Stephen Lyon becomes the first dean of the new Faculty of Arts and Sciences at AKU

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Professor Stephen Lyon has taken the helm as the inaugural Dean of the new Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at the Aga Khan University.

Professor Lyon is a cultural anthropologist with an interest in social organization, cultural systems, conflict and development in rural and urban Pakistan. He was President of the Society for Anthropological Sciences (2019-2021) and Treasurer of the Pakistan Studies Group (2000-2020), which organized the annual Pakistan Workshop in the Lake District. He is the editor of Social Science Computer Review (a SAGE journal).

Moreover, Professor Lyon has deep ties to Pakistan. He completed part of his high school education at Lahore American School and has lived and worked in a rural village in Attock district, Punjab intermittently since 1998.

“Returning to Pakistan for this exciting post as the inaugural Dean of FAS fills me with a great sense of warmth and pride – it feels like coming home. I believe in the transformative power of an arts education and science for a country like Pakistan – a country that is diverse in every way, rich in culture and looking to the future while honoring the past.

He has worked at AKU since 2018 as Head of Educational Programs at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations (AKU-ISMC) in London. Since his time at AKU, Dr. Lyon has been instrumental in the development of the program, curriculum, and structure of FAS. FAS will build on the work of AKU-ISMC, including its research on governance, popular culture, development, digital humanities, and Indian Ocean cultures, as the guiding arm of the humanities and social sciences of the University.

AKU President Dr. Sulaiman Shahabuddin said, “Our world is changing at a remarkable speed. AKU’s new FAS draws on the rich tradition of arts and science education while adapting it to the Pakistani context and imbuing it with our distinctive values. Professor Lyon will provide outstanding leadership and strategic direction to the program and inaugurate a new AKU in Pakistan that focuses on undergraduate education in the arts and sciences.

Admissions to AKU’s new Faculty of Arts and Sciences will open in December 2022 and the first cohort of students will begin in September next year. The program will include four majors: Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; social development studies; Philosophy, Politics and Economics; and human and environmental biology. There will also be an experiential learning component to enable students to undertake work placements – either locally in Pakistan or overseas – to apply their classroom learnings in real-life situations.

FAS’s mission is simple: to educate future leaders through a transformative education that is relentlessly challenging, challenging, and mind-opening – one that prepares graduates for innovative thinking and consequential action. Leaders who can be agents of change not only for Pakistan but for the world. Applications open in December 2022.

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