His Excellency President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited the Aga Khan Academy in Maputo on 13 January, while in Mozambique for the inauguration of its new President. He was accompanied by Ms Teresa Ribeiro, Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Portuguese Government, and Ms Maria Amélia de Paiva, Portugal’s Ambassador to Mozambique.

President Marcelo and the visiting delegation were welcomed by Nazim Ahmad, the Ismaili Imamat’s Diplomatic Representative to Portugal and Mozambique; Mhamud Charania, Chairman of AKES Mozambique; Michael Spencer, Head of Academy at the Aga Khan Academy Maputo; and Amin Rawjee, President of the Ismaili Council for Mozambique.

During his visit, His Excellency was offered a guided tour around the Academy’s campus and facilities, and the works currently in progress to expand the school. A walk around the grounds included the junior school library, the residential facilities launched in April 2019, and the international-standard science and sports facilities inaugurated in November 2019.

Head of Academy, Michael Spencer said, “The Aga Khan Academies are dedicated to developing an understanding of leadership, so for our students to meet the President of Portugal was very exciting. His Excellency was so generous with his time and wisdom; he shared real stories of his leadership experiences which our students found both fascinating and inspiring.”

“His energy and humour were also very much appreciated and we will be reflecting upon his thoughtful and wise words for weeks to come. We hope that the President will come back again soon as he has many new friends at the Maputo Academy!”

The President also interacted with students of the Academy in both Portuguese and English, who were delighted to play a part in his visit to the Academy.

“It was exciting to meet the President of Portugal and welcome him to our school. My fellow students and I were so proud to show him our amazing new facilities!” said ninth grade student Amisha Lakhani. “We were able to learn about leadership from him, and listen to his experiences of leading a whole country, which was very inspiring. I feel grateful to be part of this experience today!”

Before departing, President Marcelo signed the Academy’s guest book, writing a message of congratulations to Mawlana Hazar Imam “for this model of excellence, of inclusion, of dialogue, of future. And, with him, all those who have made it an impressive reality in teaching, education, social and cultural gathering, and a contribution to a more progressive, advanced and developed Mozambique.”

The Aga Khan Academy Maputo, a programme of the Aga Khan Development Network, is part of a global network of day/residential schools for exceptional students. The outlook and educational perspectives of the Aga Khan Academies network are based on the vision of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

Each Academy is designed to provide a world-class education to exceptional students who possess strong leadership potential to support positive development in their societies. Admission to the Academy is based on merit, and financial aid is available to ensure access for students with demonstrated need. Pluralism is a core value of the educational programme at the Aga Khan Academy, whose student body reflects talented young people from all backgrounds within Mozambique, Africa and across the globe, regardless of their socio-economic background, faith, origin or gender.

The Aga Khan Academy Maputo is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, offering an IB curriculum that is locally rooted and globally relevant. Since its inception, the Academies Network has graduated over 1,000 future leaders who consistently earn places and scholarships at the world’s top universities. In December 2018, the Academies marked 15 years since its founding. For further information on the Academy, visit the website.