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Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Central Asia and Diplomatic Representative of the AKDN in the Kyrgyz Republic spoke at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto on 22 November 2016.
In his talk, titled The University of Central Asia: Creating opportunity on the roof of the world, Shamsh Kassim-Lakha discussed how this visionary institution of higher education is responding to some of the region’s pressing social and economic challenges through innovative investment in the development of Central Asia’s future leaders. The lecture was followed by an open discussion and Q&A session led by Don Cayo, a journalist formerly with the Vancouver Sun who has an ongoing interest in international development.
The University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university under an international treaty between Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and the Ismaili Imamat. Its mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly among its mountain societies. In September 2016, the university opened its first residential campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic. Two additional campuses are under construction in Khorog, Tajikistan and Tekeli, Kazakhstan.
Shamsh Kassim-Lakha has led the planning, building and operation of UCA and was recently appointed as Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees by Mawlana Hazar Imam, who is the Chancellor of the university. For almost three decades prior, Kassim-Lakha led the building and operation of the Aga Khan University as its President. He has also served in the Government of Pakistan as Minister of Education, as well as of Science and Technology.