At graduations in India and Kenya that took place last week, 159 exceptional students joined other alumni in marking the milestone of the 1000th leader to graduate from the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad (India) and its sister school, the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa (Kenya), according to press release issued by the Aga Khan Development Network.

One key mission of the Aga Khan Academies program is reportedly to create ethical leaders who work towards a shared goal of improving the lives of people in their own countries and across the globe.  The Academies work to create a learning community that is exceptionally diverse, open-minded, culturally rooted and driven to make a positive impact, placing great importance on identifying and nurturing exceptional young people from a wide range of nationalities, religions, and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Across both Academies, Class of 2019 graduates have been admitted to some of the top universities in the world, including Brown University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Vanderbilt University, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto to name but a few.  Collectively, they have been offered over USD $11.7 million in scholarships.

In the words of Academies’ founder His Highness the Aga Khan at the inauguration ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa (2003), “As the young men and women from this Aga Khan Academy, and over time from its sister schools, grow and assume leadership in their societies, it is my hope that it will be members of this new generation who, driven by their own wide knowledge and inspiration, will change their societies; that they will gradually replace many of the external forces that appear, and sometimes seek, to control our destinies.  These young men and women, I am sure, will become leaders in the governments and the institutions of civil society in their own countries, in international organizations and in all those institutions, academic, economic and artistic that create positive change in our world.”

The Aga Khan Academies form an international network of non-denominational, co-educational, residential schools being established by His Highness the Aga Khan in countries across Africa, South and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.  Established in 2003, the Academies are founded on His Highness the Aga Khan’s vision to develop home-grown leaders with a strong sense of ethics and civic responsibility.

The Aga Khan Academies select talented girls and boys based on merit and regardless of socio-economic background, race, religion or culture.  Financial assistance is available to ensure that lack of means does not limit access.  The Academies follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, ensuring a global standard of educational excellence and external validation through the annual IB Diploma exams.

The curriculum is enhanced with additional areas of learning specific to the Aga Khan Academies, as well as a robust residential program.

In addition to providing an international standard of education and leadership experience to its students, the Aga Khan Academies work to strengthen the quality of education more widely by providing professional development programs for educators in the regions where they are present and by modelling best practices as centers of excellence in education.

The Aga Khan Academies is an initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network, which works to improve the welfare and quality of life of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa.