The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) was delighted to welcome prominent educational leaders from across the United Kingdom on Thursday, November 29, 2018. The delegation included the leadership and other educational professionals from the University of Surrey, Oxford Brookes University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Open University, Royal Holloway, University of Reading, Cranfield University, University of Portsmouth, University of London, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, University of Central Lancashire, Magna Carta along with Directors, and Heads from the British Council, which was hosted by Vice Chancellor LUMS, Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Deans from all five Schools at LUMS, staff from the Vice Chancellor’s Office and Office of Marketing and Communications, LUMS. Dr. Ahmad welcomed the delegation and hoped that this is the first of the many more chapters ahead which will lead to many opportunities to work together.
The delegation visited with the aim to make international linkages stronger and better in all respects, especially in the field of education, research and exchange programmes. Strengthening mutual collaborations, increasing international, multidisciplinary and cross-cultural initiatives for students in both countries was also an important aim of the visit. The initiative will enhance cultural ties, build relationships, and promote educational collaboration, training and research with strategic partners.
The visit included an introductory session on LUMS and a group photo which succeeded in capturing the energy and ebullient spirits of both, the guests and the hosts. After a sumptuous breakfast, which provided the delegation the opportunity to network, the guests proceeded to the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS), where Dean, Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali, warmly welcomed them. He introduced the faculty who shared their research, experiences, expertise and connections with the UK displaying a productive picture of their work and future aspirations. They also shared the impediments and hindrances, in terms of finances, visa procedures that students face when applying to universities in the UK and discussed ways in which support can be provided.
The delegation was welcomed by Dean, Dr. Tahir Andrabi, on their arrival at the Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE). He introduced the School, faculty and discussed the scope of education in Pakistan. He shared his views and research about the educational sector in Pakistan and the challenges at hand. The group, including faculty, had a productive discussion on how they can be dealt with and how education can be enhanced for the society.
The next School visited was the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) where the Dean, Dr. Alnoor Bhimani hosted the guests. He shared the numerous opportunities at the School that the students have in the broader perspective. The SDSB faculty members also introduced themselves and spoke about the diversity of disciplines and multidisciplinary approach followed by the University.
Simon Pollard, Cranfield Univeristy, Pro Vice Chancellor (PVC) International appreciated the faculty and their energy and passion. He also shared that the stories about Pakistan on international media are misleading and expressed the desire to work on future collaborations.
At the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE), Dean, Dr. Shahid Masud introduced the school, and the different centres housed there including the Centre for Water Informatics and Technology, and an Energy Centre just inaugurated the same morning. He also took the delegation to the National Incubation Centre and introduced students working on entrepreneurial projects at par with international standards. The SBASSE faculty share their diverse research projects and initiatives to address different issues the country is facing at the moment, including water scarcity, energy crisis, and other challenges and how the School is contributing towards addressing these issues in more effective and efficient ways.
Liz Dempsey, British Council Manchester appreciated the School and said that the enthusiasm and the academic confidence is manifest. She expressed the hope to work on student exchange programmes.
Joanna Newman, Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) thanked the hosts for the ‘outstanding hospitality’ and said, “It was wonderful to have such in depth introductions of all the faculty. We appreciate your energy, vision, excellence and internationalisation goals. We hope this relationship lasts and strengthens.”
Consola Evans, Head of Membership, The Association of Common Wealth Universities expressed the hope to visit LUMS again. “Everyone is welcoming, inspiring, and friendly, and campus is amazing. Regretfully, the wrong perceptions about Pakistan have portrayed a very wrong picture of the Country; all I see and feel is optimism and enthusiasm. I look forward to future collaborations,” she shared.
Rosemary Hilhorst, Director Pakistan, British Council shared that LUMS students are very impressive and it was great to meet the faculty, and the Deans of the schools. “It’s a very impressive institution. I am delighted to meet the faculty who have done their Masters or PhDs from some of the best universities in the UK and we hope we can increase this number. I also hope we can initiate some student- faculty exchange programmes.”
The delegation then proceeded to have lunch which included diverse local dishes and seasonal fruits to give the guests a taste of the local cuisine. The delegation was joined at the lunch by Syed Babar Ali, Pro Chancellor LUMS, who expressed his pleasure at meeting them and shared his desire for future collaborations. He said, “I hope this visit will lead to various running collaborations with the UK, from various perspectives; from faculty to research to ideas that we are looking forward to implement and mutual learning.”