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July 26, 2020

Malala recounts her struggle for girls’ education


July 26, 2020

LAHORE : Ms Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Laureate and a global advocate for education and women empowerment, has said that change does not occur itself and requires one to step forward, speak out and do something.

She was speaking as a keynote speaker at first-ever virtual Convocation Ceremony 2020 of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUIMS) on Facebook on Saturday.

LUMS Rector Shahid Hussain, Founding Pro Chancellor Syed Babar Ali, Pro Chancellor Abdur Razzaq Dawood and Vice Chancellor Dr Arshad Ahmad also shared congratulatory messages with the 1,092 graduating students. Parents of the graduates, LUMS faculty and staff also attended the virtual celebration.

The ceremony was initiated with a welcome note by the registrar, followed by the national anthem. Then the passing the cap ritual was observed, in which the class of 2020 celebrated the spirit of being together. This was followed by messages from the graduates and the student council president, and then a video tribute to the graduating class titled, Alvida was shown.

Sharing her thoughts on the occasion, Ms Yousafzai said that her journey taught her that change does not occur on its own and requires one to step forward, speak out and do something. She said Pakistan had second highest number of out-of-school-children as more than 20 million children between the age 5 to 16 were out of school and they faced too many barriers. She said in Sindh 58 percent girls were out of school while in Balochistan 78 percent girls could not go to school.

Malala urged the students to encourage the government to invest more in quality education as, “I believe this is the most important investment our country can make.”

Malala Yousafzai also shared her journey and struggle for girls’ education and women empowerment when from 2007 to 2009 Taliban started spreading their extremist ideology, banned girls education, stopped women from going to market and bombed more than 400 schools.

To the graduates, she said, “Speak out against gender bias and harmful social norms. At home, in a classroom and in a wider society, social norms influence girls’ and boys’ perceptions of their lives and their futures. Social norms can change—and you can help them change by raising your voice for girls’ education in communities across the country.”

Dr Arshad Ahmad congratulated the students and urged them to serve society as they ventured forth. “This is a time when the calls for help are getting louder, when economic and personal loss are more visible, and when social distress and inequity have taken on new meanings. So, could this be your moment, and could this be your opportunity; could this be your defining moment to look beyond personal ambition to consider a more noble social vision that is required more than ever before.”

Shahid Hussain, Rector, LUMS, advised the graduates to find creative solutions to problems and expressed his admiration for the students. “I am inspired and proud of how you have all risen to the challenge and displayed exceptional maturity, resilience and determination.” He also announced the winners of the prestigious National Management Foundation awards.

Abdur Razzaq Dawood referred to the graduates as the next generation of leaders. “As the whole world recovers from the effects of Covid-19, they will look to you to give us purpose, hope and a path forward.”

Syed Babar Ali shared how the graduates can prepare for the path ahead. “You are now entering the real world. The degree or the certificate that you will get from here is only the entry pass to your next career or your next occupation. After that, you will be judged on how much industry and hard work you put into your effort. As was stressed on you throughout your stay at LUMS, that above all, you will be judged by your truthfulness, by your integrity, and your humility as to how you conduct yourself.”

At the virtual convocation, LUMS Alumni also shared profound memories of their time spent at the alma mater, and the far-reaching impact it had on their lives. They were joined by Deans of different Schools who congratulated the outgoing students and wished them luck in their future endeavour.

Degrees were then conferred online to the graduating students, and those winning medals or on Dean’s Honours Lists were recognised for their performance.