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Aga Khan University Explores Links with Emory for the Cause of Global Health

May 2007
Aga Khan University Explores Links with Emory for the Cause of Global Health

In follow up of a January 2007 visit to Atlanta by Firoz Rasul, President of Aga Khan University (AKU), the representatives of the university held a luncheon on April 1st at the Crown Plaza Ravina to reiterate the university's global impact and share its plans in the development of health, education and social sectors in South East Asia and Africa.

During his January visit, Rasul met with Wayne Alexander, Chairman of Emory University's School of Medicine to discuss ways AKU and Emory's Global Health Institute can forge links to advance the cause of global health. According to Alexander, it is precisely these kinds of initiatives with academic institutions that need to be leveraged for the improvement of health, education and social services in Asia and Africa.

Rafiq Noon, the Director of Development - North America presided at luncheon event. The Regional Convener of AKU Resource Development committee for the southeast USA, Amin Lakhani, organized this event with the aid of Atlanta's community activist and philanthropist, Salim Jetha, for select community leaders from the Pakistani and Indian American diasporas.

The Aga Khan Foundation has spearheaded quite a few AKU campuses around the globe, especially in the Third World and Developing countries as detailed in the very impressive Power Point presentation. The AKU is moving from a health-sciences and education-development oriented university to one that is in the process of establishing a Faculty of Arts and Sciences modeled after the small liberal arts colleges of northeastern USA. The vision is to develop critical thinkers who are well balanced and global in their outlook and who will develop into responsible future leaders. A true global citizen, as described by AKU leaders, is one who has studied and lived in different places, speaks different languages and understands the peoples, needs and cultures of different regions of the world and can bring that global perspective to the issues we will be facing in the future.

Both Rafiq Noon and Amin Lakhani stressed that this community event was initiated strictly for awareness purposes and not intended to be a fund raiser. Alternatively they also announced that a time would soon come to pass the hat around and for all those inspired to make a difference should educate themselves about AKU's Global growth and donate to make a better tomorrow for the world's children.

At the luncheon two current AKU medical students voiced their grievances that they did not experience the global expanse of the university that was being talked about. The students stressed the need for improved communications within existing students so that they could be confident representatives of the university.

The Aga Khan University was founded in 1980 by His Highness The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's estimated 20 million Ismaili Muslims. AKU was Pakistan's first private University. It admits students strictly on merit regardless of financial need, religious affiliation or ethnic origin. Only 16% of its costs are met through tuition fees. Only 100 of the 4500 applications received for its medical school are admitted.

- Viren Mayani

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