“His Highness sees it as his duty as a Muslim leader to help the underprivileged improve their own lot in life”
Aga Khan University: Building capacity to support global development
The President of the Aga Khan University leads the work of a centre of knowledge founded by the Aga Khan to help the people of developing countries tackle their problems.
A few years after Prince Karim Aga Khan IV had become the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili branch of Islam, he decided to found a university. His ancestors had founded Cairo almost a thousand years earlier, as well as its al-Azhar University, which is the world’s oldest university still operating. He wanted to create a centre of knowledge to advance global development in the modern world, and called together a group of distinguished advisers under Derek Bok, the then President of Harvard, where His Highness had graduated with a history degree. They concluded that developing countries needed leaders and the capacity to help solve their own problems, drawing on their cultural heritage in ways that foreign aid workers could not.
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