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Ceremony marks graduation of the first class of the ICEU Lifelong Learning Programme
Lifelong Learning team
11 May 2009
  • Keith Mackrell, Governor and Honorary Fellow of the LSE, delivers the keynote address. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK
    Keith Mackrell, Governor and Honorary Fellow of the LSE, delivers the keynote address. Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK

    The first Certificate in Lifelong Learning class graduated in an elegant ceremony held on 4 April at the Ismaili Centre in London. The ceremony marked an important milestone in the lives of the graduates as well as for the Ismaili Council for the European Union (ICEU), which administers the programme as part of its wider Lifelong Learning initiative.

    Seventy-four graduates from France, Portugal, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom were joined by family members and senior Jamati leaders from across the EU to mark the occasion. They were addressed by keynote speaker Keith Mackrell, Governor and Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics (LSE).

    “If there are circumstances in your life which have placed a comma in your education, do not make the mistake of thinking that this is a full stop. Lifelong learning has no full stops.”
    – Professor Alnoor Bhimani

    Focusing on the importance of continuous learning in addressing accelerating globalisation and technological change, his address resonated with the impetus of the Lifelong Learning initiative. He praised the mission of the Programme, which seeks to promote “continuous and shared learning, in today's knowledge society to raise individuals' personal and economic potential, and to encourage social conscience and active citizenship within the European Community.”

    Mackrell was joined by several key representatives from organisations such as the Institute of Education, International House, and the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE), active in the field of education in Europe.

    Anvarali Jiva, President of the Ismaili Council for the European Union, addresses the audience. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK
    Anvarali Jiva, President of the Ismaili Council for the European Union, addresses the audience. Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK

    “Lifelong learning has long been part of the Islamic tradition, which emphasises the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination for the benefit of society,” said Anvarali Jiva, President of the ICEU in his opening address. “In other words,” he continued, “putting knowledge into action that benefits the individual, the community and society at large.”

    Addressing the graduates, he went on to say: “In the present diverse and demanding world, I strongly encourage you to use your training and certificate as a trampoline, to change your mindset and continue to move forward in your professional and personal development. As pioneers, you also have an ambassadorial role to play... by motivating many more members of the community, across national frontiers, to adopt lifelong learning as a way of life.”

    A uniquely European endeavour, the Lifelong Learning intiative currently has over four hundred registered learners. The Certificate Programme was established in conjunction with the London School of Economics by the ICEU, whose mandate is to deliver programmes that enhance the social and economic wellbeing of Ismailis in the EU. Building on its success, the Programme is seeking to expand its partnership with the LSE and seek new opportunities in Europe.

    Professor Tom Schuller, a Director at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, in conversation with Tasneem Virani, Director of the Lifelong Learning programme at the ICEU. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK
    Professor Tom Schuller, a Director at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, in conversation with Tasneem Virani, Director of the Lifelong Learning programme at the ICEU. Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK

    Tasneem Virani, Director of the Lifelong Learning programme at the ICEU, noted that “learning is a continuous journey”. She paid tribute to the graduates, who had fulfilled a commitment to widen their experiences: “They have learnt to keep their eyes both internally and externally open toward the core purposes of learning and opportunities available in a knowledge society.”

    Learners expressed a significant sense of achievement and exhilaration to have been part of an EU-wide initiative. One participant – a new retiree – had found herself “at a loss” before joining the programme. She had a passion for languages and the programme gave her the confidence to pursue her dream. Another, a medical General Practitioner, credited the programme with helping him to better judge which professional courses would add to his knowledge and benefit his practice and patients.

    Dr Alnoor Bhimani, a Member of the ICEU and Professor of Management Accounting at the LSE delivers the closing remarks. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK
    Dr Alnoor Bhimani, a Member of the ICEU and Professor of Management Accounting at the LSE delivers the closing remarks. Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK

    The ceremony also featured the unique recital of a piece created especially for the occasion by musicians from the Ismaili Community Ensemble.

    Dr Alnoor Bhimani, a member of the Ismaili Council for the European Union and a professor at LSE delivered the closing remarks at the ceremony: “If there are circumstances in your life which have placed a comma in your education, do not make the mistake of thinking that this is a full stop,” he said. “Lifelong learning has no full stops.”

    Graduates pose for a group photograph with Jamati leaders. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK
    Graduates pose for a group photograph with Jamati leaders. Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for the UK