Habib University’s 3rd Fundraising Gala: Reshaping Philanthropy and Higher Education in Pakistan

Habib University, a community-owned institution in Pakistan, is leading the charge in transforming higher education in the country. Emulating the unique model of Harvard University, the university is committed to making world-class liberal arts and sciences education accessible to deserving students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The recent fundraising gala held in Houston, Texas, demonstrated the university’s unwavering commitment to its mission and showcased the transformative power of education.

Themed “The Beauty of Generosity, Islam’s Profound Tradition of Giving,” the event was a resounding success, with numerous donors, guests, and volunteers in attendance. The evening began with a Quranic recitation, setting the tone for a night of generosity and hope.

Mr. Shoukat Dhanani, Director of HUFUS, motivated the audience to support Habib University’s mission to transform Pakistan through higher education. He welcomed guests and shared his own and his family’s motivation for supporting Habib University and Pakistan. Mr. Dhanani also acknowledged the community of Mohsineen through whose efforts over the years 60% of Habib University’s 5 graduated cohorts have received some sort of scholarship or financial aid.

Renowned author and Islamic scholar Dr. Reza Aslan, the keynote speaker of the event, spoke about the Islamic tradition of generosity and urged the public to invest in higher education as a means of securing the future for all. His words resonated with the attendees, who were inspired to support Habib University’s noble cause of creating access to higher education in Pakistan at the 3rd Fundraising Gala.

The success stories of Habib University alumni Syeda Areeba Kazmi and Osama Yousuf highlighted the incredible impact of the university’s mission to provide world-class education to talented individuals regardless of their financial background. Areeba’s inspiring journey from the HU-TOPS program to the Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA showcased the potential of empowering women in STEM, while Osama’s achievements as a PhD student at George Washington University demonstrated the transformative power of education and mentorship.

In Pakistan, only 9% of youth are enrolled in higher education due to a lack of accessibility, according to a report by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. Habib University’s dedication to accessibility and opportunities for highly skilled students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds is therefore crucial. Since its inception in 2014, Habib University has granted 100% scholarships to 360 students through HU-TOPS and currently provides financial aid to 85% of the student body. The recent announcement of 20 additional scholarships for students who lack the means to pursue higher education is a testament to the university’s commitment to its mission.

Habib University’s community-owned model is a solution to the socio-economic disparities faced by students in Pakistan. By alleviating the burden of running the institution from the students, they are able to concentrate on their studies and excel in their academic and extracurricular pursuits. This model is reshaping philanthropy and raising awareness among people to invest in higher education for the future of the nation.

In the words of Wasif Rizvi, President of Habib University, “The emergence of Habib University is a historic, once-in-a-400-year event.” The university’s dedication to providing access to world-class education for deserving students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds is transforming the landscape of higher education in Pakistan. The recent fundraising gala demonstrated the transformative power of education and highlighted the generosity and commitment of the Habib University community to its mission.


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