AKU Convocation 2014

Contributing to a World Without Borders


“With today’s technology, a borderless age is an age of abundance. Knowledge is more accessible than it has ever been. And ultimately it is knowledge that allows us to develop in the way that we wish...

Each one of you has a foot in the developing world, where millions suffer from poverty and its related ills, as well as you have your foot in the global knowledge community. You may feel that these are very different places…That is not the case. In a borderless age, the greatest opportunity you have is to connect these two worlds, to translate between them,” said President Firoz Rasul, at the 27th Convocation of the Aga Khan University held on November 29, 2014 at the Stadium Road Campus.

382 graduands from the Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM) and Institute of Educational Development received their degrees at the convocation ceremony. In a world that is highly interconnected and fast-paced, graduands were encouraged to seek opportunities to use their knowledge in both the developing and developed context. They were inspired by their chief guest, Oscar-winning journalist and documentary film-maker, Ms Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Having studied in Karachi, Ms Obaid-Chinoy pursued higher education in USA, before returning to Pakistan to investigate socially significant causes. Her films played a pivotal role in highlighting on international platforms, the plight of Pakistan’s most vulnerable groups: young children trained to be Taliban, transgenders, acid-victims and female teachers and health workers.  Sharmeen was awarded an Emmy and Oscar, in 2010 and 2012 respectively. She was also named one of the ‘100 most influential people’ by Time magazine in 2012.

Ms Obaid-Chinoy encouraged the graduands to make the right choices, even if it entailed sacrifice and risk, so that they could ‘walk away from life without regrets’. 

At a national level, with the initiation of the graduate programme in midwifery at the School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM), the Aga Khan University maintained its leadership role in the education sector.   The two-year programme is the first of its kind not only in the country, but also South Asia. It is a much-needed response to high maternal and infant mortality rates in the region. A total of 21 women completed their two-year training in midwifery at AKU.

Ali Hassan, the Class of 2014’s valedictorian acknowledged the support of faculty members, parents, friends and families: 

“We are all united as one today, in a shared sense of pride, in joining a community of alumni that is known as much for its achievements as it is for its sense of camaridary throughout the world…if there is one thing we know, it is that we will never walk alone.”

In his speech, President Rasul acknowledged the contribution of the alumni, who in the last year alone, have pledged Rs 300 million (US $ 3 million) to their alma mater.

A dinner was held after the convocation to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Women’s Residences at AKU. Senior management of AKU and members of the Noor, Rupani and Karimi families, whose donations helped build the Residences, were present at the dinner. President Firoz Rasul highlighted His Highness’s vision for the University, and the opportunities and challenges of working in a borderless society. Aga Khan University is currently expanding its education and health services in three continents, through highly inter-connected campuses that match the needs of a rapidly changing and information-rich environment.