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Scholarship Programme News (2006-2007)

AKF Alumni Meet in Washington DC

AKF Alumni Meet in Washington DCLeft to right (front): Vinay Viswanatha, Bushra Musa, Rushna Ravji, Mrs. Wardeh (back): Shamsah Dhala,
Lala Mathies, Al-Nasir Hamir, Aasim Husain, Ahmad Wardeh, Talib Esmail. Click on photograph to enlarge it.
It was springtime in Washington DC and alumni from DC and the nearby states met at the Aga Khan Foundation USA office on May 12 for a debriefing on the latest Aga Khan Development Network activities and programmes. The presentations were made by Amin Noorani, the Aiglemont Human Resource Department’s representative in North America, and Iqbal Noor Ali, Chief Executive Officer of AKF USA.

Participating alumni were Talib Esmail (ISP 1987-88), a Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank; Shamsah Dhala (ISP 2002-04) from India who is currently working for the International Finance Corporation in Washington; Al-Nasir Hamir (ISP 2000-02), who has an MA in International Affairs from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and is working for Castalia Strategic Advisors in Washington; Aasim Husain (ISP 1985-86) from Pakistan, who is a Senior Economist at International Monetary Fund in Washington; Lala Matties (ISP 1988-90), a Pakistani architect working for a design company in Arlington, Virginia; Bushra Musa (ISP 1986-87), a Bangladeshi lawyer, currently with the American Red Cross in Washington; Farrukh Iqbal, an-ex-Aga Khan Harvard scholar, who is a Principal Economist at the World Bank Economic Development Institute in Washington; Dr. Rushna Ravji (ISP 1985-87), who works for USAID in Washington as Service Delivery Technical Advisor in the Office of Population & Reproductive Health; Azim Samjani (ISP 2002-04), an Indian telecommunications expert; Dr. Ahmad Wardeh (ISP 1994-96), a Syrian physician with a practice in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. The sole current student was Dr. Vinay Viswanatha (ISP 2006-07) who is finishing an MPH at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore before returning to India at the end of May.

This was the first alumni get together held in Washington and the participants were most interested in learning about the current work of AKDN. Some of them, notably Talib and Rushna, had worked previously for the network, Talib for AKF(UK) and Rushna for AKU, and were able to comment on how the network has evolved since their time. All remarked on how they enjoyed meeting the others who had gone through the AKF scholarship programme and have made their careers in a variety of fields.

The information session was followed by lunch in a nearby restaurant where the chatting and networking continued during the early afternoon. Many thanks to Amin Noorani who traveled from Montreal to make his presentation and Iqbal Noor Ali for hosting the reunion.

AKDN Scholarship Reunion in London
The Aga Khan Development Network’s scholarship alumni and students met at the Ismaili Centre in London on April 28 for a series of presentations describing the programmes and activities of the network. The speakers included Shams Jaffer, Senior Manager for Staffing at the Human Resource Department of the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan in France, who described the extraordinary recent growth of the network both in programmes and geographic scope and how this expansion affected the human resource needs of AKDN. She invited the graduates and current students to think about joining AKDN at some point in their careers, since the network’s HR needs were great and varied. Her introduction was followed by the presentations of three current international scholarship students who described their previous work with AKDN, both in developed country units and in field offices, especially in the new AKDN countries of Afghanistan and Mozambique.

Sarah Bandali (ISP 2006-08) talked about her involvement with health projects when she interned at the Aga Khan Foundation’s Head Office in Geneva and about her work as Health Programme Officer in the Foundation’s Maputo office in Mozambique. Sarah is currently doing a Doctor of Public Health degree course at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Sarah was followed by Dr. Shehzad Ali (ISP 2004-07) spoke about his work for FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2006 and his current doctoral research in health financing in the developing countries. Shehzad has an MBBS from Dow Medical College in Karachi and a Master’s in Public Health from the Nuffield Institute for Health, University of Leeds. He is currently finishing a PhD in Social Policy at the University of York focusing on community health insurance, a subject of great interest to AKDN’s health programmes. The final presentation was by Falak Madhani (ISP 2006-07), also from Pakistan. Falak is at present doing a Masters degree course in Public Health in Developing Countries at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She started her involvement with AKF as a Professional Development Intern with AKF USA in Washington in 2003-04, after which she joined AKF(Afghanistan)’s Resource Mobilisation Unit as a Program Grants Officer in Health and Education.

All three spoke passionately about their AKDN experiences and described the satisfaction they felt in working with a group of like-minded professionals trying to make a difference in the lives of people in impoverished and post-conflict areas of the world. They spoke of their love for the wonderful people they met and the beautiful though often harsh terrain where they worked. They all remarked that the years spent working for AKF and FOCUS were the most important and unforgettable in their lives.

The presentations were followed by a buffet lunch and a guided tour of the beautiful Ismaili Centre building.


Pallavi Aiyar (ISP 2000-02 ), China Correspondent for the Indian newspaper, The Hindu, has been awarded one of India’s most prestigious journalism awards, the “Prem Bhatia Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Reporting” for 2007. Pallavi was recognized for her consistently insightful coverage of China’s transformation from a poor agrarian society into the world’s fourth largest economy. The selection was made by a jury of senior editors and prominent public persons. The award is being presented at a function in New Delhi on May 8, 2007.

Azim Rawji (ISP 91-95) has made a generous donation of $2,000 to the International Scholarship Programme. The money will be used for scholarships during the 2007-08 academic year.

Dr. Ravi Manoharan (ISP 2005-06) presented his Master’s project on the “Evaluation of the Community Mental Health Program in a Tribal Community in India” at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in August 2006.

Farid Merchant (2004-06) submitted a Master’s thesis in Computer Science and Applications at the Virginia Polytechnical University on “Simulating the Spread of Malaria: a Cellular Automaton Based Mathematical Model and a Prototype Software Implementation” in February 2007.

ISP alumni visit the AKF Geneva office

Rozik Chorshambiev (TSP 1999-2004), Data Management Officer at the Aga Khan Foundation office in Dushanbe, spent two weeks in Geneva in November working with the Geneva Data Management team. Rozik, who is from Gorno Badakhshan in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan, spent five years studying Computer Science at Slavonic University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. This was his first trip outside of the CIS and he thoroughly enjoyed making new friends, visiting Geneva and nearby Lausanne, buying chocolate for old friends back home and planning for his next trip, this time closer to home, in Islamabad.

Eihab Aldebiat (ISP 2005-06) finished his MSc in International Natural Resource Development (with a focus on Water Management) in October at the University of Bangor, Wales, and travelled to Geneva to discuss his future plans with the Foundation’s Director of Rural Development Programmes. Eihab has several years of experience in agricultural and environmental projects in Salamieh in Syria and wishes to return to Syria to continue working in these areas. Further field experience with one of the Foundation’s older Rural Support Programmes would add to his training and give him the experience he needs in social mobilisation and community development, which are important aspects of the Foundation’s rural development programmes.

Recent Dissertations

Masooda Bano (ISP 02-05) Self-interest, Rationality and Cooperative Behaviour: Aid and Problems of Cooperation within Voluntary Groups in Pakistan, PhD, University of Oxford, Michaelmas Term 2005

Zulfiqar G. Gulzar (ISP 02-05) The Length of MUC1 VNTR in its Cytoplasmic Tail Influences MUC1 Function, PhD, Imperial College, University of London, 2006

Salman Muhammad (ISP 04-06) Conservation and Adaptive Reuse of Khaplu Palace, Khaplu, Northern Areas of Pakistan, MA, Conservation of Historic Towns and Buildings, Catholic University, Leuven, August 2006

Zebaysh Hirji (ISP 05-06) Sex Selective Abortion in India: How Effective is the PC&PNDT Act? A Comparative Study of the Effect of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act on Sex Selective Abortion in Three Indian States and the Implications for Social Policy, MSc, Comparative Social Policy, University of Oxford, August 15, 2006

Gulru Dodkhudoeva (ISP 05-06) Humanitarian-Military Relations: Provincial Reconstruction Teams and International Non-Governmental Organizations in Afghanistan, MA, Governance & Development, University of Sussex, September 2006

Nooruddin Shah (ISP 05-06) Applying the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Framework (SLF) in South Africa: a Critical Analysis, MA, International Development (Social Policy and Social Development), Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, September 2006

Alumni News

Zamila Karimi (ISP 80-82), an AKF scholar for her Bachelor of Architecture course at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in the early 1980’s, has this year finished a Master’s in Fine Arts at the Lamar Dodd School of Art of the University of Georgia where she had an exhibition in October 2006 of her final degree project, an installation exploring the element of time.

Seema Alavi (ISP 87-90), an Aga Khan Foundation scholar when she was doing her PhD degree in History at the University of Cambridge, was offered a chaired professorship, the Zakir Husain Chair of History, at Jamia Millia University in New Delhi in April 2006. The day Seema started her new appointment, she shared the good news with the Foundation and wrote how honoured and thrilled she felt. Seema is the author of several volumes published by Oxford University Press about 18th century India: The Eighteenth Century in India, 2002, A European Experience of the Mughal Orient, the Persian Letters 1773-1779 of Antoine-Louis Henri Polier, 2001 and Sepoys and the Company, Tradition and Transition in Northern India 1770-1830, 1998. Seema has recently finished a manuscript on unani, a Greco-Arabic system of medicine introduced to India by Muslims in the 13th century. Unani is an alternative system of medicine which originated in ancient Greece and is still being utilised in India. Seema examines the relationship between unani and colonial biomedicine in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Foundation is very proud of Seema’s accomplishments

Karim Lakhani (ISP 97-98) had an AKF scholarship for his MS degree course in Technology and Policy at MIT, after which he obtained a PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2005. In July 2006, he started his dream job at the Harvard Business School as Assistant Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit. Karim’s doctoral research topic was on open source software and he is one of the editors of Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software published by The MIT Press in 2005. The book contains previously unpublished articles by top researchers and practitioners who are involved with the free and open source software concept.

Some quotes from 2006 ISP graduates

Nooruddin Karim (ISP 04-06) from India wrote after his MArch programme at the Architectural Association, London: “It has been without doubt an amazing learning experience at the AA, London. The learning curve graph has been sharp and steep and has set an incredible platform for further research and work within the built environment sector. My sincere appreciation to the Aga Khan Foundation scholarship programme for providing me with the opportunity of having a Master’s degree of international repute, arguably one of the best in the world, under my belt.”

Karim Merchant (ISP 04-06) from the UK wrote after his MS in Music (Jazz Piano) at the Manhattan School of Music: “I would like to thank the Aga Khan Foundation once again for the generous and vital financial assistance without which I would not have been able to undertake the course at MSM. Also, I would not have met my future wife! I am therefore doubly grateful!”

Salman Muhammad (ISP04-06) from Pakistan wrote after having passed his MA in Conservation of Historic Towns and Buildings at the Catholic University Leuven with “cum laude” distinction: “On this occasion I especially thank AKF for their good wishes, encouragement and support during my study period.”

New ISP Scholars in 2006-07

The Aga Khan Foundation is pleased to announce the new recipients of its international scholarships:

Mr. Hani Abdeen (Syrian), Doctorate, Computer Engineering, University of Savoie, Annecy
Ms. Nida Alavi (Pakistani), MEd, Early Childhood Special Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
Ms. Julieta Alidodkhonova (Tajik), MBA, Finance and Accounting, University of Liverpool
Mr. Nawar Alkasseer (Syrian), Master 2, Microelectronics, Institut National Polytechnique, Toulouse
Mr. Sajjadullah Baig (Pakistani), MSc, Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development, Imperial College London
Ms. Sarah Bandali (Canadian), Doctor of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Ms. Jenny Datoo (USA), MA, Water Science, Policy and Management, University of Oxford
Mr. Aziz Dhamani (Bangladeshi), MA, Urban Design Studies, University of Toronto
Dr. Iraj Ghaini Hesaroeieh (Iranian), Medical Specialty Training, Urology, Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia
Mr. Irshad Hirani (Indian), MSc, Microelectronics Systems and Telecommunications, University of Liverpool
Mr. Md. Amin Hunzai (Pakistani), MSc, Electrical Power Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Mr. Aftab Jalia (Indian), SMArchS, Islamic Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ms. Dilrabo Jonbekova (Tajik), MA, Human Resource Management, University of Leeds
Ms. Sholeh Koorjee (Canadian), MEd, International Education Policy, Harvard University
Ms. Falak Madhani (Pakistani), MSc, Public Health in Developing Countries, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Ms. Bana Majar (Syrian), MSc, Clean Technology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Mr. Md. Shakir Majeedi (Afghan), MA Economic Development, Williams College, Massachusetts
Mr. Abdul Malik (Pakistani), MPP, Public Policy and Management, Harvard University
Dr. Jared Mecha (Kenyan), MSc, Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College London
Mr. Babak Mirshahi (Iranian), PhD, Civil Engineering (Hydrology), Imperial College London
Mr. Manoj Misra (Bangladeshi), MA, Sociology, University of Alberta
Mr. Alli Mukasa (Ugandan), MSc, Environmental and Resource Engineering, University of Nottingham
Mr. Navruz Nekbakhtshoev (Tajik), MA, Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
Ms. Shazia Nota (Pakistani/US permanent resident), MSc, Finance and Development, University of Manchester
Ms. Teshamulwa Okioga (Kenyan), MA, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ms. Simin Oshkovr (Iranian), PhD, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Mr. Arif Panjwani (Indian), MBA, Supply Chain Management, Audencia School of Management, Nantes
Dr. (Ms.) Nigina Rakhmikhudoeva (Tajik), Candidate of Science, Cardiology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow
Mr. Sarfaraz Sadruddin (Pakistani), MD, Chicago Medical School
Ms. Matluba Sherzamonova (Tajik), MA, Development Economics, University of East Anglia
Mr. Faiz Tajuddin (Indian), LLM, Columbia University School of Law
Mr. Issam Takla (Syrian), Doctorate, Civil Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique Lille
Dr. Vinay Viswanatha (Indian), MPH, Johns Hopkins University
Ms. Maya Wardeh (Syrian), MPhil/PhD, Computer Science, University of Liverpool

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