Head of Graduate Studies at the IIS, Dr Alnoor Dhanani, welcomed the students, staff and guests who attended the programme. This was followed by a talk from Dr Laila Halani, Course Director of GPISH. Drawing on her present role and her experiences as an alumna and a PhD Scholarship recipient, Dr Halani outlined the different areas that students can focus on following graduation. She also introduced the audience to the Institute’s Doctoral Scholarship programme.
Using a video programme that gave an overview of the work of the Aga Khan Academies, Mr Aziz Batada, Head of the School of Science at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, related his own experiences of the education system to how he developed into his present role as Head of Department. Mr Batada also reflected on the rewards and challenges that he faces in his role and talked of the future for the Academies and the opportunities that IIS graduates may find interesting.
Following this Mr Shiraz Kabani, Head of Operations, Finance & Development at the IIS, addressed the audience. His presentation focussed on the IIS’ expectations of its graduates and the range of opportunities available to them within the AKDN and beyond. Mr Kabani also shared with the audience the work of the Alumni Relations Unit at the IIS and the programmes that graduates can look forward to following their graduation. Following his presentation, he addressed a number of questions from students in the audience regarding the relevance of their training to the work of AKDN agencies and how the IIS seeks to promote its graduates amongst affiliated agencies.
Ms Sarah Ball and Ms Gaynor Schofield, Staffing Analyst associated with His Highness the Aga Khan’s Secretariat at Aiglemont, were welcomed to the seminar by Dr Halani. Ms Ball, herself based in London as a recruiter for AKDN, spoke of career choices within the AKDN and the AKDN brand. She explained the wide geographic scope of the AKDN and the 157 prestigious organisations which are its global partners. Ms Ball also spoke about the challenges of establishing new projects, such as University of Central Asia (UCA), and the exciting possibilities that a global network can offer for individual employees.
Dr Miriam Ali-de-Unzaga, an alumna and a former PhD Scholarship recipient, spoke of her experiences in terms of the choices available to her following graduation. Dr Ali-de-Unzaga explored the challenges and dilemmas that she had faced along the way and the difficulties that she had experienced during her PhD studies. She shared with the audience the scope of her research and her current professional involvements.
Lastly, Miss Laura Jeffrey, Human Resources Officer at the IIS, addressed the participants. Miss Jeffrey summarised the experiences that students had had with the IIS over the last few years and the types of opportunities available to the students both during their time studying at the IIS and immediately after they graduate. The Alumni Internship Programme was discussed in some detail and this prompted interesting discussion amongst the student participants.