(From Left) Pakistan Ambassador Faisal Niaz Trimizi; President of the Aga Khan University Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin and Aziz Merchant, President of the Ismaili Community in UAE at the Isamili Centre in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Aga Khan University’s remarkable 40-year journey, during which it grew from a single campus in Pakistan to an international university that is making impact in six countries across South and Central Asia, East Africa and the UK, was shared with a diverse audience at a Ramadan Suhoor hosted by the Ismaili Centre, Dubai.

The President of the Aga Khan University (AKU), Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin addressed the diverse audience and delivered a presentation entitled “A Transformative Vision. The Aga Khan University-40 Years and Onwards.”


Expressing the University’s commitment to service and excellence, Shahabuddin whoc came from Karachi to deliver the special Ramadan Suhoor lecture, paid tribute to AKU’s Chancellor, Prince Karim Aga Khan, for his visionary leadership that continues to propel the growing impact of the University in diverse fields of education, healthcare and research in the developing world. He then stated: “The Aga Khan University remains steadfast in its mission to advance knowledge and improve quality of life, guided by the principles of compassion and service.”

Guests during the Ramadan lecture at the Isamili Centre in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Improving welfare

Speaking at the event, Aziz Merchant, President of the Ismaili Community in the UAE said: “The story of the Aga Khan University manifests the Islamic ethic of compassion, which improves the welfare of both the individual and society, thus aligning with the notion of giving back — the very essence of the holy month of Ramadan.”

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AKU serves 2.3 million patients each year through its healthcare system network, demonstrating its commitment to accessible healthcare. In 2023 alone, the University dedicated $29 million to patient welfare for those in need. Additionally, 73 per cent of AKU students across diverse disciplines, from education to nursing to journalism, benefit from financial aid or tuition remission. The University is also proud to have 20 researchers recognised among the world’s most-cited scientists, highlighting its excellence in research and academia.

Pakistan Ambassador Faisal Niaz Trimizi and President of the Aga Khan University Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin interacting with guests at the Ramadan lecture at Ismaili Centre in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Projects with Dubai Cares

In the past, with support from Dubai Cares, AKU conducted a large-scale, independent survey and testing exercise to provide a framework for an evidence-based debate about education performance and policy in Pakistan. Additionally, AKU undertook a project aimed at enhancing the developmental and learning outcomes of pre-primary boys and girls in marginalised Tanzanian communities through the training of in-service educators.

More recently, in 2023, Dubai Cares unveiled its ‘Global Education Solutions Accelerator’ (GESA) at COP28. Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), a sister agency of AKU, will act as a strategic partner for the Accelerator, aiming to fast-track education transformation across the 10 countries that are part of Schools2030 — AKF’s flagship education programme.