The Nation (Nairobi)
July 19, 2004

Varsity Team Set for Talks in Mombasa

Nairobi - Members of the Aga Khan University (AKU) board of trustees have started arriving in Kenya for the board's second meeting this year, to be held in Mombasa from today until Sunday.

The focus will be a review of the university's medical and education programmes in East Africa, which now has more than 500 students.

The team will also meet top government officials in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

AKU has established a permanent presence in the three countries and has plans to become a major partner with the governments in meeting development goals.

It is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which was established by the Aga Khan as an international group of development agencies working to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, and to improve the conditions and opportunities, especially in Central and South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Ugandan-born and Kenyan-educated AKU president Shamsh Kassim-Lakha said the institution is non-denominational and open to all on merit.

AKU, which was chartered in 1983 as an international university, has 10 teaching sites in Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom. "The university has a broad educational reach through programmes in medicine, nursing, educational development and, more recently, human development and the study of Muslim civilisations," said Mr Kassim-Lakha.

Responding to the invitation of governments and nursing and medical leaders of East Africa, AKU established its first campus in Uganda in 2001 as part of a regional initiative aimed at developing skills and career advancement for professionals.

It has since come a long way in East Africa, with its advanced nursing programme now providing continuing education and undergraduate courses to more than 300 nurses and nursing administrators in the region every year.