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Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship 2016-17

Deadline: Deadline: Always Open19-Mar-2016
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AwardTuition fees and living expenses
EligibilityGraduates and Post graduates
Scholarship provider contact details

Sarojini House, 2nd floor
6, Bhagwan Dass Road
New Delhi 110001
Tel: (11) 23782173
Fax: (11) 23782174


2nd Floor, Diamond Complex
Diamond Jubilee High School Compound
39/43, Nesbit Road
Mumbai 400010
Tel: (22) 66139700
Fax: (22) 66139710 

What is Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship 2016-17?

The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships each year for postgraduate studies to outstanding students from select developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies, in order to develop effective scholars and leaders and to prepare them for employment, primarily within the AKDN. Scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant : 50% loan basis through a competitive application process once a year in June or July. The Foundation gives priority to requests for Master's level courses but is willing to consider applications for PhD programmes, only in the case of outstanding students who are highly recommended for doctoral studies by their professors and who need a PhD for the fulfilment of their career objectives (academic or research oriented).

Applications for short-term courses are not considered; neither are applications from students who have already started their course of study.

Who can apply for this scholarship ?

Geographic Scope
The Foundation accepts applications from nationals of the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique. In France, Portugal, UK, USA and Canada, applications are accepted from those who are originally from one of the above developing countries, are interested in development-related studies and who have no other means of financing their education.

Residency Requirement
The Foundation only accepts applications of eligible nationals listed above who are residing in one of the countries where there are local Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), or Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) offices which process applications and interview candidates.

Age Limit
Preference is given to students under 30 years of age.

How can you apply ?

The application procedures of AKF's International Scholarship Programme are decentralised. Students may obtain application forms as of January 1st each year from AKF offices or Aga Khan Education Services / Boards in their countries of current residence. Completed applications should be returned to the agency from which the form was obtained. They should not be sent to Geneva.


Q: What is the AKDN?

A: The agencies of the AKDN are private, international, non-denominational development organisations. They work to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa. Some programmes, such as specific research, education and cultural programmes, span both the developed and developing worlds. While each agency pursues its own mandate, all of them work together within the overarching framework of the Network so that their different pursuits interact and reinforce one another.

Q: Are the AKDN and its agencies religious organisations?

A: No. The work of the AKDN is underpinned by the ethical principles of Islam – particularly consultation, solidarity with those less fortunate, self-reliance and human dignity – but AKDN does not restrict its work to a particular community, country or region. Its focus is on poor areas of the developing world, but it also conducts programmes in North America and Europe. Pluralism is a central pillar of AKDN’s ethical framework: AKDN aims to improve living conditions and opportunities for people regardless of their particular religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. AKDN employees are also of different faiths, origins and backgrounds.

Q: What are some figures for the AKDN?

A: The AKDN works in 30 countries around the world. It employs approximately 80,000 people, the majority of whom are based in developing countries. The AKDN’s annual budget for non-profit development activities is approximately US$ 600 million. The project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED)generated revenues of approximately US$ 3.5 billion in 2013 (all surpluses are reinvested in further development activities).

Q: Who is His Highness the Aga Khan?

A: His Highness the Aga Khan, the founder and chairman of the AKDN, is the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. In Islam’s ethical tradition, religious leaders not only interpret the faith but also have a responsibility to help improve the quality of life in their community and in the societies amongst which they live. For His Highness the Aga Khan, this has meant a deep engagement with development for over 50 years through the agencies of the AKDN.

As a descendant of the Fatimids, the Egypt-based dynasty that founded Cairo and ruled much of North Africa and the Middle East from the tenth through the twelfth centuries, the Aga Khan retains the hereditary title of “Prince”. The title of “Aga Khan” dates to 1818, when Hassan Ali Shah, the 46th Ismaili Imam, was granted the honorary hereditary title of “Aga Khan” by the Shah of Persia. The title “His Highness” was granted by Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain in 1957. For more information, please see the official biography.

Q: Where do the agencies of the AKDN obtain their funding?

A: A significant portion of the funding for development activities comes from national governments, multilateral institutions and private sector partners (see list of partners). His Highness the Aga Khan provides regular funding for administration, new programme and country initiatives, and for some core activities. The Ismaili community contributes invaluable volunteer time, professional services, and substantial financial resources.

Other funding sources include income from user fees and endowment funds. Another significant source of funding is in the form of donations from corporations and individuals around the world, notably through the fundraising activities of the Partnership Walks and Partnership Golf tournaments, which are held annually in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The Aga Khan Foundation affiliates in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Portugal are all registered non-profit organisations in their respective countries.

The project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), the only “for-profit” development agency in the AKDN, operate as businesses but reinvest all profits in further development initiatives, including contributions to social and cultural projects. AKFED also works closely with governments, private sector partners and multilateral institutions to co-finance major infrastructure projects such as the Roshan mobile phone network in Afghanistan and the Bujagali hydroelectric project in Uganda.

Q: Does AKDN work only for the Ismaili community?

A: No. Several AKDN agencies were first established to meet the needs of the Ismaili Community in South Asia and East Africa, but today, under the leadership of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Network’s institutions have grown beyond that mission to encompass projects in areas where there are many faiths and ethnicities and where Ismailis do not live.Ismaili communities in poor and remote areas do benefit from AKDN projects, but the programmes, when at full scale, typically benefit a wide cross-section of the population. There are many areas – in Egypt, India, the Kyrgyz Republic and Mali, for example – where major programmes serve populations in which the Ismaili community is not present. 

Q: What is the Ismaili Community’s role in AKDN?

A: Whereas the precursors of the AKDN agencies were originally set up to serve the Ismaili Community, in many cases today it is Ismailis themselves who are serving the AKDN and the communities in which they live. AKDN relies on the Ismaili tradition of volunteer service to assist in the implementation and maintenance of projects, notably at health and education facilities.

Q: What is the geographic focus of the work of the AKDN agencies?

A: The work of all AKDN agencies is concentrated in 30 countries, mostly in poor areas of South Asia and Central Asia, Eastern and Western Africa and the Middle East. Other programmes, notably in education and culture, operate in Europe and North America as well as in Asia and Africa.

Q: What is the legal status of the agencies of the AKDN?

A: All of the agencies are registered in Switzerland as non-profit institutions with three exceptions. The Aga Khan University (AKU) is chartered by the Government of Pakistan as an international university with the authority to operate programmes, branches and campuses anywhere in the world. The University of Central Asia (UCA) is a self-governing regional university whose Charter was established pursuant to an international treaty between Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Ismaili Imamat. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is incorporated as a for-profit development agency under Swiss law, but its project companies operate as commercial entities under the laws of the countries in which they are resident.

Terms and Conditions

Selection Criteria

The main criteria for selecting award winners are: l) consistently excellent academic records, 2) genuine financial need, 3) admission to a highly reputable university or programme of study and 4) relevance of the field of study to AKDN’s focus areas. Candidates are also evaluated on demonstrating thoughtful and coherent educational and career plans, their extra-curricular interests and achievements, potential to achieve their goals and likelihood to succeed in a foreign academic environment. Applicants are expected to have some years of work experience in their field of interest.

Financial Assistance

The Foundation assists students with tuition fees and living expenses only. The cost of travel is not included in AKF scholarships. Funding for PhD programmes is only provided for the first two years of study, after which the students are expected to find alternative sources of assistance. Financial assistance is provided according to the needs of students, but the ISP must be considered a lender of last resort. Applicants are requested to make every effort to obtain funding from other sources as well, so that the amount requested from the Foundation can be reduced to a minimum. Preference is given to those who have been able to secure some funding from alternative sources.

Loan Conditions

Half of the scholarship amount is considered as a loan, which must be reimbursed with an annual service charge of 5%. A guarantor is required to co-sign the loan agreement. The payback period is five years, starting six months after the study period funded by the Aga Khan Foundation.

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