MU and The Aga Khan University sign strategic partnership

MU President, Prof Eeva Leinonen, welcomes Princess Zahra Aga Khan to Maynooth University
Monday, July 1, 2024 - 10:15

Maynooth University (MU) has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Aga Khan University. The strategic partnership, the first of its kind between an Irish university and The Aga Khan University, will foster collaboration in the coming years across several areas including research collaboration, student and staff mobility, and knowledge exchange in areas of mutual expertise and development.

The agreement was signed at an event held at Maynooth University, where Princess Zahra Aga Khan and The Aga Khan University President Sulaiman Shahabuddin joined Maynooth University President Professor Eeva Leinonen.

It is envisaged that the strategic partnership will focus initially on the following areas of mutual interest:

  • Health – healthy ageing, nursing, medicine more broadly, community health and data science
  • Climate – climate change impacts and mitigation, adaptation, societal resilience and data science
  • Teacher education, including early childhood education

Additional areas of interest will be explored, such as community and societal development and inclusion, arts and sciences, and library and archive services.

The partnership will facilitate the pursuit of joint research funding proposals in key areas of mutual interest from European and international funding bodies. It will give structure to explore opportunities for networking, research exchange, field study, sharing of facilities and equipment and joint research and teaching programmes.

It will also support student and staff mobility, both short-term and postgraduate, and boost research capacity by partnering on joint funding proposals.

The agreement will facilitate knowledge exchange, information sharing and institutional development that reflect both universities’ strategic objectives, and will also open doors to affiliate organisations, including Maynooth University partners.

The relationship first began in 2008, when MU conferred an honorary degree on His Highness the Aga Khan, for “his outstanding contributions to the elimination of global poverty, the advancement of women, the promotion of Islamic culture, and the furthering of pluralistic values for society.” The Aga Khan has longstanding ties to County Kildare through his equestrian activities.

Commenting on the partnership, Professor Eeva Leinonen, President of Maynooth University, stated: “We are delighted to formalise this partnership with The Aga Khan University, which builds on our shared values and long-standing relationship. This collaboration is driven by our shared belief in the transformative power of education, and our commitment to global cooperation and sustainable development. By working together, we can enhance our international impact, addressing critical global challenges in health, climate, and education, as well as exploring new areas of mutual interest.”

“The world has never been more interconnected than it is today,” Princess Zahra Aga Khan said. “That means problems are more complex, but also that there are unprecedented opportunities for collaboration across borders. I look forward to seeing AKU and Maynooth University help one another to address the health, education, climate and other challenges facing the people they serve in creative new ways.”

“Today, two universities that are committed to achieving excellence, changing the lives of their students, and positively impacting society are coming together to pursue mutually beneficial opportunities for cooperation,” AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin said. “We are thrilled to have Maynooth University as a partner, and we can’t wait to begin working with it to open new horizons for inquiry and learning for faculty, staff, and students from both universities.”

AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin and MU President Prof Eeva Leinonen signing the Memorandum of Understanding
Pictured l-r: Prof Peter Thorne; Prof Conor Murphy; Princess Zahra Aga Khan; MU President Prof Eeva Leinonen; AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin; Dr Stephen McCarron; and fourth-year Biological and Geographical Sciences student Aidan McLarnon
Pictured during the tour: AKU President Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin; Rev. Dr. John Paul Sheridan of St Patrick's Pontifical University; Princess Zahra Aga Khan; and MU President Prof Eeva Leinonen
Princess Zahra Aga Khan and MU President, Prof Eeva Leinonen,  pictured with the MU and AKU delegations