Shafik Sachedina is the head of the department of Jamati Institutions which was established by His Highness, Aga Khan. Although he is the titular head of the institutions, the heads of the different departments are not required to report to him. But Sachedina coordinates their work while the department heads are directly accountable to the Imam. In addition, Sachedina’s position is not constitutional.
Sachedina was born in Tanzania on May, 1950. He went to England for his undergraduate studies where he also later acquired his British citizenship. He studied at the University of London, particularly at the Guy’s Hospital Medical and Dental School, and got his degree in 1975, and later became a dental doctor. He now holds office at the Secretariat of Aga Khan in Aiglemont, France.
As head of the Jamati Institutions, he coordinates the programs and activities of The Institute of Ismaili in the 16 primary areas where branches of the institute exist. As part of his work with the Ismaili Institute, Sachedina interfaces with the Aga Khan Development Network programs of its Central Asia communities.
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The Institute of Ismaili Studies is located in London, England. It is a research institute dedicated to promoting the study and understanding of the historical and contemporary culture and societies of Muslims. The primary aim of the institute is to disseminate a better understanding of the Muslims’ relationships with other faiths and societies. It is also an institution which serves as a venue for members of the Ismaili community so that they can better understand their ethnic concepts and history, including knowledge in areas that are seldom discussed such as Shi’ism and esoteric Islam.
The Ismaili Institute is a major resource of Ismaili codices because it maintains a library that boasts of the largest collection of such. This is a great source of research materials for students studying the Muslim culture. Apart from its research facilities, the institute also provides interested students with two graduate programs, namely, the Secondary Teacher Education Programme and the Graduate Programme in Islamic and Humanities.
As part of his responsibilities, Sachedina also makes occasional trips to other countries to promote the objectives of the Ismaili Institute. For instance, he and his delegation visited Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister in October last year. Sachedina made the trip as the personal representative of Aga Khan IV. In the meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sachedina discussed important matters such as the recent developments in Afghanistan and Syria. He commended the Russian government for its work in peacefully resolving the issues in the region, and its strong position against extremism and terrorism.
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