Anamika Jasani – sowing seeds of leadership and service | Aga Khan Academies

Anamika Jasani – sowing seeds of leadership and service

In her capacity as CAS (Creativity, Action & Service) & Leadership Coordinator over the last three years, Anamika has strengthened the foundations of many important and formative programmes at the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad. As she returns home to the US in August 2017, we would like to reflect on her invaluable contribution to the Academy and wish her great success as she moves forward in her career. 

While here, Anamika established a sustainable service learning curriculum for IB Diploma Programme students, providing them with enrichment opportunities that fortify their CAS portfolios. Alongside this, she was responsible for facilitating the unique Academy summer service internships for grade 11 students, and has set in place structured processes of application, selection and placement. To this end, she built strong networks with development organizations all over the country, including several AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network) agencies. Anamika also adapted the leadership curriculum to the Indian context and has trained Academy faculty in its implementation across Senior School.

“What I find most rewarding is the possibility of bringing mindset growth to the students I work with, and adding to their holistic development,” Anamika explains. “Most educational institutions aspire to develop good students. I feel that my role has allowed me to not only develop good students but homegrown citizens. Our founder, His Highness the Aga Khan, has said that education must reinforce the foundations of identity in such a way as to reinvigorate and strengthen students so that they can withstand change. I believe that my portfolio is a driving force that allows my students to have a pluralistic outlook and provides them opportunities in action to develop and ingrain those values that are embedded in our institutional vision.”

Anamika holds a degree in International Development, a certificate in Project Management and hopes to complete a Master’s in Education. She was headed to law school after her first degree but realised it wasn’t for her after briefly working with a firm on child custody cases. “I wanted to be on the other side of that,” she says. “I then worked at an educational nonprofit and realised that there was a lot of scope for development to occur pedagogically and structurally in emerging countries.  On some level, even though I am an American citizen, there is a kinship that I have with India as I was born here. So this is me giving back to my country and community as the homegrown leader that I envision and aspire for our students to be.”

Currently just 26 years old, the responsibilities she has been assigned have led to immense personal and professional growth. “If you’ll notice, my entire portfolio was about bringing change in the way things were adapted, constructed, implemented. I was given the autonomy to design programs in the way I saw fit. This allowed me to grow at my own pace and be able to reflect and evaluate the changes as I moved forward. I feel like the programs I have worked on are now structured and sustainable.”

The service learning component of the Academy education, Anamika believes, is what sets it apart. Through specific experiential learning programmes that place emphasis on service through leadership and stewardship, and the summer internships (of which you can read more here), Academy students imbibe certain values and are able to materialise them in real contexts. “Pluralism is a strand that is embedded in our conversations, vocabulary, unit plans, all our programs. We have put these ideas into action by serving different faiths and races in our service projects, allowing our students to interact in a pluralistic environment on a daily basis, both within and outside the Academy campus. This, I feel, is the greatest gift one can give a child in today’s world.”