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US varsity, AKU join hands to advance population health, research and education  

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University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and Aga Khan University President Firoz Rasul signing MoU for furthering population health, research, and education. Credit: AKDN

Seattle (USA): Two internationally-reputed universities have joined hands to expand population health, research, and education in developing countries.

The University of Washington (UW) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Aga Khan University (AKU) to codify partnership activities already underway and to leverage complementary strengths to further expand research, service and education in low- and middle-income countries.

The agreement was signed by UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Aga Khan University President Firoz Rasul, a statement posted on official website of the Aga Khan Development Network said.

Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa Aga Khan represented the AKDN, while Kendra Spears represented UW Class of ‘12, and Carl Amrhein represented AKU Provost.

The princess played a key role in encouraging the nascent partnership, the statement read.

“We are honoured to partner with Aga Khan University to advance the health and well-being of communities around the globe,” Ms Cauce commented.

“By combining our respective strengths and shared values, we can be a powerful force for creating access to healthcare and education, as well as supporting research and discovery,” she hoped.

Early collaborative activities between the two varsities included the launch of a paid international internship programme with positions in Africa and Asia for UW students, joint projects to build research capacity in HIV/AIDS and HPV, and a range of other faculty collaborations.

“Ultimately, this partnership is about two universities based on opposite sides of the globe coming together on the basis of their shared values to advance knowledge and create opportunities for learning and discovery that benefit people in both the developed and developing worlds,” Dr Rasul said.

“Even prior to the signing of this agreement we have begun collaborating on several important projects, and I am confident that we will have a significant impact in multiple countries in the years ahead,” he said.

Under the agreement, the UW will offer the AKU and AKDN technical advice and guidance in data science and implementation science, access to formal degree and training programmes, and advice and support in transforming the AKU into a research-intensive university.

The parties will also seek to expand the number of joint research activities and student and faculty exchanges.

The University of Washington was founded in 1861 and is one of the pre-eminent public higher education and research institutions in the world. The UW has over 100 members of the national academies, elite programmes in many fields, and among the top five universities in world standing since 1974 as well as in receipt of federal research funding.

One of the 10 agencies of the AKDN, the AKU works to improve quality of life in the developing world and beyond through its campuses and pogrammes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom, and treats over two million patients a year at seven hospitals and more than 300 medical centres.

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