The 1st Pakistan Chapter of Talloires Network (PCTN) Steering Committee meeting was held on August 7, 2014 at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad. The 6 member steering committee – headed by Chair PCTN and Rector NUST – was formed in November 2013. It was decided at that time that a meeting should be held every six months to review progress, programs and policies.
The meeting was headed by Chair PCTN, Engr. Muhammad Asghar. Mr. Shoaib Sultan, Chairman of Rural Support Program Network (RSPN) was invited as a guest to share his views. 4 steering committee members attended the meeting including: Vice Admiral Shahid Iqbal (Rector of Bahria University), Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha (Vice-Chancellor of University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences) , Dr. M. Asif Khan (Vice-Chancellor of Karakoram International University), and Mr. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui (Director of IBA Sukkur). Also attending the meeting were Mr. Irfan Ahmad Akhtar (Pro Rector of F&I at NUST), Mr. Mahmud Bashir Bajwa (Chief Coordinator of PCTN), Dr. Abdul Ghafoor (Principal SMME, NUST), Dr. Syed Irtiza Ali Shah (Senior Coordinator PCTN), Ms. Sundal Mufti (Director of Student Affairs, Bahria University) and Mr. Ahmad Mehfooz (Manager of Programs, PCTN).
I his opening remarks, PCTN Chair Engr Muhammad Asghar explained the role of the university in a knowledge-based economy. He highlighted five key roles: development of human resources, research-based technology development, knowledge application to develop economy, development of mechanisms for a positive social impact, and guidance in policy-making. The main actors who generate such a socio-economic movement are the university leaders, students, community, government/non-government institutions, funding agencies and volunteers. Since we have national and international partners such as The Talloires Network, Rural Support Program Network,and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, we need to develop our capacity to create desired impact and sustain it by concentrating on the five key roles.
The opening address was followed by a presentation by the Chief Coordinator of PCTN Mr. Mahmud Bashir Bajwa, covering PCTN’s progress so far. After this, a presentation was made by the Chairman of Rural Support Programs Network (RSPN), Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan, providing an insight into the roleand functioning of RSPN. RSPN is a countrywide organization working for the uplift of the deprived and underprivileged in Pakistan. Mr. Shoaib Khan discussed how RSPN could offer useful collaboration to PCTN to further its goals.
Later on, a discussion on agenda points took place. PCTN’s Vision and Mission were finalized keeping in view the input sent in by PCTN member institutions. This is what the new statements look like:
Vision statement: “Pursuing HEC’s strategic thrust of universities building economies, PCTN envisions to capture dynamism of Pakistani Universities’ youth and impact the society positively by incorporating civic engagement and community service into their research and teaching missions.”
Mission statement: “To strengthen civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education by building a national movement of engaged universities”
In addition to the two guiding statements, the following goals were proposed:
Development of curriculum and academic programs for service learning and community service.
Develop and apply standards for community engagement work.
Maximum use of tools for the purpose of impact evaluation in service learning programs.
Build and foster a culture of volunteerism in Pakistani academic institutions.
Organize discussions on forging a collective vision for universal values and community engagement in higher education worldwide.
Promoting the mission and vision of the Talloires Network and HEC (Pakistan) across all universities in Pakistan and motivating/facilitating them to become its members and play a meaningful role in enhancing community engagement.
Recognition of services through awards for outstanding performance in Civic engagement and community service.
Empowering people in collaboration with Rural Support Programs Network (RSPN), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (APPAF) and other Government and Non-Governmental Organizations including HEC, BC, JICA USAID, KOICA etc.
Promote Collaboration with regional networks and institutions.
Vibrant media strategy for public support and sustainability.