H.E. Mrs Kenyatta Addresses the Class of 2016 | Aga Khan Academies

H.E. Mrs Kenyatta Addresses the Class of 2016

21 May 2016

The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa celebrated its 10th graduating class at a ceremony held earlier today at the Academy. The First Lady of Kenya, Her Excellency Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, was the keynote speaker who addressed the 68 members of the Class of 2016, congratulating them and saying she was “truly amazed at the success and potential of this class.”

This year’s graduating class has demonstrated exceptional achievement in their university scholarships and admissions. The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa graduates have been awarded a significant number of scholarships that together amount to USD 5.3 million, including the prestigious MasterCard Foundation Scholarship for Sub-Saharan African Students, New York University Abu Dhabi’s International Student Scholarship, and Aga Khan Academy specific scholarships from Simon Fraser University and University of Alberta.  

The graduates have gained admission to renowned universities across North America and Europe, including Yale University; Johns Hopkins University; University of California, Berkeley; New York University; University College London; McGill University, University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. They have also secured admission to universities in South Africa, Germany, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

The 2016 graduating class aspires to build rewarding careers in a wide variety of fields such as Rocket Technology and Cosmonautics, Finance and Economics, Business and Computer Technology, Molecular Biology/ Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy, International Development, Law and Politics, Environmental Science and Policy, and Sociology and Social Work.

Her Excellency Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta recognized the strength of the values that the graduates have learned at the Aga Khan Academy. "Here, you have been taught to think critically and act compassionately. You have learned to read diligently and live responsibly. You have been encouraged to create, collaborate and embrace curiosity. You have been taught to live with diverse people and treat all people with dignity and respect. Here, you have learned to serve.”

The First Lady further said, “I believe Aga Khan Academy has taught you that the plight of others is important, that the problems around us ultimately affect all of us and that because you have been given so much you must give that much more back to the world. I believe that you have been prepared to do just that, to give much.”

Notably, more than one-third of the Class of 2016 received financial aid to allow them to benefit from an Aga Khan Academy education. A significant number of these students were scouted from rural and other marginalized segments and received financial assistance to cover all their costs. And now, their education and the connections of the Aga Khan Development Network have enabled them to receive admission to some of the world’s top universities as well as scholarships to cover their university education.

Over the past 10 years, Aga Khan Academies students have received nearly 1.5 billion Kenyan shillings (more than USD 15 million) in financial support. This has allowed them to access the Academies’ international standard of education and facilities based on merit alone and regardless of their family’s social or economic circumstances.

Director of Academies Mr. Salim Bhatia congratulated the graduates and noted the First Lady as an example of commitment and perseverance in helping those in need – values the Academies also instill in their students. He built on an earlier quote from Her Excellency about running marathons when he encouraged the students to push their boundaries further by challenging themselves. “You will encounter setbacks and at times you may only be able to walk, not run. But, keep going. You have to finish. And, when you achieve your goal… you know that the only limits to your achievements are those you set for yourself,” stated Mr. Bhatia.

The Head of Academy, Mr. Bill O'Hearn congratulated the graduates, and advised them to be life-long learners. He also encouraged them to be "inspired through challenge and compassion" and make a difference in their communities.

The First Lady concluded by reminding the graduates that their education has given them the means to make a difference in this world. "I am convinced that as each of you goes on to shine your light in whatever little corner of the planet you will find yourselves in, our world will be a much brighter and much better place. My personal request to you is that you come back home and shine here…Class of 2016, you've made it this far, now go out and shine!"


Click here for the First Lady's speech.

Click here for Salim Bhatia's speech.