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Over 600 students awarded degrees at global convocation of AKU 2022-02-26

Saturday, 2022, February 26
DAWN, www.dawn.com
Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi
The Newspaper's Staff Reporter

KARACHI: More than 600 students in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda graduated from the Aga Khan University (AKU) in a live-streamed global convocation ceremony that was watched by viewers around the world.

During the live session, the varsity commits to becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030. It will be among the first institutions in Pakistan and East Africa to achieve carbon neutrality.

In Nairobi, the event was attended by Princess Zahra Aga Khan. Speaking on behalf of the university’s chancellor, Prince Karim Aga Khan, Princess Zahra praised the graduates for the resilience and agility they demonstrated throughout the pandemic.

“No AKU class has worked harder for this moment than you have. The last two years challenged you with lockdowns, quarantines and isolation. In the years to come, you will always be able to look back and draw strength from your achievements during this momentous period,” she said.

Highlighting AKU’s contributions to the countries it serves, Princess Zahra said worldwide the institution educated 18,000 individuals and cared for more than two million patients every year from internationally accredited hospitals.

“It has recently been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in public health. It also serves as a trusted advisor to government and is a powerful advocate for pluralism and women’s empowerment,” she added.

Jointly with the Aga Khan Health Services, it had developed a unique accounting tool for analysing its emissions that was made available to other universities and hospitals at no cost.

The ceremony also featured the inauguration of AKU’s third president, Sulaiman Shahabuddin, who pledged to carry forward the university’s mission of creating and applying knowledge to the solution of pressing problems in Africa, Asia and beyond.

He cited AKU’s cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence, stem cell science, gene-editing and child health. He also noted that AKU will be launching new medical and nursing degree programmes in East Africa, building a new Aga Khan University Hospital and university centre in Kampala and launching a faculty of arts and sciences in Karachi.

Climate scientist, author and activist Dr Peter Kalmus also addressed the occasion as its chief guest about the climate challenges the world was facing and called for urgent action.

“We need a huge number of engaged, passionate, courageous climate activists. We need to come together, with courage, conviction, and creativity, to stop the meteor that’s hurtling toward us,” he said while emphasising that no one was safe from global heating on this tiny, connected, pale blue dot of a planet.

About AKU’s efforts on the climate change front, speakers said the whole Aga Khan Development Network had committed to becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030.

In his valedictory speech, Adnan Ali Khan, a medical graduate in Karachi, said, “This class of AKU graduates will be one of the most tenacious, resilient and open-minded groups of professionals to come from this institution.”

Students received diplomas and degrees from AKU’s Medical Colleges, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Institutes for Educational Development, Graduate School of Media and Communications and Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2022

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