Islamabad, May 17, 2018 (PPI-OT):Dr. Noor Fatima, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics and International Relations (P and IR) of International Islamic University (IIU) brings laurels to institution by earning US Department of Education’s Martin Luther King Jr. Award as maiden woman of South Asian descent. Being the first woman of South Asian descent to win the award, she went through an extensive process of interviews, testimonials and a review of her work, which spans more than 15 years.
Dr. Noor thinks that inculcation of tolerant and peaceful narrative in education is inevitable for a harmonized society and believes that the state needs to prioritize such narratives. Fatima has been serving the IIUI as assistant professor for six years. She has earlier served the government sector for 15 years. She reckons that she is ‘tailor-made’ for her job in higher education. The recipient of the award completed her MS and PhD in Political Economy from Germany while she was in the government sector.
“For me, the relation between education inequality and conflict is clear,” said Dr.Noor, speaking to an international subscribe. “Not only does equality in education create significantly more peaceful societies, it sets a precedent for equal access to opportunity, financial assets, political power and the fair distribution of resources” She added.
Dr. Noor Fatima was honoured by the awards panel for her unique approach to education. She believes in recognizing and celebrating the necessity of cross-cultural, cross-faith and cross-background understanding among people, along with the undeniable effect acceptance and open-mindedness has on education, and its relationship with conflict resolution.
The US Department of Education honoured IIUI’s Dr. Noor Fatima with the prestigious civil Martin Luther King Award in recognition of introducing new educational ideas. “In 2000 I was awarded a German government scholarship for my higher education (which lead to me learning) a different method of education,” she said, as she shared the story of her journey to devising “innovative education excellence for a peaceful society.”
She added: “Since then I have always tried to put forward innovative ideas, [culminating] in a few thoughts of how we can help society by living together peacefully.” “In my view it is necessary to introduce into curricula at all levels true education for citizenship, which includes an international dimension, and to strengthen the formation of values and abilities such as solidarity, creativity, civic responsibility, the ability to resolve conflicts by non-violent means, and critical thinking,” said Noor.
“Teaching and [the] classroom environment, particularly, needs attention in Pakistan, and it should concern the conditions for the construction of peace: the various forms of conflict, their cause and effects; the ethical, religious and philosophical bases of human rights and how they are translated into national and international standards; and the students [must] learn how to not to exclude and discriminate.”
Her position is based on the belief that education can hold far-reaching power on a broad scale. “Education is continued as a reactionary instrument, a haphazard program,” she said. “If we are serious about addressing the conflict that continues to lay waste to millions of lives and resources, not only in Pakistan but around the world, then we are critically need to integrate the education system in a way that it becomes an indispensable tool in our peace-building society and prevents conflict before it starts.”
She is proud to be the first South Asian woman to receive the prestigious award. “I was overwhelmed when it was announced, being female and Pakistani – it was great feeling and honour for Pakistan,” she said. “My ideas and efforts for education and a peaceful society have been recognized by the US Government, which meant a lot [to] me as well as my University.” “I am happy that, despite all the odds, I became the source of this prestigious award for Pakistan.” IIUI Rector and President have congratulated Dr. Noor Fatima for her achievement and said that she has brought fame and honour to IIUI and Pakistan as well.
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