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April 27, 2018

Global exhibition kicks off at AKU


April 27, 2018

A global exhibition that showcases how leading with integrity can build a society based on inclusion and pluralism has been launched at a public event at Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi.

‘Ethics in Action: The Aga Khan Development Network’ demonstrates how a steadfast belief in our common humanity coupled with the resolve to serve the less fortunate has inspired the AKDN and its agencies, including the AKU, to find solutions to a range of development challenges in over 30 countries, said a press release issued by the university on Thursday.

“We foster intellectual development, reasoning skills, respect for many points of view, the search for knowledge and evidence-based enquiry,” said Dr Carl Amrhein, AKU provost and vice president, academic, at the inaugural ceremony. “In essence, this is the embodiment of the ethics presented on the various panels.”

The exhibition highlights how the AKDN’s ethical grounding in eight inter-related spheres – compassion, inclusiveness, self-reliance, education, governance, life and healthcare, sound mind and environment – are the basis for its efforts to empower communities and improve lives. From schools, hospitals, newspapers and power plants, to savings groups, water associations and urban parks and gardens, these services have benefited hundreds of millions of people across Asia and Africa.

Sakina Bibi’s success exemplifies the ethic of inclusiveness in action. After her husband’s death, Sakina took up the responsibility of supporting her four children by attending a vocational training institute run by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme. The knowledge and skills she gained through the programme prompted her to seek a loan from the AKDN’s First Microfinance Bank, which enabled her to establish a vocational training centre that has trained over 1,500 women.

The ethic of governance – trust, probity, equity and accountability – can be seen in the work of the AKU Examination Board. The first private national examination board in Pakistan, it introduced an innovative and transparent platform of assessment that guarantees student anonymity and provides a unique integrated approach to educational development focusing on assessment, research, teaching and exam and syllabi development.

The exhibition panels highlight the AKDN’s work to aid the displaced during the 2010 floods in Pakistan, to provide clean water and sanitation facilities to half a million Pakistanis, to deliver sustainable energy in remote areas of northern Pakistan and Tajikistan, and to establish leading universities and hospitals in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kenya.

“The Ethics in Action exhibition is a window towards social, cultural and economic impacts of the AKDN’s work in the world, especially in developing counties like Pakistan,” said Hameed Haroon, a culture and human rights activist, who was the event’s chief guest. “It also stresses the importance of universal and specifically Islamic ethical values.”

Most recently, a landmark study by Centennial Group International, a US-based consulting firm, has found that the AKU has an annual economic impact in Pakistan of Rs103 billion or $ 1 billion, and supports 42,000 jobs, noted Al-Karim Haji, AKU’s Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer​​​​. “The study also reports that AKU sparks change as a pioneer and role model, benefiting the public at large,” he added.

Hafiz Sherali, president of the Aga Khan Council for Pakistan, also spoke on the occasion. The ceremony was attended by representatives from government, NGOs and the corporate sector; diplomats; students and faculty from schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan; and other members of the AKU community. The exhibition is part of the Diamond Jubilee of the Imamat of His Highness the Aga Khan. It will be open to the public from April 27 to May 4, from noon to 2pm and 5:30pm to 9:30 pm; and on Saturday-Sunday from noon to 9:30pm at the AKU’s Sports and Rehabilitation Centre.

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