“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.”
Princess Zahra Aga Khan
Nairobi, Kenya, 28 February 2022 – More than 660 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.
The ceremony in Nairobi was attended in-person by Princess Zahra Aga Khan and saw the University commit to becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030. Climate scientist, author and activist Dr Peter Kalmus addressed the convocation as its chief guest.
Speaking on behalf of the University’s Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, Princess Zahra Aga Khan praised the graduates for the resilience and agility they demonstrated throughout the pandemic and highlighted AKU’s contributions to the countries it serves.
“Globally, AKU has educated 18,000 individuals,” Princess Zahra said. “It cares for more than two million patients every year from internationally accredited hospitals and was recently 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. During the pandemic, the value of the University’s capacity for cutting-edge inquiry has never been clearer.”
The urgency of addressing climate change was emphasised by the speakers. AKU has committed to becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030, as has the Aga Khan Development Network as a whole. The University is amongst the first institutions in Pakistan and East Africa to commit to achieving carbon neutrality. Together with the Aga Khan Health Services, it has developed a unique accounting tool for analysing its emissions that it is making available to other universities and hospitals at no cost.
“We need a huge number of engaged, passionate, courageous climate activists,” Peter Kalmus said. “We need to come together, with courage, conviction and creativity, to stop the meteor that’s hurtling toward us. No one is safe from global heating. There is no hiding from it, on this tiny, connected, pale blue dot of a planet.”
The Global Convocation Ceremony also featured the inauguration of President Sulaiman Shahabuddin, who became the third president in AKU’s 39-year history.
More at AKDN Press Release