LUMS Alumni Share an Extraordinary Evening Together at the Pakistan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai
On October 16, 2021, the calendars of LUMS University alumni in the UAE were marked for a special event – the UAE Alumni Chapter Meet-up. The eagerly awaited evening was an exciting event arranged inside the Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The Pakistan Pavilion has had over 55,000 visitors in the first seven days since the beginning of the event on October 1, 2021 and has become popular for its innovative display of art and culture.
Envisioned and designed by Pakistan’s leading visual artist, Mr. Rashid Rana, the mesmerising façade of the Pavilion draws inspiration from the diversity that Pakistan has to offer. The interior has been expertly curated by Ms. Noorjehan Bilgrami, a renowned multi-disciplinary artist, curator and educationist, while Architect and Project Lead Mr. Shahid Abdulla brought the Pavilion to life.
Mr. Abdulla was the keynote speaker at the event who explained to the alumni, the journey through construction of the Pavilion and how each of the eight unique spaces were created around the theme ‘Pakistan Hidden Treasures’. He explained the history of civilization dating back to Mehr Garh (7000 BC) and the Indus Valley Civilization to the present-day Pakistan with its rich culture, art and diversity. Mr. Abdulla illustrated the details of each of these eight spaces, the display of art, projection of the famous Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) along with other awe-inspiring exhibits of culture and landscape.
The alumni also had the chance to interact with Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, LUMS. He talked about how the University has been at the forefront of national initiatives that have led to personal growth and transformation for students from across Pakistan in addition to producing high impact research in areas of smart agriculture, energy, water management and many others.
“LUMS continues to step up its philosophy of ‘Learning without Borders’ with initiatives like LUMSx that is now home to the indigenized version of world’s most popular massive open online course (MOOC), Learning How to Learn. This online platform will provide access to quality learning across the country and beyond,” said Dr. Ahmad.
He spoke about the National Outreach Programme (NOP), a signature initiative at LUMS which has supported students from diverse backgrounds from across the country since its inception in 2001. Recently, the NOP received the prestigious Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Platinum Award 2021 in the Best Practices in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion category. Selected from among nearly 300 entries submitted from across the world, the NOP was awarded particularly for identifying talent from all parts of Pakistan.
While talking about international recognition and accolades, Dr. Ahmad highlighted how LUMS was a great option for international students, providing world-class education at a fraction of the cost of other universities. Encouraging alumni to give back to their alma mater, he said that the University looks up to them for support and mentorship.
Dr. Zain Khawaja, Assistant Professor and Head of REDC was also present at the event and spoke to the alumni about LUMS’ plan to reach regional markets in the wider Asian region. In particular the planned start of its flagship executive education programs in Dubai from next year. The LUMS Rausing Executive Development Center, the premier executive education provided in the country is powered by AACSB accredited business school and is a part of the global UNICON executive education alliance.
The reunion continued at the “Dhaba” restaurant at the Pakistan Pavilion where the alumni enjoyed dinner with the company of their friends and the Vice Chancellor.
This meet-up was organised by the LUMS Alumni UAE Chapter team led by their President, Shahzad Bashir, MBA 1998. Mr. Bashir has had an accomplished 23-year career in banking and finance and is currently working for a bank in Dubai at a senior position. He was supported by the entire chapter team including Usman Hanif (VP), Mudassir Sheikh (VP), Beenish Abbasi, Abdul Ghafoor, Zaheer Khan, Bashir Khawaja, and Kashif Arshad.
The evening spent at the Pakistan Pavilion was an enjoyable affair for the alumni as they reconnected with their alma mater while witnessing a positive, progressive image of Pakistan.