“It Is the Hour of Your Ministry”
Tariq Banuri’s Call at HDFNA Fundraiser
By M. Shahid Yousuf

 

Dr. Tariq Banuri
Dr. Alamgir Khan
Dr. Zeenat Anwar

Novi, Michigan: Dr. Tariq Banuri, speaking on the occasion of the 9th Annual Fund Raiser of the Michigan Chapter of Human Development Foundation (HDF), echoed Dalai Lama’s statement following 9/11 when he wrote, “This is the moment of your ministry. This is the time of teaching. What you teach at this time, through your every word and action right now, will remain as indelible lessons in the hearts and minds of those whose lives you touch, both now, and for years to come. We will set the course for tomorrow, today. At this hour. In this moment. Let us seek not to pinpoint blame, but to pinpoint cause.”
In a speech of some 30 minutes, Dr. Banuri said that a lot is at stake here. Quoting from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s work “The Black Swan” in which the concepts labeled by Dr. Banuri as mediocratistan and extremistan conjure up two different worlds we live in. Dr. Banuri described how the knowledge of average events counts for little in this world. “You understand average you understand nothing.” He explained that we live in the realm of the unexpected and even expert knowledge has become irrelevant. “Expertise prepares you for the normal. People are speaking within the box.” “The better your reputation (as an expert) the worse your prediction.” “We live in a risk society.”


Nida Javaid, Shahid Tahir and Khurshid Qureshi

Weaving a tapestry of numerous threads of thought, he urged the gathered intelligentsia to ponder about our role at this juncture. The theme “who are we” permeated throughout his talk. He urged the Muslim community to build a bridge. He urged the audience to explain to others the people we are, as we live our lives and not the ones with labels. Metaphorically he urged the audience to go the “four people who hold the sky” implying the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom in this ministry. He urged the audience to recognize the momentous nature of our time and build a just community with tolerance, love, courage and sacrifice. “Two thousand and seven is the hour of your ministry.”
Dr. Tariq Banuri besides being the recipient of Pakistan ’s prestigious civilian award “Sitara-e-Imtiaz” is a leading world authority on social policy issues. Stockholm Environment Institute gives the following description of Dr.Banuri: “Dr. Tariq Banuri is the Director of the Asia Centre of the Stockholm Environment Institute. His work focuses on conceptual as well as practical issues in development policy — including the integration of environmental, social, and economic dimensions into the policy framework, the analysis of the growing contribution of ‘knowledge institutions’ (higher education, research, industrial R&D) in creating wealth, the role of institutions and governance, and the challenge of poverty eradication. He has broad experience in Pakistan in policy development through a combination of research work and the organization and leading of multi-stakeholder participation. He was a leading member of a multi-stakeholder initiative to introduce pollution taxes in Pakistan…”
He has served on national as well as international policy development bodies and research networks, including the board of governors of Pakistan ’s central bank, Pakistan ’s Environmental Protection Council, the Steering Committee on Higher Education established by the President of Pakistan, and the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in which he was a convening Lead Author. In recognition of his services to research and education, the President of Pakistan conferred on him the medal Sitara i Imtiaz (SI).
Human Development Foundation was celebrating its 10th anniversary since its founding in 1997. The Foundation was formed in 1997 to empower disadvantaged people by facilitating a non-political movement for a positive social change and community empowerment through mass literacy, enhanced quality of education, universal primary health care and grassroots economic development. It is a 501-C-3 (IRS code) organization. It enjoys the highest star rating , four stars, from Charity Navigator which rates various charities in USA . According to 2005 statistics 82.1% of its funds went towards the program expenses with administrative expenses constituting 7.3% and fund raising expenses accounting for 10.4%.
HDF raised well over $150,000 in a gathering of some 600 attendees. Additional commitments have not been totaled at this time. HDF annual fundraising functions have become for the Pakistani community of engineers, doctors, businessmen and community leaders premiere events. Noted intellectuals of world-class credentials have graced these gatherings. Last year Dr.Adil Najam was the keynote speaker.
Dr. Zeenat Anwar, Member of Board of Directors HDFNA informed the audience about the progress of its programs in Pakistan such as micro credit which has US $ 1.1 million in circulation, the progress from informal schools to formal schools, vocational programs, preventive and curative health initiatives. She stressed that HDFNA is not affiliated with the Government of Pakistan in any way and has no relationship with NCHD (National Commission on Human Development) of Pakistan Government. Dr. Alamgir Khan informed the audience of the earthquake relief activities of HDFNA.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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