International partnership supporting research innovation and student success continues

University of Alberta and Aga Khan University sign two agreements that will continue to foster the collaborations and initiatives taking place between the two institutions.

Adrianna MacPherson - 14 November 2022

Two agreements between the University of Alberta and the Aga Khan University have been signed today, signalling the institutions will continue their strategic partnership for another five-year period.

“Our long-standing partnership with AKU has been very productive and beneficial for both sides, because it has been built on a foundation of equity and mutual respect, and because our institutional mandates align so well — both universities strive to be catalysts for positive change in the world,” says Cen Huang, vice-provost and associate vice president (international), University of Alberta International. 

“Together, AKU and UAlberta are advancing knowledge, educating future leaders and broadening one another’s horizons,” says AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin. “We are excited to extend our globe-spanning partnership and are looking forward to growing its impact in Canada, Asia, Africa and beyond.”

The institutions have a long-standing history of collaboration, with an initial memorandum of understanding signed in 2006 to facilitate co-operation in health sciences. Since then, there have been several additional agreements to foster an extensive number of collaborations across faculties. Over the course of their partnership, U of A faculty have assisted AKU in developing its programs in the health sciences and humanities; numerous AKU faculty, staff and students have completed postgraduate training at the U of A; and 45 U of A students have done internships in eight countries in Asia, Africa and Europe through AKU’s International Internship Programme. In addition, faculty have collaborated on research related to non-communicable diseases, math and science education, women’s and children’s health and other subjects.

“I’m proud to host our esteemed guests, including the president of Aga Khan University, Dr. Sulaiman Shahabuddin, to celebrate the ongoing partnership between our universities,” says interim provost Verna Yiu. “We can uplift people worldwide by aligning our shared commitments to addressing complex global challenges and creating a more equitable and just society.” 

The first agreement extends the universities’ prior five-year memorandum of understanding. The agreement will facilitate research and other partnerships in areas including the health sciences, education, agriculture, environmental science, architecture, the humanities and more.

Student success is at the core of the second agreement, which pertains to the UAlberta-AKU Graduate Sponsorship Program. This program allows AKU master’s and doctoral students to study and conduct research at the U of A with support from both institutions, bringing together bright minds on an international scale. 

Founded in 1983, the Aga Khan University has academic programs and health-care facilities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom. In recent years it has been ranked among the world’s top 500 universities and among the world’s top 30 universities in public, environmental and occupational health.