‘Jahan Hai Terey Liyah’: Pakistani expats celebrate UAE’s ‘Year of Tolerance’

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DUBAI: To highlight the importance of educating Pakistan’s youth and celebrate UAE’s “Year of tolerance”, a group of art enthusiasts and education supporters from the Pakistani expatriate community organized the “Jahan Hai Terey Liyah” event in Dubai at the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) on Friday.

The function organizers included the Pakistan diplomats in the UAE, poetic strokes, Pakistani artist fraternity of the UAE, Pakistan Association Dubai, Pakistan Youth Forum and Friends of Namal College.

Sehr Amjad Ismail, Friends of Namal College UAE, Global Ambassador the ZB Foundation, CARE Foundation Pakistan introduced the event and highlighted the ailing state of education in Pakistan and what the concerned expatriates living abroad could do to make a significant contribution to the national effort to change it.

“The future of any country depends on its investment in its citizens and this can only be done through education and promotion of the arts and culture of the nation”, she emphasized.

Masooma Rivzi, who is a Dubai based Pakistani artist and curator, has strived over the last two years to bring Pakistani artists living in the UAE together and unite them as a fraternity.

“This [function] will enable them to showcase their work to the right target art audience. It was a very successful launch, well attended and well received and will serve as a benchmark for future art initiatives. We would like the concerned art and cultural authorities and overseas Pakistani organizations to approach us for creative collaborations,” Rizvi asserted.

A short welcome note was given by the Pakistan Association Dubai’s Joint-Secretary Mr. Zahid Hassan. It is pertinent to mention here that the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) is the largest community center for overseas Pakistanis in the world. Founded in the late 1960s, the PAD serves as a platform for advancing the social and cultural interests of Pakistani expatriates residing in Dubai and more broadly in the UAE. Its latest achievement is their new not-for-profit Pakistan Medical Center (PMC) which is reaching completion and will be launched on 14th August 2019 (Pakistan’s Independence Day).

Hassan said that the PMC will welcome all people who seek medical help, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, gender, political views, economic status or age and this is especially apt as the UAE celebrates its “Year of Tolerance 2019”.

“We thank PAD for joining hands with us in supporting our initiative of promoting art, education and tolerance in the UAE,” he added.

Another dignitary Hammad Safi also addressed the forum. The “little professor” was very well received by the 200 plus audience consisting of adults and some children ages 7 and up who asked him very interesting questions at the end of his 20-minute talk.  Hammad spoke about young people being inspired to bring about change. He also stressed on the role his parents and teachers had in his personal journey to success but also emphasized that children should be allowed to make their own choices.

Ayesha Imtiaz, the Founder of Poetic Strokes, a supporter of The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and Friends of Namal College UAE also spoke at the event. Ayesha founded Poetic Strokes in 2007 and ever since it has established itself as a unique platform committed to fostering Art in all its various forms.

Poetic Strokes was one of the key supporters and facilitators of the event and Ayesha co-curated the art exhibition and also helped in organizing and executing a very successful event.  “It was a very well received event where the Pakistani community showed its support for art, higher education, and tolerance. We must have more of such meaningful events,” Ayesha was quoted as saying.

Overall, “Jahan Hai Terey Liyah” was a very successful event and achieved its dual purpose of promoting Pakistani ART and launching the Pakistani Artist Fraternity of the UAE as well as educating the Pakistani diaspora about the importance of supporting education in Pakistan.  The artists’ works were very positively received and sold very well. There were about 200 guests, including eminent Pakistanis, in a packed hall. The top-notch event ended with a scrumptious Hi-Tea catered by “Little Lahore”.

Sehr Amjad also delivered a keynote at the event.

Sehr Amjad

“A very warm welcome to all of you. I’m Sehr Amjad Ismail and will be your host for the evening.

A group of art enthusiasts and education supporters from the Pakistani Community, in collaboration with The Embassy of Pakistan, Poetic Strokes, Pakistani Artist Fraternity of the UAE, Pakistan Association Dubai , Pakistan Youth Forum and Friends of NAMAL College UAE Chapter, have come together to organize this evening’s event which will highlight the importance of education and celebrate the UAE’s “Year of Tolerance”.

To talk about the importance of education and tolerance, Hammad Safi, the “little professor” has been invited all the way from Peshawar to come and give us a short motivational talk. Hammad Safi not only represents the youth of the Nation but is also an inspiration to all us Pakistanis who desire to bring a positive change to the country

I would like to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the topic of critical importance for the future of Pakistan:

“The EDUCATION of our boys and girls so as to equip them to compete in the global economy while at the same time to be socially conscious of improving the lives of those in poverty and excluded.”

Ladies and gentlemen! Let me start by giving you a stark fact of the state of education in Pakistan. Even today after over 70 years of independence, out of the 100 children who join in primary school only 25 children complete their Matric.

“That is a 75 percent drop out level and which is more for girls and boys. Yet the problem is not only of numbers it is equally of the quality of education

The result of a survey showed that in some key subjects children of the ages 6-8 years who had not joined the school and learned at home scored better than those children studying in public schools.

The state of higher education is also not much better. Of the 15 000 who took the civil services examination two years ago only just over 200 passed.

In a world which is becoming more competitive every day and where knowledge – not capital, land or just low skilled labor -provides the cutting edge to those countries who perform better clearly we have a long way to go. It is not surprising that Pakistan’s exports have remained stagnant over the past 5 years and even after over 35 percent devaluation in the past year and a half our export earnings refuse to budge.

But it is not doom and gloom. The new government has been elected on the plank of social justice of which the main pillar is increasing not just numbers but equally and many would say more important the quality of education.

It is just not the government that can solve the problem but also the private sector and non-government organizations like the Citizens Foundation, CARE Foundation Pakistan, Akhuwat Foundation and many, many more who are making a major effort to provide quality education to those from low income households with generous support and donations from people like you and me.

There have also been significant improvements in our efforts to provide good quality cutting edge knowledge at the higher education level. To name a few, LUMS, Lahore School of Economics, IBA and NAMAL are making a mark. In the case of NAMAL, it is important to emphasize that it is the first university set up in Rural Pakistan and that too in a less developed area. It attracts students from all over Pakistan and its results have been equally impressive.

I must now turn to a topic which is dearest to my heart and I am sure also too many of you, female education. A Pakistani economist once wrote: “Educating our females is thrice blessed. Their children are more and better educated, they work and join the labor market; and they have fewer children. Given our extremely high growth rate of population and dismal female labor force participation rates the key is female education”.

The future of any country depends on its investment in its citizens and this can only be done through education and promoting the arts and culture of the nation.”