LUMS Alumnus, Dr. Umar Saif received the British Council Alumni Award 2017 at a gala award ceremony hosted on March 3 in Islamabad, by Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.
He was conferred the ‘Professional Achievement Award’ for his professional achievements and the transformative impact of his research on the government and higher education in Pakistan. The awards aim to highlight the effect that a UK education can have upon individuals in countries around the world, as well as to inspire others to reach their potential by pursuing their education there. This year the awards were being held in 14 locations namely Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.
Dr. Saif is a graduate of the LUMS BSc class of 1998 and a former LUMS faculty member. Presently he is Adviser to the Chief Minister Punjab, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and founder Vice Chancellor Information Technology University (ITU) Punjab, Lahore. He was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the government of Pakistan in 2015. It was the first time a professional from the field of IT was conferred with the Sitar-i-Imtiaz. He received the prestigious award for his work in research, teaching, entrepreneurship and public service in the field of IT.
After completing his BSc in Computer Science from LUMS, Dr. Saif went for further studies to the University of Cambridge, where he was a Commonwealth Scholar at Trinity College. Besides being the founding Vice Chancellor of the Information Technology University, Punjab, he also established one of the first startup incubators in Pakistan, called the Saif Center of Innovation (SCI). His work on grassroots technologies received the MIT Technovator Award in 2008 and he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010.
In August 2011, the MIT Technology Review named Dr. Saif among its list of the 35 "World’s Top Young Innovators for the year 2011." The list recognises the works of the world’s top young innovators that are radically transforming technology; it was also the first time in the past decade that a Pakistani had been featured.