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Participants call for revival of students’ unions, culture of dialogues at universities

Participants of the National Roundtable Dialogue on peace-building at university campuses here on Thursday resolved to promote culture of dialogue and revival of student unions/societies, revision of curriculum with inclusion of topics related to civic education, peace, tolerance, harmony, fundamental human rights and co-existence, promotion of social sciences, arts and humanities, effective implementation over all clauses of National Action Plan, allocation of 20pc higher education budget for research focusing socio-economic problems of society and others.
They also called for introducing courses on peace and conflict resolution, promoting book reading culture and literature among university youth, involvement of relevant stakeholders in decision making of higher education sector and undertaking collaborative efforts for promoting values of peace in society.
The academicians and experts from all the provinces and federal capital attended the roundtable dialogue organized by Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS). They shared their experiences and various suggestions aiming at peace building at the university campuses. Sharing the objectives of the event, National coordinator Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences, Murtaza Noor said that recent incidents of violence at the university campuses required immediate attention by all the stakeholders to sit together, deliberate and undertake joint strategy for making the universities, hub of academic freedom, critical thinking, peace and harmony.
The speakers included Vice President Council of Common Interests Dr Nadeem Omar, Director Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies University of Peshawar, Peshawar Dr Jamil Chitrali, President All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association Islamabad Chapter, Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry, analyst from Balochistan, Liaquat Shahwani, Director Devom Munir Ahmed, National coordinator Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Murtaza Noor, Chief Executive officer Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, Sikandar Ali Hullio , analyst Tahir Malik from National University of Modern Languages and youth activist Muhammad Rehan Tahir. Dr. Nadeem Omar said that like 1970s, there is dire need to promote culture of dialogue and healthy extra-curricular activities at the universities.
Highlighting the importance of revision of curriculum, Dr. Jamil Chitrali form University of Peshawar stressed upon the structural changes at the university campuses to cope with violence and extremism. Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry from International Islamic University Islamabad was of the view that undue external interference has adversely affected universities’ autonomy and academic environment.

Qureshi, Zubair. Participants call for revival of students’ unions, culture of dialogues at universities. Pakistan Observer, June 18, 2017.

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