Keeping the annual tradition of the institution alive, Aga Khan University (AKU) trustees, alumni, faculty and staff honoured 323 graduates at the 23rd AKU Convocation on Saturday, November 13, 2010.
This year, the University’s Institute for Educational Development graduated 21 students and the School of Nursing 162 nurses, 12 of whom received a Master’s degree.
The Medical College graduated 97 doctors and granted 24 Master of Science degrees. There were 19 Master of Bioethics graduates also, the first class from this programme at the University.
Amidst much applause, Rinam Rahmatullah received the Best Graduate Award from the School of Nursing and Dr Saulat Sajjad Sheikh from the Medical College.
Mr Khushnood Lashari, the Federal Health Secretary and chief guest at the morning Convocation reminded graduates of the contribution the University has made to the country. Highlighting the hardships the country is facing in the aftermath of the 2010 Pakistan floods, he commended the University’s relief efforts in making the Railway Hospital in Sukkur operational and turning it “into a diarrheal treatment centre which potentially saved many from the epidemic of diarrhoea and cholera in the region.” He said there was much to be done in this time of need, and urged graduates to “build institutions, create knowledge, set benchmarks of quality by using best practices, develop models for change, inspire ethical practice and lead by example.”
The chief guest at the afternoon programme, Justice Sarmad Osmany, Chief Justice, Sindh High Court reminded the graduating doctors that they should not treat the medical profession as merely a career. Rather, they must have compassion for their fellow human beings and the desire to serve humanity. He also spoke about the current situation in Pakistan and how the nation is facing a series of major calamities including the 2005 earthquake and the recent floods, as well as terrorism. These are situations that only the citizens of Pakistan can take responsibility for and respond to.
On a similar note, Mr Firoz Rasul, President, Aga Khan University reminded graduates of their role in rebuilding Pakistan. He emphasised how great leaders have been able to effect change by challenging the way a society thinks and shapes its institutions; from Nelson Mandela, who withstood 27 years in prison on the basis of a principle, to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who nursed the birth of a nation.
Mr Rasul called for leadership that displays the same qualities of resilience. “Leaders who have the capacity to bounce back from misfortune, disruptive change, and crises; who have the ability to step up, see a new horizon with greater opportunities, and then engage those around them to achieve that vision,” he said. The ability to be a resilient leader is driven by a person’s intrinsic qualities, attitudes and behaviours and an ethical framework. “It comes from the ability to look at challenges as opportunities to grow, to change, and to learn from mistakes rather than seeing ourselves as victims of circumstances and feeling we are not in control of our own destiny. It comes from our willingness to take the initiative rather than feel sorry for ourselves and inspire those around us to believe in their own capabilities.”
The University also presented three people with awards. The Award of Excellence in Education went to Dr Shaista Masood Khan, for her outstanding contribution to education, the Award of Distinction to Dr Terrence Gibson and Dr Riaz Qureshi, who have contributed constructively and consistently to the development of the University.
Also in attendance were representatives from student groups, various student and academic leaders, and staff, all of whom played an important role for students during their years at AKU.
For details, please visit the University's Convocation websection.
Rida Turabi, Senior Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org