Ahsan Iqbal urges youth to promote harmony in society

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ISLAMABAD, SEP 23: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Mr. Ahsan Iqbal has urged the youth to promote harmony in society and hold their opinion on any issue of their choice but keeping in mind that ‘you don’t have to think the same to be equal.’

Speaking to Pakistani alumni from Hungarian universities under Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship in Islamabad on Friday, the Minister emphasized that prejudice is the death of humanity. “You have every right to have your point of view but do remember that rationality should not be lost during arguments. We must also know that interpretation of reality is different for each one of us.”

He appreciated Pakistani students who have completed their studies from Hungarian universities and urged them to put into practice whatever they have learned in their respective fields. They included graduates of BS, MS and PhD programmes from different universities in Hungary. Some of the students in Hungary joined the session through video link. “You are a privileged group of students who have been educated abroad.”

Lamenting the country’s economic situation, he urged the graduates to think where they want to see Pakistan in 2047 and make their efforts accordingly. “Among many other factors for national development, an important thing is to create positive synergy through harmony and respect for others. We do not want you to be apologetic when you reach our age and repeat the mistakes of our generation. You have a great responsibility towards the country.”

The Minister asked each group member of the alumni association to write a two-pager on their experience in Hungary as well as their suggestions for improvement in Pakistani higher education system. “Your suggestions will be valuable for us and we will take your recommendations to the university leadership for improvement in our university and college education.” 

He advised the students to fully utilise their potential and talent in their respective areas of study as well as under the cultural diversity to play a proactive role in further improving harmony between Pakistan and Hungary. He assured that the Government of Pakistan is fully supportive of the programmes like Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarships.

He said that the flood disaster has put a great burden on administrative and financial resources of the country but only way out for the nation is to fight it out together.

Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director HEC appreciated the support of Hungarian Government for higher studies of Pakistani students. She advised the students to utilise their energies on showing exemplary academic performance and character and play ambassadors of Pakistan in Hungary. She said that the scholarship programme is a long-term investment in the relations between Pakistan and Hungary.

The Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarships for Hungary began in 2015 with award of 80 scholarships, which was increased to 200 every year in 2017. A total of 772 scholarships, including 565 Bachelor’s, 161 Master’s, and 46 PhD scholarships, were awarded the scholarships to study in Hungary from 2016 to 2021. While 148 students — 111 undergraduate, 28 Master’s and nine PhD, are proceeding this year.

As many as 148 Pakistani students are set to leave for study in Hungarian universities, as the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan held a send-off ceremony a few days ago to award certificates to the scholarship winners under the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme.