Highlighting excellence in all aspects of education, State of Texas leaders met with representatives from the Aga Khan Academies, President of Council for Central USA, and Rizwan Sheikh, member of the Steering Committee for the Texas Agreement of Cooperation at Plano Jamatkhana on August 21, 2019.

Texas Senator Angela Paxton learned from Academy leaders Amyn Merchant, Resource Development & Financial Strategy Director, and Gulam Juma, Director of External Affairs-Africa, about the quality of education offered to students attending Academies in Mombasa, Kenya, Hyderabad, India, and Maputo, Mozambique.

This initiative follows the Agreement of Cooperation signed between the Ismaili Imamat and the State of Texas in 2009, intended to expand collaboration in the areas of education, health sciences, natural disaster preparedness and recovery, culture and the environment.

The Texas delegation was also joined by former Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, University of Texas System Board of Regent Christina Crain, and leadership from the University of Texas at Dallas. The group discussed ways to extend the success of the Aga Khan Academy students, and developed a roadmap for Texas and the State’s academic institutions to forge a partnership to apply human and financial resources to further the mission of the Academies. Also discussed were how to add to the intellectual diversity and global perspectives of Texas university campuses by offering scholarships to Academy graduates.

Amyn Merchant and Gulam Juma shared the advanced and International Baccalaureate curriculum taught at the Academies. Senator Paxton, whose district includes the Jamatkhana, is a teacher with 22 years of experience. She served as a member of the Senate Education Committee during Texas’ 86th legislative session held from January to June of this year.

“Everything is bigger in Texas, and our hope is that this saying will be true of the Jamat’s involvement in the State. It is a point of pride for us to be able to share the positive, forward-looking vision that Mawlana Hazar Imam has for the world, and seeks to engage the Texas Jamat and Texas leaders in fulfilling his vision,” said President Didarali. “Enhancing access to education is a key value shared by Ismailis and the State of Texas, and we are keen to see our partnership and friendship grow.”