Sunday, March 22, 2020

Dr Shahid Amjad and Leadership of Lahore School of Economics

Met Dr Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector Lahore School of Economics at the picturesque campus on Burki Road on Jan 21, 2020. Got to see the peacock dance as I entered the beautiful campus. It was as if the peacock gave me a special welcome (or do they perform for every visitor).
Saw one of the many peacocks dancing as I entered LSE

With Dr Shahid Amjad as he proudly gave me
a personal tour of the campus
Great man, great campus, great institution with a great culture. Need more such visionaries and role models who are focused on quality, and social impact through education. 

I first met with the Dean of Business, Dr Kumail Rizvi and had some very interesting and in depth discussion about quality and engagement. And of course role of HEC in dictating to the private universities. 

I then was privileged to have a long interaction with Dr Shahid spanning from 1100 to 2:30 including the lunch also. Initially he had allocated half an hour, but then our discussion became so interesting that he rescheduled the meeting that he had organized for 1130 to another day. 

He talked about his dream to make LSE a center of excellence focused on economics and business areas. He wanted the institution to be around 2000 students, focusing on quality and not quantity. It appeared that he has to fend off repeated temptations of increasing the quantity, which he perceives as compromising quality. His emphasis was on excellence in teaching. When the topic of retention of highly qualified PhD faculty came up, we discussed the need for having a good PhD program so that the PhD faculty would have research students with whom to hone their research skills. We also discussed the integration of several disciplines with business and economics, especially the need for data science, business analytics, psychology and behavioral sciences. We talked about sharing of experiences and having more deep contacts. 

Spread over 40 acres, the campus provides a unique experience. The interesting thing about the campus was that all faculty rooms as well as the rector's rooms were of the same size. The building was not imposing but sitting snugly hidden among the trees and greenery. Giving a very cozy feeling that is inviting and relaxing. The campus gels in with the vision of Dr Shahid Amjad to develop it into a research institution dedicated to quality. 

Here are the comments about LSE from Mr Ashraf Janjua, ex Deputy Governor SBP, writer of 4 volume history of SBP, ex Dean of CBM (IoBM) that I am copying from facebook here:
Begin Quote:
Dr Shahid Amjad Chowdhery took this LSE initiative in the early nineteen nineties, after taking early retirement from the World Bank. I was on the Board of Governors of the LSE for ten years till my departure from the State Bank in 2004. The legendary personality, Syed Baber Ali, who is the founder of LUMS was also on the Board of Governors, and gave his extremely useful advice. 
Dr Chowdhery put his heart and soul in the project. He had pledged to give his prized agricultural land to the School, to make up for any shortage of funds. Over the years his family members joined him. Now LSE is among the top academic institutions in the country. 
Now Dr Rashid Amjad and some members of the second generation are making their contribution in promoting the objectives of the School. 
Several star personalities in the LSE are looking after many affairs of the School including the research activity.
As long as I was in Pakistan I invariably attended the School’s Annual Conference on the Economic Problems and policies of the country. Professionally,it was a treat .
These days I am in Washington DC.Only yesterday I was talking about the School with Mr.Sikander Rahim who has been taking active interest in the School’s affairs since its inception.
The School and the Chowghery family are doing a remarkable service to the country.
I wish the School still greater achievements in the years ahead.
End Quote

Another of Mr Ashraf Janjua's memories:
Begin Quote
From the Memory—A supplement on the establishment of Lahore School of Economics.
       It was in 1994,that a member of the State Bank’s Board  of Directors made a suggestion that the State Bank consider providing some financial assistance to initiatives in the private sector for the promotion of higher education in selected  areas.

 At that time I was also an ex-officio member of the State Bank’s Board of Directors.

After a good deal of homework the Board approved the Governor’s proposal that two institutions that were making serious and organized effort to promote education in the financial sector should be granted Rs 3 million each as a sort of seed money  to help them take off.These institutions were the Lahore School of Economics (LSE)and the Institute of Business Management(IoBM).

   The LSE asked the State Bank to nominate a Bank official on the School’s Board of Governors. That's how I became associated with the School and remained the  Board member till I left the Bank in May, 2004. But SBP is still represented on the Board by the Governor’ nominee.

 I must record that although the amount of financial assistance was relatively small both the institutions made very effective use of the amount.

This is only a part of the story.The rest is given below:
             The news of State Bank providing assistance to two emerging institutions spread like wild fire,and opened the floodgate of requests from nascent academic instructions for similar help.The Governor SBP deflected these requests to me. I told them that help would be available if they furnish the proof of an institution already functioning including the number and academic qualifications of the faculty.
That did it. Nobody came with requisite evidence.
End Quote 

Profile of Dr Shahid Amjad Chaudhry

Copied from http://www.lahoreschoolofeconomics.edu.pk/


Dr. Chaudhry is the Rector of Lahore School of Economics and also Professor of Economics. He teaches Public Finance and Pakistan Economic Policies at the Lahore School. He has a B.A. from Punjab University, an M.A. (Cantab.) and a Ph.D. from McGill University. He was Lecturer in Economics at Punjab University from 1967 to 1969. He served in the Civil Service of Pakistan from 1969 to 1983. From 1983 to 1985 he was Visiting Professor of Economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Since 1985 he has been working on Public Sector Management Issues and is a member of a number of National Commissions on the subject. He was Deputy Chairman of the Pakistan Planning Commission from July 2000 to July 2003.

His major publications include “Agricultural Taxation in Pakistan”, National Taxation Reform Commission, (1984); “Industrial Policies for Pakistan”, Asian Development Bank, (1985); “Fiscal and Budgetary Policies for Pakistan”, Asian Development Bank, (1985); “Trade Barriers to Pakistan’s Exports”, Asian Development Bank, (1986); “Forecasting Pakistan’s Worker Remittances”, International Labor Organization, (1986), “Defined Contribution Pension Plan for Pakistan”, Government of Pakistan, (1994); “Competition Policy and Democracy in Pakistan”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (1996); “Pakistan’s Experience in Employment Generation at the Micro and Macro Levels, and Future Directions”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (1997); “Punjab Fiscal Resources Study”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (1998); “Significance of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Sector in Pakistan and Assessment of its Employment Potential”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (1999); and “Improving the Efficiency of the Federal Government of Pakistan”, Government of Pakistan, (2001); “Ensuring Stable and Inclusive Growth in Pakistan”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (2008); “Pakistan: Indus Basin Water Strategy – Past, Present and Future”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (2010); and “Pakistan 2011: Policy Measures for the Economic Challenges Ahead”, Lahore Journal of Economics, (2011).

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