On 18th October, the third annual Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) illuminate awards ceremony took place at the Ismaili Centre in London. Three 6th form students were recognised for their outstanding submissions. All the three winners received a prize, which included a cash reward and tutor support for their UCAS applications. The illuminate programme is aimed at broadening students’ horizons and enhancing their leadership skills.
The event was attended by Mahmood Ahmed, the Chairman of AKF (UK), and Naushad Jivraj, the President of the UK National Council, both of whom addressed the audience.
President Jivraj emphasised in his welcoming speech that illuminate helps students prepare for life after school and empowers them to make contributions to their communities as future leaders. This year’s theme focused on ‘How technology (and AI) will continue to change our world.’
Rahim Hirji, one of the judges, the country manager for Quizlet and the curator of ‘Box of Amazing’, delivered the keynote address. Rahim underscored that, “AI will be our co-pilot into the future, and it holds a balloon of possibility and will be part of the betterment of humanity.” He had previously held a workshop presentation to illuminate participants at The Aga Khan Centre in June 2023 about the impact of technology on society and its broad applications across various industries. Following that workshop, students were encouraged to submit entries for a multimedia essay competition.
Rahim, along with Salima Bhatia, a film producer and life coach, and Gordon Young, a technological expert from Xiaomi, reviewed the applications and selected the three finalists: Oguzhan Cagirir, Ayub Abdulkadir, and Iimaan Abdirahman.
These finalists and their families were invited to the Ismaili Centre, and their works, consisting of two essays and a piece of artwork, were recognised as a testament to the dedication and focus of students on their career development.
The most emotional moment of the day occurred when Iimaan Abdirahman and her family arrived after facing multiple transport delays, just as her name was announced as the winner of illuminate 2023. Iimaan’s art piece was praised for its vivid imagination depicting the power of technology and its far-reaching impact.
With dedicated students like Oguzhan, Ayub, and Iimaan, we can be confident that the future will be in capable hands. They are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today, illuminating the path to a better world.
Written by Soraya Shamji
Photos by Riaz Kassam