The Habib University Foundation US (HUFUS) started its series of small community engagement events this June, with an event titled “A Legacy of Giving” to acknowledge the long-standing association of the Pakistani diaspora in the US, with the Habib community. The support of donors from the US community has been foundational in the inception of Habib University. Legacy spaces like the Dhanani School of Science and Engineering strengthened the institution’s image in its formative years.
Leading the philanthropic front of Habib University in the United States, that hosts a large population of immigrants from Pakistani descent, is Mr. Shoukat Dhanani, who is the face of the movement there. An embodiment of an accomplished entrepreneurial journey and philanthropic endeavors, the Dhananis have had a special association with the Habib community since a little after its inception. Their generous grant in the name of the Dhanani School of Science and Engineering houses the University’s center of pedagogy and innovation in the STEM fields, along with concentrations in the Liberal Core curriculum.
“This institution and its cause are very close to my heart. I would urge the community to come out in support of it.”- Shoukat Dhanani
This year, Habib University extended its call for support to Sugarland, Texas, where again a large population of Pakistani descent responded with their support. Introduced as a series of events titled “A Legacy of Giving”, these small community engagement events are targeted to be spearheaded by the community members themselves, in order to transfer independent ownership of the cause to them.
The Sugarland event, held on June 16th, 2022, hosted by the Meghani Family, who have been ardent supporters of furthering higher education in Pakistan. The MoC, Ms. Afsheen Bhamani, CEO of Carporium, opened the event with acknowledgements for the hosts, keynote speakers and the audience to bring the event to fruition.
The welcome note was delivered by Arman Meghani, CEO of Meghani Insurance Group, who was introduced as a Global Youth Ambassador for Habib University. In his speech, Arman stated how Habib University has helped rekindle his distant connection with the home of his ancestors-“If I were to speak on behalf of my own generation, our connection with the home of our ancestors is quite distant. Habib University has come out as one institution that has helped us reconnect with our roots, to the land our families left decades ago, and humbly become part of a legacy of what is already the most generous institution of higher learning, in the world.”
Mr. Ali Rizvi, Global Head of Business Development, Enverus, USA was the keynote speaker for the evening, cementing his association with the cause, having been vocal about his support for a long time- “the [Habib] University, under the visionary leadership of Wasif Rizvi, the founding president, has successfully broken the shackles of the traditional vocational approach by introducing a liberal arts model of higher education.”
Ms. Aqsa Junejo, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications at Habib University thanked the audience on behalf of Mr. Wasif Rizvi, founding President of Habib University, for coming out in support of their cause, yet again.
Dr. Amber Zulfiqar, Geriatric Medicine Specialist, HCA, and a Global Ambassador of Habib University, spoke to the gathering about her continued association with the University, and what has inspired such a large community of benefactors in the US, to support it.
Mr. Javed Meghani, Chairman & CEO, Mega Energy Holdings, LLC expressed his thoughts as one of the custodians of the campaign in the States, on why it was important to support Habib University as an American of Pakistani origin, and what personally moved him towards it. “Pakistani diaspora in the U.S.A. are armed with a unique dual insight as they have an understanding of institutional philanthropy and a strong cultural affinity to ancestral home (Pakistan). They should support higher-education and particularly Habib University in Pakistan because it provides world-class quality education with an achievable endowment target.”
Linking the country’s development to investment in higher education, Nisha Meghani, Senior Vice President, Mega Energy Holdings, LLC, stated “I believe that given the right opportunities in the form of quality higher education at Habib University, there are very few boundaries that can hold back the talented youth of Pakistan in contributing to Pakistan’s development.”
The event drew to a close with Dr. Asim Shah, Executive Vice Chair, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, Chair of the Host Committee for the Habib University Annual Gala and a Habib University Global Ambassador delivering his Vote of Thanks. Dr. Shah is the Chair of the Host Committee for the Habib University Annual Gala in Houston and remains of its oldest and staunch supporters. Dr. Shah, in his address, mobilized the audience towards contributing to Habib University, through a variety of options, introducing the Small Giving App for recurring donations.
“I am convinced that there is no better contribution that we can make then to the cause of higher education being championed by Habib University. This can be a legacy that we can proudly call our own, one which contributes directly to the betterment of Pakistan’s youth.”
Charged with the spirit to serve their homeland, the audience responded with great zeal to the institution’s call for support. What was the first in a series of recurring community engagement events in the US to engage more benefactors, it was endearing to witness a successful start with the community itself at the helm of affairs, to take this cause forward and augment the higher education landscape of Pakistan.