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Speech at the opening of the Rufaiday-al-Islamia

Friday, 1996, November 22
Hazar Imam inaugrauting the Rufaiday Building
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

Chairman of the Board of the Trustees, members of the Board of Trustees, members of the Firashta Family and the Soneri Bank and welcome guests.

This is a singularly important occasion in the history of the Aga Khan University and I would like to share with you right at the beginning of these few comments, a very deep sense of happiness and elation at the way in which the School of Nursing at the Aga Khan University has progressed.

When this University was conceived, Nursing was one of the founding concerns that we had. It was a profession that needed support, recognition, enhancement. But it was part of a more significant issue which was the education of women in Pakistan. Today I think we can all share this sense of very, very great happiness that the School of Nursing has achieved another significant benchmark in its history. And I want to congratulate and thank the Firashta family and the Soneri Bank for their magnificent contributions this morning. Not only have they been very generous donors to the School of Nursing but they are repeat donors and the fact that they are repeat donors for an institution such as the Aga Khan University is a magnificent example of on-going support for a major institution as it develops and evolves. And in that sense I consider their support exemplary and I repeat My gratitude on behalf of everyone who will benefit from this significant gift that you have made.

I would like to take this occasion to say also that the School of Nursing which after all was the first part of the Aga Khan University, it was the the first component of this institution. An institution is a complex of activities which must grow with, or ahead of the University as a whole. And the trustees and I have attached, and will continue to attach very, very great importance to the growth of the School of Nursing. Dr. Hubbard has mentioned post-graduate studies. I want her to know that at least, from My point of view, post-graduate studies at the School of Nursing is an objective which I hope to see very soon achieved.

When this institution was founded, one of the concerns which the original advisers had shared with Me, and particularly the men and women who worked on the Harvard Report, was this that the university should not only teach, but it should relate properly to the society in which it lives so that the work of its faculty, of its students, would benefit the wider community in which this institution functions. The role of continuing education in nursing is a significant role which I hope this institution will develop in the years ahead, because one of My aspirations was that this School of Nursing will achieve such a dimension in competence, in knowledge, in research, that it would become a reference point for the nursing profession in Pakistan, and not just for students. It seems to Me significant, therefore, that we should, as a next step, seek to develop both post-graduate studies and a significant dimension in research. I am absolutely convinced that there is much to learn in research in nursing in Pakistan and research in nursing in the developing world generally. And it seems to Me that this School of Nursing should look at those horizons, should work with all of us to try to develop them them. And I want to assure you today that I will fully support you, as I am sure the trustees will do in these exciting new initiatives.

One of the issues that has been of concern to us is the rate at which the School of Nursing could develop, and while Paul Haverd has mentioned that the School of Medicine wants to nibble at the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine also tries to nibble at your budget. I take this occasion to assure you that I will defend your budget.

For the Aga Khan University, education of women and that they should participate in the development of this institution and in the development of the country, is a fundamentally important principle. And I want at the end of this short remarks to tell you how important this is in My view, how important this is in the view of My family and that that is a commitment to which the School of Nursing look to with absolute confidence.

I hope that in the years ahead we will soon be able to give graduate degrees at the School of Nursing and I am looking at the Trustees and that will be another major step at this School of Nursing.

Congratulations to the Firashta family, to the Soneri Bank for their magnificent, exemplary contribution and I wish you every happiness and success in this magnificent next step of the School of Nursing.

Audio for Speech at the opening of the Rufaiday-al-Islamia

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