The launch ceremony of the LUMS Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE) was held on Monday, September 10, 2018, at the School’s premises.
The event, hosted by Syed Babar Ali, founder and Pro Chancellor LUMS, was attended by his family including the grandchildren of Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali, along with Vice Chancellor LUMS, Dean SOE, students, faculty, and key stakeholders of SOE including partners, donors and prominent people from the government and the education sector. The event was attended by Shahid Hussain, member of the LUMS Management Committee, Dr. Kamran Asdar, Dean Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS), Dr. Shahid Masood, Dean Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE), Osman Khalid Waheed, member of the LUMS Management Committee, and Alnoor Bhimani, interim Dean Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB).
Dr. Tahir Andrabi, the inaugural Dean of SOE, made an impactful speech at the ceremony, highlighting the importance of Syed Babar Ali's role in establishing LUMS as a centre of excellence in the region. He said, “The idea of SOE took root with a series of conversations between myself and Syed Babar Ali, who had a vision which I fully agreed with. As we look at Pakistan and talk about the various issues the country faces, one starts thinking about solutions. One realises that no matter what problem one looks at, the answer lies in fixing the area of education. Education is at the root of how we start rebuilding and reimagining this country and eventually start reforming it.” He later shared that SOE, which was formally established in 2017, aims to carry forward the LUMS vision and play a vital role in producing education leaders, policymakers, and related specialists who are strongly rooted in research thinking. Dr. Andrabi elaborated that the School will also provide a collaborative platform to relevant stakeholders to help strengthen existing efforts for educational development in Pakistan.
Addressing the audience, the Vice Chancellor LUMS, Dr. Arshad Ahmad, appreciated Syed Babar Ali and his family for their contribution to LUMS, for his leadership and for his generosity towards taking education a step further, for this and the next generations to come. He said, “The School will do its part to renew educational leaders who will engage the lives of young Pakistanis to contribute new ideas and insights to knowledge and innovation and make their own unique contributions to improve civil society. We are deeply embedded in the generosity of Syed Babar Ali and his family.” He further emphasised the pertinent role being played by SOE and assured that the Office of the Vice Chancellor is dedicated to helping the School flourish.
Syed Babar Ali, afterwards, shared how the School of Education initiative is very close to his heart. He talked about the love instilled for learning from his father Syed Maratib Ali, and by his uncle, Syed Ahsan Ali. He shared that naming the School after them is his way of paying homage to his father and uncle who have made a strong impact on his life. He said, “The cause of the School really is to take Pakistan forward. I hope this mission will continue for generations to come.” He expressed the hope that the founding batch of SOE MPhil will become living examples of the School’s vision and will set the foundation for a legacy that will be unparalleled in the country and the region.
Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Associate Dean and Assistant Professor, moderated the question and answer session by students, Talha Mahmood Dogar, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Tahira Parveen and Habiba Malik, where she questioned the students about what they wnat to do after graduation and how they want to make an impact in the education sector. This was followed by the curtain unveiling ceremony in which Syed Babar Ali, his wife and family members participated.
A Skype session also took place with Asim Khawaja, member SOE Advisory Board and Werner Zorman, faculty Harvey Mudd College, who shared their experience of setting up and defining the goals of the School. Mr. Khwaja talked about the international embeddedness of the MPhil programme and innovation in the education sector. Prof. Zorman also talked about the leadership ethos of the Programme.
The ceremony concluded with a hi-tea for the guests.