Selecting a field of study or a career path is one of the most challenging decisions to make. On 25 October, the Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) for Portugal welcomed various age groups to the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon for two Speed Mentoring events, entitled “New Perspectives, Different Horizons” and “Vocational Guidance.”

Making educational decisions has a huge impact on each of our futures. It is a decision of great responsibility and is essential to get to know our profile and understand how to adapt this into the modern social and economic context that surrounds us today.

At The Peterson Lecture in Atlanta in April 2008, Mawlana Hazar Imam said “In a world of rapid change, an agile and adaptable mind, a pragmatic and cooperative temperament, a strong ethical orientation - these are increasingly the keys to effective leadership. And I would add to this list a capacity for intellectual humility which keeps one’s mind constantly open to a variety of viewpoints and which welcomes pluralistic exchange.”

With the goal of bringing Ismaili students and professionals together to promote the exchange of experiences and information, AKEB has developed the programme “Speed Mentoring: New Perspectives, Different Horizons.” Several Ismaili professionals that are currently working in renowned organisations were invited to, in a very dynamic way, share their background and professional experiences, in order to help university students prepare for their own futures.

The guests were stationed in various areas of the room according to the areas they belong to such as Health, Technology, Banking and Consultancy, Education and Law, Arts and Sports, Marketing, NGOs, and Tourism; and within a limited time, the students were tasked with getting to know the professionals by asking questions and, after 10 minutes, move to the next table to network with people from a different area.

One of the participants, Inaara Vali, said “In my opinion, this AKEB initiative was an added value to those who were present: It is true that we are now living in a world where obtaining information is easy but when it comes to deciding on our future, it is never too much. In this sense, this opportunity to speak to and get advice from professionals that succeeded in several areas, was, without a doubt, a very important and enriching experience that will impact my future.”


A panel discussion at the Vocational Guidance event featured young Ismaili professionals from a variety of career paths.
A panel discussion at the Vocational Guidance event featured young Ismaili professionals from a variety of career paths.

In a different hall, in order to help 8th and 9th grade students to make more informed decisions about career choices, AKEB organised the event “Speed Mentoring: Vocational Guidance”. This event had Ismaili young adults as guests, each one of them with a different secondary school background: Sciences and Technologies, Economics, Humanities, Arts, Professional Vocational Courses and the IB curriculum. During the session, speakers shared their experiences about the curriculum they had followed, along with exam tips and study methods, gave advice to the attendees, and answered their questions. 

“Listening to a number of different people talking about their experiences in the various types of education and areas helped me to better understand everything I had to consider and to keep in mind when the time to make the choice comes. It was very enlightening and I was able to clarify all my doubts about whether to do the international curriculum or what to consider in deciding the area.” said Rania Hussaine, one of the participants.

“I thank all the people who were there to share their experiences and that let us know about different perspectives.”

Both events were a unique opportunity to help and guide younger generations to engage in networking and share contacts, but more importantly, to connect different Ismaili generations and share knowledge.