Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 23 February 2015 - His Excellency Dr Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, today granted the Aga Khan University (AKU) its charter under Tanzanian law, marking the first time such recognition has been given to a foreign-based institution of higher learning.
President Kikwete emphasised that the unprecedented decision stemmed from the trust that Tanzania had in AKU’s ability to perform. “It is done so because of the trust and confidence that we have in the Aga Khan University, that the university will contribute to Tanzania’s endeavours to close the human resource gap particularly in the areas of sciences, natural sciences, mathematics and computers,” he said. “ We are proud of that cooperation and I have no doubt in my mind that the Aga Khan University will rise to the expectations of all of us.”
He made the remarks today (Monday) at a brief ceremony at State House during which he presented the Charter to His Highness the Aga Khan, the University’s Chancellor and founder.
The Aga Khan thanked President Kikwete for the confidence placed in the Aga Khan University and stressed that the university will do its best to meet Tanzania’s expectations: “The basic principle of this university is to invest in people,” said the Aga Khan. “When we looked at the areas of education that we could become involved in, we found in Asia and Africa that there had been significant underinvestment in people, in education and in healthcare, and we decided this should be the beginning of our academic activity.”
Tanzania becomes the first member of the East African Community to grant AKU far reaching rights under a formal charter written into national laws. The move marks an important step forward in the university’s expansion in East Africa.
The Aga Khan University’s, which spans three countries in East Africa alone, has announced plans to invest over $1.1 billion in the region over the next 15 years – the largest investment in higher education in the history of the region. The ambitious plan envisages the establishment of a Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a number of graduate schools including Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism, and Architecture and Human Settlements in Arusha. A new campus for AKU’s Institute for Educational Development will be constructed in Dar es Salaam, along with the establishment of an executive, professional and continuing education school.
The Aga Khan is in East Africa to preside over the University’s convocations in Dar es Salaam, Kampala and Nairobi. This year’s graduations coincide with the 15th anniversary of AKU’s presence in Africa. The first of the three convocations will take place in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday (February 24th).
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Notes: Aga Khan University
Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983, the 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 26 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 scholastically.
The University currently has programmes in eight countries spread over three continents. In East Africa, the University offers Advanced Nursing Studies programmes in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; and Postgraduate Medical Education in Kenya and Tanzania. These programmes are supported by a 250-bed teaching hospital, the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. The Institute for Educational Development, East Africa offers Master of Education degrees and certificate courses out of Dar es Salaam. In Pakistan, there is a Medical College; a School of Nursing; and a 560-bed teaching hospital, Aga Khan University Hospital; an Institute for Educational Development that includes Professional Development Centres in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral; and an Examination Board in Karachi. In London, UK, there is the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations that offers a graduate degree in Muslim Cultures.
The University is also working with the governments of Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan to improve nursing and medical education curriculum, teaching standards and clinical practice.