Dr. Mehreen Faruqi -a Greens MP, NSW Upper House from the Australian Government visited IBA-CED


April 12: The Institute of Business Administration welcomed Dr. Mehreen Faruqi -a Greens MP in the NSW Upper House (Pakistani Origin) from the Australian Government. She was accompanied by the High Commissioner to Pakistan HE Margaret Adamson on a visit to IBA CED on 12th April, Tuesday, to attend a panel discussion. The focus of the discussion was the role of youth in development; challenges and opportunities for youth in Pakistan and gender equality for women.

The event was attended by many senior industry personnel, students and faculty from IBA. Dr. Sayeed Ghani Acting Dean & Director of IBA Karachi started the proceedings. Dr. Ghani welcomed Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson and all other esteemed guests. Dr. Ghani shed light on how the IBA CED (Centre of Entrepreneurial Development) has trained 350 women entrepreneurs through the Womenx initiative, which has empowered these women entrepreneurs to strengthen and expand their businesses. He also talked about the collaboration between NED and IBA CED to instill entrepreneurial skills in the engineering students.

Ms. Henna Birks welcomed the audience on behalf of the Australian High Commission. She thanked the IBA Dean and the Australian awards office for arranging the panel discussion. Ms. Birks said that the Australian Awards had a network of over 600 engaged alumni, who had made significant contributions to Pakistan. And today was an opportunity for the Australian Awards alumni and the other youth present to discuss the role of youth in development.

Ms. Margaret Adamson, the Australian High Commission to Pakistan thanked IBA for a warm welcome. She said that Australia was reaching out to the Pakistani youth through the Australia Day in Spring 2016 Festival, an initiative through which Australia was reaching out to the major centres of Pakistan, namely Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. This year the focus is on youth and thus the engagement with the students of the leading institutions of Pakistan and also the alumni of the Australian Awards. Ms. Adamson praised the state of the art, modern IBA campus and said that it was a campus to be proud of. Praising Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, Ms. Adamson said that she was very happy that Dr. Faruqi was accompanying the Australian High Commission for the Australia Day in Spring 2016 initiative, as she was not only an accomplished academic but also an accomplished MP.

Moderator Maheen Kazi invited the panelists to start the discussion. Ms. Kazi said that globalization and technological advancements on one hand had provided our youth with a myriad of opportunities but on the other hand there were still many challenges like unemployment and gender inequality that our youth and women population faced. She invited Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, Dr. Zeeshan Sheikh- a public health practitioner and an Australian Award alumni, Mr. Asad Palejo – President Youth Parliament of Pakistan and Mr. Amir Hayat Bhandara- a progressive farmer and agriculturalist.

Starting the discussion, Dr. Mehreen Faruqi spoke about the youth in Australia and what are the commonalities and differences between the youth of Pakistan & Australia. She said the youth week was basically to acknowledge young people and their contributions to the society. She also talked about some of the challenges that the Australian youth face in terms of the ever increasing fee of higher education. She said some of the common challenges which the youth of the both countries face are unemployment. Dr. Faruqi said that the technological advancements and the social media have opened up business avenues for our youth like never before. She said that to succeed in life one had to be daring, flexible and be willing to take up available opportunities. Dr. Faruqi said that in order to have a prosperous world one had to play his/her role in making this world progressive and contribute towards its betterment.

Dr. Zeeshan Sheikh shed lights on predicaments existing in our society, such as Tuberculosis and obesity. He said that it was not just the responsibility of the doctors but the responsibility of the whole society to work for the betterment of youth. He said that we all should make small or big contributions towards improving the health situation of our country.

Mr. Asad Palejo, President of the Youth Parliament said that although the women population of Pakistan is 50%, women don't get the political representation in our parliament, which they deserve. He also said that an interdisciplinary approach towards different streams of education is required.

Mr. Amir Hayat Bhandara said that 90% of agricultural practices are dependent on women and thus we need women policy makers to resolve the issues of women empowerment.

The discussion was very forthcoming with a very active participation from both the male and female audience, in which female entrepreneurs shared their experiences of working in a male dominant society. Also alumni of the Australian Awards from the interior of Sindh also shared their experiences of how education encouraged and motivated them to help educate other people, especially girls from the remote areas.

Sharing her thought, Dr. Faruqi said that if one wants to develop policies for the betterment of women than those women should be involved in the process and that women empowerment was about women having a choice in leading their lives the way they wanted to lead them.

The moderator concluded the event with the thought that the youth is the future of this country and challenges like unemployment and climate changes are universal and it will take time to break patriarchy and to change societal mindset.

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