​​A Blurb on our Engaging AKU-VIP Speaker Series

​AKU’s Virtual Internship Programme’s Professional Development Speaker Series, aimed to develop professional capacities, provides the digital platform for knowledge exchange, networking, and to foster learning and inspiration for our student interns, former AKU-IIP alumni, and current AKU students. They have enjoyed three of six sessions so far, in the form of interactive webinars with professionals across University Partners and colleagues at the Aga Khan Development Network. Sessions moderated by our Programme Director, Farzana Karim-Haji, create a way for interns and students to get additional insight into their professional interests while with AKU.

Our first session was conducted by Robert Gough, the Director of International Internships and Development at the Western University who spoke on Ethical and Critical Global Engagement. This interactive webinar urged our interns to think about how to navigate their respective projects through a contextual and historical lens, learn more about being self-reflexive development practitioners that recognize the intricacies and power dynamics embedded in North-South relations and mobility.


The second session was on ‘Navigating Change in a Time of Crisis.’ This speaker series aimed to engage and inform our programme interns and AKU students to successfully maneuver and strengthen their professional capacities during this uncertain time focused on leadership, career development, and critical and global engagement. Featuring three professionals from partner universities Brown University, the University of Calgary, and the University of Washington, this highly charged talk brought forth key takeaways to do so.

AKU-VIP Interns and students very much enjoyed their third lively interaction with the Education Director for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), Yudhishthir Raj Isar. Students gained insight into how the AKTC mobilizes cultural assets for social, economic, and cultural development through their various programmes and initiatives to develop tangible and intangible culture (architecture, music, and revitalization of historic sites). Isar emphasized a holistic approach to sustainability and ensuring the quality of life of communities through community-oriented efforts in health, education, women’s empowerment, and cultural development.

​After each session, students and interns had an opportunity to interact with our speakers. Each session allowed them to get a direct insight into the realm of international development and professional takeaways to engage in these various sectors.