Faculty, staff and alumni of IIS remember the legacy of the late Dr Aziz Kurwa, a beloved governor and pioneer in Ismaili religious education in the United Kingdom. 

Aitmadi Dr Aziz Kurwa has a storied career of service to the Ismaili community in the United Kingdom. In the 1970s, he served as the Mukhi (functionary designated by the Ismaili Imamate to officiate ceremonies) of the Birmingham jamatkhana, where he helped resettle newly arriving refugees from Uganda. Dr Kurwa was driven by his passion for religious education, introducing Baitul-Ilm (Ismaili religious education classes) to the Birmingham Jamat. He also worked to distribute educational materials to Ismailis across the UK, including a bilingual magazine, Al-Misbah, featuring religious content and children’s stories in English and Gujarati. 

Dr Kurwa was appointed to the IIS Board of Governors in 1986 where he, together with Aitmadi Niaz Nathoo, the late Aitmadi Mirza Pardan, Dr Aziz Esmail, Vazir Shams Vellani, and Dr Rafique Keshavjee, oversaw some of the early IIS publications and the introduction of the GPISH in 1994. He contributed towards the conceptualisation of the 1988 ITREB chairpersons conference which was held at Aiglemont (secretariat and residence of His Highness the Aga Khan in France), as well as the 5-year planning process that emerged following the conference. A fellow member of the Board of Governors at the time, Dr Mohamed Keshavjee shares fond memories in his personal correspondence.

“In all my encounters with Aziz, I can only recall a very friendly and helpful individual with a priceless sense of humour coupled with a deep sense of warmth and friendship. He always had the pulse of the Jamat with him.” 

Dr Aziz Kurwa will be fondly remembered, with his legacy living on, not just with IIS, but with countless generations of Ismaili students in the UK who remember him with great warmth and admiration.