KARACHI: The Aga Khan University 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.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan attended the ceremony in Karachi and shared a message from His Highness the Aga Khan, Founder and Chancellor of the University.
Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah was the Chief Guest.
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 said that Aga Khan University has been a trusted partner of Sindh government for decades but in recent years, the partnership has proven its value like never before.
“At the start of the pandemic, when Pakistan was recording its first cases of the virus, there were so many unknowns, there were so many questions in need of answers at that difficult time; therefore, expertise of AKU was invaluable.”
This he said while speaking on the occasion of Agha Khan University Founder’s Day - the 40th Anniversary, and the Convocation of the Class of 2022 at Aga Khan University.
The program was attended by Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Chairman Zakir Mahmood and Members of the Board of Trustees President Sulaiman Shahabuddin, members of the Class of 2022 and family members of the graduates.
Murad Shah said that as the case count of COVID-19 rose, and it became clear we needed to provide additional training to our doctors and nurses in caring for seriously ill Covid patients, we naturally turned to AKU.
He added that with great enthusiasm, the AGU faculty trained thousands of public-sector health professionals and set up a hotline so that ICU doctors at public hospitals could get advice on caring for Covid patients round the clock.
The CM recalled that throughout the pandemic, his government relied on AKU for data on the spread of the virus and the arrival of new strains.
Shah talking about recent floods, the worst in our history, said devastation was unlike anything Pakistan had ever seen.
“AKU rose to the challenge once again, alongside government and numerous other private sector institutions and rushed to establish health camps in affected communities across Sindh and other provinces,” he said and added it cared for hundreds of thousands of people.
Murad Shah said that he could recount many more examples of AKU addressing important health and education issues in partnership with the public sector-from increasing access to vaccination in underserved areas of Karachi, to training teachers in rural Sindh.
The CM said he would be working closely with AKU to bring outstanding health care and education to the people of Sindh and Pakistan.
He hoped that the new graduates would continue to demonstrate the power of an AKU education, and the extraordinary talent of our youth
Princess Zahra Aga Khan expressed her gratitude to the global University community for the “magnificent gift” of its support for AKU 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.”
President Sulaiman Shahabuddin paid tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan and “his vision of a university that reconciles loyalty to international standards with service to those in need, that prepares its students to use knowledge to identify and solve problems, that demonstrates that science is the property of no single culture, but of all humanity.”
In his message, His Highness the Aga Khan traced AKU’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 supporters,” His Highness said.
“Together, all of us are the custodians of the founding vision. Our history gives us every reason to believe that so long as we remain true to that vision, AKU’s light – the light depicted in the University’s seal – will grow ever brighter, helping to illuminate the path to a better future for the people it serves.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023