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Speech at the Juma Building for Research 1996-11-22

Friday, 1996, November 22

Juma Building Karachi

H.H. The Aga Khan viewing the models of the Juma and the CHS Building  1997-11-26
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

Mr.Chairman, Board of Trustees, Trustees, generous donors, honoured guests, I was not supposed to say anything at this gathering but it is such an important gathering, so meaningful for the future of the Institution, for the support that you are giving it that I wanted to share with you some comments before the morning was over.

And I would like first of all to congratulate the Juma family for their magnificent donation to our Research Building. When this Institution was first conceived, those who participated in its conception particularly the Harvard Team, underlined the severe lack of Research capacity, Research activity in higher education in the Third World. So from the earliest days of the thinking of this Institution it was underlined how essential Research would be to make this Institution a significant player in the teaching of medicine in the sub-continent and indeed further a field. It was also underlined that in our own Islamic Tradition, Research has been fundamentally important and whether its in Medicine, whether its in Opthomology, whether its in Astronomy, there are numerous names of Muslims who have been part of our civilizations in the past whose methodologies, and not only their discoveries, but their methodology contributed significantly to knowledge at the time and on which modern knowledge is significantly based.

Another aspect was that it was unlikely that our Faculty or that our Graduate students, those who are going for Masters or Doctors Degrees, could give real meaning to their work without Research. And therefore I want to tell you how deeply happy I am at your donation for this building and I hope that it will be a significant foundation for the continuation of quality education, for Faculty, for graduate students, so on and so forth.

Hopefully, one day, our Research will be meaningful for much of Asia and Africa because it is here that we should be doing Research. I would like to point out also that whereas the Trustees, the Chancellor have been invited to sustain research at AKU. It is really our society that has to sustain Research not just our University. And I think this is time for us to look at this issue on a national basis and not just on an institutional basis, because it is only when a nation commits to forward thinking that it can really aspire to be a significant player in world affairs.

I would also like to comment on the Community Health Sciences Building. Very early on, there was an understanding that this Institution if it came into existence in Pakistan, must not become an ivory tower of academia disassociated from the needs of society in Pakistan and elsewhere. Our curriculum was built around the notion that Community Health Sciences had to be a significant part of the education that we give to our young men and women. And I want to congratulate the Ismaili Health Professionals of Canada for the superb contribution that they have made to this building, to tell them that I hope, it will not only assist students to complete their education appropriately for Pakistan but that the research that will be carried out, and you already have a Masters Degree availability that it will, in due course bring a significant contribution to protecting and anticipating the needs of Health Care in Pakistan. So in that sense I want to congratulate you, to express My gratitude, the gratitude of the Trustees, the gratitude of everyone connected with this Institution.

My papers, and I do occasionally read the papers that are given to Me, My papers say that these buildings are to be completed in October 1999. Please, (applause) Please try to complete them before the turn of the century. If you do, I hope I will be present on that occasion.

Thank You.

Audio for Speech at the Juma Building for Research 1996-11-22

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