: Steering Committee
His Highness the Aga Khan, the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, is the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. In Islam’s ethical tradition, religious leaders not only interpret the faith but also have a responsibility to help improve the quality of life in their community and in the societies amongst which they live. For His Highness the Aga Khan, this has meant a deep engagement with development for over 50 years through the agencies of the AKDN.
David Adjaye is founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates, which was established in June 2000 and currently has offices in London, New York, and Accra. He was born in Tanzania in 1966. After gaining a Bachelor of Architecture from London South Bank University, he graduated with a master’s degree in architecture from the Royal College of Art in 1993, where he won the RIBA Bronze Medal.
Mohammad al-Asad is a Jordanian architect and architectural historian. He is the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Built Environment in Amman. Dr. al-Asad studied architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and history of architecture at Harvard University, before taking post-doctoral research positions at Harvard and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
Francesco Bandarin is an architect and urban planner. He graduated in architecture from the Institute of Architecture of Venice (IUAV) and has a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He is Professor of Urban Planning and Conservation at IUAV, where he has taught since 1980.
Hanif Kara is a practicing structural engineer and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. His particular “design-led” approach and interest in innovative form, sustainable construction and complex analysis methods have allowed him to work on pioneering projects, and under his leadership the practice has won over 250 design awards including the RIBA Stirling Prize for the Peckham Library, London, in 2000, and for the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge, in 2012, as well as the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo in 2010.
Kamil Merican is the founding partner of GDP Architects Malaysia, which has gained a reputation as one of Malaysia’s leading design and architecture firms. Mr. Merican graduated in architecture from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and the Architectural Association in London.
Azim Nanji was born in Nairobi, Kenya and attended schools in Kenya and Tanzania before graduating from Makerere University in Uganda. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in Islamic Studies from McGill University in Canada. Professor Nanji is currently Special Advisor to the Provost at the Aga Khan University, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, a joint partnership between His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada.
Gülru Necipoğlu has been Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard University since 1993 where she earned her PhD in 1986 under the tutelage of Professor Oleg Grabar. She specialises in the medieval and early modern periods, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean basin and Eastern Islamic lands.
Brigitte Shim is a principal in the Toronto-based design firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and, since 1988, a Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. Brigitte Shim and her partner A. Howard Sutcliffe’s design practice, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, was founded in 1994 and reflects their shared interest and passion for the integration and interrelated scales of architecture, landscape and interior and industrial design.
Yu Kongjian is founder and dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape and the Changjiang Chair Professor of Design, at Peking University. He received a Doctor of Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1995, and taught there from 2009 to 2014. Professor Yu is the founder, president and principal designer of Turenscape, an internationally recognized firm of landscape architecture and urbanism practices worldwide.