Building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into AKU Mobility Programmes ​

​Since 2008, the Aga Khan University (AKU)’s Global Mobility Programmes has been providing high-quality, skill-based internships for students. So far, the programmes have recruited more than 350 students representing 22 nationalities from over 50 universities to Aga Khan University and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)’s agencies in 14 countries within East Africa, Central and South Asia and the Middle East. More than 90 mentors from AKDN agencies have participated providing interns with a one-of-a-kind mentorship experience that makes them global.

COVID-19 made way for many new opportunities, to emerge, pivots to happen and ideas to percolate, one is testing the idea of virtual internships. Aga Khan University Mobility Programmes embraced the virtual shift and as a result, diversified its programming, its reach, opening up to students locally, and its geographic areas to include postings in challenging locations including Afghanistan, Syria, and Northern Pakistan where mentors could now access interns virtually.

Grants such as The Global Skills Opportunity (GSO), Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning (CEWIL), and Erasmus+ grants have allowed students from vulnerable populations to access opportunities at AKU and AKDN. In parallel the programme has offered virtual positions in high-risk countries, such as Afghanistan, Syria, Northern Pakistan, Mozambique, and Tajikistan, allowing mentors to access high-quality students through safe, innovative, and accessible pathways.

The most significant opportunity has been the development of our Reciprocal Virtual Internship Programme which has provided internships to AKU students to participate in internships at partner institutions. Equity and inclusion have been achieved in programmes such as The World Association of Cooperative Education (WACE) Global Challenge programme and The Intern Group (TIG) programmes have provided access to AKU students in Pakistan, East Africa, and the United Kingdom to access international internships with our partners and international companies in Australia, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania among other countries. Breaking down barriers to opportunities due to cost, visa and security issues has allowed students to access internships remotely.

As we look to the year ahead, we are happy to announce that our onsite programmes are back in full swing.  

Diversity, equity and inclusion, have become the focal point of our programming and continue to highlight our innovation and impact through this lens. In 2023, we plan on recruiting more students into our programmes and equipping them with the global employability skills and the professional development skills they need to fully pursue their career goals.​