Currently under development in Nairobi, Kenya, the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications will occupy a distinctive place in the global media education landscape.
Internationally connected, but regionally relevant - with demand-driven graduate education and professional training components as essential, but not its sole focus - the School responds to well-documented needs.
Drawing on the unique strengths of the wider Aga Khan Development Network and Aga Khan University, in East Africa and globally, the School will have access to world-class expertise, institutions and resources in the social, economic and cultural spheres. Its programmes, faculty and students will also benefit from the Network’s deep experience in the East African media sector and in reaching remote, rural areas.
A vibrant media future for the developing world.
The Aga Khan Development Network has long recognised the role that a diverse, independent and socially responsible media sector can play in strengthening development and governance outcomes in East Africa and the wider developing world. At its best, independent media can foster a knowledgeable, entrepreneurial, accountable and confident society capable of defining and achieving its developmental aims. Conversely, a weak media sector can reinforce social and economic inequalities, impede development and even fuel conflicts.
Advances in communication technology are contributing to development efforts in sectors including agriculture, access to finance, public health and economic development. East Africans are at the forefront of many of these innovations. For East Africans to benefit fully from a vibrant, independent and plural media sector however, the region requires new kinds of media professionals and entrepreneurs and, above all, new expertise.
It is in this context that the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications has been founded to foster a diverse array of media leaders, enterprises and institutions across the developing world that will be distinguished by the highest standards of competence, ethics and independence, professionalism and social responsibility.
Cross-cutting emphasis on multimedia integration and innovation; a focus on specialised reporting and expertise; high quality research, convening and public service functions; and a dedicated centre for media management and entrepreneurship: these strategic elements will distinguish the School from other tertiary education or training programmes, extending its geographic and demographic reach and contributing to its mandate to promote constructive engagement between media and all sectors of society.
The School will offer five core programmes, each supporting a distinct need and addressing opportunities unmet by existing media-focused initiatives:
- Graduate Education will provide the intellectual foundation to underwrite the quality of all the School’s programming. Its initial degree programme will be a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism, focused on quality content production in a multi-platform environment, with an emphasis on fostering specialised reporting and expertise relevant to developing economies.
- The Division of Continuing Education and Professional Development will enable practicing journalists as well as professionals from government, the private sector and civil society to gain hands-on experience and knowledge in journalism skills; specialised reporting; corporate marketing and communications; film/video/ documentary; and web-based and new media.
- The Centre for Media Enterprise Management and Entrepreneurship will provide executive programmes, graduate degree programmes and demand-driven short courses to strengthen the capacities of current and aspiring media leaders; and to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
- The African Global Forum for Media and Society will offer cross-disciplinary research, convening and advocacy functions to strengthen media engagement with broader societal issues; facilitate African contributions to global knowledge and networks; and support more enabling environments for free, commercially successful and socially responsible media.
- Public Service extends the reach of the School to address wider needs in the media sector for pedagogical content development (including through an African Management Case Centre); faculty development; student-generated media content; and educational programming initiatives.
As marked by the Foundation Ceremony held on July 27, 2011, the design and development of the School’s state-of-the-art facilities in Nairobi are underway, with the launch of academic programmes planned for 2014.