By Our Staff Reporter
Karachi: Founder of the Mary Adelaide Leprosy Centre and an icon of service to humanity in Pakistan, Dr Ruth Pfau said here that she knew how young people respond to individuals perceived to be exemplary, whom they can admire, respect and be influenced by, if you “give them somebody who they would like to follow, they will follow.”
“I know how desperate Pakistani youth is for role models and I wish they had more,” said added.
The octogenarian Dr Pfau, who is held in high esteem in the country and abroad for her over 50 years battle against leprosy, was speaking as the chief guest at the 28th convocation of the Aga Khan University.
She urged the graduating class to value and make use of the professionally sound education and training they have been provided and to remember that they will be providing a service, best rewarded by a person’s happiness and gratitude.
In his welcome address, AKU president Firoz Rasul highlighted the importance of civil society, saying everyone in society was its potential member.
“It is in civil society that both our unity and our diversity are expressed. We express our diversity when a multitude of voices speak without fear on every subject. We express our unity through the respect that we accord those whose perspective we may not share, but whose right to their perspective we respect,” he remarked.
“When civil society is strong, communities and countries thrive. When they are not feared or discouraged, they are important contributors to the public good. Otherwise, the ‘Ruth Pfaus’ of today and tomorrow may find it impossible to help us address the many challenges Pakistan faces.”
At the outset, he felicitated the students on their achievements and urged them to become agents of change. “For the sake of your profession, your community, your country, and your world, I urge you to fulfill your potential as an agent of change. Savour this day. Be proud of all you have achieved. But know that another ocean leies before you, and another shore awaits you,” Mr Feroz Rasul added.
This year, 233 nurses graduated, 212 with undergraduate and 21 with graduate degrees. In medicine, two PhDs in the health sciences, 20 master’s, 96 undergraduate degrees and 17 advanced diplomas (13 in human development; four in health professions education) were awarded.
PhD in education went to a student from the northern areas. In addition, 31 master’s degrees and 12 advanced diplomas in education were given.
There were two best graduate awards with Dr Amna Qasim from the Medical College and Afsheen Amirali Hirani from the School of Nursing and Midwifery receiving the honours.
The University also honoured two of its faculty members; Dr Abdou Filali-Ansary, the founding director of AKU’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, from 2002-2010, was conferred the title of Professor Emeritus and Dr Muhammad Memon, the director of the Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan, was given the Award of Excellence in Education.