Frequently, democratic failures grow out of sheer incompetence…People are appointed to jobs they cannot do—but are rarely held accountable. Corruption for some becomes a way of life…

Ignorance, arrogance, insensitivity—these attitudes rank high among the great public enemies of our time. And the educational enterprise, at its best, can be an effective antidote to all of them.

—Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan at Evora University Symposium: “Cosmopolitan Society, Human Safety and Rights in Plural and Peaceful Societies” 12 February 2006

Explanation

This website is a result of two things: first and foremost, the commitment we have to His Highness the Aga Khan's vision for the Centres of Excellence; second, our experience in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, working on one of these projects.

The vision of His Highness the Aga Khan is "that home-grown intellectual leadership of exceptional calibre is the best driver of society's future development" (see the webpage "AKDN's Involvement in Education"). The Centres of Excellence or Aga Khan Academies project (see AKDN's page on The Aga Khan Academies, and the Aga Khan Schools webpage on the Academies) is intended to develop educational institutions that gather local educational excellence and provide them with resources such that they can be in the vanguard of academic achievement internationally. This is a profound vision, and one we have respected and supported for a number of years. For this reason, in 2005 we became involved in one of these projects, at the Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School (AKMSS) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We were recruited from Canada to be involved in the transformation of AKMSS into a Centre of Excellence. We left our jobs in Canada to take up these positions, because we firmly believed, and still do, that we had the experience, motivation, and understanding of the project required to contribute to it. (For a brief outline of our experience, see About Us).

However, our experience with the service company that runs the school, Aga Khan Education Service, Tanzania (AKES,T), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) (see AKDN in Tanzania and Zanzibar), turned out to be a disaster. Five months into a two-year contract, we were terminated by the then-Head of School at AKMSS, Laura Swash, without reason, and were subsequently unable to obtain any explanation for this action from the Board of Directors of AKES,T. We ended up spending seven months in 2006 litigating in Tanzania, in an attempt to enforce our legal rights.

Nothing in this website is critical of His Highness the Aga Khan's vision. Indeed, our use of quotations from a number of His Highness's speeches is to emphasize how much we believe in his vision. Our purpose, then, is to set out an account of what happened to us in Dar es Salaam, told through a number of documents pertaining to the situation. Of course, such documents cannot tell the whole story. Nevertheless, they stand as evidence. Their significance, readers will have to decide for themselves.

Information about AKDN is available on the AKDN website, www.akdn.org. There you will also find information about AKES,T and the Centres of Excellence project.

If you would like to contact us regarding the events that took place, or if you have a story of your own you would like to share, please fill out the contact form.

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