- Dr. Reza Aslan highlighted the importance of a liberal arts education in imparting the ability of how to think, perceive and foster rational thinking and cultivate young minds to prepare for the world of tomorrow.
Higher education based on the liberal arts and sciences has become a global necessity; a fact that has been highlighted by the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was the clear message coming from the webinar hosted by Habib University on Friday evening.
The webinar, entitled Preserving Legacies and Protecting Futures, was organized to discuss the importance of ensuring that the promising future of our country’s youth was not compromised due to the prevailing circumstances and that they too could become engaged citizens and global leaders.
Speaking from Los Angeles, Dr. Reza Aslan, a professor at University of California, Riverside and an internationally renowned Iranian-American writer, producer and scholar of religious history highlighted the importance of a liberal arts education in imparting the ability of how to think, perceive and foster rational thinking and cultivate young minds to prepare for the world of tomorrow.
He went on to add that in a world dominated by social media and online resources, it is imperative for youth, “To be able to think rationally at the time when we are bombarded with fake news, ideas and propaganda. This is the time we need liberal arts education the most to really understand the history of human experience.”
His sentiments were echoed by Dr. Azra Reza, a prominent scientist and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, “Liberal arts education is so needed in today’s world because the highly successful tech companies that are making drugs and products assisted by artificial intelligence seek a huge number of non-technical staff because they understand the needs of human beings better.”
President, Habib University, Wasif A. Rizvi, who was also the moderator of the event, pointed out, "One of the key missions that Habib University has embarked on is to create a curriculum for students to understand their culture and themselves better. This is one of the very few postcolonial curriculums in the world."
Chancellor of Habib University, Rafiq M. Habib, members of the Habib family, scholars, business leaders and the public attended the webinar. In a heartfelt tribute to Ali Suleman Habib, a founding member of the Board of Governors of Habib University, his son, Imran Habib said, “He [My father] strongly believed that Habib family can contribute for the development of Pakistan by investing in business and quality education for everyone regardless of their socioeconomic background.”
Dr. Aslan summed up the importance of understanding the need for a liberal arts education, “It is not this generation that will pave the way, but the generation that we are currently fostering will make changes to the world of tomorrow.”