Library Team

Library Team


Dr Walid Ghali

Head Librarian
​​Dr Ghali leads the Aga Khan Library. He is an associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at The Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC).

He received his PhD in Arabic Manuscript Traditions from Cairo University in 2012. He also completed coursework for a master’s degree in Islamic studies, and earned a diploma in Executive Management from the Institute of Management.

Dr Ghali coordinates and teaches the Paths to Sufism module for MA students at the AKU-ISMC, and co-teaches on other modules such as Concept of Nation in Modern Arabic Literature and Muslim Societies in a Changing World. He delivers guest lectures on Pre-Islamic Poetry and Prose Culture and Quran Recitation at The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS). Dr Ghali also organizes yearly short courses on Arabic Manuscript Traditions and Qur’an in Daily Muslim Practices.

He is also a member of the Editorial Board of Abdou Filali-Ansary Occasional Papers. In 2020, he was elected as a board member of The Islamic Manuscript Association.

Dr Ghali publishes in many different research areas, and gives guest lectures and presentations at international conferences. His forthcoming publication is a critical edition of previously unknown documents belonging to the leading Egyptian figure and Muslim reformer Muhammad Abduh (d.1905).

Shah Hussain

Collections Development Librarian

​Shah is the collections librarian for the Aga Khan Library. He is a qualified librarian with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from London Metropolitan University.

He is a graduate of the IIS’ Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities. He also holds two further master’s degrees: Social Anthropology from SOAS University of London, and International Relations from the University of Peshawar in Pakistan.

Shah’s responsibilities include collection development, reference assistance and library liaison. He is also compiling an annotated bibliography of literature on the Aga Khan Development Network.

Before becoming our collections librarian, Shah worked in many other capacities and undertook many projects in the IIS library. As Keeper of the Special Collections, he initiated and managed the microfilming and cataloguing of the library manuscripts.




Waseem Farooq

Reference and Instruction Librarian

After receiving his education in Arabic and Islamic studies from seminaries in the UK and India, Waseem achieved his BA (Honours) in Arabic with Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from the University of Durham. He also earned an MA in Library and Information Studies at University College London, and an MA in Historical Research Methods at SOAS University of London.

He began his career in librarianship as a cataloguer of Arabic materials and leading library assistant at the British Library in 2002. He then joined the AKU-ISMC as an assistant librarian in 2005, became a librarian in 2010, and started his current position in 2021.

Waseem is primarily responsible for the acquisitions of print and ebooks, and providing information literacy training. His research interests include the history of Sufism in South Asia, early and medieval Islamic documents and sources, dialectical theology, principles of fiqh, and hadith studies.

Pedro Sanchez

Library Coordinator

​Pedro holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Library and Information Science from the University of Granada, Spain, and an MA in Librarianship from the University of Sheffield. He has been working in information services for more than a decade. Before joining AKU-ISMC, he worked in libraries at fine arts museums, mining and engineering companies, and medical, business and media schools.

Since 2016, Pedro has worked on improving all Aga Khan Library systems, electronic resources and digital projects. He has developed the Aga Khan Library Digital Collections platform and the Aga Khan Library website. As part of his current position, he oversees the development of the new library management system and other system migrations.

He is currently working with the Head Librarian to develop the new library strategy and oversees all library operational functions, including planning and budgeting, financial management, and policy development.

His professional interests include the marketing and promotion of libraries, librarianship advocacy and politics, bibliometrics and other impact evaluation metrics, open-source software, and open-science strategies.

Esen Kaya

Gallery Curator

Esen curates the Aga Khan Centre Gallery, and manages its artistic and engagement programmes.

She is a professional artist with a degree in Fine Art Sculpture, and postgraduate study work across drawing, painting, installation, embroidery and sculpture. She has exhibited her pieces in several collective and solo exhibitions worldwide. In 2017, she received a three-year Honorary Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of Sunderland.

Before joining the gallery, Esen worked as an educator and curator in museums and galleries across the UK. She promoted community-focused creative arts projects to facilitate access to and engagement with the arts and culture.

In 2014, Esen founded DRAWING, a series of exhibitions and events that explore the role and importance of drawing in work and everyday life. DRAWING engaged over 100,000 audience members through live exhibitions, events, creative learning and online activities. Esen continues to develop DRAWING as an online gallery.

Please contact Esen for enquiries about the Aga Khan Centre Gallery.


Krista Eidal

Assistant Librarian – Digital Services

Krista received a Master’s in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has been working in web, library and information management for 25 years. Krista began her working career in web development in the US and Norway. When she moved to the UK, she focused on information and library management, working with schools and councils in London.

Krista will be responsible for the Aga Khan Library systems, electronic resources and digital services. She will focus on integrating and making available all resources within the Aga Khan Library through a unified front-end system.

Her professional interests include promoting access to digital resources, information retrieval, and knowledge management.

Seda Karamanli

Assistant Librarian – Collection Development

Seda is currently writing her PhD dissertation at SOAS in the Near and Middle Eastern Studies department, receiving an MPhil in June 2021. In addition, she holds a BA and MA degrees from the Turkish Language and Literature Department at Boğaziçi University in Turkey.

Previously, she collaborated on a research project entitled “Women Writers’ Literary Environment In Late Ottoman Istanbul (1869- 1923)” , funded by TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). In her role there, she translated, edited and catalogued periodicals and various literary texts in Ottoman-Turkish and French.

She was a PhD Placement Holder in the “Ottoman-Turkish Press in Bulgaria” Project at the British Library in 2021, cataloguing digitised minority press items in Bulgaria as part of EAP’s Ottoman-Turkish press project with the aim to preserve archival material in danger.

Ilaria Gianfranceschi

Library Assistant

Ilaria holds a BA in Languages, Cultures and Societies of Asia and Mediterranean Africa from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. Here she specialized in Middle Eastern studies with Arabic and Turkish language studies. Her dissertation explored the luxury trade between Venice and Constantinople in the 16th century. She has recently completed a MA in the History of art and architecture of the Islamic Middle East at SOAS, with her research work focusing on Ottoman architecture and its relations to the Mediterranean.

Her role in the Aga Khan Library is to ensure its upkeep and help students and researchers with their queries. Her work includes outreach and promotional activities through projects such as the Aga Khan Library Tunes on Spotify, the upcoming Aga Khan Library movie nights, and content creation on social media.

Meher Bano Mirzayee

Aga Khan Centre Tours Officer

Meher is a recent alumna of the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisation, where she graduated with an MA in Muslim Cultures. She also holds a Master’s in Applied Psychology from GITAM University in India and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan.

Meher’s role will support the Aga Khan Centre tours by training new tour guides and becoming the contact point for visitors. Drawing upon her early years in a small Afghani village, her experience studying and working abroad, and her extensive travels, Meher’s international outlook will shape how the public understands and experiences the unique blend of ethnic groups and cultures that contribute to the diverse and friendly environment of the Aga Khan Centre.