You are here

You are here

Speech center

Title Audio Image Lieu Publication Date Speech Date Short Title Speech Themes Speech Type Localisation Author Date Decade Evénement Communiqués de presse Publication URL Speaker Vidéo Caption Create Banner Item Cycle Enable Project Carousel External Media Hub page Newsletter category Pages to exclude Related Audio/Video Related Events Related In the Media Related News Related Photos Related Press Releases Related Projects Related Publications Related Speeches Slideshow Image Agence Tags Thématique Body GUID Summary Language
2020 Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2020-11-24-afghanistan-conference-r.jpg Geneva, Switzerland Tuesday, 24 November 2020 1606212000 Statement by His Highness the Aga Khan at the 2020 Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan speech Afghanistan,Switzerland 2020s 6926 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PqQHh0DfWI 1 Aga Khan Trust for Culture,Aga Khan Health Services,Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development,Aga Khan Foundation,Aga Khan Education Services,Aga Khan Agency for Habitat,Agriculture and food security,Civil society,Education,Financial inclusion,Habitat,Health,Historic Cities,Infrastructure development,Tourism Promotion https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2020-11-24-afghanistan-conference-r.jpg Aga Khan Agency for Habitat,Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance,Aga Khan Education Services,Aga Khan Foundation,Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development,Aga Khan Health Services,Aga Khan Trust for Culture Agriculture and food security,Civil society,Education,Financial inclusion,Habitat,Health,Historic Cities,Infrastructure development,Tourism Promotion

Delivered by Ms. Sheherazade Hirji, AKDN ’s Diplomatic Representative to Afghanistan

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Governments of Afghanistan and Finland and the United Nations for convening the international community at this special moment for Afghanistan and its peoples.

We join today with more hope than ever that peace is on the near horizon. But we are also all aware that this is a delicate moment in Afghan history.  

After almost two decades working together, we must all do everything possible to help seize this opportunity. The Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network reaffirm our deep and enduring commitment to the Afghan peoples, and to a peaceful, pluralist Afghanistan.

One of the lessons AKDN has learned from its work globally is that diversity and pluralism in our thinking are essential. Traditionally, differences have been seen as something that divides. We know they can also be a source of positive strength. As the Chairman of the Global Centre for Pluralism, founded in partnership with the Government of Canada, I firmly believe that the support of the Centre can be valuable to all stakeholders, as Afghans discuss how to create a lasting and enduring peace, reflecting all views and perspectives, recognising and respecting Afghanistan’s rich diversity.  I know that the Centre stands ready to support all the parties towards this goal.

As Afghanistan enters a new period of transition, it will need the contributions of all its people, men and women, in every part of the country, to address their common challenges: rising poverty, climate disruption, an unforgiving pandemic. It will need all their talents to build an inclusive future with more opportunities, requiring more education, more knowledge, more private initiative. In these endeavours, AKDN is, and will remain, a steadfast partner. 

Above all, we must ensure that our renewed pledges of support here are translated into tangible gains there, at the community level. Because it is by enabling people to work together purposefully, with visible results, that Afghans of all backgrounds will realise the power of peace to change their lives.

This is why AKDN will maintain the breadth of its work across the country. We will remain deeply engaged with the country’s education sector, where we have supported teachers and students, especially Afghan girls, in hundreds of schools. Our work to strengthen the health system spans our partnerships with Bamyan and Badakhshan, and the French Medical Institute for Children, with every AKDN agency contributing significantly to Afghanistan’s pandemic response. In culture, AKDN has restored some 150 heritage sites – symbols of the strength that came from Afghanistan’s connections to the rest of the world. The transformation of the Bala Hisar Citadel into an archaeological park is one of the latest examples of this work.

All of this must be underpinned by better economic opportunities for all Afghans. In this, AKDN has always insisted on the importance of Afghanistan’s neighbours for the country’s prosperity. AKDN has invested in regional connectivity and cooperation for decades, making gains in clean energy, financial services, infrastructure, and telecommunications, as these all enable livelihoods and underpin job creation. We are pleased to have been entrusted to take on the generation, transmission and delivery of energy through Badakhshon Energy, an innovative public-private partnership for Afghanistan, serving the entire province. We will also continue to help build human capacity throughout Central Asia, linking Afghanistan to its brothers and sisters through education, healthcare, and the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia.

During our twenty-five years in Afghanistan, AKDN has been guided by a fundamental belief that the key to the country’s future is in a vibrant, meritocratic, pluralistic civil society – in the Afghan people and in long-term institutions anchoring their contributions to the common good.  As I close today, I reaffirm our commitment to working through them, along with the Afghan government and all our international partners, to strive for an Afghanistan that is peaceful, diverse, and dynamic.   

Thank you.

 

speech_253595 English
2020 Afghanistan Conference https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2-aktc-afghanistan-3.1.1_noh_gunbad_d_02_r.jpg, https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/aktc-afghanistan-babur_8.jpg, https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/8-aku-afghanistan-fox24399_r.jpg, https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/akf-afghanistan-education6.jpg, https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/akf-afghanistan-170806-r.jpg Geneva, Switzerland Tuesday, 24 November 2020 1606124700 Remarks by Michael Kocher, General Manager of the Aga Khan Foundation, at the 2020 Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan speech Afghanistan,Switzerland 2020s 253592 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu8lyieA49E 1 Aga Khan Trust for Culture,Aga Khan Health Services,Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development,Aga Khan Foundation,Aga Khan Education Services,Aga Khan Agency for Habitat,Agriculture and food security,Civil society,Education,Financial inclusion,Habitat,Health,Historic Cities,Infrastructure development,Tourism Promotion https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/2-aktc-afghanistan-3.1.1_noh_gunbad_d_02_r.jpg Aga Khan Agency for Habitat,Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance,Aga Khan Education Services,Aga Khan Foundation,Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development,Aga Khan Health Services,Aga Khan Trust for Culture Agriculture and food security,Civil society,Education,Financial inclusion,Habitat,Health,Historic Cities,Infrastructure development,Tourism Promotion

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the General Manager of the Aga Khan Foundation, it is an honour to speak today on behalf of the Aga Khan Development Network, or AKDN, as we have invested in Afghanistan’s people and prospects for 25 years. We are committed to continued partnership with Afghanistan’s Government and the priorities it leads with great thought and resilience. 

We are one of the country’s earliest investors, operating both not-for-profit and for-profit institutions, engaging a broad range of partners in the process, but always with a singular goal: Afghanistan's development. We see great added value in unifying regional partnerships with Afghanistan’s neighbours, not only for better physical connectivity but also for strong social bonds that underpin not only economic progress but peace and stability. 

That is why we established Roshan Telecommunications, restored and run the Serena Hotel, founded the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan, and also the new public-private partnership – Badakhshon Energy (like Pamir Energy in Tajikistan) – all examples of flagship economic projects that feature innovative partnerships – in addition to AKDN's numerous education, healthcare, livelihoods, civil society and cultural programmes and institutions. 

I make today four points concerning partnership, economic development and aid effectiveness:

First, experience shows aid can and must address physical constraints – roads and bridges, telecommunications, energy and other infrastructure assets – for cities but also for remote and under-served areas. This comprehensive internal connectivity is as necessary as better links to external markets. Here we must not neglect rural Afghanistan, so critical to stability and growth. The partnership approach here is simple yet at times done too rarely – meaningful engagement with communities on what they need – be it a bridge, micro-hydel, access road or irrigation channel – at the village, district, provincial and even the cross-border level.

Second, progress demands broader multi-sector programmes. Partnering often with smallholder farmers, for example, AKDN’s agribusiness investments are further catalysts for economic objectives – so too the planned extension to Afghanistan of AKDN’s regional enterprise initiative, Accelerate Prosperity, supporting micro, small and medium enterprise. 

Further, there are projects that might be defined as “social” or “cultural”, but central to economic progress. Examples include: the French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children, where we engage the Ministry of Health and the French Government; our work with a broad range of community groups and local government bodies through the Afghan Citizen’s Charter to underpin civil society; the development of the Bagh-e-Babur and Chihilsitoon gardens, and the Riverfront project in Kabul, where we partner with local artisans, urban planners and businesses toward enhancing quality of life and the local economy. 

The third key ingredient is consistency. Investors make decisions based upon predictability, the reliability of rules and regulations. Afghanistan and its international partners should continue creating clearer, consistent regulatory frameworks, guided by the rule of law and transparency. This applies as well to the governance and management of Afghanistan's many natural resources. Protecting its extraordinary natural environment – and combating climate change – are without question of utmost importance for sustainable, inclusive economic development. Community groups – civil society - must be at the table throughout.

The fourth and final key dimension is of course people, the country’s greatest resource. Major strides have been made in education across the past two decades, especially for women and girls, and this must continue. But the country needs more qualified professionals – teachers and administrators, engineers and accountants, nurses and doctors, entrepreneurs and managers.  

This is why we invest in skills development, executive and vocational training, and education. Greater investment in education – including education technology – at all levels is critical, from early childhood development to university post-graduate. As but one example during the pandemic, the Aga Khan Foundation has partnered with the Afghanistan Ministry of Education and Afghan radio and television stations to support public education in remote areas. We also partner with a range of private foundations in support of education in Afghanistan.

Across these points, smart community-driven aid, linked to local needs, enables the private sector. Given the importance of public-private partnerships, bilateral and multilateral partners must also remember that grants and blended financing encourage investments.

In conclusion, these four building blocks – investments in connectivity and infrastructure, multi-sector development, regulatory consistency and human capital – will spur growth and help the country look forward with confidence, and all the more so when a full range of viable partnerships is viewed strategically and expansively, in-country and regionally.

Linked to all these themes, fully including women – individually and through private associations, cooperatives and collectives – is essential. 

Similarly, enabling a vibrant civil society – alongside embracing purposefully the country’s remarkable pluralism – is key for economic development, aid effectiveness and self-reliance. Afghanistan requires an inclusive approach to civil society to reach its extraordinary potential.

Again, AKDN expresses its sincere thanks and appreciation for the Government of Afghanistan’s clear vision, rightfully bold ambitions, determined leadership and continued partnership. 

Thank you.
 

speech_253593 English
16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku_kenya_img_4442.jpg Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, 12 February 2020 1581519600 Valedictorian speech by Faith Oneya at the 16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya speech Kenya 2020s 244151 1 Aga Khan University Education,Health,Media

Chief Guest Dr Rashid Abid Aman,
Members of the Board of Trustees,
President Firoz Rasul,
Provost Carl Amrhein,
Members of Faculty,
My Fellow Graduates,
Our dear family members and friends present here today,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good Morning!

Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world and on this auspicious occasion, as we look back and celebrate the achievements of the graduates, it is my deep belief that each of us graduating today is gaining power to change the world.

I am proud to be part of an outstanding graduating class of 2019 who are drawn from the Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, the Institute for Educational Development, and the latest addition to the growing Aga Khan University family, the Graduate School of Media and Communications. I am deeply honoured to be a pioneer member of the Master of Arts in Digital Journalism programme and extremely humbled to present this valedictory speech today.

That we are all graduating today is testament our hard work, commitment and the sacrifices we have all made over the last few years. I am convinced that the happiness radiating in the room today lies both in the joy of our academic achievements and the thrill of the collective effort to get here.

The titles of the courses we undertook may have been different but the academic toil was the same. Today, we leave behind a rigorous academic life. We leave behind the tough balancing act of work, family and school.

The greatest sacrifice for me was in the time I spent away from my family-especially my daughter-but what kept me going was that this was necessary pain and it has been worth it for me as I’m sure it has been for my fellow graduates. We expertly negotiated vicious traffic as we tried to make it on time for morning and evening classes. We have had sleepless nights, finishing up a steady stream of assignments, reading tough academic books and we have written even tougher exams. But we are here. We made it.

Writing an exam or academic paper, as we know, is a solitary endeavour. Can be quite a lonely affair. Yet the success of any graduate relies on the support of those around them.

I would like to say thank you to some of the people who have walked the academic journey with us.

First of all, I would like to extend a special thank you to His Highness the Aga Khan, The Chancellor of Aga Khan University for his visionary leadership and generous donations that support the existence of the university. It is his vision that has enabled us have access to quality education.

To our sponsors, thank you for believing in us and allowing us the privilege to chase our dreams through education. As a member of the pioneer class of the Graduate School of Media and Communications, I wish to extend special thanks to the German government through KfW and BMZ for providing scholarships to support our academic pursuit. Asanteni Sana.

To the members of faculty, thank you for pushing us to greater academic heights than we would have imagined possible. Thank you for relentlessly and tirelessly pushing us forward even when we pushed back or complained quit loudly sometimes. Your understanding nature and unwavering support was essential to our academic victory today.

To the school administration, librarians and all the staff at Aga Khan University who, in different ways, supported us in the pursuit of education, we say thank you.

We remain indebted to our family members and friends who have invested and sacrificed time, money and a lot more to get us to where we are today. All these accolades demonstrate that indeed it takes a village for one to succeed.

Ladies and gentlemen, please indulge me a little as I take you back to my initial interaction with Aga Khan University. As part of my application to join the Master of Arts in Digital Journalism Programme, one of the questions I had to answer was: Why did you choose Aga Khan University?

I will not tell you the answer I wrote, because it did nothing to capture the essence and uniqueness of Aga Khan University. But I will tell you what I should have written, for these are the things I treasured the most in my two-year academic journey.

One of the things that sets this university apart from the rest is the student-centred approach to education. If you are like me, who came from a background where the teacher was the law and
interaction between the teacher and students limited, then the Aga Khan University approach may have startled you too.

I was puzzled. What did they mean? Were not we coming to class to be lectured and instructed about what to do?

Let me put this in perspective. The lecturers were available to us whenever we needed them and their support cannot be overstated. The teaching format was also flexible, fun and very immersive. Which is not to say that the programmes were not extremely demanding or intellectually engaging. Learning too was very experiential. We were highly encouraged to voice our opinions and share feedback with the lecturers and in this way, we always felt valued as students. These are the things that made Aga Khan University extremely exceptional for me.

The Aga Khan University has not just been a place where we have built knowledge; we have also created wonderful networks that we will carry into the future. I know I am speaking for a lot of us when I say that our interpersonal and leadership skills were tested and sharpened through class discussions, group work and class projects.

To the doctors, nurses, teachers and journalists graduating today, I urge you to put a dent in the universe through the impact you create in your respective professions by putting your patients, students and audiences at the centre of everything you do.

As someone who believes in lifelong learning, I hope this is just the beginning for all of us. I draw from the wisdom of Kimani Maruge, the Guinness World Record holder for the oldest man to enrol in primary school at 84, who said that he would never stop learning until he had soil in his ears. May you never stop learning.

Congratulations Class of 2019.

God Bless Aga Khan University.

 

speech_244161 <p dir="rtl">"لم تكن جامعة الآغا خان مجرد مكان اكتسبنا وعززنا فيه معرفتنا، فقد أنشأنا أيضاً شبكات رائعة سترافقنا نحو المستقبل. أعلم أنني أتحدث بلسان الكثير من زملائي الخريجين عندما أقول إن مهاراتنا الشخصية والقيادية قد تم اختبارها وشحذها من خلال المناقشات والمشاريع داخل الفصول، فضلاً عن العمل الجماعي".</p> English
16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku_kenya_mg_9264.jpg Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, 12 February 2020 1581518700 Chief Guest remarks by Dr Rashid Aman at the 16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya speech Kenya 2020s 244146 1 Aga Khan University Education,Health,Media

The President of Aga Khan University Firoz Rasul,
Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network Dr Azim Lakhani, Aga Khan University Trustees, the Provost,
Government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, Deans, faculty and staff of the University,
Parents, and, most importantly, graduating students,

Salaam Aleikum and Good morning.

It gives me great pleasure to officiate this 16th convocation ceremony of the Aga Khan University. Today is a day of great celebration, not only for you graduands, but also for your parents, guardians, faculty and staff of the University, and indeed all of us.

I share the joy and pride of everyone associated with achievements of the 94 graduands before us, whom I am informed are from the University’s Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Graduate School of Media and Communications and the Institute for Educational Development.

Graduands, my warmest congratulations!

The University has prepared you to deal effectively with emerging issues and provide solutions to societal challenges as you step into the world of professional practice as physicians, nurses, researchers, educators and experts in digital journalism.

I would also like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Aga Khan Development Network for the sustained growth realised over the years. I note with pride that through the various institutions in the network, AKDN continues to contribute positively to the improvement of living conditions and opportunities in specific regions in the developing world. Especially in the areas ranging from the fields of health and education, to rural development and promotion of private sector enterprise. Indeed, your focus on excellence, humanity, justice, mercy and partnership has ensured your continued growth.
 
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, education is the greatest means of transforming society. It enables society nurture young leadership with requisite ability to drive the development agenda with regard to generation of wealth, provision of healthcare, reversal of poverty, and sustainability of the environment.

I am aware that the Aga Khan Development Network is also building a multi-storey University Centre in Nairobi to provide state of the art research and learning facilities. And plan to add an array of new undergraduate and graduate degrees. I am aware too that your plans for the future include the construction of a children’s specialty hospital. To this end, the government assures AKU of our full support as you undergo this significant expansion.

Specialised healthcare and the need to opt and reverse the rise in non-communicable diseases especially cancer remains a key government concern, and we can never be complacent. Your expansion of molecular imaging and oncology services in the recent past, are of particular importance to government as they provide an opportunity to increase access to specialised healthcare in this region, making Kenya a medical tourism hub in line with the country’s vision 2030.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware our country is at the threshold of unprecedented accelerated growth and transformation, thanks to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda that includes universal health coverage, manufacturing, affordable housing and food security.

The Ministry of Health is committed to continue implementation of health systems and reforms to accelerate movement towards Universal Health Coverage. Our approach towards UHC is centered on three critical drivers that focus on i) expanding the population accessing basic health interventions, ii) improving the quality of healthcare services being provided, and iii) developing sustainable financing models for health and providing financial protection for those seeking healthcare.

We are grateful to note that AKDN is making tremendous contribution and collaborating with us in these areas of focus through the very work you’re doing in the 300-bed Aga Khan University Hospital, your 42 medical centres in Kenya and the free medical camps and Patient Welfare programme run by the network, and not to forget why we are here today, which is turning out the human resource for health that we need for UHC.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you know too well, resources are not limitless. The Ministry of Health and our county governments operate with resource-constrained budgets. Support, collaboration, and investments in healthcare from the private sector, development partners, and faith-based and non-governmental organisations, complements the mandate of government in the health sector and is well appreciated.

To accelerate attainment of UHC in Kenya, the Ministry will continue enhancing multi- stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaborative partnerships. Indeed we will soon be launching a partnership coordination framework that will entrench further regular engagement, support reporting and mutual accountability between various stakeholders in the health sector.

To you graduands, no effort has been spared in ensuring that you achieve the success you celebrate today. Always remember that true growth is as a result of hard work, dedication and focus. You’re entering into a world that is not only ready for you, but also testing for your creative solutions and service as professional givers of healthcare, education of skills and journalistic ethos. May you bring reason and hope to all of whom you touch in your professional and personal lives. May you find your future endeavours deeply rewarding.

Finally distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I take this opportunity to wish the University and indeed the entire network continued success in the years to come.

Thank you.

 

speech_244156 <p dir="rtl">"بالنسبة لكم أيها الخريجون، لن ندخر أي جهد في ضمان مواصلة نجاحكم الذي تحتفلون به اليوم. تذكروا دائماً أن النمو الحقيقي هو ثمرة للعمل الجاد والتفاني والتركيز. إنكم تدخلون عالماً ليس جاهزاً لكم فحسب، بل يشكّل أيضاً اختباراً لحلولكم وخدماتكم الإبداعية كمقدمين محترفين في مجالات الرعاية الصحية ومهارات التعليم والأخلاقيات الصحفية. أتمنى أن تتحلوا دائماً بالمنطق وتجلبوا الأمل لجميع من تتواصلون معهم في حياتكم المهنية والشخصية، وأتمنى أيضاً أن تُتوج مساعيكم المستقبلية بالنجاح الكبير".</p> English
16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku_kenya_mg_9228.jpg Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, 12 February 2020 1581517800 Welcome address by President Firoz Rasul at the 16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya speech Kenya 2020s 8941 1 Aga Khan University Education,Health,Media

Our Chief Guest, Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman,
Aga Khan University Trustees Mr Yusuf Keshavjee and Professor Antonio Rendas, Members of Government,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Leaders, faculty, and staff of the University, Parents, alumni, partners, and supporters,
Distinguished guests,
And, most importantly, our graduands,

Hamjambo and karibuni. Welcome to the 16th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Kenya.

Thank you all for joining us for the most important and the most joyous day on the University’s calendar. Convocation is the culmination of all our efforts. Today, we celebrate the success of our graduands and look forward to the impact they will have on the lives of their fellow Kenyans.

Before we proceed, I would like to pause to remember His Excellency President Daniel arap Moi. Yesterday, we saw the nation commemorate his service and his legacy as Kenya’s longest- serving President. On behalf of the Aga Khan University, I offer condolences to the family of Mzee Moi and the people of Kenya as they lay him to rest. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in observing a moment of silence.

Thank you.

Members of the Class of 2019, yours has been a remarkable journey.

You faced innumerable challenges, and you overcame them all – from implementing new pedagogies in the classroom, to completing action research projects in your clinics and hospitals, to making your first contribution to humanity’s storehouse of knowledge.

You forged relationships with classmates, colleagues, and faculty from across Kenya and beyond, learning first-hand how poorly stereotypes prepare us for the infinite complexity of our fellow humans.

You discovered how much there is to learn and how many profound questions remain unanswered, or even unasked.

Throughout your time at the Aga Khan University, we asked you to meet the highest standards. It was not easy, was it? But you did it.

You have earned your degrees and diplomas. You did so thanks to your love of learning, your hunger to develop your capacities, and your desire to help solve problems facing your communities and your country.

You make us proud. You and your family members should be proud of what you have achieved. You have the knowledge and skills to change the people’s lives for the better.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the Class of 2019.

We have many people to thank for making today possible. Our faculty and staff are tireless in their dedication to our mission. That very much includes our Registrar, Mr. Lou Ariano. After raising the bar for the precision and decorum of our convocations for 11 years, this is Lou’s final convocation in East Africa. Thank you, Lou, for all your contributions to AKU.

We must recognise our alumni, whose achievements have burnished the name of the Aga Khan University across Kenya and East Africa and around the world.

And, of course, we must acknowledge the generosity of our donors. Every year, thousands of friends, alumni, current and former faculty and staff donate to the Aga Khan University. Their gifts make it possible for us to provide advanced facilities for learning, to offer scholarships, to conduct ground-breaking research, and much more – even in difficult economic times.

We also have many institutional supporters to thank. I would like to express our gratitude to the Aga Khan Foundation; the Johnson & Johnson Foundation; Global Affairs Canada; the French Development Agency, AFD; the German government’s BMZ, the German Development Bank, KfW; Deutsche Welle Akademie; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; ELMA Philanthropies; and numerous other organisations that support our work.

Our greatest debt of gratitude is to our founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, whose ongoing financial support, vision, and inspiration continue to drive our University to greater heights.

For example, the Aga Khan University was named in 2019, one of the top 100 universities in the world in clinical medicine by the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities.

It is an amazing honour. Especially because there was no other university in East Africa on this list or Asia made the top 100.

Our ranking reflects the research prowess of our faculty. But it was our Chancellor who laid the groundwork by committing the University to the pursuit of world-class standards and excellence.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an extraordinary time in the history of the world. It is exciting, disorienting, and sometimes disturbing.

When the complexity of events breeds incomprehension and apprehension, the speed of change sows confusion, and partisans propagate disinformation – that is when universities prove just how indispensable they are. The combination of dispassionate clarity and bold innovation that the best universities offer has never been more valuable.

This is the Aga Khan University’s time to shine. And we are rising to the challenges and opportunities of this era.

One of the most important developments of our time is the emergence of new fields such as artificial intelligence, data science, genomics, stem cell science and regenerative medicine. They have enormous potential to extend and improve our lives and advance our understanding of the world we inhabit. I am proud to report that the Aga Khan University is working to fulfil the promise of these new fields.

With the support of the University of California, San Francisco, our Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research has begun to contribute to the global search for new treatments for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, neurological diseases, and diabetes. The AKU researchers are also utilising data science and artificial intelligence to generate new insights into malnutrition, cardiac surgery outcomes for children, the increase in incidences of heart diseases in women – as well as to piece together and analyse the original versions of historic Arabic texts.

But advances like these also create a tremendous challenge. Namely, the challenge of making sure they benefit the whole world, and not just the fortunate few.

In the words of our Chancellor: “The populations of Asia and Africa cannot be isolated from the best simply because they have been born in countries outside the Western world.”

Therefore, the Aga Khan University is helping to build Africa’s and Asia’s capacity to deliver high-quality health care and education.

Here in Nairobi, we are launching three new master’s degrees, in nursing, midwifery, and media leadership and innovation. We are establishing a Centre for Cancer Research to develop treatments specifically for East Africa’s population, and will soon commence the construction of a Children’s Specialty Hospital to provide advanced paediatric care. Across the street, construction is underway on the twin towers of our University Centre, which will provide cutting-edge learning and research spaces for our students and faculty.

In Kilifi and Kisii counties, the Aga Khan University is supporting efforts to improve health for 135,000 women and children in partnership with the government and agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network.

Meanwhile, across Kenya, the professional development programmes of the University’s Institute for Educational Development have benefitted 900 educators and nearly 70,000 students.

In this global era, it is imperative that institutions collaborate across boundaries of all kinds to share and grow knowledge, and to increase cross-cultural understanding.

This is precisely what the Aga Khan University is doing. The number, depth, and diversity of our partnerships are greater than ever.

Last year alone, we signed or renewed partnership agreements with the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the United States, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary in Canada, and NOVA University of Lisbon in Portugal.

Our Graduate School of Media and Communications offers a joint course in adaptive leadership with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. And our Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London now offers a dual degree with Columbia University in New York.

These are some of the many ways that AKU is evolving to meet the demands of a changing world, and to deliver on its mission of improving the quality of life in Africa and Asia.

Ultimately, however, our most important contribution to the societies we serve is our graduates.

As of today, the number of Kenyans who have graduated from the Aga Khan University stands at more than 1,500. From Mombasa to Turkana to Nairobi, they are leading change – as educators, clinicians, entrepreneurs, advocates, public servants, and policymakers. And now, with the awarding of our first master’s degree in digital journalism, they will be making their mark in the media sector as well.

It is an amazing group of men and women. So amazing, in fact, that we felt that they deserved a mascot. And graduands, as I think you know, you now have one: the AKU leopard.

We chose the leopard as our symbol because we feel it represents three traits that are common to all our students and alumni – indeed to the entire the AKU community. These traits will serve you well in the years ahead.

The first trait is courage. The courage to embrace the new and attempt what you have never done before. The courage to stand up against unethical practices in the face of pressure to fall in line.

The second trait is perseverance. Inevitably, there will be times when, despite your best efforts, you will fall short. There is no shame in that: to never risk failure represents a failure of courage.

What matters is what you do next. Remember that those who survive disappointment with their determination intact, and learn the hard lessons it has to teach, are forces to be reckoned with.

The third trait is agility. Today, change happens in the blink of an eye. Technology is reshaping everything from work to relationships to attention spans. The world’s centre of gravity is shifting from the West to the East and from the North to the South. In Kenya, as in many other countries, young people are the majority of the population – and I do not need to tell you, they are impatient with the status quo.

To maintain your balance in such world, you need the agility of a leopard.

Stay agile, remain courageous, and continue to persevere – and you will surely achieve all that you are capable of.

In a few moments, you will officially become part of the Aga Khan University alumni community. You and your fellow graduates share formative experiences and foundational values. Connect with one another. Collaborate with one another. Together, you are a powerful force for change. Remember: you are all leopards.

Graduands, the world needs you. It needs the knowledge you have acquired, the confidence you have developed, and the discoveries you have made about yourselves, your fellow humans, and our world.

This is your time to shine. I know you that all of you will make the most of it. Thank you and Asanteni Sana.

 

speech_244141 English
17th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Uganda https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-uganda-graduation-2020_gt20919_r.jpg Kampala, Uganda Monday, 10 February 2020 1581158700 Chief Guest remarks by Professor Francis Omaswa at the 17th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Uganda speech Uganda 2020s 243911 1 Education,Uganda,Aga Khan University,Health https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-uganda-graduation-2020_gt20919_r.jpg Aga Khan University Education,Health

President Firoz Rasul,
Ambassador Amin Mawji,
Members of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University,
Members of Government and the Diplomatic Corps,
Faculty and staff of the University,
Distinguished guests,
And, above all, the graduating students today,

Good morning. It is a great pleasure to be here with you today to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2019.

I am well aware of the outstanding reputation of the Aga Khan University here in Uganda, of its hospital in Nairobi and around the world. We look forward to the establishment of a new Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala, and we see it is a most welcome development. It will surely help to raise the standard of care, to educate health care leaders, and to generate knowledge that is needed to address some of Uganda’s critical health challenges. And it will add to the choices of the people of Uganda in seeking healthcare.

My main remarks today are addressed to you happy graduands of today. I address you as you commence your respective journeys in the health profession here in Uganda, in Africa and globally. Imagine, where do you want to be twenty or thirty years from today? I am sure you have been thinking about the answer to this question. What I will do now is to share with you some thoughts from my own fifty years of walking this route.

I graduated as a medical doctor in 1969 – it is just over fifty years. So, medicine is just not my profession, it is also my passion. And what I am going to say today is not about praising myself but it is more about being able to inspire you graduands of today to perform even better than myself. Here are some suggestions for your consideration.

First and foremost, I encourage you to take good care of yourselves through personal self- discipline. Do not take for granted simple things like being clean, eating well, dressing smart, keeping good company. Keep company with those who will advance your career. Join professional associations and be active in them. That is where you will meet those who will not pull you down but lift you up.

Second, I would like to call upon you to pursue excellence in whatever you do. Everything you do must be done to the highest achievable standards taking into account your personal capability. This, therefore, includes big and small things, which you handle in life. Do keep in mind that what you are doing well today, you can even do better tomorrow. This is known as continuous quality improvement in the sphere of quality management. In this way, you will grow professionally and socially.

Third, you need to cultivate people skills – how to get around in a very complex world. When I was a schoolboy, I was introduced a book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. I found this book very useful and like to recommend it to young people. In your life, you are going to meet all types of people – those who are nice and friendly, and those who are nasty and aggressive. You will meet generous people, you will meet greedy and mean people, but you will have to manoeuvre your pursuit of excellence among all these characters and make sure that you succeed in the midst of all these challenges.

What I have personally found is that if you are positive, and you are helpful to all people, if you can help someone, why not do it? I have also found it helpful to work for the common good and not my own personal good. Once it is known that you are working for all the people, including yourself, you find that you are given more and more things to do on behalf of your community from which you will also benefit. And, this is the surest way to become a leader.

You must also be prepared and learn how to fight battles with people in your life because there will always be disagreement. If you are positive and working for the common good, your point of view will have strength, you will argue calmly with composure for the common good and most of the time, win the day.

Do not keep grudges and sulk, because it is you who will suffer from stress, blood pressure and not the one from whom you are keeping a grudge. If you do not keep grudges, and you work for the common good, even those who once did not agree with you will come back to you and work with you for the common good – that is how you consolidate your leadership and can confirm to you as my personal experience over decades.

Fourth, it is essential to cultivate a culture of integrity. This means doing the right thing, the right way, all the time. Whether people are watching you or nobody is watching you. You will be able to achieve this with the three characteristics in place, and those become your routine.

My friends, I must also warn you that even if you comply with these principles, things will still go wrong. You will make mistakes; there will be mistakes in your work, either caused by you directly or by those who work with you. Please do not allow such mistakes to cause you to lose your long-term vision. Acknowledge these mistakes, own those mistakes and learn from them. Even if the mistake is made by another person in your team, please take personal responsibility and ask yourself ‘What do I need to do next so that it does not happen again?’ This may mean a call for you to support the colleague who was responsible for the mistake so that in your team, it does not happen again. If you are a leader, you are responsible for everything, including the errors of those whom you lead. It is your job to make sure that the people you lead do not make those mistakes.

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk to the Rotary Club of Kampala with the title ‘The World is Watching’. The key message is that while we live our lives in public and private, what we do is being watched and being judged by all manner of people. It is this opinion that determines your destiny.

When you live your life pursuing those four pillars, there is every possibility that you will be judged positively. And good things will happen to you without you asking for them. And here are a few personal examples from my life.

Most of the positions I have held were by invitation. I completed my training as a cardiothoracic surgeon in the United Kingdom, and was permanently settled there with my family until the Government of Kenya sent a senior surgeon to my house to ask me to lead the open-heart surgical programme in Nairobi.

From Nairobi, there were still many problems in Kampala – there was a war in Uganda. I could have gone back to the UK as my permanent residency was still valid. However, together with the Association of Surgeons of East Africa, I went with my family to a small mission hospital to test how to provide quality services particularly in surgery to the rural poor. That is what I call working for the common good.

Later, when President Yoweri Museveni took over power, we were ordered to go to Kampala despite our desire to stay in the small mission hospital. My wife took charge of the anesthesia department at Mulago Hospital, and I joined Makerere University as the founding director of the Uganda Heart Institute. I got a number of appointments but the message is, if you work for the common good, you pursue excellence, all these things will be yours as they became mine.

Remember, the world is watching.

Finally, most of you are nurses and midwives. I want to particularly congratulate you all because the year 2020 has been declared by the World Health Assembly as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Your graduation this year makes it very special.

I am a member of the global Nursing Now campaign board, and the message from this campaign, is that nurses and midwives need to get to the front, be more visible in service delivery and in leadership as part of the movement to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

I am personally convinced that if this happens, with nurses and midwives leading integrated, people-centered primary healthcare here in Uganda, we will actually achieve UHC that leaves no one behind soonest, and with the currently available resources.

I have written a piece on this topic in the current issue of the Africa Health Journal on how nurses can achieve UHC through integrated primary healthcare, working with village health teams in Uganda. This people-centered primary health care is also part of a slogan commonly used when I was Director General of Health Services “Health is made at home and only repaired in health facilities when it breaks down.”

Graduands, I urge you to be uncompromising in your efforts to deliver the highest-quality care. To empower people to stand up for their right to good care. And to spread the message that health is made at home. If we do this, there will be another slogan, which will become a reality in Uganda: “This is Uganda. What do you expect? Only the best.”

Congratulations graduands and your families! I hope and pray that most of you will embrace some of these suggestions and in future, you will become global leaders.

Thank you.

 

speech_243941 <p dir="RTL">أيها الخريجون، أحثكم على عدم التهاون في جهودكم لتقديم رعاية عالية الجودة، والعمل على تمكين الناس من الدفاع عن حقهم في الحصول على رعاية جيدة، فضلاً عن نشر رسالة مفادها أن الصحة أساسها المنزل. إذا فعلنا ذلك، سيكون هناك شعار آخر، وسيصبح حقيقة في أوغندا: "هذه هي أوغندا. ماذا تتوقعون؟ إنها الأفضل<span dir="LTR">."</span></p> English
Uganda 2020 Convocation of the Aga Khan University https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-uganda-graduation-2020_gt20869_r.jpg Kampala, Uganda Monday, 10 February 2020 1581157800 Welcome address by President Firoz Rasul at the AKU Uganda 2020 Convocation speech Uganda 2020s 8941 1 Education,Uganda,Aga Khan University,Health https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-uganda-graduation-2020_gt20869_r.jpg Aga Khan University Education,Health

Our Chief Guest, Dr Francis Omaswa, Executive Director of the African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation,
Aga Khan University Trustee Mr. Yusuf Keshavjee,
Ministers of Government,
Leaders, faculty, and staff of the University,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Parents, alumni, partners, and supporters,
Distinguished guests,
And, most importantly, graduands,

Hamjambo and karibuni. Welcome to the 17th Convocation of the Aga Khan University in Uganda.

Thank you all for joining us for this most important and the most joyous day in the University’s calendar. Convocation is the culmination of all our efforts. Today, we celebrate the success of our 142 graduands and look forward to the impact that they will have on the lives of fellow Ugandans.

Graduands, yours has been a remarkable journey.

You have faced innumerable challenges, and you have overcame them all – from implementing new pedagogies in the classroom, to completing action research projects in your clinics and hospitals, to making your first contributions to humanity’s storehouse of knowledge.

You forged relationships with classmates, colleagues, and faculty from across Uganda and beyond, learning first-hand how poorly stereotypes prepare us for the infinite complexity of our fellow humans.

You discovered both how much there is to learn and how many profound questions remain unanswered, or even unasked.

Throughout your time at the Aga Khan University, we asked you to meet the highest standards. It was not easy, was it? But you did it.

You have earned your degrees and diplomas. You did so thanks to your love of learning, your hunger to develop your capacities, and your desire to help solve the problems facing your communities and your country.

You make us all very proud. You and your family members should be proud of what you have achieved. You have the knowledge and skills to change people’s lives for the better.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the Class of 2019.

We have many people to thank for making today possible. Our faculty and staff, who are tireless in their dedication to our mission. Our alumni, whose achievements have burnished the name of the Aga Khan University across Uganda and East Africa and all over the world.

And, of course, our donors. Every year, thousands of friends, alumni, and current and former faculty and staff donate to the Aga Khan University. Their generosity makes it possible for us to provide advanced facilities for learning, to offer scholarships, to conduct ground-breaking research, and much more – all of this, even in difficult economic times.

We also have many institutional supporters to thank. I would like to express our gratitude to the Johnson & Johnson Foundation; Global Affairs Canada; the French Development Agency, AFD; the German government’s BMZ and the German Development Bank, KfW; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; ELMA Philanthropies; and numerous other organisations that support our work.

Yet our greatest debt of gratitude is to our founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, whose ongoing financial support, vision, and inspiration continue to drive our University to greater heights.

For example, last year, the Aga Khan University was named one of the top 100 universities in the world in clinical medicine by the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities.

It is an amazing honour. Especially because no other university in East Africa or Asia made the top 100.

Our ranking reflects the research prowess of our faculty. But it is also our Chancellor who laid the groundwork by committing AKU to the pursuit of world-class standards and excellence.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an extraordinary time in the history of the world. It is exciting, disorienting, and sometimes disturbing.

But when the complexity of events breeds incomprehension and apprehension, the speed of change sows confusion, and partisans propagate disinformation – that is when universities prove just how indispensable they are. The combination of dispassionate clarity and bold innovation that the best universities offer has never been more valuable.

This is the Aga Khan University’s time to shine. And we are rising to the challenges and opportunities of this era.

One of the most important developments of our time is the emergence of new fields such as artificial intelligence, data science, genomics, stem cell science and regenerative medicine. They have enormous potential to extend and improve our lives and advance our understanding of the world we inhabit. I am proud to report that AKU is working to fulfil the promise of these new fields.

With the support of the University of California, San Francisco, our Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research has begun to contribute to the global search for new treatments for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, neurological diseases and diabetes. Our researchers are also utilising data science and artificial intelligence to generate new insights into malnutrition, cardiac surgery outcomes for children, and the increase in the incidence of heart disease in women – as well as to piece together and analyse the original versions of historic Arabic texts.

But advances like these also create a tremendous challenge. Namely, the challenge of making sure they benefit the whole world, not just a fortunate few.

In the worlds of our Chancellor: “The populations of Asia and Africa cannot be isolated from the best simply because they have been born in countries outside the Western world.”

Therefore, the Aga Khan University is helping to build Africa’s and Asia’s capacity to deliver high-quality health care and education.

Our newest initiatives include: a Centre for Global Surgical Care to make life-saving surgery more accessible for low-income populations; a Centre for Cancer Research to develop treatments specifically for East Africa’s population; and a Centre of Excellence in Trauma and Emergency Response and Preparedness to strengthen the ability of public and private institutions to respond to disasters and emergencies.

Our Institute for Educational Development has equipped more than 2,000 Ugandan educators with new strategies for enhancing teaching and learning, benefitting hundreds of thousands of students. The Institute is also working to ensure Ugandan students acquire in-demand skills in collaboration with Ugandan teacher training institutions and the Belgian technical corporation organisation.

The Aga Khan University’s programme to encourage teaching excellence within the University was recently accredited by Advance HE in the United Kingdom. We are the first university in Africa to earn such an accreditation.

Most significantly of all for Uganda, we are working to build a new Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala.

The Hospital is AKU’s largest capital project in East Africa. It will be a transformative force in Ugandan health care. It will deliver international-quality care in fields ranging from obstetrics to oncology. Its Patient Welfare Programme will enable access for low-income individuals. As a teaching hospital, it will educate outstanding health professionals. And it will support research that helps solve Uganda’s health challenges.

We will also construct an academic building and student housing, thanks to the generous support of BMZ, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and KfW, the German development bank, as well as numerous private donors from around the world. This will allow us to educate not only doctors, nurses, and midwives, but journalists, communicators, and teachers.

We are grateful for the strong support the Hospital has received from His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, the Right Honorable Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, and other Ministers of Government – all of whom view this project as a national strategic priority.

I have spoken of the advance of knowledge producing challenges, in addition to extraordinary benefits. In a similar fashion, the progress of global integration enriches our lives in countless ways, while also exposing societies to destabilising forces.

This is an age when all our fates are intertwined – when the ripple effects of an event on the other side of the globe have the power to reshape our lives. Just look at the impact of the new coronavirus.

In the global era, it is imperative that institutions collaborate across boundaries of all kinds to share and grow knowledge, and to increase cross-cultural understanding.

That is precisely what the Aga Khan University is doing. The number, depth, and diversity of our partnerships are greater than ever. Last year alone, we signed or renewed partnership agreements with the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary in Canada, the NOVA University of Lisbon in Portugal, and the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the United States.

Fred Hutch is well-known for its partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute, and we will be working closely with them with an aim to improve cancer care in Uganda and across East Africa.

Our Graduate School of Media and Communications is partnering with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government to offer a joint course in adaptive leadership. The AKU Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London now offers a dual degree with Columbia University in New York. Both programmes are open to East Africans and we encourage them to apply.

These are some of the many ways that the Aga Khan University is evolving to meet the demands of a changing world, and to deliver on its mission of improving quality of life in Africa and Asia.

Ultimately, however, our most important contribution to the societies we serve is our graduates.

As of today, the number of Ugandans who have graduated from the Aga Khan University stands at more than 1,000. From Arua to Mbarara to Kampala, they are leading change – as educators, clinicians, entrepreneurs, advocates, public servants, and policymakers.

It is an amazing group of men and women. So amazing, in fact, that we felt they deserved a mascot. And graduands, as I think you know, you now have one which is the AKU leopard.

The students chose the leopard as our symbol because we feel it represents three traits that are common to all our students and alumni – indeed to the entire AKU community. These traits will serve you well in the years ahead.

The first trait is courage. The courage to embrace the new and attempt what you have never done before. The courage to stand up against unethical practices in the face of pressure to fall in line.

The second trait is perseverance. Inevitably, there will be times when, despite your best efforts, you will fall short. There is no shame in that: to never risk failure represents a failure of courage.

What matters is what you do next. Remember that those who survive disappointment with their determination intact, and learn the hard lessons it has to teach, are forces to be reckoned with.

The third trait is agility. Today, change happens in the blink of an eye. Technology is reshaping everything from work to relationships to attention spans. The world’s centre of gravity is shifting from the West to the East and from the North to the South. In Uganda, as in many other countries, young people are the majority of the population – and I do not need to tell you, they are eager to move ahead and are ambitious.

To maintain your balance in such world, you need the agility of a leopard.

Stay agile, remain courageous, and continue to persevere – and you will surely achieve all that you are capable of.

In a few moments, you will officially become part of the Aga Khan University alumni. You and your fellow graduates share formative experiences and foundational values. Connect with one another. Collaborate with one another. Together, you are a powerful force for change.
Remember: you are all leopards.

Graduands, the world needs you. It needs the knowledge you have acquired, and the confidence you have developed, and the discoveries you have made about yourselves, your fellow humans, and our world.

Thank you and asanteni sana.

 

speech_243936 <p dir="rtl">"بلغ حالياً عدد خريجي جامعة الآغا خان في أوغندا حوالي 1000، وهم يقومون بدءاً من أروا إلى مبارارا إلى كمبالا، بقيادة عملية التغيير، وهم معلمون وأطباء ورواد أعمال ومحامون، إضافةً إلى الموظفين العموميين وواضعي السياسات".</p> English
17th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Uganda https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-uganda-graduation-2020_gt21391_r.jpg Kampala, Uganda Monday, 10 February 2020 1581154200 Valedictorian Address by Ndawula Paddy at the 17th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Uganda speech Uganda 2020s 243906 1 Uganda https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-uganda-graduation-2020_gt21391_r.jpg Aga Khan University Education,Health

The Chief Guest: Honourable Professor Francis Gervase Omaswa,
Members of the Board of Trustees,
President Firoz Rasul,
Distinguished Guests,
Members of the Faculty, Staff and Alumni,
Our sponsors and employers,
Our dear family members, friends and guardians,
And my fellow graduands.

It is with extreme privilege and indeed, I am profoundly honoured and exceedingly humbled to stand before you at an incredible moment in time in such a place before such an audience. I am forever grateful for the opportunity.

Let us start by paying respect to Aisha Namutebi, Alex Kinyera, and Kyakuwaire Sharon our classmates and our alumna the Commissioner Nursing Mrs. Petua Olobo Kiboko who passed away by observing a moment of silence.

I want to begin by expressing gratitude first by thanking God for being good because without Him this monumental success would not be possible. Secondly, and most profoundly, I want to thank His Highness the Aga Khan for his imaginative and visionary leadership through which this University exists and for his generous support that we have immensely benefitted from.

Next, I want to thank, the Aga Khan University leadership and administration that has designed a system and a structure that has made our stay in AKU a purely magical experience. We have seen the lives of our fellow alumni who have gone before us change and they inspired us to join this magnificent University and I authoritatively testify that we are now the true professionals to take up the mantle. We extend our cordial thanks and appreciation to our sponsors, Johnson and Johnson. Oh my God! The incredible work you have done is literally turning dreams into reality in our lives. The employers who sponsor their employees like the Uganda Cancer Institute, Mulago National Referral Hospital and other distinguished institutions for a strong partnership with the University.

The esteemed faculty that has constantly imparted us with knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences. For this nobility they are the pride of our nation and the glory of our republic and the academic pillars of the Aga Khan University. Why? Because they keep on supplying our health sector with well-trained professionals with fresh ideas. For lifelong friends we have got, I thank God for the blessing of knowing and loving you but most significantly the gift of experiencing our challenges and joys together. I would be remiss if I do not thank the non-teaching staff that have made our Aga Khan University environment safe to pursue our dreams and lastly but most importantly our beloved parents, spouses, children, guardians, brothers and sisters for being a constant source of support, encouragement and inspiration.

Convocation is every student’s dream. To be here today is a goal we have aspired for, and I proudly congratulate and thank you my fellow graduands for making this dream a reality. But, this is what Mike Tyson said “In order to be the greatest that has ever lived you need to beat everyone living”. But we all know that greatness is not given, it is earned. So, my brothers and sisters, I request you to join in the most fulfilling mission a person could have, the most profound contribution anyone can ever make that is to honour your profession by serving to improve the health of the people so that we can up lift our nation because nothing can be out of reach of a Nation with a healthy population.

With a treasured and shared history, nursing and midwifery have existed for about 100 years in Uganda and yet less than 10% of nurses and midwives have attained a bachelor’s degree and this is greatly attributed to the structural and systemic malaise of the administration and education system for nurses and midwives in Uganda. This has caused some nurses and midwives have poor standards of living, quit the profession and fail to reach their destined heights of professional and human achievements.

We have seen some nurses obtaining their master’s degree a few years to retirement. We are a body of about 65,000 nurses and midwives but surprisingly about 45,000 are employed and close to 20,000 are unemployed making it a 30% unemployment rate for nurses and midwives. It is in our mandate to design and create the future of nursing and our creation will be the inheritance of the next generation. In this era, we need to create education policies, systems and structures that are symbiotic and generic to our profession. Why? Because it is contingent upon us to prepare for the next generation and the future of nursing and healthcare in general so as to improve health of our people. Ladies and gentlemen, this mandate is our calling.

Nursing and education were founded on a rich reservoir of professional pride and a tremendous desire to love and serve without discrimination of any kind. These virtues are to be propagated and irrigated but not to be suppressed. We want to rediscover old truths, unravel old mysteries, and make thrilling breakthroughs by changing our perspective because human existence is paradoxically so frail and yet so powerful. Hooking into that power is what allows us to turn struggles into triumphs, bring visions into existence and dreams into reality by breathing new life into dying hope, the hope that sees the invisible, feels the intangible, believes the impossible and delivers the unimaginable.In order for nursing and education in Uganda to leave a towering legacy for every generation, we need to make success, prosperity and excellence of nurses, midwives and educationists not just a possibility but an absolute inevitability.

Thank you all. May God richly bless you all.

speech_243916 <p dir="rtl">"أوجه الشكر أيضاً لقيادة وإدارة جامعة الآغا خان التي صممت نظاماً وهيكلاً جعل من إقامتنا في جامعة الآغا خان تجربةً سحريةً للغاية. لقد رأينا كيف تغيّرت حياة زملائنا الخريجين الذين تخرجوا قبلنا، وكانوا مصدر إلهام لنا لننضم إلى هذه الجامعة الرائعة، وإنني أشهد رسمياً بأننا أصبحنا الآن محترفين حقيقيين وجديرون بارتداء هذه العباءة".</p> English
15th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Tanzania https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-tanzania-2020-former_tanzania_president_h.e_benjamin_mkapa1_r.jpg Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Thursday, 6 February 2020 1580921100 Speech by Chief Guest H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa at the 15th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Tanzania speech Tanzania 2020s 243806 1 Tanzania,Education,Health https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-tanzania-2020-former_tanzania_president_h.e_benjamin_mkapa1_r.jpg Aga Khan University Education,Health

President Firoz Rasul,
Members of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University,
Members of Government and the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished guests,
And, most importantly, our graduating students,

It is wonderful to be here with you today to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2019.

It is customary on occasions such as this for speakers to say they are honoured to have been invited. In my case, it is no mere platitude.

For five years, I served on the Aga Khan University’s Board of Trustees. I saw the passion of His Highness the Aga Khan and my fellow Board members for improving quality of life in Africa and Asia. When they say the four pillars of AKU are quality, impact, access, and relevance, they mean it. When they say they are committed to educating leaders who make a difference in the lives of others, they mean it. Furthermore, the expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital demonstrates just how committed His Highness the Aga Khan is to investing in Tanzania and its people.

So when I say it is an honour to be here, I mean it.

Graduands, it is my great pleasure to congratulate you on the completion of your degrees. I know your journey was not easy. But if the mountain were not steep, and the climb did not test your resolve, the view would not be such a revelation, or such an inspiration. Now you stand at the peak, and opportunity stretches out before you.

As President Rasul said, convocation is a day when we celebrate your success and look forward to the impact you will have on your students, your patients, your profession, and your country.

I have no doubt that you will positively impact thousands of lives over the course of your careers. I have confidence in your talent, your determination, and the quality of the education you have received.

Nevertheless, I cannot resist the temptation to offer you a few snippets of wisdom. There are qualities you can demonstrate, actions you can take, and attitudes you can adopt that I strongly believe will maximise your success as leaders in the years to come. So please indulge me as I share a few recommendations borne out of my own long experience.

Among the most important lessons I learned from the Father of our Nation is the importance of consulting widely and listening carefully before making decisions.

Whenever he faced a major issue, he sought a wide range of perspectives. He knew he did not have a monopoly on wisdom or virtue. However humble the person, whatever their faults or motives, he would always listen carefully to them, seeking the kernel of truth or insight they had to share.

I have always tried to follow his example in this regard, and my decision-making has undoubtedly been the better for it. We must put the monarchical style of leadership behind us. Its time has passed. Our country is diverse and pluralistic, and our world is even more so. It is only proper that we lead in a consultative manner.

At the same time, once one has listened carefully to the views of both the expert and the common person, the powerful and especially the powerless – then one must be decisive and resolute. One must articulate a course of action and communicate its rationale clearly, both to those who will execute it and those who will be affected by it.

Then comes the hardest part: following through and obtaining results. It is essential to be tenacious, to hold yourself and others accountable for achieving the desired outcome. Too often in my career, I have seen visions propounded, but little done to ensure their enactment. A leader must not be afraid to do the heavy lifting alongside his colleagues, or to do himself what he has asked or advocated others to do.

Early in my career, I was a strong proponent of national service. Yet some criticized me, saying I was asking others to do what I had not done myself. So I went ahead and volunteered for national service, leaving my job for several months to work alongside my fellow Tanzanians. I have always treasured that experience. To see illiterate farmers and university graduates working together was an inspiring reminder of the essential unity of our nation. My service quieted the sceptics. It showed that I was ready to act upon my convictions.

Yet one must not allow conviction to become stubbornness. The world is constantly changing, and when the facts change, we must reconsider our views. It was Mwalimu himself who advocated most strongly for the transition from a single-party state to a multi-party system. He had followed closely the agitation for change that was occurring in other countries, and could sense the early tremors of dissatisfaction in our own.
 
He said: “We must change ourselves or we will be changed…We will be swept along as if by waves.” As resolute as he was, he remained ready to continue learning, growing and changing with the times.

If there is one thing that I believe has defined my career both within government and outside it, it is concern for the common person. Nothing disturbs me more than to see those who have little victimised by those who have much. At Mwalimu’s memorial service, I said: “Our world is composed of givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.” To be a giver is to always remember that one owes a duty to those one serves, however high one rises.

You are teachers and doctors. You have an awesome responsibility. The future of our country depends on the quality of the education you will provide to our youth. It depends on your ability to prevent needless suffering and to return the sick to health, happiness, and productivity. We need you to extend the benefits of science, knowledge, and technology to those who remain marginalised. Be a giver, not a taker.

As I look back on my career, I can see many turning points. Today, I will single out just one: the moment when Mwalimu called me to his home early in my career. I remember being in awe of him, wondering what business he could possibly have with me. To my great surprise, he asked me to become editor of the party newspaper. I knew next to nothing about running a newspaper. But I realised it was a challenge I could not refuse. I said yes. In many ways, that decision that shaped the rest of my life.

Graduands, do not shrink from a challenge. It is our response to the most difficult tasks that define us. It is the readiness to tackle them that makes a leader.

I would like to end with the quote that closes my memoir, which bears the title My Life, My Purpose. Its author is the Rabbi Harold Kushner. He says: "Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so the world will at least be a little bit different for our having passed through it."

Graduands, I wish you all the best in your lives and careers. May you live so that your lives matter, and may you make the world a better place for having passed through it.

Thank you.

 

speech_243801 <p dir="RTL">عملت لمدة خمس سنوات في مجلس أمناء جامعة الآغا خان، ورأيت شغف سمو الآغا خان وزملائي أعضاء مجلس الإدارة في تحسين نوعية الحياة في إفريقيا وآسيا. عندما يقولون إن الركائز الأربع لجامعة الآغا خان هي النوعية والتأثير والوصول والأهمية، فهذه حقيقة. وعندما يقولون إنهم ملتزمون بتعليم قادة للمستقبل لإحداث فرقٍ في حياة الآخرين، فإنهم يعنون ذلك. علاوةً على ذلك، توضح عمليات التوسُّع التي تجري في مستشفى الآغا خان مدى التزام سمو الآغا خان بالاستثمار في تنزانيا وسكانها.</p> English
15th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Tanzania https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-tanzania-2020-valedictorian_r.jpg Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Thursday, 6 February 2020 1580920200 Valedictorian Address by Dr. Masawa Klint at the 15th Convocation of the Aga Khan University, Tanzania speech Tanzania 2020s 243811 1 Health,Tanzania https://d1zah1nkiby91r.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/media/institutions/aga_khan_university/aku-tanzania-2020-valedictorian_r.jpg Aga Khan University Education,Health

The Guest of Honour, Former president of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency William Mkapa,
Trustee Othman,
the President of the Aga Khan University, Firoz Rasul,
Provost, Vice-Provost, Deans, Associated Deans,
Esteemed faculty,
Alumni of the Aga Khan University,
Invited guests
and most importantly my fellow AKU graduands all protocols observed.

Good afternoon!

I would like to express my immense gratitude to God Almighty for guiding and leading us here, the faculty and all those who have mentored us and facilitated our growths, Our Chancellor His Highness the Aga Khan, for his leadership, efforts and commitment towards poverty reduction, through the Aga Khan Development Network and its functions particularly in the low and middle income countries.

We are only here because of the resolute support and encouragement from our families, brothers, sisters, spouses and children, thank you.

I know it has been a difficult journey, and there were times when you and I wanted to give up, when we thought it was impossible, when the demands on our shoulders were more than we could carry, there were times when we had self-doubt, when we contemplated quitting- but we did not; we rose to the challenge, we re-invented ourselves, we became more resourceful, more thoughtful, more matured in our ways, we allowed ourselves to experience growth- and we grew, and today we are here, a testimony to ourselves and those around us of how far we have come and where we are going- and for that, my dear colleagues I salute us.

The Aga Khan University has equipped us with lifelong learning skills, has instilled in us critical thinking and analysis, self-reflection and we have become independent thinkers with the ability to appraise a challenge and to formulate solutions. This is true of the academics. We were exposed to learning skills that are so commonly taken for granted and that are critical for human interaction, the underpinning factor of professional and personal growth. The university purposefully instilled in us communication skills, leadership, ethics and morality so that we carry out our responsibilities with sanctity.

With our unique set of experiences, and achievements such as these; we are confronted with a local society that has existed in poverty with its associated limitations on the ability to progress and advance. Recently the rate of growth of some of these indicators like the GDP have been promising. However, despite this growth we continue to face enormous challenges and especially as it appertains to health and education. It is becoming increasingly evident that these challenges, coupled with competent leadership, provide fertile ground laden with opportunities to advance the development of our society.

We are part of this society with its opportunities, as we are witnesses of the limitation that poverty enforces on our people. Foremost, we must acknowledge that the challenges our people face are our own. This acknowledgment is not a display of naivetés; but a core human experience of
compassion. This perception is genuine, should be protected and nurtured; we cannot be indifferent to the suffering of others. This affirmation should be taken further, for only through this resistance to indifference and a resilient compassion, can we truly identify the challenges, their associated opportunities and begin to synthesise plausible and practicable solutions.

“Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom” Nelson Mandela.

The outcomes of our intellectual achievement must extend beyond the self, beyond that one student we mentor, beyond that one patient we care for, beyond the teachers and educationalists that we lead and we must realise we have the potential to develop solutions for our unique societies.

Taking this responsibility requires the ethical and moral perspective that our faculty have worked very hard to inculcate amongst us, the compassion, the tenacity and the capabilities that all the graduands before you have displayed thus far to reaching this milestone. I want us all to understand as we go out there, we are bringing with us a fresh perspective, new ideas, and possible solutions. It is thus our obligation to take up leadership; to uphold moral ethics, to safeguard compassion and to aspire to be agents of positive change. I believe taking up these opportunities and challenges will lead to not just bountiful career satisfaction, exponential growths as professionals, but ultimately lead to fulfillment as individuals with wide scale positive impacts in our nations, our region and the world

Thus, my colleagues; ethical and compassionate leadership- I wish these on all of you in your future endeavors; It has been a privilege for us to grow together as friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters to this end.

Congratulations my fellow graduands. Thank you

 

speech_243796 <p dir="RTL">في البداية، أحمد الله تعالى على رعايتنا وتوفيقنا إلى ما وصلنا إليه. كما أود أن أوجه الشكر إلى أعضاء هيئة التدريس وكل من قام بتوجيهنا وتسهيل عملية نموّنا، وإلى مستشارنا سمو الآغا خان، على قيادته وجهوده والتزامه بالحد من الفقر من خلال شبكة الآغا خان للتنمية وما تقوم به من أعمال، ولا سيّما في البلدان ذات الدخل المنخفض والمتوسط<span dir="LTR">.</span></p> English
CSV