It is with great sadness that we share the news that AKFC’s founding CEO, Nazeer Aziz Ladhani, passed away suddenly in Nairobi, Kenya on February 19, 2020.
Nazeer led the growth of the Foundation from a small start-up in Vancouver to one of Canada’s leading development organizations and a trusted partner of the Government of Canada, other civil society institutions, academia, private enterprise, and tens of thousands of individual Canadian donors and volunteers.
His successor, Khalil Z. Shariff, reflected: “He was ambitious for AKFC, but he was equally ambitious for Canada. Nazeer was convinced that Canada could offer unique contributions and have outsized impact in alleviating poverty and improving quality of life for some of the most vulnerable populations around the world.”
Nazeer was accordingly a driving force in strengthening the institutional presence and partnerships of the Aga Khan Development Network in Canada, including through his roles in the establishment of Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and the Global Centre for Pluralism.
Following his tenure at AKFC, Nazeer continued to make significant contributions to the wider Aga Khan Development Network, bringing his strategic insights, ingenuity, unparalleled networking abilities, and trademark candour to roles with the University of Central Asia and, most recently, the Aga Khan University.
While setting the highest expectations for his colleagues and counterparts, Nazeer was also generous mentor, trusted advisor, and friend. He will be deeply missed even as his work will live on in the institutions and people he has touched around the globe.
Read more about his life and contributions in this profile by Ian Smillie, published in The Globe and Mail.