Mr. Firoz Rasul currently serves as President of the Aga Khan University, which he joined on May 1, 2006. The Aga Khan University is an institution of higher education that bridges the realities of global knowledge and expertise with the building of local capacity in the developing world. As part of the Aga Khan Development Network, the University is committed to bringing international standards of excellence in teaching, research and service to local communities around the world to help them improve their quality of life. The University currently operates in eight countries (many of them with difficult terrain or large segments of underprivileged populations) on three continents and as a needs-blind institution, attracts some of the most talented students to programs in medicine, education and nursing, without regard for their ability to pay. Planning is underway for AKU to establish two faculties of arts and sciences as well as eight graduate professional schools in East Africa and South and Central Asia.
Prior to his engagement with AKU, President Rasul was involved in building several business enterprises and the development of social and community institutions. He served as either Chairman or Chief Executive Officer of Ballard Power Systems, a world leader in fuel cell technology from December 1988 until May 2004. Before that he was Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Mobile Data International (MDI) from 1981 until its takeover by its largest competitor, Motorola, in 1988 and prior to that worked with Black and Decker and General Foods Corporation in Europe.
His passion for education and its transformational power started here in Vancouver. Mr. Rasul has served as a member of the University of British Columbia's Board of Governors and as a Director on the Board of Science World, British Columbia. Between 2000 and 2006, he was President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, when he led the development of several large-scale projects for the Aga Khan Development Network, including The Global Centre of Pluralism in Ottawa and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, where research and education are a large part of their mandates.
Mr. Rasul was drawn to accept the position at AKU, because of The Aga Khan University’s mission. Its focus is to build human capacity by empowering people to develop knowledge and skills, which will enable them to solve problems that afflict their societies. The University is focused on bringing international best practices to the developing world to nurture leaders in politics, government, business, academia and civil society, who are competent, ethical and sensitized to the pluralism of the societies they will serve. The curricula and pedagogy of the University are aimed at developing critical thinking and problem solving abilities to address real world problems. AKU’s goal is economic and social upliftment, achieved by producing job creators, micro-entrepreneurs and innovative leaders who want to create cohesive communities, which will live in harmony with their neighbors, become stewards of their environment and offer hope to their communities. Quality education can make this happen.
As a business leader, Mr. Rasul has shared his knowledge and experience while a member on the Board of TELUS Corporation and the Royal Bank Capital Corporation. He was named 2001 National Transportation Person of the Year and Wilfred Laurier University’s School of Business and Economics recognized him with its Outstanding Business Leader award.
President Rasul received a Bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and an MBA from McGill University. Simon Fraser University in British Columbia conferred the Degree of Doctors of Laws, honoris causa, on Mr Rasul in 2001.