Convocation Caps a Historic Year for the Aga Khan University

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Convocation Caps a Historic Year for the Aga Khan University
Convocation Caps a Historic Year for the Aga Khan University

More than 730 students in four countries graduated from the Aga Khan University on Saturday at ceremonies attended by Princess Zahra Aga Khan and other dignitaries and watched in-person and online by the University’s supporters around the world.

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“On graduating, you return to a world that is full of daunting challenges but also of endless possibilities,” Princess Zahra Aga Khan said in Nairobi, speaking on behalf of AKU’s founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan. “Continue to strive with courage and optimism to grasp opportunities to serve your communities and contribute to a more pluralistic and peaceful world.”

391 students graduated in Pakistan – more than 70 percent of them women – and were awarded degrees in nursing, medicine and education. The University’s chief guest was Sabina Khatri, Founder of the Karachi-based Kiran Foundation.

“I cannot help but imagine the great things you will achieve with your immense talent and the knowledge and skills developed during your time at AKU,” Ms Khatri told the graduates. “I have no doubt that your accomplishments can surpass anything I have achieved thus far. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to His Highness the Aga Khan for helping countless young people to fulfill their potential, including the Kiran children studying at Aga Khan schools and colleges and also AKU Examination Board-affiliated schools like Habib.”

AKU commemorated its 40th anniversary on March 16, 2023. Princess Zahra detailed some of the many achievements that have made the University’s 40th year one of the most consequential in its history. Four new academic programmes welcomed their first students, increasing total enrollment to more than 3,600 for the first time in the University’s history. These are the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Karachi, the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme in Nairobi and the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing programmes in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Construction began on the University’s new 60-acre campus in Uganda, which will feature an academic centre, student housing and a new Aga Khan University Hospital, the first AKU has built since 1985. In Nairobi, the Aga Khan University Hospital implemented East Africa’s first integrated electronic health records system. In Tanzania, the University launched the Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre.

“We are hopeful that these new and continuing programmes and facilities will make AKU an increasingly powerful platform for the education of leaders, the creation of relevant knowledge, and the delivery of world-class education and health care,” Princess Zahra said.

AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin called the day a “crowning moment” for the graduates, noting that the University has awarded nearly 20,000 diplomas, degrees and postgraduate certificates since its inception. He outlined the University’s plans for the future, which are contained in its new five-year strategic plan. They include launching close to a dozen new degree programmes in fields ranging from data science to teacher education; enhancing research capacity in mental health, climate change and other disciplines; expanding the AKU health system; deepening the University’s partnerships with public and private institutions at home and abroad; and continuing to earn new forms of academic and health care accreditation from leading international organizations. 

“That AKU has been able to achieve so much across its four decades is above all thanks to its founder, Chancellor, and chief benefactor, His Highness the Aga Khan,” President Shahabuddin said. “His Highness’s vision continues to guide us and continually inspire us with the strength to make bold decisions that keep AKU at the forefront of innovation, quality and impact.”

The School of Nursing and Midwifery conferred the Outstanding Graduate Award on Zehra Amanullah for earning the highest cumulative grade point average. She also received the Nursing Practice Award.

For just the 13th time in its history, the Medical College awarded its Gold Medal to a graduate of the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme. Alizah Pervaiz Hashmi received the Medal for earning the top score on at least three of the four certifying examinations, including the final examination.

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