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January 2, 2018

AKU alumni donate $250,000 to alma mater to support disadvantaged doctors


January 2, 2018

To celebrate their 20th graduation anniversary, the Aga Khan University’s (AKU) MBBS class of 1992 has donated a generous amount of $250,000 (approximately Rs28 million) to the endowment fund set up in 2012 to support physicians from underserved communities across Pakistan, AKU officials said on Monday.

The MBBS Class of 1992 Endowment Fund was set up to support AKU’s Medical College in perpetuity, and in its commitment to making continuing medical education accessible to more physicians who work in underserved communities across Pakistan and who come to AKU for workshops, research symposiums, Continuing Medical Education lectures and other research-related activities specific to Postgraduate Medical Education students training at AKU.

This latest gift is the most recent example of the AKU alumni’s generosity towards their alma mater. A career in medicine and caring for vulnerable patients is itself a way of endowing society, but the alumni clearly value the concept of paying it forward.

Proceeds from the fund will continue to enable the university to open its doors to many more students from other medical institutions across Pakistan to attend world-class conferences and workshops at AKU to more closely connect them through the curriculum with advances in medicine so as to better care for the communities where they come from.

It will also support education of undergraduate students from some of Pakistan’s most underserved communities requiring financial assistance to access world-class medical education. “AKU has opened up new worlds for me and my classmates,” says Dr Faiz Bohra, who, along with Dr Mumtaz Khan, signed the agreement with AKU on behalf of their class.

“It has offered me new perspectives, which allowed me to fulfil my dreams. Looking back over many years of practice, we know that medical education is our most valuable possession. It is a privilege every day to practice medicine. It helps to ground us and humble us. It has been a lifetime of learning, growth and service.”

The two doctors acknowledged the efforts of Dr Muneer Abidi and Dr Obeid Ilahi in championing this gift. Graduates of MBBS class of 1992 from within and outside Pakistan attended the ceremony, along with the Faculty of Health Sciences staff, and learnt first-hand the impact that the MBBS Class of 1992 Endowment Fund has already created.

“Our education at AKU prepared us well for the challenges of medicine,” said Dr Khan. “As students, we focused on didactic and clinical work – the tasks of becoming a doctor. However, we learned many things we were not aware of – excellence, compassion, resilience, passion, teamwork, commitment and intellectual curiosity – that have made all the difference in our success. We attribute this to the strong mentors at AKU, many of them women setting high standards for patient care and education, yet able to show the joy in their work and the human aspects of medicine.”

Medical College Dean Dr Farhat Abbas added: “Our alumni believe giving back is their responsibility. We sincerely hope that this gesture will inspire other alumni to personally contribute to the advancement of medical education.”

The AKU alumni are part of a supportive, cohesive community that spans the globe and endures for a lifetime. From lifelong relationships to memories of life on the Stadium Road campus, there are innumerable reasons alumni choose to support their alma mater. Every year more alumni give back in celebration of reunions, as volunteers or through annual gifts, and they are not shy about sharing why.

AKU is a world-renowned institution that contributes a significant amount to the advancement of society, with a particular focus on serving disadvantaged, underserved and indigent populations.

Graduates from AKU work in numerous countries around the world, which allows the university’s reach to be felt on a global scale. AKU alumni play a major role in both domestic and international economies. By training the next generation of highly-educated, global citizens, the university is shaping a skilled workforce that will transform and lead an emerging global economy.

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