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February 25, 2016

Asia’s first Social Sciences Expo kicks off

Islamabad

February 25, 2016

Islamabad

Today, Pakistan faces many challenges and if we conduct a psychological analysis of the factors that have challenged the mere existence of our country, we would realise this that it is our mistake to have alienated ourselves from social sciences.

He said today we should focus more on social sciences so as to eradicate the extreme mindset that has been nurtured since long, and root out the extremism from our country. Due to our own negligence it has taken roots, if we would have challenged it few years back, it would not have become this big menace.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Cultural Heritage Pervaiz Rashid said this while speaking at the inaugural session of Asia’s first-ever Social Sciences Expo 2016 that was held here on Wednesday at Pak-China Friendship Centre. The expo was organised by Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences and the Jang Media Group. More than 30 universities participated in the expo that brought in academicians, policymakers, parliamentarians, diplomats, government officials, writers, professors and young scholars on one platform to showcase their achievements in these subjects.

The programme was aptly conducted by Aqeela Asif, Assistant Professor from Comsats. One minute silence was observed for Charsadda martyrs before the proceedings of the session. Pervaiz Rashid said that now with the help of Zarb-e-Azab we have destroyed terrorists’ infrastructure but the similar mindsets of extremism still dwells within the country. “Now it is the responsibility of Social Scientists and the students to challenge them with full force. These extremists didn’t have the power to challenge those societies who have strong grip on social sciences. These countries have strong social sciences and the extremists couldn’t stand in front of them. They only flourish in the countries where social sciences are weak. Strong resistance should have been shown by artists, philosophers but today after 65 years we have gathered under one roof to support, encourage each other and acknowledge the strength of social sciences. These subjects teach you to love everybody and to live in harmony with whatever differences we have. Although we have other priorities like terrorism, energy crisis and health and education, but still we pledge to offer our support to social sciences and till 2018, education sector will see many improvements,” he said.

Earlier, Chairman Inter-University Consortium Dr. Nasir Ali Khan in his welcome address said that as of today we can still see extremist material available on the internet and they have time and again targeted our marginalised people. It is necessary that the government should take firm steps to block this extremist material from the net and make it inaccessible. “Two very unfortunate incidents have ripped KPK, but still don’t get any funding for security purposes. In every political party manifesto Education is a priority but when they come in power, its priority goes down. Today, education sector is still 1.9% of GDP, whereas, it was supposed to be 5% in 2015 and then 7% in 2020. We, the social sciences universities, are the most neglected among educational institutes. South Korea and Thailand have developed exceptionally because invested in their human resources. We thank Jang Media Group for taking the initiative in this regard and highlighting our achievements and bringing all the stakeholders under one roof,” he said.

The keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Shahla Haeri from Anthropology Department of Boston University, who has conducted research in Iran, Pakistan and India. She is the author of ‘No shame for the Sun, Lives of Professional Pakistani Women’, made a short documentary ‘Mrs President: Women and Political Leadership in Iran’ focusing on six women presidential contenders in Iran in 2001. She has conducted many researches on social sciences. She shared a research paper with the audience that was a part of a larger sociological project ‘South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional futures’ initiated at Boston University in 2013 and was commissioned by Prof. and Dean Adil Najam, Ex-chancellor of LUMS.

Jang Media Group Rawalpindi Senior GM Marketing Syed Amjad Ali said that it was altogether a different idea that initiated us to hold an expo of social sciences. A very large ratio of students are interested and want to pursue future in social sciences that motivated us to bring in all the social sciences under one roof. Every social scientist one way or another is associated with Jang Group and have contributed in media. We are very proud to say that universities from Chitral, Malakand and other remote areas have participated in this expo.

In order to encourage the youth participation, various activities were chalked out in the expo. The main activities of the expo includes a two-day international conference, parliamentary forum, scholars forum, diplomats forum, book festival, culture pavilions expo, distribution of Social Sciences Awards, workshops for university faculty students, career counselling session. Various universities displayed their stalls along with the relevant details that were provided to the students.

The highlight of the event was to produce the world’s largest watercolour painting. This mega event was witnessed by score of students and art enthusiasts who saw the paper come into life in front of their eyes by the beautiful efforts of at least 50 senior artists from all over the country. The previous record is of 45 feet long painting in Turkey while here in Pakistan water artists produced 60 feet-long painting displaying Pakistani culture. Historical buildings, truck art, monuments and mosques were generously painted over by the skilled artists and the students looked on with interest. This activity was organised by International Watercolour Society.

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