This is an extraordinary moment in Africa’s history. Today, the continent exudes and inspires immense optimism. Africa is now home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and the number of democracies has increased dramatically over the last quarter-century. At the same time, it faces tremendous obstacles to progress. Weak educational systems, persistent poverty, corruption, rapid population growth, weak public health systems, climate change, food insecurity and rising sectarianism are creating webs of interconnected challenges with global consequences. It is at this moment that new leaders and new ideas can tip the balance and usher in a brighter future not only for Africa but for the world.
The challenges Africa confronts have one thing in common: solving them depends on the expertise and insight that broadly educated and highly skilled individuals bring to bear. Countries must be able to create and deploy new ideas and technologies in order to live up to their promise. Today, Africa needs outstanding universities more than ever before. Rather than a luxury, they are an absolute necessity.
AKU’s new initiative in Arusha is perhaps the boldest private higher education project in Africa today. Located in the capital of the five-nation East African Community, our new campus will be a hub not only for the Arusha area but for the wider region, supporting a thriving academic community, offering a range of much-needed capacity to improve the quality of life of the growing population and forging connections to enable the emergence of East African institutions, identity and unity. This initiative is transformative for AKU as it moves to realize the Chancellor’s vision of becoming a liberal arts university by offering undergraduate degrees in the Arts & Sciences and, over time, graduate degrees through seven Graduate and Professional Schools, including Leadership and Management, Tourism, Architecture, and Media & Communication. If we are bold, it is because our record is exemplary, and because boldness is exactly what is needed in East African higher education. As our history demonstrates, we know what it takes to build an outstanding university in the developing world.
On a stunning, 3,000-acre greenfield site featuring sweeping views of Mount Meru, one of Africa’s highest peaks, the new AKU campus will feature academic and residential facilities, University hospital, an Aga Khan pre-primary, primary and secondary school, housing for students, faculty, staff and others, a hotel and conference facilities, and retail. The campus is being designed by Legorreta & Legorreta –award winning
Mexican architects of international repute known for their use of color and light to create joyful spaces.