The Aga Khan University (AKU) launched its 40th Anniversary celebrations, as it celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2022.
Close to two decades after its launch in Pakistan, AKU began a new chapter in East Africa with precursor programmes in nursing and teacher education. Today, the University in Kenya has grown its offering to postgraduate programmes in medicine, media and communications studies and hosts three research institutes. The 40-year celebrations will be year-long with various activities including a research symposium, public lectures and student showcases.
Chief Guest Dr Beatrice Muganda Inyangala, Principal Secretary, State Department for Higher Education and Research lauded AKU for its great impact in education, healthcare and research.
“The University’s investment in these sectors positions its students to reap the best out of this digital era and remain frontiers of knowledge and technology as they unlock economic opportunities for labour market in Kenya and beyond as we move closer to the attainment of Vision 2030,” said Dr Inyangala.
AKU Vice Chancellor Dr 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.
“It is thanks to his singular devotion to making that vision a reality, no matter the obstacles, that we are here today,” Dr Shahabuddin said.
In her valedictory speech, Master of Medicine graduate Dr Mwende Aura congratulated the graduands for overcoming insurmountable challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With all these challenges, undeterred, we had to adapt to a new way of life and remain on course to complete our education. Thanks to the immense versatility of our faculty and staff who devised strategies to ensure we fulfilled the requirements for awarding of our degrees despite the turbulence,” she said.
AKU Kenya graduated its first cohort of Advanced Practice Nurses – a first in Kenya. As advanced nurse practitioners, they will be able to provide care in an independent capacity for various patient populations.
The University also graduated its first cohort of the Executive Masters in Media Leadership and Innovation programme. Graduates included Citizen TV’s Jamila Mohammed, Standard Group’s Caroline Kimutai and Shisia Wasilwa, Nation Media’s Bernard Mwinzi and Lynet Igadwah and Bakari Machumu, CEO of Mwananchi Communications in Tanzania.
Nearly 400 students graduated in East Africa, including 198 in Kenya, 136 in Uganda and 65 in Tanzania.
Simultaneous ceremonies were held in Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda and broadcast online to an international audience of AKU’s friends and supporters.