I recently had the opportunity to host and consult with two members of the Facilities Planning team of the Aga Khan Academies program about the library in the Academy which is being constructed in Hyderabad, India. Mr. Craig Bradley and Mr. Malik Lakhani traveled from their offices in Paris to spend a day at Andover and discuss the facilities requirements of excellent 21st century teaching libraries.
I spent hours talking with them, and gave them an extensive tour of the OWHL facility. In addition, we went to the Pike School (an independent K-9 school in Andover) where we spoke with with Ms. Fran Mellin and Ms. Linda Griset, the Pike librarians. As we talked, Craig and Malik marked up their blueprints to reflect new understanding of the demands that excellent instruction programs place on facilities. Later, back at the OWHL, Sara Ciaburri, a member of our instructional team continued the conversation, resulting in additional notes on the blueprints. Perhaps the highlight of the day was the opportunity that the visitors had to ask questions of a panel of Andover students that I had hastily assembled. Both visitors expressed appreciation for the opportunity to reflect on their plans with library professionals, and enthusiasm for continued collaboration.
The Aga Khan Academies are affiliated with Andover through the International Academic Partnership, (IAP.) His Highness the Aga Khan has been the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims for fifty years. The Academies project, which will include 18 residential campuses throughout the developing world when it is completed, reflects the belief of His Highness that education is the key to social change. In his recent remarks as the Peterson Lecturer on “Global Education in the Developing World,” he stated,
“Our Academies Program is rooted in the conviction that effective indigenous leadership will be the key to progress in the developing world….The Academies have a dual mission—to provide an outstanding education to exceptional students from diverse backgrounds, and to provide world-class training for a growing corps of inspiring teachers.” Read the full text of the remarks here.