Convocation Caps Historic Year for the Aga Khan University

More than 700 students on Saturday graduated from various Aga Khan Universities globally, capping a historic 40th anniversary for the institution.

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu and Princess Zahra Aga Khan presided over the graduation of 159 students at Aga Khan University Nairobi.

“2023 was an exceptional year in which AKU’s growth was evident through multiple initiatives. We launched undergraduate medical education in Nairobi and undergraduate nursing education in both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam to educate the healthcare leaders who are needed throughout East Africa,” said Princess Zahra.

The graduates, more than 60 per cent of whom are women, were awarded degrees in nursing, medicine, education and journalism.

“On graduating, you return to a world that is full of daunting challenges but also of endless possibilities,” said Princess Zahra. “Continue to strive with courage and optimism to grasp opportunities to serve your communities and contribute to a more pluralistic and peaceful world,” she added.

CS Machogu said he had “great faith” in the graduating class.

“The reason for my faith is simple: I know what the Aga Khan University stands for. It stands for high standards, access based on merit and service to society,” CS Machogu said.
AKU’s President and Vice Chancellor Sulaiman Shahabuddin termed the day a “crowning moment” for the graduates, noting that the learning institution has awarded nearly 20,000 diplomas, degrees and postgraduate certificates since its inception.

He outlined the university’s plans for the future in its new five-year strategic plan, which includes launching close to a dozen new degree programmes in fields ranging from data science to teacher education.

AKU also plans to enhance research capacity in mental health, climate change and other disciplines; expand the AKU health system; deepen the university’s partnerships with public and private institutions at home and abroad; and continue to earn new forms of academic and health care accreditation from leading international organisations.

“That AKU has been able to achieve so much across its four decades is above all thanks to its founder, Chancellor and chief benefactor, His Highness the Aga Khan,” said Dr Shahabuddin.
“His Highness’s vision continues to guide us and continually inspire us with the strength to make bold decisions that keep AKU at the forefront of innovation, quality and impact.”

AKU celebrated its 40th anniversary On March 16, 2023. Princess Zahra detailed some of the many achievements that have made the facility’s anniversary year one of the most consequential in its history.

She said four new academic programmes welcomed their first students, increasing total enrolment to more than 3,600 for the first time in the University’s history. These are the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme in Nairobi, the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing programmes in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Karachi.

In Nairobi, the Aga Khan University Hospital implemented East Africa’s first integrated electronic health records system. In Uganda, construction began on the University’s new 60-acre campus, which will feature an academic centre, student housing and a new Aga Khan University Hospital.

In Tanzania, the University launched the Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery conferred its Award of Excellence on Beatrice Njeri Kabura, from the Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Teresiah Ngendo Gachimu, from the Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Midwifery.

Among those who graduated with Masters in Digital Journalism included NMG’s Harry Misiko, Zeynab Wandati, Caroline Wafula, Brian Ocharo and other media personalities.
The Valedictorian, Susan Cheruiyot, said AKU had instilled in the graduates the value of service.


“There’s a reason and season for everyone who crosses our path. Seasons will certainly change, rejection might just be redirection. Be prepared and focused,” she said.

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