Shamsh Kassim-Lakha

Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Shamsh Kassim-Lakha


Main bio

Shamsh Kassim-Lakha is Chairman of the Board of the University of Central Asia (UCA). He was the President and founding Trustee of Aga Khan University (AKU), a component of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) which comprises a group of agencies founded by His Highness the Aga Khan that work in the developing countries of Asia and Africa focusing on health, education, rural and economic development, and the enhancement of non-governmental organisations. Chartered in 1983 as Pakistan’s first private international university, AKU commenced operations with a US $300 million academic Health Sciences centre comprising of a Faculty of Health Sciences, including a Medical College, a School of Nursing, and a teaching Hospital. The University also has an Institute for Educational Development in Karachi and an Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London, UK. AKU currently has seven teaching sites in five countries on three continents. 

Kassim-Lakha has served on the boards of several governmental, professional, research and private organizations, including: the Pakistan Medical Research Council; Habib Bank Limited; Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy which he chairs; and numerous senior governmental advisory panels in areas of finance, energy, environmental protection, health and education. In March 2002, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan appointed him as Chairman of the Steering Committee on Higher Education with the status of Minister of State to oversee reforms in Pakistan’s higher education. 

Educated at South Bank and Westminster Universities of London, U.K., and the University of Minnesota, Kassim-Lakha is the recipient of several awards. In 1994, McMaster University, Canada, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws and in 1999 he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a high civil honour by the President of Pakistan. In 2000, President Jacques Chirac of France conferred the award of Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (Officer of the French National Order of Merit), in recognition of his “tireless and fruitful contributions in the service of Pakistan and in the field of education.”​