Gilgit-Baltistan: Journey of a Brilliant Student from Danyore to Harvard

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Karachi (Nation): NOP scholar Sardar Karim (BS Economics Major 2010) – who also went on two exchange programmes during his stay at Lums – has been offered Fulbright Scholarship for 2013-15.  Karim is the 14th NOP scholar who has got the prestigious Fulbright scholarship award. He is also among the eight successful candidates, who have received a Joint Japan-World Bank Graduate Scholarship.

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to eight candidates from 140 World Bank member borrower countries. Karim will join Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government for a two-year Masters in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID).
Karim calls his experience at Lums matchless, saying: “Lums was a matchless experience in terms of knowledge, exposure and learning. I am grateful to my college (Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Gilgit) and NOP for opening this door of excellence to me. Since it was the first time I had moved out of Gilgit-Baltistan after 18 years of my life, Lums was a unique place for me.”
In his encouraging message for the upcoming lot, Karim said: “Always strive for the best. You are the lucky ones to be at Lums, make it count. You are lucky to be anywhere you are, because there are many out there who only dream for what you have already. Make your efforts count and strive for the best.”
In response to his choice of concentration for studying at Harvard, Karim said: “For Mahatma Gandhi ‘Poverty was the violence of worst kind’, and for Nelson Mandela ‘Overcoming poverty was an act of justice’. As a young lad in a remote village of Gilgit, I was ignorant not only of these proverbs, but also of their meaning.
“It was only after I attended Lums that I started to perceive the meaning of poverty and connect it with violence and injustice. I could compare the opportunities at Lums and those in Gilgit.  Moreover, exposure to cities of Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin and Rome gave me yet another perspective of deprivations Pakistan was facing as a country. Later, working at Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN) Islamabad, I travelled extensively to interior Sindh. I observed even griever deprivations and injustices of poverty. When I read about Africa, there are millions in need of food and shelter; health and education are even farther for them.”
Talking about the latest on the professional front, Karim said: “I am working as Programme Officer with the RSPN in USAID’s Assessment and Strengthening Program (ASP). Lums is also a partner in the programme. I have been associated with the RSPN for 2 and half years now. As a volunteer I am affiliated with Aga Khan Social Welfare Board for Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad Region as Honorary Secretary of the institution.”

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