OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

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Students undertaking preparatory year building test of bacheloar program in Islamic University Madinah. (Photo Courtesy: IIUI Madinah)
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A picture taken on November 17, 2016 shows the national flags of the members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states flying in front of the clock of the Abraj al-Bait Towers which overlooks the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AFP/File)
Updated 15 November 2019

OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

  • The scheme is highly beneficial for Pakistani students, says the HEC chairman
  • COMSTECH spends $250,000 annually on scholarships for Muslim countries

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s education exchange program was highly beneficial since it allowed students to engage with scholars and experts in other countries, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan Dr. Tariq Banuri told Arab News on Thursday.
The commission recently advertised on its website the Turkish Cypriot Government’s scholarships under the OIC Educational Exchange Program, starting the next academic year.
According to the details provided by the HEC, five students from OIC member states, including Pakistan, would avail the opportunity to study at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in the participating universities.
“Such international learning and knowledge propel students toward acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives,” Dr. Banuri told Arab News on the phone, adding the exchange programs brought additional skills, cultural diversity and exposure to other problems and issues.
The HEC chairman informed that the competition for such scholarships was growing, noting that programs like these increased an individual’s “capability to compete in the global job market, created potential contacts for collaborative research and resulted in additional certifications and degrees.”
In order to promote dialogue among civilizations and to provide academic links between the 57 OIC member states, the international organization had started an education exchange program in 2005 which became fully operational in 2015.
Dr. Qasim Jan, adviser to the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Islamabad, told Arab News that there was an immense need to promote cooperation in the field of education among Islamic countries, and the OIC education exchange program was a positive step in that direction.
“Education, especially in science and other technological disciplines, has become a nation’s basic need since a country’s economy is directly associated with technological developments in the modern world,” he noted. “If we look at developed economies like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other western European countries, they do not have much resources but are economic powers due to the knowledge economy that mostly derives from scientific education.”
Dr. Jan said that COMSTECH was providing substantial support to OIC member states in the field of science and technology. He also informed that his organization was contributing in the development of human resource to serve the Muslim world.
“We are spending $250,000 on scholarships annually which are provided to students from 57 Islamic countries,” he continued. “We have also been arranging trainings and workshops for people belonging to the OIC member states. The bulk of our budget comes from the Pakistan government, though we also get financial support from some OIC member countries, including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.”

Pakistan needs peace for growth, PM Khan says in Davos speech

Updated 22 January 2020

Pakistan needs peace for growth, PM Khan says in Davos speech

  • The sooner there is peace in Afghanistan, the better it would be for the region – PM Khan
  • Pakistan ‘would not become part of any other conflict,’ he said

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in his speech on Wednesday told delegates at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos how maintaining peace was in Pakistan’s best interests in terms of its economy and geopolitics.

Khan chronicled the scourge of militancy and terrorism which became his country’s biggest impediment to growth when it partnered with the US during the Soviet-Afghan war and again in the war against terror post 9/11.

“That was a watershed for Pakistan. For economic growth, you need peace and stability and order. Militancy became an impediment. Once I came into power, I decided Pakistan will only partner with peace. We will not become part of any other conflict.”

He pointed out that Pakistan now favored dialogue. “We have tried to ease tensions between the US and Iran and to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan.”

Following the keynote speech, WEF president Børge Brende held a brief question and answer session with Khan, during which the premier said that “2019 was the safest year in Pakistan.” 

He praised Pakistani security forces for halting the spread and rise of militancy. “I have to pay tribute to our security forces for crushing terrorism. The terrorism is coming from Afghanistan and the sooner there is peace in Afghanistan, it would benefit the region ... that can only happen if the Taliban and Afghan government sit together.”

He further highlighted Pakistan’s stance that Afghan peace must be achieved through dialogue, not military efforts. “I do not understand why countries go to resolve differences through military conflicts. When you start a conflict, you don’t know when it will finish ... US and Afghan war has cost trillions,” he said.

With regard to ongoing tensions between Iran and the US, Khan said that a war between them “would be a disaster for the world. Suddenly, everything will be offset, and God knows how long it will go on. We have spoken to Saudi Arabia and (the) United States. I spoke to (Donald) Trump that this conflict would be disastrous.”

When asked what the US president’s response was, Khan smiled and said that Trump “didn’t say anything.”

In the keynote speech, the premier also pointed to improving state institutions and making the issue of addressing climate change one of his top priorities through reforestation. 

“As a child, I fell in love with the wilderness, nature, and mountains of Pakistan. If I ever got the opportunity, I would preserve the nature of this country and start a reforestation campaign,” said Khan, who achieved his goal of planting 1 billion trees before coming to power.

Noting that Pakistan was vulnerable to climate change and that pollution had become a “silent killer,” he added that his next objective was to plant 10 billion trees over the next four years.

Concluding his speech, Khan added that Pakistan had great “mineral wealth” and its gold and copper reserves alone could pay off the country’s inflated foreign debt. China was also helping Pakistan to develop its “very fertile agriculture land.”

Khan also held bilateral meetings with several world leaders on the sidelines of the forum, including the US president.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the WEF and the Pakistani premier is visiting Davos on the invitation of Prof. Klaus Schwab, the forum’s founder and executive chairman.