Chartered in 1983, Aga Khan University is a private, autonomous university that promotes human welfare through research, teaching and community service. Based on the principles of quality, access, impact and relevance, the University has campuses and programmes in Afghanistan, East Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Syria and the United Kingdom. Its facilities include teaching hospitals, Nursing Schools and a Medical College, Institutes for Educational Development, an Examination Board and an Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. It occupies a pivotal place within Aga Khan Development Network.
AKU brings international expertise to bear upon the establishment and enhancement of its current and future programmes and services through ongoing partnerships with prestigious overseas institutions. Additionally, in line with its commitment to the advancement of the status and professional opportunities for women, the University seeks similar collaborations to strengthen women-oriented professions such as nursing and teaching.
AKU is a non-denominational institution open to all, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, gender or national origin. Forty-four per cent of the University's faculty are women, many in senior posts. Fifty per cent of students in the Medical College are also women. The University's admission policy is needs-blind and based on merit.
While the University sets its sights on the latest breakthroughs in health sciences and technology, as well as the application of well-proven and appropriate technologies that have been insufficiently applied in Pakistan, it also seeks to integrate systems of values, ethics and principles. In doing so, AKU is an important force for pluralism, teaching the skills of critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving, while inculcating moral reasoning, ethics and respect for others.
In its first two decades, AKU's major focus was in the fields of health and education. In the decade ahead, the University plans to step beyond professional education towards becoming a comprehensive university.
Following the liberal arts model, a Faculty of Arts and Sciences will be established on a new campus in Karachi and East Africa. It will develop skills in critical thinking and analysis, raise proficiency in verbal and written communication, enhance human resource development in the region, and advance understanding in particular academic disciplines.
Another programme under consideration is an Institute of Human Development, which will be dedicated to advancing the understanding of the effects and conditions of early childhood on subsequent well-being and performance, and the application of this understanding to the development of interventions and evaluation to assess their potential efficacy and applicability.