Imtiyaz Hariyani (Class of 2014): Leading the Way to a Brighter Future | Aga Khan Academies

Imtiyaz Hariyani (Class of 2014): Leading the Way to a Brighter Future

“I think that the [Academy’s] vision has made it possible to look at a bright future.” The future for Imtiyaz Hariyani could not look any brighter. A member of the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad’s (AKA,H’s) first graduating class, Imtiyaz will commence his Bachelor of Science, focusing in biochemistry, at NYU Abu Dhabi on a full scholarship awarded on the basis of academic excellence, community service, extracurricular involvement and a capacity for leadership, Imtiyaz excelled both in and outside the classroom.

During his time at the Academy, Imtiyaz served as both the head of logistics for the Academy’s Model United Nations programme and as Captain of the Academy’s cricket team. A fan of the Indian Premier League’s Chennai Super Kings, his passion for the sport is evident. Imtiyaz also played a lead role in organising the popular AKA,H co-ed cricket league, an experience he recounts as being one of his most memorable. “Among my most unforgettable experiences would be the cricket league, especially the third season – we had more matches, we improved the quality of the league,” he says, adding humorously, “I also won that season.”

Imtiyaz is careful to note that successes on and off the cricket pitch go hand-in-hand with the ethics of hard work and self-discipline. The rigour of the Academy’s International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, he feels, has prepared him well for the demanding nature of undergraduate study. “I think the IB [curriculum] and the Academy have prepared me very well…I think I have learned how to live independently and, at the same time, I have developed as a person, both academically and socially.” The IB programme seeks not only to provide students with a strong academic basis but also to develop a student’s character. Singling out the IB curriculum modules of Creativity, Action, Service and Theory of Knowledge, Imtiyaz notes that they, “develop a person holistically, not just the academic side.” 

For Imtiyaz, the welcoming and open environment at the Academy allowed him to interact and feel comfortable in a group setting. "In the beginning I was a very introverted person, I didn't talk a lot, I took time to get along with people, but now I think I can adjust well into a community." This is a skill he feels will serve him well when he relocates to Abu Dhabi this fall. The move away to university for any young high school graduate is one approached with anxiety, anticipation and nervousness. Aware of the challenges, Imtiyaz is concerned about what he says are the little things, like “food, environment, and the culture.” Yet overshadowing these worries are his eagerness and anticipation for what lies ahead. Looking to further develop his passions for education and voluntary service, Imtiyaz hopes to find time at NYU to serve as a volunteer tutor for those in need.

As of January 2015, Imtiyaz started an internship at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, before taking his place at NYU. He has been involved in peer tutoring the students at the Academy in Mombasa in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, as well as mentoring and coaching their cricket team.

It is that heartfelt concern for those in need that lie at the root of Imtiyaz’s thoughts regarding the challenges facing Indian society today. “I think that poverty is the basic problem which everyone is facing today, and eliminating poverty would mean development of the nation – if you talk about infrastructural development, if you talk about unemployment and if you talk about rural to urban migration, I think the basic root is poverty.” Not many high school students can speak confidently with this level of clarity and commitment to development of humanity. If this is what inspires the high school graduates of today, then the future looks brighter than it has ever looked before.

By Farhan Karim