Aga Khan University – Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. (AKU-ISMC)


AKU-ISMC is an academic component of the Aga Khan University (AKU). AKU was chartered in Pakistan in 1983 and is also active in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. AKU was the first private university in Pakistan and has extensive experience of defending its autonomy against social and political pressures. It has also taken the lead in introducing higher education of international standard into the country. AKU-ISMC itself is a private higher education institution in the UK and as such is subject to the same quality assurance mechanisms as other public and private universities. On a day to day basis AKU-ISMC has complete control of its curriculum, admissions, research agenda and other academic matters but it is expected to demonstrate that its practices conform to the UK Quality Code. This code was developed primarily by the UK academic community. AKU currently has an enrolment of approximately 2500 full-time students. It has close links through the Aga Khan Development Network with the University of Central Asia (UCA), which is active in Kazakhstan, as well as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Members of the AKU-ISMC academic staff have been engaged with UCA in developing the curriculum for their undergraduate programmes, and the Director of AKU-ISMC frequently interacts with the senior leadership of UCA.


Leif Stenberg

Professor Leif Stenberg will be a key resource person and collaborator from the Aga Khan University, London. He has long experience of management and building research and educational capacity from several universities. He is the previous director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. Currently Stenberg is appointed to the Program Committee in Social Sciences and Humanities of the Norwegian Research Council. He is also the president of the Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies and the vice-chair of the European Association for Middle Eastern Studies (EURAMES). During the years Stenberg has been part of several committees evaluating research and research environments.

David Taylor

Dr David Taylor has had more than forty years of experience in academic life in the UK and Pakistan. In the 1990s he held senior positions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, first as Dean and then as Pro-Director. In this capacity he sat on the School’s Executive Board and was involved in managing the School’s relationship with the funding agencies and other regulatory bodies in the UK. From 2002-2008 he worked in Pakistan as Vice Provost and for several years Interim Provost of Aga Khan University (AKU). As the first private university within Pakistan, AKU, especially its first President, has been deeply involved in negotiating a new model of university autonomy in the country. Most recently he has been Director of AKU-ISMC in London. He also works as a Review Coordinator for the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), leading reviews of a wide variety of private higher education institutes. The QAA is a key component of the UK model of university autonomy.


Support to analysis of the state of play of UA in RK
Development of recommendations/suggestions for governance model
WP 2
Knowledge about how the Brittish model of University Autonomy (UA) influences the university. Expertise on current state of play of UA in EU (current trends, different models). Expertise about university governance policy in UK and its impact on the institutions.
Participate in subtask WP 2.1
Participate as expert and moderator in subtask WP 2.2
Act as a consultant in subtasks 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5
Participate in subtask WP 2.6
Participate in elaboration and activities of WP3 QAP
WP 4
Contribute to the dissemination activities.
Participate in subtask WP 4.1 Presentations in the National Conference.
Contribute to the effective management of the project. Perform the activities in the operational work package for LU. Deliver annual report. Manage the grant allocated to AKU-ISMC. Member of the MT, take part in the overall management and decision-making processes.