His Highness the Aga Khan
Known for his exemplary contribution to philanthropy and socio-economic development in over 30 countries, His Highness the Aga Khan is the recipient of over 100 national and international titles, decorations, honorary degrees, and awards. Much of the development activities of His Highness are funded and managed by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), with the primary objective of improving the quality of life.
His Highness the Aga Khan is the spiritual leader to over 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims. In the context of his hereditary responsibilities, His Highness has made a tremendous contribution to human development by promoting access to quality health and education in the under-developed regions of the world.
At the 88th Ogden Lecture at Brown University in 2014, His Highness highlighted the fundamental role of education:
“One of the important values of the Shia Ismaili tradition is the transformative power of the human intellect – that conviction underscores AKDN’s strong commitment to education, at all levels, wherever we are present. These activities include the Aga Khan University – now thirty years old – our newer University of Central Asia, our Aga Khan Academies at the primary and secondary levels, and our major commitment to the potential of Early Childhood Development…Professional education is sorely needed in the developing world, but equally important is the capacity to integrate knowledge, to nurture critical thinking and ethical sensitivity, and to advance interdisciplinary teaching and research.”
His Highness has dedicated his life to building institutions and programmes that respond to the challenges of social, economic, and cultural change at a global level. AKDN works in close collaboration with public and private institutions, including governments, international aid agencies, and over 60 partner universities.