AKU celebrates 40th anniversary on global convocation day

Published March 19, 2023
Princess Zahra Aga Khan speaks at the convocation on Saturday.—Aku.edu
Princess Zahra Aga Khan speaks at the convocation on Saturday.—Aku.edu

KARACHI: The Aga Khan University (AKU) on Saturday celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2022, its first-ever Founder’s Day and the university’s 40th anniversary.

Simultaneous ceremonies were held in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and broadcast online to an international audience of AKU’s friends and supporters.

A total of 777 students graduated from AKU’s global campuses with diplomas and degrees in 19 fields, bringing the total number of diplomas and degrees awarded by the university to more than 19,000, including more than 4,500 in East Africa.

In Pakistan, the School of Nursing and Midwifery graduated its 5,000th student. Students graduated in nursing, medicine, education, and media and communications.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who was the chief guest of the ceremony, appreciated members of the AKU community for providing the much-needed assistance during the last year’s devastating floods.

Over 770 students graduated from varsity’s global campuses

“I want to thank the AKU community who helped their fellow citizens in the hour of need, whether as volunteers or as donors. The fact that so many AKU students participated in the university’s flood response speaks highly of them and of the education that they have received here,” he added.

“The AKU is not an institution that exists for one group or sector of society but it working for the benefit of Sindh and Pakistan as a whole,” he said.

Earlier, the CM met with Princess Zahra Aga Khan and exchanged views with her. In her speech, Princess Zahra expre­ssed gratitude to the global AKU community for the “magnificent gift” of its support for the university over the past four decades.

“As we mark its inaugural Founder’s Day, its 40th anniversary and the graduation of the Class of 2022, AKU has never had more to celebrate,” she said. “I am deeply, deeply grateful to everyone who has made its journey possible.”

In his message, the Aga Khan, Fou­nder and AKU Chancellor, expressed the hope that students would continue their academic and intellectual pursuits with passion.

“My wish today is that you know the joy of planting hope in people’s lives, of building bridges of understanding, of venturing into the uncharted waters where new knowledge is discovered,” he said.

He also traced university’s 40-year journey from 1983 to the present, calling AKU a source of hope and expressing pride in its achievements and confidence in its future. “Today, as in 1983, the future of the university lies in the hands of its leaders, faculty, staff, and supporter. Together, all of us are the custodians of the founding vision.”

President Sulaiman Shahabuddin paid tribute to the AKU Chancellor’s vision of a university that, he said, reconciled loyalty to international standards with service to those in need.

“It is thanks to his singular devotion to making that vision a reality, no matter the obstacles, that we are here today,” he said.

AKU’s 40th year will see the launch of several new academic programmes. In Pakistan, classes will begin at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In East Afr­­ica, the university will begin offering a six-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bac­helor of Surgery and a four-year Bach­elor of Science in Nursing. In Kampala, Uganda, the University is bui­l­ding a new campus that will include a Unive­rsity Hospital and academic centre.

In his valedictory speech, Mian Arsam Haroon urged his classmates to “transform into action the knowledge you have received in the halls of this university and honour the commitment of the village that raised you”.

According to a press release, the chief guest in Tanzania was Ambassador Manfredo Fanti, Head of the European Union Delegation to Tanzania and to the East African Community.

In Uganda, the chief guest was Ms Cornelia Penzel, KfW Country Director for Uganda. Dr Beatrice Muganda Inya­ngala, Principal Secretary, State Depar­tment for Higher Education and Rese­arch, was the chief guest in Kenya.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2023

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