I just returned from a visit to Karachi, Pakistan for follow up work with the very extraordinary Aga Khan University. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed working with a fascinating group of exceptionally energetic and determined leaders providing vital services in tough circumstances. To read about my first trip when my work with AKU started, go to my May 2010 blog post Into Africa: An Eye-Opening and Inspiring Trip.

Aga Khan UniversityAga Khan University runs two medical teaching hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan and Nairobi, Kenya. They also have teaching sites and healthcare services on three continents. AKU is focused on molding leaders of the future within the developing world. Part of the strategic work we’re helping them with is centered around building an integrated health system, developing a comprehensive university (they’re building new Faculties of Arts and Science in Pakistan and Tanzania), improving teaching, learning and assessment methods, research and development of solutions to key healthcare and education problems facing the developing world, and strengthening their funding and long-term financial sustainability.

For a shot of inspiration I highly recommend you view a 12 minute video on their web site. Click on Aga Khan University and then the video screen on the right entitled “The Difference We Make.” You’ll see shots of their beautiful campuses and hospitals as well as inspiring stories like the Kenyan nursing graduate who persevered through her studies (often by candle light) while raising seven orphaned nieces and nephews in Nairobi’s notorious slums. Or you can learn of efforts to rebuild Afghanistan’s war-torn healthcare system. In the videos, university, medical and foundation leaders (like one from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) call Aga Khan University a world class leader.

The video also touches on the original roots and core mandate of AKU as a pioneer of tolerance, diversity, and education in the Muslim world. CEO Firoz Rasul, and I have had in-depth and enlightening conversations about the university’s role in broadening perspectives, understanding, and honoring each person or group’s personal development or spiritual paths across all societies and religions. For more on his perspectives, see “Bridging a ‘Chasm’ of Ignorance.” This world can sure use a lot more tolerance and mutual respect and a lot less narrow-minded extremism across all religions.

Aga Khan University can use lots of help to keep expanding their vital work. When you’re on their site, click on Working at AKU and follow any of the links on the right for current vacancies or overseas volunteer opportunities. I first connected to AKU through their VP of HR, Carol Ariano. She was a Canadian Client of my previous company, The Achieve Group, back in the early nineties. Carol is continually recruiting throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and other western countries for professionals interested in a major career shift to making a difference in a part of the world that needs lots of help.

I have donated books and part of my fee/time to this very worthy cause. As AKU grows, financial sustainability is becoming ever more critical. They appreciate any and all donations.