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Global Encounters invites applications from young Ismailis around the world

You are Ismaili youths, you are blessed and you can DREAM big. Please apply.


The Ismaili: Global Encounters invites applications from young Ismailis around the world

An initiative of the Jamati Institutions of the Ismaili Muslim community organised in collaboration with agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network like the Aga Khan Academies, Global Encounters is a month-long programme focused on service, culture, and leadership. Students volunteer and lead community service projects, learn from reputable professionals, and build friendships with youth from around the world.

As they witness the AKDN in action, students gain new cultural competencies and explore what it means to be a global citizen. From exploring safaris to discovering local art and music, students will also experience the exciting and rich culture of Kenya.

“I’ve never felt so much like a global citizen as when I was at Global Encounters,” said Aziza Sana Janmohamed of Dallas and Karachi, who took part in the programme last summer. “Looking back, I could never imagine that this would be something so empowering. [For me] it was like leaving…

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If you want to change the world talk to a kid: Qayam Devji at TEDxKids@BC | Vancouver Youth

I feel confident that many more Ismaili Youth can participate in opportunities like this and inspire others. GO FOR IT!!!!


The mission of TEDxKids@BC is to help create a world in which the kids have been invited to explore their passions and to contribute in realizing such a world for the youth in our community. To accomplish this, we’re trying to build platform for facilitating opportunities to empower kids and help them apply their passions. Find out more at http://www.tedxkidsbc.com


If you want to change the world talk to a kid: Qayam Devji at TEDxKids@BC | Vancouver Youth

Qayam Devji is excited to be entering Grade 8 in September in West Vancouver. A reader, writer, actor and community volunteer, Qayam curated his first TEDxKids event after being inspired by attending TEDxKids@BC in October 2012. He presented his first TEDTalk on how teachers can help students achieve great ideas at TEDxWestVancouver ED in May 2013. In his free time Qayam enjoys hip hop dance and volunteers with the West Vancouver Rec Commission and the Ismaili Council for BC.

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It’s worth learning from your peer

Interview with Karim Farishta
1. Which university are you currently studying in and what is your major?
The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs; Major: International Affairs; Concentration: International Development

2. How do you keep yourself updated on opportunities that exists around you but were not spoon fed to you?

I acutely understand that social media can be used for both social good and social evil. This being said, I keep myself updated on opportunities by liking various Facebook pages and following several Twitter handles that align with my interests. This allows me the opportunity to learn about up and coming projects and quickly see if there are any job or internship postings. I am very connected with many email list serves and glance over organizational emails to find the most up-to-date and pertinent information. I always tell my counselors, academic advisors and previous employers to keep me in the loop for new projects. Once you show that you are willing and able to go the extra mile, professionals remember you and lend their resources to you. The key here is to appreciate them for their support and keep them updated on your progress.

I also love listening to the news. I pay particular attention to topics that are interesting to me and focus in on them. I enjoy researching like-minded organizations and people who share similar passions as I do. I tend to apply to a lot of competitive programs. I understand that I will not receive all the opportunities that I apply for but they provide me with learning experiences to enhance my writing and oral skills. These competitive programs are often national and international in scope, so even by applying, large organizations learn my name and about the work that I am doing

3. What are the three most important things that you suggest for all Ismaili youth to do no matter what their future goals are?

  • The cost of inaction is catastrophic. Pursue both depth and breadth in any endeavor that you start, but do not get lost in the breadth of knowledge and choose to give up. This is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make. Inaction can result from falsely construed approaches to challenging circumstances. To remedy this, you must go in-depth for any project you begin whether it may be an internship or research opportunity. This will come with self-direction and self-confidence.
  • Age seldom correlates with what you can achieve. It is our young, innovative, and powerful minds that think the unthinkable and make the unseen a reality. Age is simply a measure of life. This being said, the sooner you start, the quicker you will begin to see the fruits of your labor. The world needs people to come alive and rise to action. Don’t let your passion dwindle in the face of preliminary challenges because these early struggles will produce a stronger you. The best way to make the future better is to create it. So come alive, and take action.
  • Allow passion and purpose to work in sync. You will find many role models in your life. These individuals will have found what they love to do and understood why they do it. This should be your goal too. Just because someone else enjoys an occupation does not mean that you will feel the same way. Find what makes you feel good and expands your personal impact and pursue that. Inevitably, this will make you happy.

 4. How do you approach people that you don’t know, but would be a great resource in your journey?

I can’t begin to count the number of times my dad has said, “you never know when he or she will come in handy.” The only way to move forward is to always keep good relations with people. Do not burn bridges because these structures can serve you in the future. This is easier said than done. I can assure you that taking the first steps to make a contact is a lifelong skill. The sooner you begin to network with others, the more you learn about what they are doing and begin see how they can help you with your journey. So what do you do? If you meet someone at an event or conference, email and appreciate them. Add colleagues on LinkedIn or use the Education Board as a resource to make professional connections.

5. Do you have a mentor and how valuable is it to have a mentor?

Yes, of course! The mentors in my life have provided the most invaluable advice. Mentors are like guiding lights—they are those who can say, “been there, done that.” Unlike some who will only superficially share their experiences, mentors will share both their strengths and weaknesses. Since their sole goal is to help you succeed, they will even share information that they did not know when they went through a particular process. So, once you find a mentor, trust them, learn from their experiences and apply their knowledge. The more frank you are with your mentor, the more specificity they can provide.

6. What is your advice for those who have dreams, but are not privileged enough to have the necessary resources/means to fulfill their dreams?

Privilege comes to those who pursue. Sometimes it may appear that others have unlimited monetary resources at their disposal, but do not be overwhelmed if you cannot access these resources as quickly as others. You must plan how to best leverage the resources you already have and thereby expand them over time. Firstly, do not give up. Rather, seek support. Ask your mentor for advise. Apply for scholarships and plan your future. Haphazard attempts to secure funds will in most cases not work in your favor. You will have to strategize; preparing for your future is a gradual, incremental process.

7. Which are some of the means of social media that teenagers could use to their advantage?

As I said before, I think Facebook and Twitter can really be wonderful resources for information. Sometimes news is lost in long newsfeed, but you must be able to distinguish between good and bad knowledge. Some other helpful websites include: BuildMyIdea.com, CollegeBoard.com, LinkedIn, TED.com, and the IPN LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

8. List some of the people that you admire and please tell us why?

  • Faridoun Hemani is a down-to-earth international journalist who specializes in bringing human stories before partisan politics. He has a gift for storytelling that I wish to transcend to my generation.
  • Brown is the epitome of a fantastic teacher. She is an inspiration to other educators and also a firm believer in the potential of youth.
  • Professor Beck has been my mentor since senior year. She is a lawyer but also a full-time activist for justice. She represents her clients wholeheartedly and does not sacrifice her conviction to human rights.
  • My grandfather and all refugees are sources of inspiration to me. I am amazed by their continuous pursuit for better opportunities and relentless strength. Their stories motivate me to never stop doing what I love to do.

9. According to you, how Ismaili teenagers may go about planning for a bright and meaningful future?

The key is really to start early. The “future” isn’t as far as you think it is. Bluntly stated, there are limited attempts you have to take standardized SAT and ACT tests. There is no substitute to learning strategies and taking practice tests. If you want to receive college credit from AP and SAT Subject Tests, then that is added study time. If your scores begin to stagnate, you should consult your college counselor for advice.

Building a strong résumé requires a head start on figuring out what you like to do. Once you find your passion, it is time to get involved and apply for leadership roles.

Paying for college is a burdensome process on your parents’ checkbooks and your potential student debts can take a long time to repay. Find both financial and merit scholarships that match your interests, goals, majors, and careers. Go to collegeboard.com, fastweb.com, collegeprowler.com, and cappex.com to find the latest scholarship deadlines. Many of these opportunities are not limited to upperclassmen so younger students can also apply.

10. What was your parent’s role in your success so far?

They have been my strongest supporters—the best cheerleaders from the sidelines and the best advisers. Their foresight and experience allow them to provide meaningful insight into the steps I take. I have realized that others will always try to influence me and shape my opinion to fit their interests. I know my parents will always guide me in a direction that aligns with my ambitions. All parents have a vested interest in their child’s education and future. They do not want their children to be misled or fooled. My parents’ convictions, morality, and ethics have been beacons for me to make the best possible decisions.

Don’t take what they say lightly. In fact, appreciate them for their input.

Thank you for reading!!!

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Karim Farishta and his educational journey

Interview with Karim Farishta

  1. Which university are you currently studying in and what is your major?

The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs; Major: International Affairs; Concentration: International Development

  1. Why did you decide to pursue this specific degree?

International Affairs is more than just a degree. It is a way of thinking globally and acting in a way that creates meaningful impact. By focusing on the international development track, this major offers me an opportunity to enhance critical thinking skills and become a more interconnected member of our dynamic community. As a high school student, all of my extracurricular activities were focused internationally and specifically on migrant populations. Because my family had endured many hardships when they immigrated across countries and across continents to seek better outcomes, I had an intense desire to explore human rights to positively impact the world. As a result, I spent the majority of my junior and senior years of high school on self-based and mentor-based research on refugee resettlement in Houston. I am continuously intrigued and challenged with this work and would like to explore progress in human rights issues and culture-based resettlement options. I plan to engage in field experiences to strengthen my ability to make policy decisions in the future. To this aim, I will be studying abroad in Nepal, Jordan and Chile next semester. I will conduct a comparative human rights study, record stories of resilient individuals around the world, and share them with other students. I hope to contribute to the synergy that makes this major so much more than just an academic experience. I hope my immersion in international affairs will refine my perspective and shape my career choice.

  1. What are some of the challenges that you faced when you moved out of home in Texas to go to Washington to pursue your dreams?

To be completely honest, it is not easy. There are rough days when you have to study for exams, write papers, do your laundry, find time to eat, call your parents, make friends, and sleep. It isn’t impossible, but it is definitely a transition that you somehow get the hang of soon enough.

Besides time management, freedom offers both pros and cons. With a million events in the city and on campus, it is difficult to stay focused on what you want to, and perhaps more importantly, who you want to become once you graduate. Freedom lets you make choices that can both positively and negatively impact you in the short-term and long-term. Keeping your academic goals at the forefront is vital to success. You must be determined and steadfast in how far you want to go. University is your opportunity to live your life to the fullest and pursue the impossible, so do not allow it to pass you by too quickly.

Lastly, you will be amazed by those who are equally and sometimes even more intelligent than you. This is not a moment to feel down but rather inspired. Connect with them. Learn how they got to where they are today and apply their advice to your personal paths. In other words, use competition as a constructive force to empower you rather than as a destructive force to hinder your progress.

  1. What role did being an Ismaili and being exposed to the work of AKDN play in your decision of becoming a human rights activist?

The values of integrity, compassion, and generosity are engrained in our faith’s ethics. Not only does the rhetoric of the Imam show our devotion to human improvement but also our actions and deeds. Particularly, my family benefited from the assistance of AKDN and the Ismaili Councils. When war broke out in Burma (now Myanmar) my grandfather was evicted from his house and forced to travel to Bangladesh and then India. The Imamat institutions were supportive of this transition, as it would ensure a better a quality of life. Nearly 20 years later, war broke out again, now my father was compelled to move from India to Pakistan. This transition, like that of my grandfather, was not easy. Although he lost his job, home, and safety, he never lost his resilience, hope, and spirit. This, in large part, was due to the support system of the AKDN. Soon after, my mother completed nursing school at the Aga Khan University (AKU), becoming a direct beneficiary of AKDN. Her experience at AKU inspired me to get involved in the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) USA.

As I grew older and went through the REC system, I learned about the work of AKDN during the Id-e-Amin period of East African history. When there was clear evidence of injustice and a lack of freedom and equality for all murids, the network stepped in to alleviate the conflict and help families rebuild. More recently, I realized the enormous impact of FOCUS humanitarian Agency when my brother participated in the FOCUS Bike 4 Life in India. When crises erupted in the Middle East, specifically in Syria, the network’s response to human rights atrocities inspired me to pursue a parallel track.

  1. How did you get the opportunity to become AKF youth ambassador?

On our way to AKF Partnership Walk 2003, my family and I suffered a terrible car accident. After the accident, I suffered a traumatic head injury that temporarily disabled my occupational and verbal capacities. Once I recovered and came to terms with what had happened, I chose to play an active role in the Walk as a way to remember that day but importantly to learn to value my life.

When I was in 8th grade, I devised a school-wide action plan to involve students in the Walk. I was too nervous to present this plan and it stayed in my desk drawer for nearly two years. Once I finished my sophomore year of high school, there was a preexisting AKF Club at my school, but it was low in membership and inactive. The personal touch from 2003 inspired me to activate the potential of my student body, specifically at the Global Studies Academy in Clements High School. I wanted to mainstream the message of ending global poverty and the mission of the AKF closely aligned with my goal. I revised the project proposal from 8th grade and presented it to my academy coordinator and principal in 10th grade. In 11th grade, 63 students came to the walk. By my senior year, 3 busloads of 186 students attended the walk and learned from the Village In Action. Now the legacy continues and over 100 students have pledged to participate in the Walk annually.

So to answer the question, I was not given the position. Rather, I saw an opportunity and sought to actualize my goal. I am humbled and proud to say that my intrinsic awareness has spread throughout the academy, enabling others to enter service and leadership roles.

Also check out another Blog Post: It’s worth learning from your peer 

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Jenifer Tharani: Masters in Dairy Products Technology

Thank you


While studying Food Science and Industry at Iowa State University, Jenifer Tharani graduated in the year 2008 and received an Outstanding Senior Award for her academic excellence, community service and industrial experiences. Jenifer also served as College Marshal for the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences during the graduation convocation ceremony in Dec 2008. She received various scholarships such as International Student Ambassador and Food Science scholarship.

Dean speaking about Jenifer Tharani accomplishments Dean speaking about Jenifer Tharani’s accomplishments.

Jenifer Tharani has completed Master’s in Dairy Products Technology in the year 2012 from California Polytechnic State University and now she is ready to pursue MS. in Human Nutrition from Texas State University.

Jenifer Tharani holding college flag Jenifer Tharani holding college flag


Evaluation of viability of Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 during simulated digestion process using a dynamic in vitro model
Jenifer Tharani, Cal Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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