On June 30, 2015, the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, held a meeting with Nigerian students (Fall 2013 Batch) who graduated from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) under the scholarships offered to COMSATS’ Member States. Held at the Islamabad campus of the Institute, the meeting was attended by Mr. Tajammul Hussain, Advisor (Programmes) COMSATS; Dr. Arshad S. Malik, Head of CIIT International Office; and the six graduating Nigerian students, among others. Mr. Aminu Abdulkadir, Minister/Head of Chancery, Nigerian High Commission in Islamabad, also graced the occasion with his presence.
The brief interactive meeting started with remarks from Dr. Qureshi who informed the Nigerian students about the visit of the High Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Mr. Dauda Danladi, to CIIT, in March 2015. He noted that Nigeria is an important African country with a large population, which is about the same as Pakistan’s. He was of the opinion that large populations could be a blessing or a curse for these countries depending on how they are managed and utilized. He highlighted the world’s gradual shift towards becoming knowledge society, which has led the developed countries to investing in brain gain, in addition to their earlier focus on production. He believed that using the right knowledge and skill set, coupled with ambition and drive, the young generation can bring change in the socio-economic conditions of their countries. He hoped that the Nigerian students benefitted from quality education at CIIT, which would help them in becoming the drivers of change back home.
A candid discussion session followed Dr. Qureshi’s remarks, during which the Nigerian students informed the floor about their academic experience, fields of study, and topics of theses. The research undertaken by these students, who had been enrolled in graduate programmes in Mathematics and Biosciences at CIIT, pertained to: fluid mechanics applications in healthcare, Hilbert space operators, eradication of diseases, chromatographic analysis in industry, and cyber-security. Dr. Qureshi congratulated the students on completion of their degree requirements, and hoped that they would be able to better contribute to their country’s development. He encouraged the students to promote COMSATS as an effective driver of socio-economic change in the developing countries.
In his remarks on the occasion, Mr. Abdulkadir conveyed the Nigerian High Commissioner’s regret for his inability to attend the meeting due to his prior engagements. Appreciating the academic performance of the Nigerian students, he remarked that they should consider themselves the representatives of CIIT in Nigeria. He informed that the officials of the Nigerian High Commission in Pakistan will hold a meeting with them before their departure for Nigeria.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Malik considered foreign students an asset for CIIT, as they create a unique multi-cultural environment in the educational institutions, broadening the experiences and minds of all students. He informed that, currently, there are 120 international students enrolled in CIIT under various programmes, and 50 more applications are under consideration for admissions in Fall 2015 session. Noting the students’ good performance in their graduate programmes at CIIT, Dr. Malik encouraged them to come back for pursuing Ph.D studies. He informed that the facilities being offered to foreign students at CIIT are being further improved to make their experience more fruitful and comfortable. Dr. Qureshi appreciated these efforts and advised that CIIT should focus on COMSATS’ Member Countries while taking in international students, which was one of the purposes behind the establishment of the Institute in 1998.
Mr. Hussain lauded the intellectual abilities of the students shown during the discourse in the meeting, as well as their academic performance, and encouraged them to make intellectual contributions towards COMSATS’ publications.
At the close of the meeting, the Nigerian students were presented CIIT souvenirs by Dr. Qureshi.