9 th Annual 2013 NED Alumni International Convention in Connecticut

“Dream to Destiny” was the theme of the 9 th Annual 2013 NED Alumni International Convention held in Hartford, Connecticut, from September 6-8. An outstanding feature of the convention was the successful launch of NED ALEF - Alumni Endowment Fund - that won overwhelming support of the Alumni with pledges of over $110,000.

The presence of Advisor to VC Engr Syed Ishteaque Ahmed from NEDUET, and that of retired Professor Dr Shams Ul Haq, was much appreciated and served as an inspiration to the organizers and the attendees.

The convention was hosted by NEDIAN-NA, an umbrella organization of NED Alumni Associations in North America, which includes Chicago, Silicon Valley, New England, New Jersey, Southern California, Houston, Washington DC, Alberta, and Ontario in collaboration with co-host NEDAA-NE, and member networks of NEDIAN-NA. It began on Friday the 6 th with a special kick off dinner and a musical evening, including a talent show.

Following a hearty breakfast on Saturday, the convention's proceedings commenced with the brief remarks of Aslam Siddiqui (Civil 84), Vice-President of NEDAA-NE. Several discussions followed beginning with “Karachi - A Future Megacity” conducted by Engr Abul Islam, (Civil 81), Founder and CEO of AI Engineers, CT. This session featured Arif Hassan, an internationally recognized architect and planner from Karachi and recipient of the prestigious Hilal-i-Imtiaz award. To him goes the credit of starting the department of architecture at NEDUET. The other panel members were: Engr Nasir Raza (Civil 80) with expertise in urban infrastructure planning and design who is presently associated with Gannett Fleming’s Phoenix office; Engr Ali Mallick (Civil 80), with expertise in highways, sewer systems, water mains, bridges, and retaining walls with construction values over $1 billion and is from New York City; Engr Saba Engineer (Civil 87) with expertise in public development projects and currently with the County of Monterey, Salinas, California.

The second session, The “Alumni” Session, was chaired by Engr Anas Hashmi (Civil 94), secretary of NEDIAN-NA. Anas provided an update on the Alumni Networks, and moderated participating NED networks to share their contributions to their Alma Mater, and introduced the network representatives. This is an annual forum for each member organization to share with all the Alumni their activities in the past year and plans for the upcoming year.

A third session was headed by Engr Athar Javaid (Elec/Mech 62), reporting on the progress of “The Project INDUS” (initiated at NED 2012 DC convention). This is an NEDian Initiative for cultivating quality leadership in Pakistan by mobilizing people’s power. Everyone is encouraged to get involved; details can be found on the project website at www.induspk.org.

The final session of the morning for the Project NED ALEF (NED Alumni Endowment Fund) started with the concept presentation by Engr Rashid Ali Baig (Civil 82), which was once again unanimously approved by the conference attendees vividly demonstrating the desire and willingness of the Alumni to see progress at NEDUET. The panel consisted of Engr Syed Ishteaque Ahmed (Mech 73), Advisor to VC on Students and Financial Affairs and representing NEDUET; Dr Shahid M. Farooqi, Senior Investment Analyst at the University of Connecticut who has expertise in understanding the purpose and operation of Endowed/Non-Endowed funds and has managed $750 million in gifts and pledges at UCON; Amir Ulislam (Civil 86), CEO of Jersey Precast and affiliates and a philanthropist; Engr Qamar Kazmi (Civil 75), Senior Vice President at Schnabel Engineering, a national geotechnical firm.

Besides, there was the bus and train tour in the afternoon. And as a group of about twenty NEDians deliberated in an open forum on the future of conventions and others took the time to catch up on rest, over a hundred conventioneers boarded two buses and went on a tour of Hartford City and a scenic train ride.

The Grand Finale of the Convention, the Gala Banquet of Saturday evening, drew a crowd of over 400 attendees. The MCs for the evening were two NEDians: Engr Anis Tilmizi (Civil 84) of Texas and Engr Dr. Asma Ali (Civil 94) of DC. Speakers included Engr Syed Ishteaque Ahmed, advisor to VC, representing NEDUET, who spoke on the state of affairs of the University; Engr Ahmed Ali (Civil 71) Chairman NEDIAN-NA, who presented a synopsis of NEDIAN-NA and appealed for support of NED ALEF; and Engr Abul Islam (Civil 81) Chairman of NEDAA-NE and Co-Chair of the NED 2013 CT Convention Committee.

The most inspiring segment of the evening was the NED ALEF presentation, initiated by Engr Qamar Kazmi, a poet, who presented a touching poem in support of the endowment fund that left a deep impression on the participants. He was followed by Engr Amir Ulislam and Engr Tanweer Malik for a short but very effective fund-raising effort raising over $110,000.

No event is complete without “halla gulla”. The entertainment program consisted of young bhangra dancers from UCON and a hilarious comedian. The musical evening had two major entertainers: the legendary Munni Begum and the renowned young singer Fakhir, whose performance was accompanied by what has now become a convention tradition - NEDians dancing to the music !

It is practically impossible to measure and quantify the success of the amazing event that the NEDIAN-NA and NEDAA-NE team put together. Indeed any success metric pales in comparison to the energy, beaming smiles, emotional embraces and forward looking discussions that were visible in every corner of the huge site of the ballroom for the event. The specially served meals (reception / dinner on the 6 th, boxed lunch, hor douvres and dinner on the 7 th, and halwa, aloo chana, nahari and naan on the 8 th) all provided an opportunity to enjoy some of the finest Pakistani food available in the US. Kudos to the entire planning committee, the volunteers, the friends and families that supported them in the long preparation for the event. It was certainly worth it.

A special recognition and thanks to Arif Sattar, Syed Mehdi Kamal, Tanweer Mallick, Rashid Ali Baig, Safwan Shah, Amir Ulislam, Qamar Kazmi, Afzaal Hafeez, Abul Islam, Aslam Siddiqui (Aslam was also recognized with Award of Excellence in the evening program) , Asif Iqbal , Mohammad Ali, Asma Ali, and many more for their untiring efforts and energy in organizing the convention.

As NEDians we always debate the significance of putting together social events and their long term value for the NEDian community. Below are some feedback comments:

“ … we also had great time at the convention, we really appreciate the way our seniors responded to us. Shall remain in touch and we'll always be there to do whatever we can for the three words 'N.E.D.' because it gives us the memories to cherish for the rest of our lives, and seniors like you too.

“Thank you so much Zia uncle for taking the pictures, we really appreciate your effort because you were the one who was behind the camera and your pictures weren't taken much. We had a great time at the convention and would like to thank all the seniors for responding to us in an affable manner. Shall remain engaged and will always be there for NED whenever needed”.

“Indeed it was a heartwarming experience attending the event. Thank you for your hospitality and the exceptional food. Where else but the convention, you can run in to NEDians after 33 years of lapse”.
And finally a humbling endorsement from Dr Afzal Haque (Mech 77), Vice Chancellor, NED: “I just heard from Ishteaque Bhai that your convention was a success. You and your team were able to raise more than $ 100,000 for NED. It's remarkable and this is only due to you and your team's personal efforts. I personally thank you and other NEDIAN-NA executives for all the hard work undertaken in raising such a large amount in one event, in fact first time in the history of NED. This is the beginning and Inshallah this process will go on with more vigor in future as well. I salute you and your team for taking the fund raising initiative for NED and I assure you that this fund will be used for the best interest of our alma mater which will be decided in consultation with you.
Finally please accept my personal congratulations on holding successfully the NEDIAN-NA Annual Convention. Inshallah next year I will try my best to attend it”.

Once again, heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the organizers for taking the lead to keep the spirit of NED alive and inspiring NEDians everywhere.

Many thanks to our major sponsors/donors who made the convention possible. Please log on to our web site for a copy of the convention magazine and contact information of our supporters.

The success of any movement is relevant if it is sustained and there are others who are willing to join and carry forward the cause. We will soon announce the location of our 10 th NED Alumni International Convention 2014.

Build a Better NED, NEDians for NED, Long Live NED, Long Live Pakistan

The door to help NEDUET is always open. Log in to WWW.NEDIAN-NA.COM to make your donation.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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