10th April 2010
GC University, Lahore
Educating People for Tomorrow
Minutes of the Meeting
Establishment of Institute of South Asian Studies at GC University Lahore
A preliminary meeting of experts was held on 3rd April, 2010 in GC University Lahore on the invitation of Prof. Khalid Aftab, Vice Chancellor, GC University Lahore and the following attended:
- Prof. Salima Hashmi, Chairperson SAF Pakistan Chapter/ Dean, School of Visual Arts (SVA), Beaconhouse National University, Lahore
- Ambassador Shamshad Ahmad Khan
- Ambassador Javed Hussain
- Ambassador Khalid Mehmood
- Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi, Senior Defense Analyst
- Mr. Khaled Ahmed, Senior Political Analyst
- Prof. Muhammad Khalid Pervaiz, Dean Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, GCU Lahore
- Dr. Javed Makhdoom, Chairperson, Department of Political Science, GCU Lahore
- Ms Fouzia Shahin, Director Academic planning & External Links, GCU Lahore
Prof. Khalid Aftab informed the participants that GC University Lahore plans to establish Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) for carrying out high quality interdisciplinary research. He told them that in 2007, GCU Lahore and South Asia Foundation (SAF) signed Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of ISAS for which the SAF Chairman, Ambassador Madanjeet Singh (UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and an old Ravian) had agreed to provide funds. The Institute of South Asian Studies will be housed in the renovated Old Gymnasium building of the University, which is now ready for use. The next step would be the implementation of the plan of the Institute as per the MoU signed with South Asia Foundation (SAF).
Prof. Salima Hashmi, Chairperson SAF Pakistan Chapter informed the participants that SAF (founded in India by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh in 2000) is a cooperative organization designed to promote regional cooperation between South Asian communities through education, cultural interaction and sustainable socio-economic development. SAF has been promoting the establishment of institutions to foster regional cooperation. SAF has also signed MoU with Beaconhouse National University, Lahore for the setting up of the SAF Madanjeet Singh Group Scholarships at the School of Visual Arts (BNU).
Following these introductory remarks, the participants had detailed discussion on various aspects of the Project with a focus on two issues: (i) the objectives of the Institute and (ii) the implementation plan. The summary of the deliberation is given below:
- All appreciated the idea of establishing the Institute of South Asian Studies in GC University, Lahore. It was also emphasized that ISAS should serve as a think tank and 'Centre of Excellence' and its focus should be all issues related to South Asia Region.
- In the early stage, the Institute should focus on Research and Publications while the Academic Programmes may be introduced later to suit its resources.
- The Institute should prioritize research areas and topics for interactive and interdisciplinary work.
- Scholars and researchers of international repute should be invited for short and long term visits to make ISAS a research-oriented interactive Institute.
- The Institute should have links with leading institutions of the World, including those in South Asia Region.
- With regard to the funding for the Institute, the issue of financial sustainability was discussed and it was agreed that the Institute should access different funding agencies and multiple funding sources to ensure its success on a long-term basis.
- The discussants emphasized the significance of funds for the success of ISAS and were keen to know the share of SAF for the Institute.
- Ms. Saleema Hashmi, Chairperson SAF Pakistan Chapter shared her experience of managing the Madanjeet Scholarship Programme in BNU and mentioned the travel and visa restrictions experienced by the students of the South Asia Region were and are likely to remain a hurdle in the short run.
- It was suggested that these problems can be better managed by getting the approval and support of the Higher Education Commission, Islamabad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan for the Institute.
- The Vice Chancellor also requested the participants to help the University in identifying suitable persons to be members of International Advisory Board and for the appointment of Director, ISAS.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by the Vice Chancellor, GC University Lahore.
After the meeting, the participants visited the Old Gymnasium Building and appreciated the efforts made by the GC University Lahore for renovating it for the Institute of South Asian Studies.