The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) was established in 1977 and has the status of being both a Trust grantee and a major resource for its work in Education and Culture.
An endowed centre of excellence in the history, theory, and practice of Islamic architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AKPIA's mandate is to educate architects, planners, teachers, and researchers who can contribute directly to meeting the building and design needs of Muslim communities today. AKPIA teaching and scholarship also serves to increase sympathetic cross-cultural interest in Islamic arts and culture. To date, more than 120 professionals from throughout the Muslim world have graduated from the Program. Trust endowments have supported the operation of Harvard's textual and visual collections on the history of Islamic art and architecture, and have enabled the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an outstanding visual and reference collection on the architecture of the 20th century Muslim world. The Trust has also underwritten the publication of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, produced since 1983 through AKPIA's office at Harvard University, and published by Brill, Leiden, the Netherlands. In 1999, the Trust further augmented the resource available to AKPIA by establishing an endowed chair for the Aga Khan Professorship of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Islamic Societies at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. This chair, it is hoped, will enable the school to provide leadership and greater focus in both historic and contemporary aspects of public spaces in Islamic societies.