A multimedia exhibition that brings to life the 40-year history of the Aga Khan University opened to the public Thursday with numerous dignitaries in attendance, including former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Dr Ishrat Husain and Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
The first exhibition of its kind in AKU’s history, A Transformative Vision celebrates the vision of the University’s founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, the commitment of the thousands of dedicated individuals who have made that vision a reality and the impact AKU has on people’s lives. Featuring rarely seen photography, video, artefacts and documents, new interviews and surprising details, the exhibition captures AKU’s evolution from a single campus and hospital to the internationally recognized, continent-spanning institution of today.
“If there is one thing that AKU’s four-decade journey teaches us, it is that when talented and committed people unite to work toward a common goal on the basis of common values, any challenges can be overcome to build an institution with strong foundations,” said Mr Zakir Mahmood, Chairman of the AKU Board of Trustees. “A Transformative Vision tells the story of how one of Pakistan’s most valued institutions was built, which has had such a deep impact in such a short period. It’s an inspiring and uplifting experience.”
“We couldn’t miss the opportunity that AKU’s 40th anniversary provides to express our pride in what we have achieved, to reflect on the University’s evolution and to gather inspiration for the task that still lies before us,” AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin said. “The exhibit we are opening today takes you on a journey, from the moment in 1964 when His Highness the Aga Khan announced the AKU project to the launch of new programmes in medicine, nursing and the arts and sciences just a few weeks ago. No matter how well you know the University, you’ll discover something new.”
A Transformative Vision is located on AKU’s Stadium Road campus and is free for anyone who wishes to attend. The exhibition was curated by The Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultural and historic preservation and to fostering pride in Pakistan’s heritage. It will travel to AKU’s Nairobi campus next year.
“I see AKU as an institution that is helping Pakistan to take advantage of the enormous possibilities for economic and social development that exist in the era of the knowledge society,” said Dr Ishrat Husain, former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. “AKU and its remarkable community of supporters do indeed have much to celebrate. A Transformative Vision rests upon a firm foundation of distinguished accomplishment.”
Exhibit attendees can watch historic speeches by His Highness the Aga Khan and interviews with key figures in the University’s development; read rare documents by the architects who designed the Stadium Road campus; examine dozens of newspaper articles dating back to the 1970s; and hear a new piece of music commissioned to celebrate the University’s 40th anniversary. Objects on display range from original materials used by His Highness at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Stadium Road campus to a striking handcrafted brass version of AKU’s official seal.
“We started the The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) nearly 2 decades ago with the intention of creating a public resource that highlights the extraordinary achievements of individuals and lesser known stories of a region. The exhibition curated by CAP involved research of AKU’s activities all over the world, presenting this data in digital, traditional, and immersive media. What AKU has achieved in 40 years is admirable and we were honoured to have partnered with them,” said Ms Obaid-Chinoy, Patron of The Citizens Archive of Pakistan.