: 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.
Sir David Adjaye Obe is recognised as a leading architect of his generation. In 2000, he founded Adjaye Associates, which now has offices in London, New York and Accra working on projects in the USA, UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His largest project to date, the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in the autumn of 2016.
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 in 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. From 1980 to 2016 he was Professor of Urban Planning and Conservation at IUAV.
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 is 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. He 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.
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.
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.