P@SHA launched its monthly Speaker Series for 2012 by holding the first talk in Lahore on February 28. The speaker was the engaging, accomplished and brilliant Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Mr. Adil Najam.
For those who don’t know him, Prof. Adil Najam was appointed Vice Chancellor (equivalent of president) of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Lahore Pakistan in the summer of 2011. He served as the Director of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University from November 2007 through August 2011, and he remains a Professor of International Relations and of Geography & Environment.
Prof. Najam was a co-author for the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); work for which the scientific panel was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the public understanding of climate change science. In 2008 he was invited by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on the UN Committee on Development (CDP). In 2010 he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), one of Pakistan’s highest civil awards by the President of Pakistan. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the 2011 Human Development Report of the UNDP.
Prof. Najam has taught at Boston University, MIT, University of Massachusetts and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. His research focuses on issues of global public policy, especially those related to South Asia, Muslim countries, environment and development, and human well-being.
Professor Najam started off by explaining to the participants that LUMS had in fact changed considerably over the years. Starting off 25 years ago as a Business School, LUMS is now a full-fledged University with two other major Schools added: the School of Humanities, Social Sciences & Law and the School of Science & Engineering.
The first full batch of undergraduates would be graduating from the School of Science & Engineering this year.
Dr. Najam said that although the perception was that LUMS was an elite institution where only rich kids had access to quality education, the reality was very different – 40% of the students at LUMS are on financial aid. 10% are on 100% financial aid, and more than Rs. 250 Million was given to deserving students in financial aid this year.
He also spoke about the “National Outreach Programme” (NOP) which was launched in 2001, with the objective of providing educational opportunities to bright and talented students from smaller cities, villages and inner city areas of large urban centres, who are unable to meet the programme’s regular fee requirement for the 4-year Undergraduate program. The interesting thing was that the top student who got the highest paid job this year was an NOP graduate.
A lot of discussion took place between Dr. Najam and the CEOs from the IT industry to figure out ways in which closer interaction could take place between LUMS and the IT industry in the areas of research, recruitment and creating increased synergy for the benefit of both.
Some of the takeaways from the session were:
- More opportunities should be provided for Case studies/Story telling sessions focused on local IT entrepreneurial success to be shared with the students of LUMS
- IT industry entrepreneurs should work with the LUMS team to create a mechanism for the conducting of mock interviews with undergraduates in a similar fashion as LUMS alumni currently conduct with Business grads for corporate sector recruitment. It helps prepare them for the real world
- A mini P@SHA Career Expo should be organized on the LUMS campus where counseling, workshops, interviews and storytelling sessions can take place. This could be open to students from other universities as well
- P@SHA member companies should work with LUMS faculty to identify real problems that students can conduct research on, and provide solutions to. These could be funded to some degree by the companies
- Final Year Projects, where available, can be shared with interested P@SHA member companies so as to open up the possibility of commercialization of the projects
- An avenue for company CEOs/CTOs to speak to students regarding the work environment and career opportunities in technology firms should be created
- More details will be provided regarding P@SHA programs together alongwith opportunities for LUMS students and faculty to participate
Participants found the interaction to be extremely useful. It gave everyone a better insight into LUMS, its vision, its faculty, its current programs and its future plans. It also opened the door for increased collaboration between the tech sector and LUMS.
The event was sponsored by