University of Central Asia Lecture - Creating Opportunity on the Roof of the World

Date: 17 May 2016
As part of its ‘breaking the cycle of poverty’ series, the Aga Khan Foundation UK along with the Ismaili Council United Kingdom and the University of Central Asia are pleased to invite you to a talk by:

Shamsh Kassim-Lakha
Executive Chairman, UCA Board Executive Committee and,
Aga Khan Development Network Diplomatic Representative to the Kyrgyz Republic

The first of three undergraduate UCA campuses will be opening in the Kyrgyz Republic in September 2016. Join us to discover how this visionary project is bringing about transformative change in Central Asia and creating new opportunities for its mountainous communities.

Kassim-Lakha will discuss how this innovative higher education institution is responding to some of the region’s pressing social and economic challenges by encouraging investment and developing Central Asia’s future leaders.

The talk will also highlight UCA’s current impact through its School of Professional & Continuing Education, Institute for Public Policy and Administration, Mountain Societies Research Institute, Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit, and the Aga Khan Humanities Project. The School of Professional & Continuing Education has already provided skills training to over 85,000 students since it opened in 2006.

There will then be an open discussion and Q&A session led by Gulnara Kasmambetova, Senior Producer for British Broadcasting Corporation Kyrgyz Television, Radio and Online.
Friday 20 May 2016
The Ismaili Centre, London, SW7 2SL
8.30pm (refreshments from 8pm)

To reserve your place (first come first served),
please visit:  

The University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 by the Presidents of Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan and His Highness the Aga Khan as the world’s first internationally chartered institution of higher education. The International Treaty and Charter establishing this secular and private University was ratified by the respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the Patrons of UCA and His Highness is the Chancellor. 

Shamsh Kassim-Lakha
Executive Chairman, Board Executive Committee
University of Central Asia

Shamsh Kassim-Lakha is the Executive Chairman of UCA's Board Executive Committee, and is leading the planning and building of UCA’s three campuses in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. He is also the Aga Khan Development Network’s Diplomatic Representative to the Kyrgyz Republic.

Kassim-Lakha has a long association with UCA, serving as co-chair on a distinguished panel of international and regional members who developed the concept for the University. In 2000, he was involved in the negotiations of the international treaty that led to UCA’s establishment.
As Founding President of the Aga Khan University (AKU), the first private university chartered in South Asia, Kassim-Lakha led the planning, building and operations of this internationally renowned institution for nearly three decades. AKU was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983 and has campuses in Pakistan, Eastern Africa and the United Kingdom.

Kassim-Lakha served in senior positions in the Pakistan government, including as the country’s Minister of Education and as Minister of Science and Technology in the caretaker government in 2007-8. As Minister of State in 2001-2, he led the task force which recommended higher education reforms in Pakistan, resulting in major structural changes in universities and the creation of the Higher Education Commission, of which he was a member from 2007 to 2011.

Kassim-Lakha is the Founding Chair of the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy board which he has led for 15 years. He is a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. In recognition of his academic and social work, Kassim-Lakha has received honorary degrees from McMaster University, Canada and Aga Khan University. His awards for distinguished service include Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan and Officer of the National Order of Merit from the President of France.

"By creating intellectual space and resources, this University will help turn the mountains that divide nations and territories of Central Asia into the links that unite its peoples and economics in a shared endeavour to improve their future well-being."
His Highness the Aga Khan
Chancellor, University of Central Asia
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