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Harvard has been commissioned by the Pakistani spiritual leader Karim Aga Kahn '59 to help set up a private university some-where in the Third World.
President Bok and five Harvard professors--representing the social sciences, the sciences and the humanities--have been meeting since last fall to recommend possible locations, degree and research programs, and the academic direction of the university. Participants say they will make suggestions by the end of the summer.
The negotiations to set up the institution mark the second time in recent years that Harvard has worked with the Aga Kahn to establish educational facilities in developing nations.
In December 1981, Bok agreed to help develop the Aga Kahn Hospital and Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan Since then Harvard Medical School doctors have played a major role in helping a Pakistan faculty committee build the hospital and develop a curriculum.
Officials say, however, that the two projects are not related.
Bok said in an interview this week that "we want to determine if there is a need for a university [in the Third World] and what areas such a university would cover." He added that "the goal is to create some kind of privately funded institution of learning.
The Geneva-based philanthropic Aga Khan Foundation, is funding the project, committee member David E. Bell, Gamble Professor of Population Sciences and International Health, said yesterday Dwight H. Perkins, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) is coordinating the staff work, Bell added.
Edward I. Keenan, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a member of the committee, attended ceremonies last weekend in Karachi where the Pakistani government granted a charter to the proposed university.
Committee members said, however, that the group is still informal. The location of the planned university is yet to be determined; it could be anywhere in the Third World and may be formed independently or in conjunction with the Aga Khan Medical College.
Also, none of the professors has yet been assigned specific areas to investigate.
"We will be [researching] for about a year," Bok said. "Right now discussion is in general and preliminary terms."
Harvey Brooks, Pierce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, and Oleg Grabar. Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art, are the two other faculty members on the committee.
Perkins--who will administer the funds through the HIID--declined to disclose the possible recommendations the committee will eventually make, explaining. "It's his [the Aga Khan's] judgment as to whether the alternatives are to be made public."
Though the project is being run through the University, Perkins has hired an outside consultant. Ford Foundation Deputy Vice President Francis X. Sutton, to help coordinate committee activities.
Harvard has previously advised developing nations in the formation of educational institutions.
The most publicized agreement came in 1975, when Harvard and the government of Iran arranged to have University professors design a school in Tehran to be modelled after Harvard.
The project was scrapped in 1977 when University professors raised objections to the human rights policies of the then-Shah of Iran and academic hiring policies in Iran.
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