Shafik Sachedina’s current official title is a mouthful. He is the Head of the Department of Jarmati Institutions at the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan at Aiglemont in France. In this position, he is responsible for overseeing all of the programs in Ismaili community institutions.

It was a long path for Sachedina to this lofty position. Born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in 1950, Sachedina became a dental surgeon in 1975. He continues this practice and has done so since that time in England. It was during these years that he accepted the prestigious position with the Aga Khan in a completely voluntary capacity.

Shafik Sachedina recently led a delegation to meet with the Russian representative for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov. They discussed Russia’s exemplary role in resolving conflicts in recent situations in the Middle East. In particular, they discussed possible resolutions to the ongoing Syrian crisis.

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The epicenter of all of the work done by the Aga Khan is the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. This is an institution dedicated to studying and promoting Muslim culture and societies. It is also the central meeting sport of the entire Ismaili culture. The institution library is famous for containing the largest collection of Ismaili codices in the world. In all, it holds around 30,000 books. This vast number includes some very rare manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Gujarati. The institution was first founded by the Aga Khan in 1977 and continues to work closely with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations at the Aga Khan University. Its now famous library came later in 1979.

At the time of its founding, the Aga Khan openly expressed his desire that the institution become a major institution within the Ismaili community. He certainly got his wish and it is a very major institution in the Ismaili community, but it certainly isn’t the first Muslim place of learning. Islam has a long and rich history of emphasis on education. The IIS is led by Co-Director and Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications, Dr. Farhad Daftary. The institute is a major publisher of Islamic material from curriculum to translations to academic publications.

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