Shahbaz Yasin Malik:
Driving Social Change Through Educational Philanthropy
Who is Shahbaz Yasin Malik?
Shahbaz Yasin Malik is most known as the President and CEO of Hilton Pharma. But he is a lot more than that. While leading a world-renowned pharmaceutical company, Mr. Malik also serves on the board of directors of the prestigious Habib University Foundation.
While there is often a dichotomy between business acumen and generosity, Mr. Malik has set an unprecedented example of using his wealth towards institutional philanthropy –specifically to transform the higher education sector in Pakistan.
The need for institutional philanthropy in Pakistan
Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the region (only 49%) and one of the highest poverty rates in the world (37%). This, coupled with a cohort of many other problems, has plummeted the country’s HDI ranking –leaving Pakistan standing at 154 among 189 countries.
But despite such a bleak outlook, there is massive potential for change.
According to the United Nations Development Program’s National Human Development Report (2017), 64% of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 30 –only 6% of which has had more than 12 years of education.
Moreover, Pakistan is one of the most generous countries in the world in terms of philanthropy, spending 1% of its total GDP in monetary donations, second to the US which spends 2.06% of its economy to philanthropic causes.
However, the problem is the allocation of those donations: Only 6% of the total donations in Pakistan are directed towards education.
The untapped potential of the youth along with the country’s generous spirit has led Shahbaz Yasin Malik to believe that improving access to education and strengthening the institutions that already exist is the key to transforming the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan.
By prioritizing education through institutional philanthropy, Shahbaz Yasin Malik hopes to enable the disenfranchised youth to live better, more prosperous lives.
Shahbaz Yasin Malik and Habib University
Habib University’s TOPS Program
Mr. Malik’s generous contribution to Habib University’s Talent Outreach, Promotion and Support (TOPS) Program has given the underprivileged students from local boards of Pakistan access to a world-class higher education and the ability to realize their true potential.
At Habib University, 80 percent of its current students’ body is enrolled on scholarships and financial aid. To date, 301 students have been given access to this world class higher education institution through four years fully funded TOPS program. Moreover, Habib University has given approximately US $ 6.5 million in reimbursement through HU TOPS.
Shahbaz Yasin Malik passionately believes that students enrolling in Habib University through TOPS “will not only have a ripple effect on society but also on their families.” He also adds that “Habib University provides a transformative educational experience to the youth and promotes diversity by supporting students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, which is one of the biggest inspirations for our family to become ambassadors and supporters to this cause.”
Through Mr. Malik’s ongoing support to TOPS, hundreds of students have gotten the chance to enroll in fully-funded four-year programs every year.
Through his wide-reaching network, Mr. Shahbaz Yasin Malik has been able to onboard countless stakeholders to help this cause and give students hundreds of thousands of Rupees in scholarships and financial aid. Mr. Malik’s unparalleled contributions have been a pillar in making Habib University one of the most generous institutions in the country.
Saima and Shahbaz Malik Amphitheater
Habib University prides itself in its ability to provide students with an intellectually stimulating learning environment equipped with unique facilities like a meditative Zen Garden, courtyards, and an amphitheater.
Habib University’s amphitheater has been named in honor of Mr. Malik and his wife, and is called the Saima and Shahbaz Malik Amphitheater.
The concept behind the amphitheater was to highlight how frequent accessibility to and display of art promotes critical thinking and was designed to encourage active discussions and exchange of ideas between students.
Shahbaz Yasin Malik admired the University’s unique approach to education and considers the institution “a step forward” in the progression of the Pakistani education system.
Mr. Malik’s resolve during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic, like its impact on every industry, also had a drastic effect on the education sector. As public spaces closed, universities were forced to transition to an online environment. Pakistan’s lack of infrastructure to support and sustain online learning on a mass scale made the transition to online learning a difficult prospect and the World Bank estimated the dropout rate of students to reach millions.
Adapting to a completely new course in education management during such uncertain times was a challenge, but Mr. Malik’s patronage and optimism kept Habib University and its students afloat.
“We should not give up on the resolve to have a better future,” Mr. Malik said.
Mr. Bashir Ali Muhammad, Chairman of Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Limited and the Chair of the Resource Development Committee of Habib University Foundation, recognized Mr. Malik’s efforts and the university’s ability to push through difficulty: “I have not seen any university thriving and progressing so well in such a brief time. I believe this transformative leadership environment came into reality with the commitment of Mohsineen like Shahbaz Yasin Malik.”
Habib University’s Executives and their thoughts on Shahbaz Yasin Malik
The President of Habib University, Mr. Wasif Rizvi, credits selfless supporters like Mr. Shahbaz Malik for accelerating institutional philanthropy in Pakistan, noting that “compassionate and committed communities create great institutions.”
The Chancellor of Habib University, Mr. Rafiq Habib, shares similar sentiments, and has extended his gratitude towards Mr. Malik and his family for championing the noble, but oft-forgotten cause of educational philanthropy. Mr. Rafiq M. Habib stated that “no great institution has ever survived without a generous philanthropic agenda. Shahbaz Yasin Malik is one such pillar who is upholding the educational edifice of Habib University.”
Shahbaz Yasin Malik sets a precedent
Educational philanthropists like Mr. Shahbaz Yasin Malik are a beacon of hope for all the children who are still out of school or face unemployment due to lack of proper education and opportunity. Mr. Malik’s firm resolve in his mission to empower the youth and drive social change has not only improved the broader education system and encouraged community development, but has also changed the trajectory of students’ lives and their generations to come.