Nairobi, Kenya, 27 July 2011 – Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi was launched at a foundation stone ceremony held today in the presence of the Right Honourable Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, and His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the Aga Khan University and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network.
The School, which will begin accepting students in 2014, is dedicated to educating media leaders – and fostering media institutions – who will advance the highest standards of competence, ethics, professionalism and social responsibility in their industry. Its broader aim is to ensure a vibrant, independent and plural media sector in the region.
“The years immediately ahead will be a time of breath-taking change for Africa, and for the field of media,” said His Highness the Aga Khan in his speech marking the occasion. “I believe that Africa can emerge from this transformation as the home of some of the most capable, innovative, constructive and respected media enterprises in the world. Helping to advance that vision is what our new Media and Communications School is all about.”
Placing emphasis on new technologies, the Graduate School will employ state-of-the-art equipment and innovative ways of teaching, so that its graduates will be comfortable with the media platforms today and can “help develop the media platforms of tomorrow.”
The new school will also seek to cultivate an indigenous journalistic voice that is not beholden to Western perspectives, but that reflects local realities. Students will learn not only to value these realities, but be able to project these perspectives globally.
“One of the inheritances of the African colonial period was an absence of indigenous, independent media enterprises – and, thus, of effective media entrepreneurs,” noted the Aga Khan. “A half century later, healthy, African media companies are no longer such a rarity, but they are still in short supply.”
The Aga Khan said that the school will therefore not restrict itself to producing writers, editors and artists – the creators of content – but will also reach into the field of media management. It will prepare students to be able to address the economic dimension of media ventures sustainably and responsibly.
Drawing on other faculties of the Aga Khan University, the new Graduate School will enable students to deepen their knowledge in other fields of study, including health, economics, political science, religion and environmental studies. The school will also provide opportunities for professional and continuing education, adapting to the changing needs of those in the media industry.
The establishment of the Graduate School of Media and Communications was first announced by His Highness the Aga Khan during the Pan African Media Conference in March 2010.
For further information please contact:
Resource Development and Public Relations
Aga Khan University- EA
Tel: +254 20 3662170
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Communications Officer (East Africa)
Aga Khan Development Network
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$ 600 million.
The Aga Khan University (AKU) is an agency of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983. The Aga Khan University’s objective is “to be on the frontiers of scientific and humanistic knowledge” while inspiring students to be independent learners and researchers imbued with a spirit of service and respect for others. In the 28 years since its founding, Aga Khan University’s major focus has been in the fields of health and education. For the decades ahead the University plans to step beyond success in these areas and become a more diversified university, both geographically and academically.