Imtiyaz Hariyani (Class of 2014): From Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi and beyond | Aga Khan Academies

Imtiyaz Hariyani (Class of 2014): From Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi and beyond

Imtiyaz Hariyani credits the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad with giving him more than just the academic skills he needs to succeed at the undergraduate level. In his words, it has also provided him with “the ability to thrive in a pluralist society and function in an intellectually and culturally diverse setting.” This is particularly fitting for Imtiyaz as he has had experiences in various parts of the world: he now studies Biology and Applied Mathematics at NYU Abu Dhabi and has undertaken opportunities in Mombasa and Lisbon. He is working towards a career in research in Molecular Biology or Bioinformatics.

Imtiyaz is from Pune, India and first heard about the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad in Feburary 2012 – he distinctly remembers making the decision to attend. His parents attended a seminar conducted by the Academy in Pune but they hesitated to ask Imtiyaz if he would be willing to study all the way in Hyderabad. For Imtiyaz, who had grown up at home and was attached to his family, their uncertainty was justified. And yet, he replied, “Why not?”

“Undeniably,” says Imtiyaz, “that day has shaped my career and is the reason for my academic progress and journey to NYU Abu Dhabi.”

Imtiyaz Hariyani
At AKA Hyderabad, Imtiyaz was introduced to the merits of a global education and the International Baccalaureate programme. He quickly became familiar with an educational style quite different from what he had experienced in middle school: instead of rote learning, the Academy focuses on understanding concepts in a hands-on, practical manner. Imtiyaz believes that this approach to teaching, along with an emphasis on extra-curricular activities under the banner of Creativity, Activity and Service, led him to redefine what it means to be educated.

The Academy in Hyderabad offered students outlets to shape the school’s future. “In the senior school’s first year of establishment, we also received the opportunity to initiate activities that would turn into legacies,” Imtiyaz recalls. With a classmate, he transformed his passion for cricket into the AKA Hyderabad Cricket League, now in its sixth season. “As an alumnus who returned to the Academy three years after graduating,” he reflects, “I was immensely proud to see how the students have respected and maintained the legacies set by the Class of 2014 and have contributed to uplifting their standards to an extraordinary level.”

After graduating from the Academy, Imtiyaz took a gap year and was offered a five-month internship at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. There, he tutored students in various subjects, supported the cricket team, and mentored a group of Middle Years Programme students.

Imtiyaz Hariyani
Imtiyaz’s internship in Mombasa was the beginning of his global experiences in the past few years. “Mombasa was the first time I had left my country in twelve years and the fact that I was going to a new continent knowing nobody was intimidating at first,” he remarks. “Fast forward two and half years – it has become an essential part of my life.”

Last summer, Imtiyaz pursued a research program in Lisbon, the city which is host to the Global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat. There, he celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Imam of the Ismaili Muslim community and founder of the Aga Khan Academies, which he thoughtfully describes as “the perfect occasion to rejoice and reflect upon life after the Academy, and to express our gratitude to the Imam who has served the worldwide community for sixty years and has contributed to uplifting the quality of countless lives globally.”

Currently, Imtiyaz is working on his capstone project in Evolutionary Genomics and is studying "transposable element amplification" in an Ethiopian frog species with the Boissinot Lab at NYU Abu Dhabi. Imtiyaz attributes his desire to seek the best in his university education and to learn first-hand about other countries and cultures to his experience at the Academy in Hyderabad and the vision of His Highness the Aga Khan.

“The spirit that the Academy embedded in me has allowed me to emerge as a global scholar with the support of my family and lifelong friends that I made in Hyderabad and elsewhere,” he explains. “From Pune to Portugal, I believe this journey is a result of His Highness’s tireless efforts in the field of education, and the Academies which have implemented this vision with great success.”

By Natasha Pirani