“It’s indeed commendable that LPU has extensively used technology to manage 40,000 students. Education can change the minds of youth.” – President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee

LPU’s 3rd Annual Convocation marked the beginning of a new phase of life for 7801 students of regular and distance education. The Convocation also turned out to be a historic moment for India and Afghanistan when the Chief Guest of the day President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred LPU’s first honorary doctorate (Honoris Causa) degree on the President of Afghanistan, Mr Hamid Karzai. The camaraderie displayed between the two Presidents reflected the strong ties between two countries. Mr. Hamid Karzai was given the honorary doctorate for his outstanding work in the area of social upliftment of the country.

Shri Shivraj V Patil, Governor Punjab presided over the Convocation and S Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab was the Guest of Honour. In addition, many renowned public figures, policy makers, ambassadors, experts, educationists, professionals also witnessed the mammoth organization.

Nineteen students of the University were also honoured with gold medals by President Shri Mukherjee. Subsequently, 123 Toppers got Citations of commendations, and 7801 Undergraduate, Postgraduate and M Phil degrees were distributed to other students for University’s 215 Programmes.

Chancellor of LPU, Mr. Ashok Mittal expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the President of India for sparing valuable time and accepting University’s invitation. He also thanked President Mr. Hamid Karzai who made it possible to come all the way from Kabul to accept the Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa). He further shared the future plan of LPU where he mentioned that in this decade the University will focus on research and entrepreneurship to revive the yesteryears glory of Takshshila back to India. He further added that Indian private universities can make a significant mark in research and compete with foreign Universities like Stanford and Harvard. In his concluding remarks he asked students to give their best and make the nation proud.

President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee started his speech by applauding the role of LPU in redefining education and becoming the change agent in the society. Expressing his pleasure to be a part of the convocation ceremony, he said, “It’s indeed commendable that LPU has extensively used technology to manage 40,000 students. Education can change the minds of youth.”

Speaking about the safety of women, he added, “The time has come for us to introspect if a society cannot respect women, it cannot move forward. Every year around 12 million Indians are added to the working population of the world. By 2020, 2/3rd of the working population will be in India. It would be a great asset if it’s a productive asset. It will be a great liability if we don’t instil the skills required for employment”.

Referring to prominent universities of India like Takshashila and Nalanda that had attracted students from all over the world, he said, “These universities illuminated the minds of students for over 1000 years. Sadly out of the 200 best universities, not even one is Indian university”.

On being questioned why we had to wait for 83 years for the Nobel Prize for an original research, Shri Pranab Mukherjee answered, “Outstanding personalities who have won noble prizes were Indians but were working in Universities outside India.” He urged at least one university to take the lead in research and development.

He further added, “I agree there is a shortage of faculty but we can take advantage of technology like e-class room facility and transmit lectures by prominent faculty from one university to another. Out of the box thinking and innovative measures are the need of the hour”. He emphasized on kindling the spirit of ideology and spirit of greatness in the minds of students.

Mr. Hamid Karzai started his speech by complimenting LPU as a university of higher academic excellence with grandeur in size. Expressing his gratitude to LPU for conferring him with the first honorary doctorate (Honoris Causa) degree, he said, “LPU is probably one of the few universities that has not only grown in terms of size but is able to successfully set high standards of education coupled with a state-of-the-art infrastructure”.

He bemoaned the lack of higher education in Afghanistan. However, the Chancellor of LPU has offered higher education to those students who are getting a scholarship by the Government of Afghanistan.

Speaking about the ties shared between the two countries, he said, “India has shared healthy relations with Afghanistan and has contributed immensely to Afghan youth. India has given over 2000 scholarships to Afghan students to study in India.”

In his message to students, he said, “You are the citizens of India and citizens of the world and you represent a country that is fast rising in economical, industrial and social growth. Your presence is felt all around. Keep progressing and at the same time, remember your culture and use your energy for the country’s welfare”.