamic Architecture, which he co-edited with Attilio Petruccioli and which was published by Routledge Curzon, London and New York, 2002.  In his article, Khalil discusses certain concepts from faith which he believes should influence the way architecture is practiced in Islamic countries.


The following dissertations by ISP-sponsored students have recently been received in Geneva: 

"The Interplay Between the Performance of the Manufacturing Sector and the Success of Transition to a Market Economy: A Case Study of Tajikistan" by Ali Naemi (ISP 96-98) presented for a PhD in Environmental Design and  Rural Development at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, December 2002.

"Stresserleben bei Kindern" by Ismail Tanjour (ISP97-02), presented for a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Leipzig, Institute of Psychology, Germany, December 2002.

"Evaluation eines neuen osteodensitometrischen Verfahrens: Computer-Digitalabsorptiometrie", presented for an MD degree by Alireza Mirshahi at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, October 2002.  Alireza received a Magna Cum laude for this work.

"Mobile Matters: Mobile Matter -An Investigation into the Social and Cultural Issues Surrounding Mobile Phone Use" by Pallavi Aiyar, submitted for an MSc degree in Global Media & Communications to the London School of Economics, 2002.

"In Vivo Comparison of the Relative Lung Deposition of Tobramycin Using Formulations with a Different Particle Size", an MSc Dissertation in Clinical Pharmacy presented by Noorani Moloo to the University of Bradford, 2002.

"Construction of Preliminary Vectors Using Green Fluorescent Protein and Signal Peptides from Protein A of Staphylococcus Aureus and TorA of Escherichia coli", an MSc dissertation in Applied Molecular Microbiology by Shiraj Panjwani (ISP 01-04) at the University of Nottingham, 2002.

Donations by Alumni

AKF is very grateful to the following alumni who made donations to the scholarship programme in 2002:  Shakeel Hasham  (ISP 89-92), All-Noor Goeffers  (ISP 93-94), Zahra Rashid  (ISP 96-99), and Alireza Mirshahi  (ISP 94-00).

Tajik scholarship interns at AKF USA

AKF USA has a small internship programme which accepts one or two Tajik scholarship graduates each year.  This year's interns are Sitora Jonmamadova (TSP 97-02) and Manija Mamadnabieva (ISP 00-02) who are spending seven months in the Washington DC office of the Foundation.  Sitora, who is interested in a career in Education, writes:

Sitora and Manija in Times Square, New Year's Eve 2002. Click on thumbnail for larger image."Every one is so nice to us - always ready to help.  We are learning a lot of new things and have the opportunity to visit major libraries and attend conferences organised by the World Bank, USAID and AED (Academy for Education Development).  I have learned so many things about AKDN activities in the field of education in different countries.  I have met new people here from different organizations who also have education projects going on in Tajikistan.

One of the interesting experiences Manija and I had was being able to participate in Awareness Campaign 2002, organized by AKF USA.  We travelled all around the US - to Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta, and partook in presentations about AKDN activities in Tajikistan by speaking about our own experiences. I think it was very useful and at the same time, we enjoyed ourselves greatly and had a chance to explore the United States."

New AKF Scholars in 2002-03

The Aga Khan Foundation is happy to announce this year's recipients under its International and Tajik Scholarship Programmes. On July 1st, the International Scholarship Panel made 31 new awards at its annual meeting, which was held at the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan in France. Overall the programme is assisting 50 students in 2002-03. Earlier in June, 12 new Tajik students were selected by the local scholarship committee in Khorog for study in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. There are currently 57 Tajik scholars supported by the Foundation at universities in Moscow and Bishkek.

Tajik Scholarship Programme

The Tajik Scholarship Programme, funded by a grant from AKF USA, is sponsoring 57 students in 2002-03 for study at universities in Moscow and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.  Twelve new students were selected in 2002 and 40 are continuing their undergraduate and Master's degree courses at Moscow State University and People's Friendship University, both in Moscow, and American, International and Slavonic Universities in Bishkek.  Their fields of study include International Relations, Economics, Medicine, Law, Business & Finance, Computer Science and Journalism.  Another smaller programme was initiated in 2001 for high school graduates from the outlying districts of Gorno Badakhshan who have been admitted to Khorog State University in the provincial capital.  During the initial year, 25 students were chosen for the District Scholarship Programme, which pays for their tuition and living expenses. It is planned that five new students will be added each subsequent year.

Two Tajik scholarship alumni have returned to Khorog to work with AKDN. Manucher Khaidarov (TSP 93-00), a graduate of a Hotel Management school in Kharkov, Ukraine, is currently employed at the Serena Inn as Front Desk Manager and Abakhon Sultanazarov (TSP 95-02), who has a Master's degree in Economics from Moscow State University, is Assistant Financial System Officer at AKF(Tajikistan).

Click on thumbnails for larger images.
First Year Students of the Tajik Scholarship Programme in Bishkek, April 2002
Students of American University in Kyrgyzstan with AUK President, David D. Huwiler
Slavonic University Students
TSP students in front of International University in Bishkek
The 4 musqueteers
in Bishkek
The District Scholarship Students in Khorog,
October 2002
Manucher and Abakhon in front of the Serena Inn, Khorog

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