The inaugural Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture Series was held at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) .Through this lecture series, the Habib family aims to improve and diversify conversations about Pakistan in the United States and create opportunities for knowledge exchange for US and Pakistan-based scholars.
Attended by over 300 people, the event was sponsored by Habib University Foundation and organized by UC Berkeley’s Center for South Asia Studies. The Habib family has set up an endowment to fund the annual Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture Series, which will present a diverse platform for starting a conversation on Pakistan and contribute to a more holistic picture of the country.
Ms. Asma Jahangir, a noted human rights lawyer and activist in Pakistan, delivered the first lecture in this series. In her speech, she lauded the continuing efforts of the Habib family in making a positive contribution to Pakistani society, and highlighted the invaluable generosity of Mr. Mahomedali Habib, “a man who gave more rather than took from the country.”
Habib University Foundation was generously acknowledged for its initiative by the leadership of UC Berkeley. The recently appointed Chancellor at UC Berkeley, Dr. Nicholas Dirk, who made his first public appearance at the lecture, profusely thanked Habib University Foundation for its generous support in its campaign to broaden and deepen Pakistan related research, teaching and programming at UC Berkeley.
The lecture ended with Mr. Rafiq Habib thanking UC Berkeley for providing this platform to honor the legacy of his father. In his closing remarks, he especially acknowledged Ms. Asma Jahangir for her unwavering efforts in defending human rights in Pakistan, “I can say with certainty that my father would have been extremely pleased with this choice of the first speaker for this lecture series.”
The lecture series will be a permanent platform for international scholars and will create awareness about the country and subsequently Habib University. Every year, UC Berkeley will invite one distinguished intellectual as a guest speaker. It is anticipated that this platform will expand Habib University’s association with US academia, encouraging international scholars to come and visit Pakistan and support the establishment of a center of excellence in this region.