Speech by Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony with the University of Cambridge on February 25th at Cambridge's Old Schools Building.
Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope, Princess Zahra and dear friends,
Thank you, Stephen, for your inspiring remarks. My colleagues and I deeply appreciate your warm welcome and kind hospitality. One never ceases to be inspired by the remarkable academic atmosphere of Cambridge.
As a very young institution, UCA is fortunate to have benefitted significantly from its academic partners in North America, Russia, Australia and Central Asia.
Today is a very special day for UCA. For today, we are formalizing a partnership for the first time with a UK institution. My colleagues and I see this is our most important partnership.
It is important to recognize that the MOU we are signing this day, is built on the confidence emanating from the efforts of colleagues at both our institutions. These early steps have focused on the development of our Central Asian faculty, thanks to the generous and continued support of the Cambridge Trust and your Faculty of Education.
Building upon this platform, during our dialogues today and tomorrow, we look forward to exploring new avenues of collaboration.
Research is one such area for discussion. In his speech at the foundation ceremeony of our campus in Tajikistan, His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of UCA, reminded us that "There are two measures of success of any university. The careers of its graduates, and the quality of research, which is carried out in the universities and then is used for the benefit of the communities that the university serves."
And since then, he has continuously exhorted our young institution to set its’ sights at becoming a research university. While this is a daunting challenge, and we have a lot to learn, who could be a better partner in this endeavor than Cambridge, with its record of 120 Nobel Laureates!
You can understand why His Highness the Aga Khan and my colleagues on the Board of Trustees and I are excited about this partnership. I assure you we shall keenly follow the progress of this relationship every step of the way and shall not be wanting in our support.
Finally, Vice Chancellor Toope, I must also gratefully acknowledge your personal encouragement and support in the realization of this collaboration. My colleagues and I also thank you for accepting our invitation to tomorrow’s event at the Aga Khan Centre in London. All of us are looking forward to your keynote address on Internationalization of Higher Education and its role in Development.