Aga Khan University

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Aga Khan University
AKU Seal
TypePrivate nonprofit university
Established1983 (1983)
ChancellorHis Highness the Aga Khan
PresidentFiroz Rasul
Location, ,

The Aga Khan University (آغا خان یونیورسٹی ) is a pioneering institution of higher education that works to improve quality of life in the developing world and beyond. Guided by the principles of impact, quality, relevance and access, the University has programmes and campuses in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom and Afghanistan.

The University operates teaching hospitals – Aga Khan University Hospitals, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Medical Colleges, Institutes for Educational Development, Graduate School of Media and Communications, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, East Africa Institute and Institute for Human Development.

AKU also runs an Examination Board and manages the French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children in Kabul, Afghanistan.[1]

More than 2 million patients per year are treated at seven AKU hospitals and more than 350 medical centres in East Africa and Pakistan.

A study of AKU's impact in Pakistan, conducted by U.S.-based Centennial Group International, found that AKU has an annual economic impact in Pakistan of US$1 billion, and directly and indirectly supports 42,000 jobs annually.[2]

AKU was ranked among the top 100 universities for clinical medicine and among the top 200 for public health internationally in the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 released by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).[3]


Founded in 1983 by the Prince Aga Khan IV, AKU is one of the Aga Khan Development Network agencies.[4]

  • 1964: The Chancellor announces plans to construct Aga Khan Hospital and Medical College
  • 1980: The contract for the main complex of Aga Khan University Hospital and Medial College was signed in London
  • 1983: Former President of Pakistan presented the Charter of the University to the Chancellor, making it the first private international university in Pakistan; the first class of the University's School of Nursing graduates
  • 1985: Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi inaugurated
  • 1989: The University's medical college's first batch graduates
  • 1994: The Institute for Educational Development, Karachi inaugurated
  • 2001: The Advanced Nursing Studies Programme launched in Uganda
  • 2002: The Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations established in London
  • 2005: Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi upgraded to Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi
  • 2006: Inaugurated the Institute for Educational Development in East Africa, and the French Medical Institute for Children, managed by AKU, in Kabul
  • 2007: The Examination Board conducts its first Secondary School Certificate examinations
  • 2012: Founded Graduate School of Media and Communications, Institute for Human Development, and East Africa Institute[5]


The Aga Khan University accounts for 75% of all biomedical research in Pakistan while the remaining 25 percent is shared by all the other institutions.[6] AKU publishes more research articles in peer-reviewed, indexed internationally recognised journals than any other university in Pakistan.[6] Faculty promotions are dependent on publications in indexed journals while most medical students have published by the time they graduate.[citation needed] Undergraduate medical students have published up to 50 research papers in indexed health journals.[7]

It is the one of the few universities in Pakistan to provide research facilities to students at the undergraduate level. The university maintains a research office to guide and support research conducted at the university. A University Research Council also funds grants after a competitive review process facilitated by a Grants Review Committee. Particular emphasis is also placed on community related health sciences research. AKU organizes international and national research workshops and seminars. A Health Sciences Research Assembly is held annually in which faculty and students present their research.[8]

The university is a site for NIH clinical trials.[9] The seal (logo) of the Aga Khan University is a visual representation of the principles which underlie the founding of the university.[10] The circular form of the seal has its roots in the rosettes of early Islamic periods. It also symbolizes the world and reflects the internationality of the Aga Khan University. At the centre of the seal is a star or sun representing light – a universal symbol of the enlightenment that education provides. The light is also symbolic of Nur (divine light). The star incorporates 49 points to commemorate the university's founding by Prince Karim Aga Khan, the Forty-Ninth imam of the Ismaili Muslims. The outer ring circumscribes a Quranic Ayat (3:103) rendered in classic thuluth script.

AKU-IED is a center for developing teachers, educators, education managers, researchers and policy makers. Apart from teacher training, AKU-IED offers MEd (Masters of Education) and PhD. in Education as well. Established in 2003. AKU-EB is a federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary education in Pakistan. AKU-EB examines students at SSC and HSSC level.[11]

Launched in 2015, the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) is focused on education and tailored training for journalists, communicators and media executives and entrepreneurs in East Africa and beyond.[12] On 7 December 2019, GSMC announced a partnership with Facebook to launch the Video Journalism Fellowship.[13]


Aga Khan University's Karachi campus.

The Aga Khan University is an international university, operating on campuses in Central and South Asia, the African Great Lakes, Europe and the Middle East. In Pakistan, the university is an 84-acre campus including a hospital with two on-campus male and female hostels with a capacity of 300 each. It has a sports and rehabilitation center which is one of the best in Pakistan, with an Olympic-standard swimming pool, cricket practice nets, tennis courts, indoor gymnasium with wooden flooring, squash courts and gyms. It has cricket and football grounds with jogging tracks.

Existing campuses and international programmes include:

  • Faculty of Health Sciences located on an 84-acre (340,000 m2) campus in the heart of Karachi, Pakistan, built in the 1980s[14]
  • Aga Khan University Health Sciences campus in Nairobi, Kenya
  • A USD 500 million campus for the university's Faculty of Arts and Sciences is under development in Karachi, Pakistan. An area of 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) has been acquired just outside Karachi, and Payette Associates[15] are the project architects.
  • Institute for Educational Development in the Karimabad area of Karachi, Pakistan and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London, United Kingdom
  • A USD 450 million campus planned for Arusha, in north-eastern Tanzania to be built in the next 15 years
  • Advanced Nursing Studies (ANS) Programmes at campuses in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
  • Programmes for capacity development for teachers and nurses in Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria

Notable alumni, professors and staff[edit]

Professors and staff[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Aga Khan University in the news[edit]

In international news[edit]

  • BBC News: "AKU, Leading the Y2K campaign"[21]
  • BBC News: the remains of a Persian Princess found in Pakistan were X-rayed at AKU. Dr. Jeffrey Rees of AKU was interviewed by the BBC;[22] however, CAT scans done at AKU confirmed the mummy to be forged.
  • The International News: Aga Khan University's Centre for Innovation in Medical Education becomes South Asia's first to receive prestigious accreditation[23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the University". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. ^ "AKU's Economic Impacts in Pakistan". Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  3. ^ "ShanghaiRanking: AKU ranks in the top 100 global universities". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Aga Khan University". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  5. ^ "History of AKU". Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Need stressed to promote research". Dawn (newspaper). 29 March 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ DOAJ. "Directory of Open Access Journals". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Annual Research Institute". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  9. ^ "NIH trials at the Aga Khan University". Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ "The Seal – AKU Convocation 2006". Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  11. ^ "AKU-EB". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  12. ^ "About Us". Aga Khan University | Graduate School of Media and Communications. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  13. ^ Wanzala, James. "Varsity, Facebook partner in training". The Standard. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  14. ^ "HARVARD TO AID IN DEVELOPING PAKISTANI TEACHING HOSPITAL". The New York Times. 21 December 1981. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  15. ^ Payette Associates, Aga Khan University's U.S.-based architecture firm, Retrieved 11 August 2017
  16. ^ Profile of Aga Khan University – Karachi, Retrieved 11 August 2017
  17. ^ CSPH Names Adil Haider, MD, MPH as New Director Archived 27 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 3 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Liberty Dialysis Physicians Fahim Rahim and Naeem Rahim to Receive Ellis Island National Medals of Honor for Their Contribution to Achievements in Dialysis and Kidney Care". Business Wire. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Dr. Naeem Rahim, MD". Health Grades. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Rahim Farhim and JRM Foundation reach out". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  21. ^ "AKU leading the Y2K campaign". BBC News. 24 August 1999. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  22. ^ "The Mystery of the Persian Mummy". 20 September 2001. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Pakistani healthcare simulation centre becomes South Asia's first to receive prestigious accreditation". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  24. ^ "AKU recoginsed for simulation-based education". The Express Tribune. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2020.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 24°53′34″N 67°04′29″E / 24.8928°N 67.0747°E / 24.8928; 67.0747