A Fundraising Gala to support Habib University's vision for higher education in Pakistan was held in Houston, Texas on March 30, 2019, organized by the Habib University Foundation USA and the Host Committee. This event was the first of its kind to be held in the United States for a Pakistani university, and celebrated the philanthropic contributions of Habib University's benefactors or Mohsineen, who are committed to bringing about transformative change in Pakistan's higher education sector.
The event featured several distinguished speakers, including Mr. Shoukat Dhanani, who serves as the President of the Dhanani Group in the USA and is also a Director of the Habib University Foundation USA. Mr. Wasif A. Rizvi, the President of Habib University, also spoke at the event. In addition, the keynote address was delivered by Mr. Mehdi Hasan, a well-known television journalist and author, while the thank you note was given by Dr. Azra Raza, who is the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine Director at the MDS Center, Columbia University Medical Center, and also serves as Director of the Habib University Foundation USA. Other notable attendees included Dr. Asim Shah, who served as the Host Committee Chair and is the Executive Vice Chair and Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, and Chief of Psychiatry at Ben Taub Hospital, as well as other members of the event’s host committee.
Mr. Dhanani delivered the opening remarks, sharing his personal connection to Habib University and its mission. He recounted his visit to the Habib campus, which opened his eyes to the possibility of creating a world-class university in Pakistan. Witnessing the dedication and potential of the people of Pakistan to establish an institution of international standards like Habib University, Mr. Dhanani was inspired to become involved and support the university's vision.
According to Mr. Dhanani, "Our aim is to offer top-notch education to deserving students who cannot afford it." In his opening remarks, Mr. Wasif Rizvi discussed Habib University's vision of creating societal change and the importance of philanthropy in higher education to build a strong community. He stressed the need to separate the sustainability of education from student tuition fees, and identified three significant challenges to enhancing higher education in Pakistan.
According to Mr. Wasif Rizvi, the strong cultural heritage of philanthropy in Pakistan has played a significant role in garnering an excellent response from donors towards the development of a donor community. He expressed optimism that the community of philanthropists gathered in Houston would continue to grow as long as the message is genuine and represents a wort
In his keynote address, Mr. Mehdi Hassan emphasized the significance of education in establishing a thriving community, stating that providing quality college education to every child is a shared responsibility.
"He mentioned that Habib University is a liberal arts institution that provides programs which challenge us to step outside of our comfort zones," said Mr. Hasan, stressing that education is the most powerful instrument for transforming the world.
During her vote of thanks, Dr. Raza expressed gratitude to all the esteemed guests who attended the Houston Gala.
Dr. Raza stressed the importance of teaching our children what will be beneficial for them in the future and acknowledged the role of Habib University in leading the way. However, she emphasized that success cannot be achieved unless everyone else also plays their part. The fundraising event received media coverage from Jang, The News, DailyTimes, and Jago Times.