Islamabad - The second conference of Pakistan Chapter of The Talloires Network was held at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) here on Wednesday. The theme for the conference was ‘Sustainable Development Solutions and Action Plans for Universities and their Youth.’ Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal was chief guest for the inaugural session.

Heads of different member universities across Pakistan, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, academics and a large number of students attended the conference.      

Speaking at the occasion, the federal minister said that Pakistan has been facing a plethora of challenges. However, he maintained, the youth of the present age are more aware as well as sensitized to what is happening around them.

The universities have, therefore, the responsibility to harness the youth potential in a way that they transcend themselves as human beings and give back to the society the best they can. He said that against the backdrop of information technology revolution, the information tends to be only a click away. Therefore, the chief guest added, the need of the time is to strengthen education sector of the country, as the “power of classrooms and laboratories” is the only defining feature in today’s competition-driven world.

He said that the incumbent government is fully cognizant of the importance of education and aims to establish universities in every nook and corner of Pakistan so that no one remains deprived of the blessings of knowledge. The minister also mentioned Vision 2025 being seriously pursued by the government ever since its launch.

Earlier, Rector NUST Engr Muhammad Asghar welcomed the guests to the conference and hoped that it would go a long way in the development of sustainable solutions. He also said that the objectives of PCTN were very much aligned to that of Vision 2025.

A number of other prominent speakers addressed the daylong conference divided into two sessions: the first being on education and skill development for poverty reduction in Pakistan, while the latter focused on energy conservation and finding alternate sources for Pakistan. At the occasion, Akhtar Hameed Khan Awards were also bestowed on four universities that had sent their nominations with regard to civic engagement projects. It is pertinent to mention here that the awards also carry monetary assistance.