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AKDN Statement at the High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-09-switzeland-michael-kocher.jpg Geneva, Switzerland Monday, 13 September 2021 1631532600 AKDN Statement at the High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan speech Afghanistan,Switzerland 2020s 253592 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p64YpVoRc4 1 https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/aku-afghanistan-fmic-dji_0713_r.jpg

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network are honoured and privileged to convey our abiding commitment to the peoples of Afghanistan.

This allegiance is enduring. It is founded on the most profound respect for Afghanistan’s many traditions and the bonds of our shared humanity. AKDN’s work and its aim of improving the quality of life of all communities it seeks to serve is premised on the ethical principles of Islam, which promote peace and harmony.

With that ideal in mind, we wish to thank the United Nations for convening the international community at this critical juncture in the country’s history.

For more than three decades, we have stood with the people of Afghanistan. We take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment, which remains unshaken.

During this time, and today, we listen to and support people at the community level to help them realise their individual and collective aspirations for a better life – coming together to find solutions that are sustainable, acceptable and deliverable.

In the process, AKDN has provided life-saving medical treatment and healthcare to millions of mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers; helped educate hundreds of thousands of boys and girls; built rural infrastructure including roads, bridges, and irrigation canals; assisted families in improving household incomes; helped to preserve cultural heritage; strengthened community preparedness and resilience in the face of natural disaster and climate change; and brought connectivity and enhanced communications to many corners of the country.

Our experience teaches us that determined, transparent and inclusive engagement, led and driven by Afghans in their communities, can and does succeed. Indeed, it is the only method to bring real and lasting change.

That is a lesson we urge the international community to heed, and to act with compassion and foresight. For now is the time to engage, to stay in dialogue, and to continue on the path to mutual accommodation – to establish lasting peace, opportunity and prosperity.

Now is certainly not the time to turn our back on decades of progress. Or on the two-thirds of the country under the age of 25, a generation that has grown up under the shadow of war but with determined hopes of a better life. Their dreams and aspirations remain intact in Afghanistan, and we owe them the dignity – the promise – of standing together with them and their communities as they face the future.

For conditions are dire.

As we hear today, the economic situation in Afghanistan is bad and worsening. The banking system is non-functional. Rampant unemployment is increasing. Resources are desperately needed for food, medicine, education and other essential services. Healthcare facilities in many areas may close in a matter of days, in the midst of a pandemic. 18 million people are already in extreme need, with a similar number at risk. That suggests virtually the entire country could be without adequate healthcare, without enough food, and without sufficient livelihoods.

As a long-standing partner of Afghanistan and its people, we draw attention to the need for urgent, corresponding measures:

  • Restoring the banking system to facilitate international transfers, allowing much-needed financial support and access to markets;
  • Authorising direct support without delay to the providers of healthcare and education;
  • Arranging robust and inclusive food aid and work programmes to stave off desperation; and
  • Unblocking assistance already authorised for direct support to the Afghan population, providing relief today, as well as the tools and means to reduce dependency on such relief in the future.

We join others in underscoring that these measures be taken quickly and decisively if we are to avert a sustained crisis of shocking regionally-destabilising proportions. We urge here as well that the international community not abandon Afghanistan’s longer-term development, as the consequences of doing so would be profound.

Today we require collectively focused attention on the urgency of humanitarian action. Today and going forward, our actions must be meaningfully humane.

Thank you.

aku-afghanistan-fmic-dji_0713_r.jpg

In Afghanistan, the Aga Khan University manages the French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children as part of a partnership with the governments of France and Afghanistan and the French NGO La Chaîne de l'Espoir.
Copyright: 
AKU / David Fox
speech_258739 <p dir="RTL" style="text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SY" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">"نحثُّ هنا المجتمع الدولي بضرورة عدم التخلي عن تحقيق التنمية في أفغانستان على المدى الطويل لأن عواقب ذلك ستكون وخيمةً. نحتاج اليوم إلى اهتمام مركّز بشكل جماعي بضرورة القيام بالأعمال الإنسانية. يجب أن تكون أفعالنا اليوم وفي المستقبل إنسانيةً بشكلٍ هادفٍ".</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
The first Convocation of the University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/uca-2021-convocation-rector.jpg Kyrgyz Republic Thursday, 24 June 2021 1624119300 Address by the Rector Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi at the first Convocation of the University of Central Asia speech Kyrgyz Republic 2020s 257492 1 Kyrgyz Republic,Education,University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/uca-2021-convocation-rector.jpg University of Central Asia Education

Good afternoon,
Chancellor of the University, His Highness the Aga Khan,
Patrons of the University, Their Excellencies the Presidents of the Founding States of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan,
Honourable Ministers of Education,
Honourable Governors,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Shamsh Kassim-Lakha,
Members of the Board of Trustees,
Deans, faculty and staff of the University,
Parents, supporters, and distinguished guests,
and dear graduates,

Assalam Alaikum.

First convocations are special… Imagine the lifting of a rocket headed to space off the ground. It has an immense journey ahead of it, yet – it spends perhaps half the energy it will spend on its total journey – just in crossing the first few kilometres. Today we celebrate the immense effort involved in lifting this university off the ground – setting a course for the stars and passing out these first graduates from the School of Arts and Sciences. Graduates, whom we expect to play a leadership role in furthering growth and development of these beautiful lands.

The peerless vision of His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of UCA, and the patrons of UCA, defined a unique ambition for this institution. UCA was to be a university for the mountain communities of the region and a research university comparable with the premier institutions of the world, pioneering the application of new knowledge and research to impact the quality of life of these communities.

Helping us achieve this vision has been one of the premier architects of our generation, Arata Isozaki, whose goal has been to translate the vision of UCA into an architectural masterpiece that – in its own right –is a celebration of human genius. Funds for the realisation of this ambitious dream were provided by His Highness through the Aga Khan Development Network, a unique partnership of development institutions. The Governments of the Founding States provided significant fiscal benefits, while international agencies such as the World Bank, OPIC and DFID added their support. It is this joint and combined effort that has allowed UCA to achieve this milestone today.

Simultaneously, numerous groups of scholars worked to define a curriculum that married the best traditions of a liberal arts education with the cutting edge of subjects of each major (Economics, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences and Communications and Media Sciences), chosen to meet critical demands of the region. In this journey, UCA chose an international galaxy of institutional partners: the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto and the University of Technology Sydney, respectively, together with Seneca College, the Stockholm School of Economics and the University of Victoria, who, with the support of the respective Ministries of Education and Science of the founding states, each contributed to building the world-class curriculum that has played such an important role in helping define you: the 57 graduates of UCA 2021, hailing from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan,  Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Through this process of development and metamorphosis of the School of Arts and Sciences, the Chancellor has been meeting with the Board of Trustees of UCA, chaired by Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, who have debated every aspect of the functioning of UCA and the School of Arts and Sciences. This first convocation would most certainly not have come to pass without their continued guidance and support.

The most critical aspect of an institution of higher learning is its faculty. In our case, preparations started over a decade ago – and continue unabated – identifying and sending the best and the brightest in the region for PhD studies to the finest institutions of the world such as the University of Cambridge. International and regional faculty who joined UCA have worked to bring harmony to the competing requirements of the international partners, local realities and legislative boundaries. I must pay tribute here to the leadership of the Dean Diana Pauna, who guided the school till last year and to Dean Maxim Khomyakov who has brought us across the finish line together with Associate Deans Kholiqnazar Kuchakshoev and Soheil Ashrafi and our world-class faculty, all of whom worked tirelessly to make today possible.

This has been an immense labour of love. Just running the region’s first residential campuses located in the remote mountain regions of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and that too through various challenges, including the COVID pandemic over the past year and a half. We thus congratulate today Muzaffar Jorubov, our Chief Operating Officer and the entire administrative and support staff, working on the frontlines and behind the scenes, for their dedication and selfless commitment to UCA’s vision.

I take this opportunity today to salute the parents of this first class of graduating students, who trusted us with their wards and believed in UCA when it was not entirely physically present and when the faculty was not there. They saw with their mind’s eye, beyond what was not yet apparent. Today we have the opportunity to repay your trust in us and to thank you for your steadfast support over these five years.

Graduates! What can I say, except that you have been tested by ALL the elements of nature – and you have succeeded. You are pioneers, adventurers, leaders without peers and this region’s hope for the future. You are what this has all been about. The beautiful environments of this campus, the phenomenal work of the faculty, the support of all your family and peers:  It has all been about your development. Today, that process is complete. You, now our Alumni, set your own sail now, chart your own course and go forth with all our love, support and prayers.

Thank you.

speech_257493 <p dir="rtl" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="background:white"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">الأستاذ الدكتور سهيل حسين نقفي: "أغتنم هذه الفرصة أيضاً لأُوجه التحية لأولياء أمور الدُفعة الأولى من الطلاب المتخرجين، الذين وثقوا بنا وآمنوا بجامعة آسيا الوسطى قبل اكتمال إنشاء كلياتها، فضلاً عن تفهّمهم للكثير من الأمور التي لم تكن واضحةً بعد. واليوم لدينا الفرصة لرد الجميل لثقتكم بنا".</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
The first Convocation of the University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/uca-2021-convocation-skl.jpg Kyrgyz Republic Thursday, 24 June 2021 1624118400 Address by the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Shamsh Kassim-Lakha at the first Convocation of the University of Central Asia speech Kyrgyz Republic 2020s 225081 1 Kyrgyz Republic,Education,University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/uca-2021-convocation-skl.jpg University of Central Asia Education

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

The Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan,
Your Excellency President Emomali Rahmon,
Your Excellency President Sadyr Japarov,
Honourable Ministers,
Honourable Governors,
Members of the Board of Trustees and Rector Sohail Naqvi,
Deans, Faculty and Staff of the University,
Parents, supporters, and distinguished guests and most important the Graduates.

Assalam-o-alaikum

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to welcome you to this historic first convocation of UCA. My heartiest congratulations and warmest best wishes to the Class of 2021 for this momentous milestone in your life.

On behalf of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees I extend deep appreciation to the Patrons of the University, the Presidents of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Kazakhstan for their valuable support.

We also thank the Ministers of Education and Science of the three Founding States for their valuable support and the Governors and Mayors of the towns of Naryn, Khorog and Tekeli for welcoming UCA as part of their communities.

Today we acknowledge the efforts of the Rector, faculty, management, staff and volunteers in the education of these young women and men.

Our special gratitude however must go to the parents of the graduating class. It was a huge commitment on your part, and we are grateful for your faith and commitment to the vision and mission of this new University.

Establishing a private, not-for-profit, secular and regional institution dedicated to the education of the mountain communities of Central Asia, is a unique and audacious idea that was first conceived by the Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, 25 years ago.  It required meticulous designing and building of world-class facilities and the recruitment and training of the faculty and staff and refinement of the academic programmes.

The curriculum of UCA’s undergraduate programme is designed to cultivate the knowledge and skills students will need to integrate different approaches to tackle problems and create innovations.

The small class size and the close relationship with faculty offered an exceptional opportunity for intellectual growth and then living on a residential campus has been a micro-polity in which the best practices in the realm of civil culture are embodied in governance and everyday interaction.

Such a campus community has offered rich opportunities for students to develop the many intangible habits of responsible citizenship and leadership skills, which, we are convinced will be the distinguishing characteristics of UCA’s graduates.

Today, despite the many daunting and seemingly insurmountable challenges, we are fortunate to see this bold idea translated into reality.  This is therefore a particularly fitting occasion to convey our deepest gratitude to His Highness the Aga Khan for his continued guidance which has helped us to remain on mission and within the budget hugely supported by the Aga Khan Development Network.

However, His Highness has often reminded us that building a university is not like making instant coffee – that you pour hot water and you stir. In fact, UCA is today at an infant stage as universities go. We have much work ahead of us if it is to become a world class research university in the decades ahead.

As a university focused on the development of mountain societies, UCA has a special relationship with and an obligation to the communities of Naryn, Khorog and Tekeli, which host our campuses.

Our long-term joint vision led by the town municipalities is to see these communities transformed into thriving university towns where economic, social and cultural opportunities abound for everyone.  Together we are working to enhance the quality of life of the citizens through supporting the master planning of the towns and through provision of health and educational facilities, public parks and creating employment opportunities.

Let me now turn to you the graduates.

You were admitted by UCA on the basis of academic merit and your potential for leadership.

I recall some of you were nervous and unsure of how you would manage in your new environment.

However, having seen your progress through the past five years, I am really proud to see how remarkably well you have coped and your confidence is admirable. You are the beneficiaries of the hard work of your teachers and the product of this university. While we celebrate your success, we await with much anticipation your service in the years ahead to your respective societies and to your alma mater as its alumni.

I conclude by leaving two thoughts with you as you embark on the next stages of your life.

  • Some 12 centuries ago, Al-Kindi, the great philosopher said, “We respect education because it teaches us values”.   It is our earnest hope that as you progress through personal and professional lives, you will be guided by the values imparted by this University:  the values of honesty, integrity, respect for diversity and the practice of sound ethics in whatever you do.
  • Graduands, let me remind you of the t-shirt you wore during the orientation in 2016.   It bore the slogan: “The Journey Begins Here”.  The first stage of that journey has culminated in your graduation today. Congratulations!  However, you are on the threshold of an exciting new journey that has just begun – a lifelong journey of discovery and learning.

Good luck to you and thank you.

speech_257490 <p dir="RTL" style="text-align:justify; margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">شمس قاسم لاكا، رئيس مجلس الأمناء: منذ حوالي 12 قرن قال الفيلسوف أبو يوسف يعقوب بن إسحاق الصبّاح الكندي: "نحترم التعليم لأنه يعلّمنا القيم". لهذا يحدونا أملٌ صادقٌ أنه كلما تقدمتم في مسيرة حياتكم على المستويين الشخصي والمهني، ستسترشدون بالقيم التي تنقلها هذه الجامعة: قيم الصدق والنزاهة واحترام التنوع وممارسة الأخلاق الصحيحة في كل ما تفعلونه</span></span></span><span dir="LTR" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
The first Convocation of the University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/uca-2021-convocation-kr-president.jpg Kyrgyz Republic Thursday, 24 June 2021 1624115700 Address by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Mr Sadyr Japarov at the first Convocation of the University of Central Asia speech Kyrgyz Republic 2020s 257488 1 Kyrgyz Republic,Education,University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/uca-2021-convocation-kr-president.jpg University of Central Asia Education

Dear graduates,
Dear friends,

Congratulations on becoming the first graduates of the University of Central Asia!

As you may know, the University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 by the Aga Khan Development Network Representative Office in three Central Asian countries.

The goal was to provide international level higher education for young professionals and leaders to help their local communities and make a meaningful contribution to the economic development of mountain regions.

At the same time, the mission of the University of Central Asia is to support the peoples of the region to preserve their rich cultural heritage, use it as a resource for future development, to stimulate the socio-economic development of Central Asia and its mountain societies.

World-class university campuses have been built for this purpose to provide not only education, but also a quality life for faculty members and students. The University's campuses are located at the crossroads of nine roads, in the most beautiful and historic place – the Great Silk Road.

The university buildings include beautiful modern classrooms, libraries, laboratories, as well as living quarters for faculty and staff members of the University.

The future of any country depends on its intellectuals and educated youth. The younger generation has a responsibility to lead the country into the future, which requires true patriotism, quality education, hard work and dedication that inspires the country's development goals.

The process of intellectualisation is currently underway. Only educated societies can withstand competition and challenges in the global community.

I hope the first graduates of the University of Central Asia will be a source of hope and pride for our nation and for the younger generation, so that we can all build Kyrgyzstan together.

Thank you for your attention.

speech_257489 <p dir="RTL" style="text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">السيد صدير جاباروف، رئيس جمهورية قيرغيزستان: "يتحمّل جيل الشباب مسؤولية قيادة البلاد نحو مستقبل أفضل، الأمر الذي يتطلب حباً حقيقياً للوطن، وتعليماً جيداً وتفانياً وعملاً جاداً، ما يسهم بتحقيق أهداف التنمية في البلاد".</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
The first Convocation of the University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-04-france-ucaconvocation-cecile-genest-0522r.jpg Kyrgyz Republic Saturday, 19 June 2021 1624112100 Address by the Chancellor His Highness the Aga Khan speech Kyrgyz Republic 2020s 6926 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NSNXrRDEWE 1 Kyrgyz Republic,Education,University of Central Asia https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-04-france-ucaconvocation-cecile-genest-0536r.jpg University of Central Asia University of Central Asia (UCA) Education

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim
 

Your Excellency President Rahmon

Your Excellency President Japarov

Honourable Ministers

Honourable Governors

Chairman Dr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha and Members of the Board of Trustees

Rector, Deans, Faculty and Staff of the University

Parents, supporters, and distinguished guests and Graduates

It is truly a genuine pleasure for me to celebrate this milestone moment with you – the graduation of the first class of students from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Central Asia. This event is also a very significant moment in my own life as it represents the culmination of more than two decades of effort in conceptualising, planning and building this institution with the valuable support of Patrons, Presidents and administrations of the Founding States.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and everyone at UCA, I extend deep appreciation to the Patrons of the University, the Presidents of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republic of Kazakhstan and their administrations for their support and for creating an enabling environment for the University to thrive and achieve its mission and goals.

It was only in 2016 and 2017 that the campuses in Naryn and Khorog welcomed their students.  And here we stand today to celebrate each of you graduates; and your parents and families who contributed to your success.  Each one of you is here today through your sustained hard work. You needed to develop certain qualities of character and mind to face the challenges of university learning. With these qualities, you are now empowered to seek out new opportunities with confidence.  As the first graduates you will always have a special place in the history of the University. As you go forward, you will be UCA's ambassadors, our envoys and representatives.  This is a special responsibility that I am certain you will be able to fulfill admirably.

I offer my warmest congratulations to UCA's faculty, management, staff, Trustees and the very generous donors all of whose contributions made it possible to establish quality academic programmes and beautiful residential campuses.  This was not an easy task, and UCA had to navigate uncharted waters.  This new university demonstrated enormous resilience in rising to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and capably re-configured the institution to remote teaching.  During this period, UCA succeeded in receiving accreditation by educational authorities in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, putting the institution on a solid academic footing.

Today's event brings back some wonderful memories.  Twenty-one years ago, I joined the Presidents of the Founding States in signing an extraordinary International Treaty that brought three countries together to establish the University of Central Asia as a single, multi-campus, regional institution of higher learning.  Today's graduation event, held simultaneously in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, is an example of the power of education and international cooperation.  It is a power that can change people’s lives.  It has always been the Founders’ hope that this power will come through the efforts of the class of 2021 and those which will follow, and from the research and civic engagement of the faculty.

In partnership with the Founding States, we established a type of institution that is new to Central Asia and the larger world.  Planning for an original concept, and making it operational, was a complex process that involved purposeful architectural design, construction, detailed academic planning, training and recruiting faculty.  All of this was accomplished in a decade, which is a fast-forward speed for most universities.  The many who worked on the UCA project in the past and the University community today can take pride in this achievement and have our warmest appreciation.

However, a measure of a university's success is the quality of the education it delivers and the careers of its graduates.  This starts with the recruitment of students, for without good students, a university will never achieve excellence.  A key ingredient in this story has been our open-access philosophy, enabling us to enrol students on merit alone, with the vast majority of students receiving financial support.  The result is that 70 percent of our students are from small towns and rural areas, and half are women.  They gained admission through a transparent and rigorous selection process and completed a demanding course of study with rigorous standards of academic integrity.

Research is the other measure of a university's success.  UCA defines itself as a “research-oriented” university.  Central Asia and its mountain communities face many challenges, including the impacts of climate change, building reliant communities, alleviating poverty through quality economic growth and advancing technological innovation.  These problems are analytically complex, and there are no easy solutions.  The fundamental goal is to achieve levels of excellence in research, measured by global standards to bring genuine value to those we are committed to educating.

As we celebrate the first steps of a new university, we should also recall the past. Students of world history remind us how Central Asia, a thousand years ago, led the world in cultural and intellectual achievements.  This region is where medicine was founded, where algebra got its name, where the earth's diameter was precisely calculated, where some of the world's greatest poetry was penned. This happened because the societies were open to new ideas, open to change, open to scholars and people from many backgrounds. That kind of openness can again unlock the doors to the future, and allows us to take on the great questions of our time and place.

 It is in the context of this illustrious historical background that the Trustees and I see the evolution of scholarship at this University.  We accept that the revival of this tradition of high quality and relevant research in Central Asia will need to be carefully charted and will require the requisite human and material resources over an extended period of time.

UCA has made a good start. Research output by the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences has markedly increased.  And, of course, the Graduate School of Development, with its institutes, has achieved a significant presence on the Central Asian knowledge landscape and established international collaborations. The School is now collaborating with its sister institution, the Aga Khan University, in new research on maternal and child health and nutrition.  I urge the faculty and students to give utmost attention to enhance the current learning and create new knowledge through research, which is a most important vector for improving the quality of life of those who live in these mountain ranges.

UCA is also a development university. And an essential aspect of this mission is its relationship with the host communities. The University is partnering with the local governments and its sister agencies in the Aga Khan Development Network to develop the host mountain towns into vibrant university communities and transform them by bringing new technology, innovation and entrepreneurship hubs. Over the coming decades, the University will expand as new areas of teaching and research emerge, and the towns that are home to UCA campuses will benefit from the new economic opportunities and attain a better quality of life.

Let me conclude by expressing again, to all of you, the deep sense of joy and gratitude I feel as we celebrate this historic day.  To the graduates, I wish you a bright future.  We look forward to working together with the Founding States, the Board of Trustees, the faculty and now the alumni towards the challenging and promising future of this University.

Thank you.

speech_257368 <p dir="rtl" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="background:white"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">سمو الآغا خان: "انضممتُ منذ إحدى وعشرين عاماً إلى رؤساء الدول المؤسِّسة في التوقيع على معاهدة دولية استثنائية جمعت ثلاث دول معاً لتأسيس جامعة آسيا الوسطى كمؤسسة إقليمية واحدة وذات حرمات جامعية متعددة للتعليم العالي. تُعقد فعاليات حفل التخرج لهذا اليوم في وقتٍ واحدٍ في قيرغيزستان وطاجيكستان، وهذا مثالٌ على قوة التعليم والتعاون الدولي، القوة التي يمكنها تغيير حياة الناس". </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
Kenya Charter Granting Ceremony of the Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-kenya-aku-img_7701r.jpg Nairobi, Kenya Friday, 11 June 2021 1623396600 Speech by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Kenya Charter Granting Ceremony of the Aga Khan University speech Kenya 2020s 257250 1 Education,Health,Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-kenya-aku-img_7701r.jpg Aga Khan University AKU Kenya Education,Health

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen:

There is no event that I look forward to more than one involving the education sector. 

Why? This is because education helps us prepare for the days and years ahead, which is a key pillar of my vision of a Better Kenya.  

The possibilities brought forth by education and knowledge drive dreams; fuel innovation; spur gender equality; and create limitless possibilities for individual and national progress.

Today is the day that will feature prominently in the history of our nation: the day we empowered a generation and expanded the capacity for delivering our destiny.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With us on this momentous occasion, though virtually, is, His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam of the Ismaili Muslim Community.  He has joined us to celebrate the culmination of his far-sighted vision and contribution to the education sector for our beloved Republic.

The phrase “Aga Khan” has become synonymous with elevating educational standards and delivering holistic training.  From pre-school to tertiary learning, its footprints are felt in this nation and region as a whole; with the present university that we are awarding a Charter today, being the latest testament of the journey of academic excellence that is, the Aga Khan brand.

The Aga Khan University’s journey for the award of a Charter started in earnest almost three decades ago.  By being focused and committed, and working hard, we can see today the enviable results of the decades’ long process.

This University is integrated with the Aga Khan Hospital, which itself offers training and health services to our people, in a manner that finely balances the theoretical, practical and empirical aspects of education.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The long-standing partnership between the Kenya Government, the Ismaili community and the Aga Khan Development Network, spans over 100 years.  This fruitful relationship has brought about tremendous benefits to the welfare of many Kenyans across the country. 

Indeed, the Ismaili community’s contribution to the education sector traces back to 1905, when the first Aga Khan School opened in Nairobi.  After the end of the First World War in 1918, His Highness the Aga Khan’s grandfather began establishing an educational network in East Africa, the foundation of the wide footprint we enjoy in the present day.

The solemnity of this ceremony is affirmed by the fact that the University and the Hospital whose benefits have been enjoyed by millions of Kenyans, feature graduate training that takes in the best students, regardless of whether they can afford to pay fees or not.

Many of the students admitted to the Aga Khan University and Hospital are supported financially by the institution, thanks to the courtesy of its commitment to humanity through service.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The idea of the Aga Khan University (AKU) came about in the mid-1970s, with the dream of creating a university in the developing world, which would have the highest of international standards.

That dream university, which is today's reality, was meant to offer the best education while improving the quality of life of all those within its reach.  Today, that noble idea has come to fruition.  Today, we have the first world-class university, focused on some of our key growth areas in our society, including health care, education, media and communication.

There is an evolving momentum for quality assurance in institutions of higher learning. It is paramount that the Aga Khan University, and, indeed, all universities in our country, align themselves to the promotion of quality education.  You must strive to remain compliant to both the programmatic and institutional standards set by our professional regulatory bodies such as the Commission for University Education.

On the part of our regulatory institutions in the education sector, each must execute its mandate fully in order to guarantee the quality of university education in our country is not compromised. Regulatory standards are not mere exercises in box ticking.  They are the lifeblood of a vital process that ensures that learning delivers tangible benefits for both the learner as well as the nation.

To the Aga Khan University, I urge you to build on a century of excellence and distinction by striding forward with ideas centered on knowledge, inquiry, discussion, authenticity, truth, application, critique, care, development and action.

Today, my call to you is to commit to become a leader in health care, media, communication and hospitality; stay abreast with the changes in the world and provide solutions to the many challenges brought by an ever-changing world. 

In the last year, the challenges we have faced arising from the COVID-19 pandemic call for strategies and solutions that are multifaceted and multidisciplinary.  I trust that this University will answer that call.

Permit me to use this occasion to also appeal to your researchers and practitioners to do all that is necessary to find solutions for our healthcare challenges, especially with regard to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

As I conclude, let me say that given the long-established tradition of offering high-quality education in this country upon which this institution is based upon, I urge the Aga Khan University to invest in research and training that will support our new focus on the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The Competence Based Curriculum is a revolutionary step we took as a country to provide our learners with 21st century practical skills relevant to the needs of the present world.

I trust that the Aga Khan University will deliver on the same and produce excellent graduates who can tackle a multitude of challenges, improve their current situations and positively affect our society to become responsible global citizens.  

Congratulations to Aga Khan University.

God bless Kenya, His Highness the Aga Khan, and us all.

speech_257251 <p dir="rtl" style="text-align: justify;"><span dir="RTL" lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">فخامة الرئيس أوهورو كينياتا: "ظهرت فكرة إنشاء جامعة الآغا خان في بلدان العالم النامي في منتصف السبعينيات، وقد وضعت الجامعة نُصب عينها ضرورة التمتُّع بأعلى المعايير الدولية. يُشكّل حفل اليوم حدثاً مهماً نظراً لأنه يحتل مكانةً بارزةً في تاريخ أمتنا، حيث أننا نسهم اليوم في تمكين جيل من الوصول لإمكاناته، فضلاً عن توفير الفرص لتوسيع القدرات والمهارات من أجل الوصول لمستقبل جيدٍ".</span></span></span></p> English
Inauguration of the University Centre Nairobi, Kenya https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-kenya-aku-img_7517r.jpg Nairobi, Kenya Friday, 11 June 2021 1623417300 Address by President Firoz Rasul at the Inauguration of the University Centre Nairobi, Kenya speech Kenya 2020s 8941 1 Kenya,Education,Health,Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-kenya-aku-img_7517r.jpg Aga Khan University AKU Kenya Education,Health

Your Excellency Honorable Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya;

His Highness the Aga Khan, Founder and Chancellor of the Aga Khan University;

The Aga Khan University family, supporters and friends:

The inauguration of the University Centre is a milestone whose importance to the Aga Khan University, and to Kenya, is signified by the presence of Your Excellency President Kenyatta. Thank you once again, Your Excellency, for joining us today.

We have heard the University’s Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, express his gratitude to the Government for its confidence in the Aga Khan University. AKU is also confident – confident in Kenya and its people, whose talent and hunger for knowledge are the foundation upon which this University is built. Indeed, it is because we are so confident in Kenya and its future that we have built the University Centre we are inaugurating today.

The Centre will be the springboard that launches a new era in the Aga Khan University’s history in Kenya – an era that will witness the fulfillment of our ambitious plans for growth and impact. It will serve as the University’s principal campus in Kenya, bringing together in one place for the first time our Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Graduate School of Media and Communications, Institute for Human Development, Brain and Mind Institute and other programmes. It will enable us to establish new academic degree programmes, implement new research projects, and substantially expand our enrollment. And we will continue our financial assistance programme to enable students who cannot afford the tuition fees to attend our University.

The Centre is one of the largest investments in higher education in Kenya’s recent history, encompassing 37,500 square metres or 400,000 square feet, and constructed and equipped at a cost of US$ 50 million or more than 5.3 billion Ksh. It features two towers with a total of 23 floors above and below ground, making it an example of a best-in-class vertical urban campus. Approximately 2,000 Kenyans were employed in designing, building, and equipping this facility.

But more than its size or its budget, it is the convictions that the University Centre embodies that make it so significant.

At the Aga Khan University, we believe that Kenyans deserve the very best. The Centre was designed by the internationally renowned architecture firm Payette of Boston based in USA. In addition to AKU’s other campuses, Payette has designed buildings for some of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and Columbia. Payette was ably supported by the local architecture firm Symbion and construction was carried out to exacting standards by Kenya’s Laxmanbhai Construction Limited.

We believe that education must evolve to keep pace with changing times and changing demands. Therefore, our classrooms are equipped with the latest technology for teaching and learning. Our laboratories are state-of-the-art. Our Graduate School of Media and Communications features a multimedia newsroom alongside radio and TV studios. And we are investing US$ 2.5 million, or 270 million Ksh, to create East Africa’s first cutting-edge facility for simulation-based health education on the University Centre’s first floor.

The Centre for Innovation in Medical Education will enable our nursing and medical students to hone their clinical skills using incredibly lifelike patient mannequins in highly realistic hospital settings. Students will be able to practice everything from delivering babies to caring for patients with highly contagious diseases such as COVID-19. As a result, our students will be exceptionally well-prepared for the real-world challenges they will face.

We also believe that education and knowledge creation are social and collective endeavours. Today, research is typically collaborative, often interdisciplinary, and increasingly international in scope. Hence, we have designed the University Centre to stimulate interaction and intellectual exchange.

We have courtyards, terraces, a stunning atrium, and an outdoor amphitheatre – all spaces that will bring faculty, staff, students, and visitors together in settings that uplift and inspire. We have an exhibition hall and an auditorium with video conferencing and streaming systems that will enable us to convene researchers and members of the public from across Kenya and beyond. And we have that blend of diverse influences that characterizes the Aga Khan University – the distinctive red brick of Nairobi, teak from Sudan, patterns inspired by the architecture of the Islamic world, and the entrance portal that connects this campus to our campus in Karachi.

As it fills up, the University Centre will exude the cosmopolitan energy of a university at home in the 21st century, and eager to forge connections across borders and boundaries of all kinds. It will be an exciting place to work, to learn, to teach, and to expand the frontiers of knowledge, as we have done with the international clinical trials for treatments from COVID-19.  Just as the Aga Khan University Hospital has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of health care in East Africa through international standards and accreditation, AKU’s new campus will be at the centre of the drive to raise standards in university education and research.  

That the University Centre is such a place is due to the efforts of many people. We cannot thank our Kenyan and international donors enough, because without their generosity this building would not have been possible. I am grateful to all those whose courage and dedication made it possible to complete this immense project despite the many challenges created by the pandemic. I also wish to thank the Ministry of Education and the Commission for University Education for their support and partnership.

Finally, I wish to thank our Founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, whose vision, inspiration, and insistence on uncompromising quality have enabled the University to make a tangible difference in so many people’s lives.

Thanks to all our supporters, the Aga Khan University will be educating leaders, advancing knowledge, and improving quality of life in Kenya from this one-of-a-kind building for many decades to come.

Thank you.

speech_257232 <p dir="RTL" style="text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">وصف رئيس جامعة الآغا خان فيروز رسول خلال كلمته أثناء افتتاح مركز جامعة الآغا خان في نيروبي بكينيا أنه تم اختيار شركة "باييت" للهندسة المعمارية المشهورة عالمياً ومقرها في بوسطن للقيام بتصميم المركز الذي بلغت تكلفة بنائه وتجهيزه 50 مليون دولار. وأضاف بأن "المركز سيكون نقطة انطلاقٍ نحو عصرٍ جديدٍ في تاريخ جامعة الآغا خان في كينيا، وحقبةً ستشهد تنفيذ خططنا الطموحة الرامية نحو تحقيق المزيد من النمو والتأثير".</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
Kenya Charter Granting Ceremony of the Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-04-france-ucaconvocation-0613r.jpg Nairobi, Kenya Friday, 11 June 2021 1623408300 Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Kenya Charter Granting Ceremony of the Aga Khan University speech Kenya 2020s 6926 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwwEcV4dc3Q 1 Kenya,Health,Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2021-06-04-france-ucaconvocation-0613r.jpg Aga Khan University AKU Kenya Health

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

Your Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta,
Professor George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary for Education,
Professor Chacha, Chairman of the Commission for University Education,
Excellencies,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is with the greatest satisfaction and the deepest gratitude that I accept the Kenya Charter of the Aga Khan University. My only regret is that, due to the pandemic, I cannot be present in person to receive the instruments of authority, and to celebrate this momentous occasion in the University’s history.

The Charter details AKU’s functions, powers, obligations, and governance. But it is more than a legal document. It is a vote of confidence in AKU and all those who are part of it – our faculty, our staff, administration, students, alumni, friends and supporters.

Your Excellency – Thank you for your confidence in the Aga Khan University. Thank you for creating an enabling environment that has allowed AKU to flourish, and for recognising that private institutions can play a vital role in promoting public welfare.

I would also like to thank the Commission for University Education, which has managed the difficult feat of acting as both a demanding regulator and a supportive partner. AKU is a better university because of the Commission’s efforts to improve the quality of tertiary education in Kenya.  

In this venue we see dramatic confirmation that the University is indeed thriving. Our new University Centre is the soaring embodiment of AKU’s commitment to Kenya, and determination to ensure that its people have access to the very best in higher education and health care. It is also a testament to the power of giving. The construction of the Centre was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of a number of individuals and families who are joining us today, and whose names will be permanently engraved on its walls and glass balustrades.  I am profoundly grateful for their support, as is the entire AKU community.

While its Charter is new, AKU is a firmly established institution in Kenya: It has been operating here since 2002, under a letter of interim authority from the Government. Moreover, as an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, the University is part of a wide-ranging effort to improve quality of life in East Africa, and that dates back more than 100 years, to the schools founded by my grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, in the early 20th century.

Milestones in the Network’s history include the founding of enduring institutions such as Jubilee Insurance, the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi – now the Aga Khan University Hospital – and the Nation Media Group, all of which have now been serving Kenya for more than 60 years.

Today, I think we can say without exaggeration that AKDN and its agencies, including the Aga Khan University, are part of the fabric of life in Kenya and East Africa.

What then has the University achieved in its first two decades? And what does its future hold? Let us begin with its accomplishments thus far.

First, the University has educated much-needed leaders.

In total, nearly 4,000 students have graduated from AKU in East Africa. Among them are more than 1,400 Kenyan nurses, doctors, educators, and journalists –  70 percent of whom, I would note, are women.

Across the country and the region, AKU alumni are leading departments, institutions, and professional organisations. They are founding schools and clinics. They are winning awards, including Kenya’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Award. They are raising standards in both the public and the private sectors, and in rural areas as well as cities.

Second, AKU has developed into an institution capable of delivering problem-solving knowledge, and of sharing its expertise with other organisations.

AKU’s Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health has published one of the most comprehensive analyses of maternal and child health in Kenya and is working with its fellow AKDN agencies to help government health facilities in Kilifi and Kisii counties to improve health for thousands of women and children.

Our Institute for Human Development has trained hundreds of professionals in the science of early childhood development and is conducting a multi-faceted research and intervention project to support child development in underprivileged communities.

The University’s new Cancer Centre is one of the few centres in Sub-Saharan Africa equipped to conduct cancer clinical trials. As such, it will bring new treatments to cancer patients that would otherwise be unavailable in Kenya.

Throughout the pandemic, AKU researchers have been working to deliver new insights and tools in the fight against the novel coronavirus. For example, the University was one of only two institutions in Africa to contribute to an international clinical trial that evaluated the use of the drug tocilizumab to treat patients with COVID-19. It is now part of the standard treatment protocol worldwide.

AKU experts have also provided advice and training on caring for patients with COVID-19 to government clinics and hospitals.

As these and many other efforts demonstrate, AKU is no ivory tower. It is deeply concerned with, and connected to, the lives of ordinary Kenyans.

Third, the University has expanded access to high-quality health care and raised standards in healthcare delivery.

The Aga Khan University Hospital, Kenya’s only internationally accredited teaching hospital and its 45 outreach clinics serve almost every major centre in the country. The Hospital also provides free health screening to tens of thousands of individuals through its medical camps.

During the pandemic, the Hospital has treated over 2,000 seriously ill COVID patients, conducted more than 76,000 tests for the coronavirus and vaccinated over 10,000 people.

All this was possible because we are the only private institution in Kenya to train specialist doctors who provide the country with much needed medical knowledge and skills. We also create opportunities for working nurses to upgrade their training to earn degrees at an international standard. Not to mention, the master teachers we develop to improve schools and the journalists whose capabilities we raise to be able to report using multiple platforms, including digital media.

In short, as called for in its Charter,  Aga Khan University has “prepared individuals for constructive and exemplary leadership…responded to identified needs in the countries it serves…and provided meaningful contributions to society”.

In the years to come, it will continue to do so.

Charter in hand and newly housed in a dynamic urban campus unlike any other in the region, the University will launch new programmes in nursing and medicine. And its new Nairobi-based Brain and Mind Institute will undertake cutting-edge research aimed at improving mental health, especially among women, adolescents and disadvantaged populations.

As its student body and its faculty grow in size, its visibility and impact will increase, new programmes will come online, much about the Aga Khan University will change. What will not change is its principle of uncompromising quality and its mission of improving quality of life in Kenya.

I look forward to continuing to pursue that mission together with the University’s trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, volunteers, donors and partners; in accordance with the Charter we have been granted today; and with the support and encouragement of the Government of Kenya.  

Thank you very much.

speech_257230 <p dir="RTL" style="text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">سمو الآغا خان: "بقدرٍ كبيرٍ من الارتياح والامتنان، قبلتُ ميثاق كينيا لجامعة الآغا خان. يُفصِّل الميثاق وظائف جامعة الآغا خان وسلطاتها والتزاماتها وطريقة إدارتها، وهو يُعتبر أكثر من مجرد وثيقة قانونية. إنه تصويت على الثقة بجامعة الآغا خان وعلى كل من يشكّلون جزءاً منها: أعضاء هيئة التدريس والموظفين والإدارة والطلاب والخريجين والأصدقاء والداعمين".</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
Global Virtual Convocation of the Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/aku-pakistan-2021-scoviah_valedictorian.jpg Karachi, Pakistan Friday, 21 May 2021 1621681200 Valedictorian address by Ms Scoviah Masudio at the Global Virtual Convocation of the Aga Khan University speech Pakistan 2020s 257039 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl5tdbpIw8k 1 Pakistan,Health https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/aku-pakistan-2021-scoviah_valedictorian.jpg Aga Khan University Aga Khan University (AKU) Education,Health

Graduands of 2020, the provost, the university administration, honored guests, family, friends, and well-wishers, we are so honored to have you all here on this beautiful and auspicious occasion as we celebrate the dawn of an important chapter in our lives. My name is Scoviah Masudio, and I am so honored to be representing the class of 2020 today.

I thank God for the grace and preservation of our lives that we are here today witnessing an important milestone in our lives. Despite the numerous disruptions and setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have persevered and we stand proud today as we declare ourselves champions!

I come from a family of 10 siblings and several cousins. My father (God rest his soul) finally attained his first degree at the age of 58. He told me, “my daughter, I don’t have money, neither am I much educated, but what I can tell you is that if I have managed to get my degree at this age, then nothing can ever stop you from achieving your dreams. He said you must go back to school. I want those that classified me as a failure to know that great people have emerged from my family”. Alas! Here I am today, the first girl from a long line of my family to graduate with a degree. That is history made for me, small as it is. Today is a dream manifesting into the reality!

I did not achieve this on my own. I am here today because of each and every one of you. Thank you, the university administration, the faculties and school staff. You never gave up on us, you guided and nurtured us so diligently and now it’s our time to blossom.

To family and friends, thank you for the endless sacrifices you made to ensure that this day comes to pass. To my classmates, thank you for the inspiration and encouragement.

To the Johnson & Johnson scholarship scheme, words alone can’t express our gratitude. Thank you very much.

We all have dreamt and eagerly waited for the convocation day, and it has finally arrived! But what happens after today? What does your degree or diploma mean to you? Is it going to be another piece of paper to add to your living room decorations? What are you going to do with what you have got from Aga Khan University? To the nurses and midwives, are we just excited about becoming nursing or midwifery officers? What impact will your qualifications have on the lives and training of your colleagues at work who did not have the opportunity to go back to school?

We have been empowered and are now being set free into the world, battle-tested and ready to serve humanity as agents of change, through our various disciplines.

We have received the training and skills to be the best we can be out there but are we prepared to deal with failure? I am not saying you will be a failure, but this is life. It's never a straight and smooth path. It’s filled with hills, rough terrains, and unexpected curveballs. You will apply for jobs and never get called back, you will try to save that mother bleeding, and she will die.  How do you deal with all of this? Remember, no one is perfect. Every time we fall, we get an opportunity to rise stronger and wiser to deal with what made us fall. The number of times you fall doesn’t matter; it is the number of times you refuse to stay on the ground that counts. Failure should never hold you back; it should instead ignite more fire in you to want to learn a better way to handle the same problem. The first semester was tough for me, I did not perform as I expected, coupled with the loss of my father, I was so discouraged and almost gave up. Well, here I am today.  I decided that I am not a quitter, and neither are you!

This is our moment to shine, go and make a difference in the world. Make use of every opportunity that comes your way, if the opportunities are not there, create them yourself. You will discover that you have more potential and capability than you give credit to yourself. You are unstoppable, you have all you need to rewrite your history.  Create your own legacy, put passion and dedication in everything you do, face all your fears with boldness and courage, turn your weak points into your strongest. Be the best version of yourself every day.

Thank you and good luck to you all!

Congratulations class of 2020! God bless you.

 

speech_257044 <p dir="rtl" style="text-align: justify;"><span dir="RTL" lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">"أنا هنا اليوم أول فتاة من ضمن سلسلة طويلة من عائلتي تتخرج بدرجة علمية، ورغم ذلك، فهذا تاريخ متواضع بالنسبة لي، وحلمي اليوم يصبح حقيقةً". </span></span></span></p> English
Global Virtual Convocation of the Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/aku-pakistan-2021-anam-ehsan_valedictorian.jpg Karachi, Pakistan Friday, 21 May 2021 1621680300 Valedictorian address by Ms Anam Ehsan at the Global Virtual Convocation of the Aga Khan University speech Pakistan 2020s 257038 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnRFpy1nmTk 1 Pakistan,Education,Health,Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/aku-pakistan-2021-anam-ehsan_valedictorian.jpg Aga Khan University Aga Khan University (AKU) Education,Health

The Chancellor,
Honorable Chief Guest,
Ladies and gentlemen,
And my fellow graduates,

The Aga Khan Class of 2020 – or as a friend once jokingly called us ‘The Aga Khan Class of COVID’. This may be an unconventional ceremony, we may be sitting here with masks and have loved one’s hundreds of miles away, but let me tell you all, even a global pandemic could not stop us from graduating. Congratulations AKU Class of 2020! You did it. We all did it. Before reflecting on all that we are celebrating today I want you to picture a few, very true stories.

Ayesha is 4 years old, she lives in a village in Pakistan, she doesn’t learn and laugh at school, instead she is on her knees sweeping floors to earn for the family. She is just one of the 22.5 million uneducated children in Pakistan. Simoni is a few days old orphan in Tanzania. Her mother died in labor, bleeding on a bus. Tanzania has amongst the highest maternal mortality in the world. Njuguna (jookuna) is a resident nurse in Murang, Kenya. He is the only healthcare provider for 8000 people. He must rely on the cleaner to help run the clinic. WHO recommends an average of 25 nurses per 10,000 people, Kenya barely has 8.

I do realize this is rather a grim note to start such a joyous occasion on, however it is with a purpose that I share these stories. Today, all of you sitting in this beautiful green regalia, are not only celebrating your hard work, blood sweat and tears, sacrifices and accomplishments – you are celebrating so much more. You are celebrating the hope you symbolize for Ayesha, Simoni and Njugana (jookuna) and thousands of others. You are celebrating being change makers and leaders in the nations that built you and now need you, and in a world currently facing its worst humanitarian crisis in our lifetime with COVID-19. Now more than ever before, the world needs doctors, nurses and midwives, it needs educationists and journalists, it needs health system experts and epidemiologists it needs men and women like YOU to change the landscape; to ensure that such suffering ceases to exist and to ensure that we as nations and as humanity are better prepared. Why am I so confident that you and I are so instrumental and can be this momentous change?

That is because over the years I have grown old with many of you. I have learnt first-hand what the Aga Khan Student embodies. Commitment, leadership, talent. The Aga Khan Student is simply amongst the best. But that is not all I learnt over the years. The time was also filled with days sneaking in and out of lecture halls, hysterically laughing on exam nights, spending hours on end at the Sports Centre. There were also the tougher days where a patient’s father grabbed your hand crying, begging, pleading with you to save their child and even days where you accidentally prescribe an EEG instead of an ECG. All these days – the happy, the sad, the grueling, the gratifying – have culminated in so many memories and a much deserved today.

None of this would exist without the security guards, housekeeping staff, librarians, cooks, administration – thank you for making every day possible. Thank you to the phenomenal faculty. Thank you to the friends like family. Thank you to those who are probably happier than we are right now – our loved ones and relatives; especially our parents; today is as much yours as it is ours. And, finally, thank you to the man who built our futures, His Royal Highness The Chancellor.

Before I end, I would like to leave you with two ideas. Family and hope. Today we are not the Aga Khan University Nairobi or Kenya or Uganda or UK or Pakistan, we are simply the Aga Khan University. The AKU family, inextricably linked to one another – and like every family it can be too much at times, but it will always have your back. And today, as we leave the nest, I have the audacity to hope. I am talking about the hope that we will always try our level best and if it is one life we save, one child we teach, one story we change – it is more than enough. It is the hope of a better future, together. Fellow graduates, especially over the past year, we have been living history, but I think it is high time that you and I go out there and start making some history. I cannot wait to see all that you achieve. Here is to new adventures.

 

 

                                     

speech_257043 <p dir="RTL" style="text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="direction:rtl"><span style="unicode-bidi:embed"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span lang="AR-SA" style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:150%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">"بينما نغادر عُشَّنا اليوم، أمتلك الجرأة على الأمل كثيراً بالمستقبل. الأمل في أن نقدّم كل ما بوسعنا، سواء أسهمنا في إنقاذ حياة أحد المرضى، أو قمنا بتعليم أحد الأطفال، أو بتغيير مجرى إحدى القصص، فإن هذا إنجازٌ رائعٌ. إنه الأمل بمستقبل أفضل معاً. لذلك دعونا اليوم نضع علامة على البداية وليس النهاية. زملائي الخريجون، أنجزنا ولا سيّما خلال العام الماضي الكثير من الأعمال، والتي أصبحت سجلاً في تاريخنا، وأعتقد أن الوقت قد حان لأن نخرج جميعاً لنبدأ في صنع حكاية وكتابة تاريخ جديد".</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> English
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