Simon Fraser University and the Aga Khan University on Friday signed an agreement to facilitate joint research, faculty and student exchange and other forms of collaboration between the two institutions aimed at tackling global issues, among them climate change and environmental sustainability.
There are longstanding connections between the universities. AKU’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and SFU’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies have offered jointly run summer courses, and students from AKU and SFU have done internships at one another’s campuses. But the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Simon Fraser President Joy Johnson and AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin at SFU’s main campus in Burnaby, Canada, outside of Vancouver, envisions a broader partnership, allowing for a range of cooperative endeavours.
“This partnership with the Aga Khan University will allow both institutions to build on our shared values as we work together to tackle some of humanity’s most pressing challenges,” said SFU President Joy Johnson. “I know that AKU does incredible work and I am excited about the opportunities that students, faculty and staff will have to learn with and from the community there.”
“The problems that individuals, communities and countries face today are increasingly global in nature,” President Shahabuddin said. “Partnerships that bring like-minded institutions together across borders and boundaries are indispensable to addressing the challenges we face. All of us at AKU are eager to continue collaborating with Simon Fraser University, one of Canada’s top universities, to advance knowledge and educate future leaders.”
With both universities committed to building on their shared values in tackling global issues such as climate change and environmental sustainability, discussions on joint initiatives in those areas are already underway. AKU recently established its 3,700-acre Arusha Environmental Research Reserve in Tanzania. In October, a delegation from SFU visited the site, which is meant to be a “living laboratory” for studies related to climate change, environmental stewardship, biodiversity, agriculture, community engagement and other fields.
The agreement is the second between SFU and an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. Under a 2020 Memorandum of Understanding, faculty members from the University of Central Asia, an AKDN agency, are pursuing postgraduate degrees at SFU.