Source: Aga Khan University Press Release
May 22, 2021: The first-ever global convocation ceremony of the Aga Khan University (AKU) was live-streamed to a worldwide audience today, as 667 students on three continents received their degrees and listened to speeches by His Highness the Aga Khan, Chief Guest Melinda French Gates and AKU President Firoz Rasul.
His Highness the Aga Khan, AKU’s founder and Chancellor, expressed his pride in the University’s contributions to the fight against the pandemic and saluted the courage and resilience of its faculty, staff and students. He praised the graduates in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom for having chosen “a path of service to humanity.”
Melinda French Gates, Co-chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commended the University for its leadership in improving health and empowering women, and voiced confidence in the graduates.
“The Aga Khan University is not only a global resource – it is a transformative force for public health and women’s health,” Ms. French Gates said. “We’re proud of our partnership with AKU over the years.”
The Gates Foundation and the Aga Khan Development Network – including AKU – are working together in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and East Africa to improve health, advance economic development and create opportunities for women and girls. To date, the Foundation has provided approximately $90 million in funding for research and other projects at AKU in areas including maternal and child health, infectious diseases, malnutrition and COVID-19. His Highness the Aga Khan thanked Ms. French Gates and the Gates Foundation for their support of AKU and noted their “crucial and catalytic role” in battling the pandemic, improving health globally and advancing gender equality.
President Firoz Rasul told the graduates their AKU education has prepared them to make a profound difference in people’s lives. “You can be at the forefront in building the independent intellectual and scientific capacity that will enable Asia and Africa to tackle the biggest challenges facing them and the wider world,” he said.
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 Civilizations.
Anam Ehsan, a student of the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme at the Medical College in Pakistan, and Scoviah Masudio, of the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uganda, and delivered the valedictory speeches.
In Pakistan, the 2020 Medical College Best Graduate Award was awarded to Dr Samrah Razi. Dr Razi also received the AKU Medical College’s Gold Medal for achieving the highest score in three out of four certifying examinations. Over the 33 Convocation ceremonies at which MBBS degrees have been conferred, this is only the 11th Gold Medal awarded. The 2020 School of Nursing and Midwifery Best Graduate Award went to Ms Uzma Nizar.
Professor Emeritus and Professor Emerita were conferred on Dr Robert Armstrong, Dr Iqtidar A. Khan, Dr Mohammed Ataullah Khan, Dr Shaista Masood Khan, Dr Muhammad Memon, Dr David Taylor and Dr Rukhsana W. Zuberi for their sustained contributions to teaching, scholarship and service throughout their careers.
Awards of Distinction were presented to Dr Rafat Jan from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Dr Iftikhar Salahuddin from the Medical College for their significant contributions to the University’s development. An Award of Excellence in Teaching and Teaching Leadership was also conferred on Dr Muhammad Tariq.