Headed by Dr. Shafiqa Parveen, Kashmir University’s Distance Learning Department organized the SAF Madanjeet Singh Individual Scholarships cheque distribution ceremony / Regional Cooperation Seminar on April 25, 2007.
An introduction was given about SAARC, its members, and of course, the South Asia Foundation.
Various professors at the department of International Studies (at Kashmir University) addressed contemporary issues relevant to region, such as the possible benefits of the recently adopted South Asia Free Trade Agreement, and the necessity for promoting regional arts and crafts. After each presentation, the floor was opened to discussion.
The general sentiment from local Kashmiri’s is that, regardless of what policies are implemented by regional and local Governments, civil society (including organizations like SAF) in the region must step up and take action, otherwise Kashmir will become more isolated.
It was especially interesting to hear these thoughts from local intelligentsia The University staff described the strong impact of the SAF Scholarship programme over the years; they said that even though the scholarship itself is a token amount, it has encouraged all those who have benefited from the programme to study further and demand more from their lives. On a further note, Dr Parveen said that the Distance Learning department is making efforts to convert all courses offered at Kashmir University to the distance learning mode. As such, they plan to introduce a basic distance-mode Pre-Primary Teacher Training Programme course as well.
I would like to especially thank Dr. Tariq A. Chisthi for his excellent work in organizing the Seminar, and also for being very proactive during the cheque processing phase.