Open your mind to powerful new ideas

Open your mind to powerful new ideas

Climate change, inequality, and persistent poverty are just some of the major challenges our world is facing today. Whilst incredible progress has been made in recent years, new solutions are needed to help create a safer, fairer and more prosperous world for all.

From revolutionary medical technologies that could save the lives of millions to viral photographic campaigns that challenge stereotypes and build bridges between cultures, the possibilities of the arts and sciences to change the world are limitless.

What is illuminate?

illuminate is an exciting new programme that offers aspiring students like you insight into transformational ideas that are shaping the developing world today.

illuminate aims to broaden your horizons, inspire a new generation of change-makers, and explore how you can contribute toward a better world, all whilst strengthening your university application.  You will have the chance to participate in a one day lecture event and subsequently a multi-media essay competition to examine these themes.

First prize will receive £500. The Runner-Up will receive £250.

illuminate is a new annual programme of the Aga Khan Foundation, one of the world’s leading international development organisations which is dedicated to improving quality of life in the developing world.

How does it work?

On 6 July 2019, you will have the chance to visit one of London’s newest architectural gems – the Aga Khan Centre – and listen to either a world-renowned artist or scientist discussing how they are responding to some of the developing world’s most pressing issues.

You will then be set a question to answer as either a 2,000 word essay or a 5 minute video blog to be submitted by 8 August 2019. Entries will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges and the winner will be announced at an event on 14 September 2019.

Win or not, illuminate will help you to discover powerful new ideas and will add weight to your university application. Participation is completely free and you can sign up to become a member of our illuminate Alumni network – be invited to exclusive events and hear all the latest AKF news – using the form at the bottom of the page.

Join ambitious and socially-engaged Year 12 students to find out about the key issues shaping the developing world today and help us create a safer, fairer and more prosperous world for all.

Why should I take part?

Open your mind to powerful and exciting new ideas

Learn about new cultures and some of the key issues shaping the world today

Explore how you can support those in the developing world live a better quality of life

Share your thoughts and develop your thinking, reasoning and persuasive style

Strengthen your CV and impress university admissions teams through participation

Meet other like-minded people engaged with today’s big issues

Visit one of London’s new architectural gems and the Islamic Gardens at King’s Cross

Become a member of the AKF ‘illuminate’ Alumni network – be invited to exclusive events and hear all the latest AKF news

Who will be speaking?

Jessica Fulford-Dobson – Acclaimed photographer, winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize for her series ‘Skate Girls of Kabul’
Speaking about
Art with Impact: Blending Art, Story Telling and Journalism
Professor Elnasir LalaniDirector at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Aga Khan University, Pakistan
Speaking about
Stem Cells: Medical Technology Can Have A Profound Economic and Societal Impact in the Developing World

How do I register?

15 May – 28 JuneRegister your interest in participating in illuminate

6 JulyVisit the Aga Khan Centre and attend an inspiring talk from an expert in their field. They will announce the competition and ask you to answer a question about the arts and the sciences and how these can impact the developing world

8 August – Submit either a 2,000 word written essay or a 5 minute video blog responding to that question. Email your entry to to be reviewed by an independent panel of judges

14 SeptemberWinners will be announced at a special prize giving event to be held at the Ismaili Centre, South Kensington, London. First prize will be awarded £500 and the Runner-Up will receive £250.

Sign up to be illuminate Alumni

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