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National Conversation Webinar on “Self-Engineered Sustainable Economic Development through National Industries Globalization in the Present-Day Competitive World Setting”, 1000 hrs, September 28, 2023”

 Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) conducted a National Conversation Webinar on “Self-Engineered Sustainable Economic Development through National Industries Globalization in the Present-Day Competitive World Setting” on September 28, 2023, at 1000 hrs. The Webinar was intended to set down the way forward for deployment of science, technology and innovation for economic development in the developing countries including Pakistan. The keynote speaker of the Webinar was Prof. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the former Director, APCTT-UNESCAP and Emeritus Professor & Vice President, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Webinar began with a brief introduction of the Webinar by Dr. Tahir Naeem, Executive Director, INIT/ Director, Directorate of P & D and HRD, CUI, who was also the moderator of the event. In his opening remarks, he said that technological innovation is now the most important driver of success for nations as it determines sustainable economic development and environmental sustainability. He also underlined myriad ways in which industrial evolution enhances the quality of life and fosters economic growth in developing countries. He stressed that developing countries are required to respond through crafting policies and programs that seek to place knowledge and innovation as the principal drivers of technological and through it the economic transformation i.e. creating knowledge and the innovation economy. He acknowledged and highlighted the contributions and achievements of Prof. Nawaz Sharif in the field of technological innovation and thanked him for giving everyone the opportunity to benefit from his valuable knowledge and rich experience.

After the opening remarks, Prof. Dr Sajid Qamar, President, INIT/ Rector, CUI addressed the audience. In his speech he said that the raison d'etre of technology development does not vest exclusively in research and development rather in the interactive and reflexive relationship among market, governmental policy, national institutions; both formal and informal and the concomitant technological transformation. He talked about Prof. Sharif’s conviction of treating ‘orgaware’ as a component of technology, and his enunciation of the ‘Make Some - Buy Some’ option that highlights the role of institutions complimenting what has been theorized on the tenets of evolutionary and transaction cost economics. He further said that the role of institutions; both informal like ethics, norms, values, customs; and formal institutions such as political will, role of the state, rule of law or those more specifically defined like constitution, laws, policies, organizations, contracts, hybrid networks, etc. shape the science and technology culture in a country. Lastly, he congratulated the organizers of the Webinar and said that in the midst of contemporary debates on ‘sustainable economic development’, there would not have been a better time to convene this Webinar. He appreciated the organizing team led by Dr. Tahir Naeem, Executive Director, INIT, and his colleagues and thanked Prof. Nawaz Sharif for taking time and making it possible to convene this immensely important Webinar.

The next address to the audience was made by Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi (H.I., S.I.), Former Executive Director, COMSATS, Former pro Chancellor & Founding Rector, CUI. He said that in an increasingly globalized socioeconomic setting, technology provides faith, hope and value for all mankind. He said that with the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, the crucial role of technology has also come to the forefront; and it is universally considered as the only hope for bridging the prosperity gap. Thus, the process of socioeconomic advancement is inextricably bound with the management of technology for development. He further said that technology per se may be developed for war, prestige, market competition, and social welfare. But "technology for development" is simply the application of technology for socioeconomic progress. Hence, application of technology for development is of paramount importance for all the countries of the world—for the survival of the poor millions in the countries of the South and also for the continued prosperity of the people in the countries of the North. Talking about his long association with Prof. Nawaz Sharif, he said that during the years of his leadership at APCTT in Bangalore, Prof. Nawaz Sharif organized a number of Expert Group meetings to fully comprehend various aspects of integrating technological considerations with national economic development planning process. He said that he can recall that during those days in mid 80s, Dr. Hyung Sup Choi of South Korea and Dr Taro Nakayama of Japan were frequent visitors there and they were specially invited to advise APCTT on the Technology Atlas and other projects, then in hand at APCTT, Bangalore. He informed the audience that after completion of the Technology Atlas project, Prof. Nawaz Sharif was engaged as Team Leader on many "Technology for Development" related projects in the Asian region, specifically those in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. He also informed the participants as how under auspices of Science and Technology Capacity Building Project funded by UNDP, Prof. Nawaz Sharif as Team Leader undertook the preparation of twelve country studies regarding the status of "Technology Policies and Planning". The countries included, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Lastly, he congratulated and appreciated the organizers for their great effort in organizing the Webinar.

In the first session of the Webinar, the keynote speaker, Prof. Nawaz Sharif shared his thoughts and experiences related to “Self-Engineered Sustainable Economic Development through National Industries Globalization”. Prof. Nawaz Sharif shared in detail his decades of experience in advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region, and international agencies, on sustainable economic development and technology planning and policies.

Prof. Nawaz Sharif’s talk was composed of five parts. The first part of his presentation focused on “Rationale and Imperatives for National Industries Globalization” in which he described in detail as how the industrial technology innovations are shaping the new world order. The second part of his presentation focused on “Technology System Elements in Production Manager’s Toolbox where he reasoned the essentiality of manager's toolbox in overseeing and optimizing manufacturing processes as within this toolbox, various technology system elements play a crucial role in ensuring efficiency, productivity, and quality control. The third part of his presentation focused on “Product-Process Innovation Cycles and Institutional Ecosystem” where he talked about how product-process innovation cycles and the institutional ecosystem are two critical components of a dynamic and evolving business environment, and both being closely interconnected play a significant role in shaping the competitive landscape for companies. The fourth part of his presentation focused on “Primary Apprehensions, Strategies, Procedures and Challenges” where he said that industrial globalization presents both opportunities and challenges, and in order to succeed, companies must carefully assess the risks and benefits, develop tailored strategies, and implement efficient procedures to navigate the complexities of operating in diverse global markets. The fifth part and last part of his presentation focused on “A Few Questions and Mindsets for Self-Engineering Resolution” in which he highlighted the importance of self-engineering. He said that self-engineering resolution is a process of actively shaping and improving a country’s fate for the better, as only the right mindsets can enhance the ability to make positive changes and achieve the national economic goals. After the sessions, participants gave their rich feedback and asked questions which Prof. Nawaz Sharif answered very patiently and eloquently.

In the second session of the Webinar, Prof. Dr. Aqif Anwar Chaudhary, Head, Interdisciplinary Research Center in Biomedical Materials, CUI, Lahore Campus provided a national perspective on technological innovation in the field of biosciences. Prof. Aqif has a background in Material Science and Engineering with specialization in Biomedical Materials and currently leading a research group in bone repair and regeneration. Prof. Aqif briefed the audience about the achievements of CUI in the field of Biosciences and Biomedical Materials. He informed about the output of the research done by the faculty and students of CUI in the subject which not only benefitted humanity but also helped in entrepreneurial ventures and international collaborations opening employment opportunities for the youth.

The Webinar was a huge success as it was enthusiastically participated by around 300 people from various walks of life including academia, research, commerce and industry, information technology, entrepreneurship, environmental sciences, communication and so on. The Webinar was also live streamed in all campuses of CUI to enable students and faculty to gain valuable knowledge about national and international perceptive on technological innovation and industrial globalization.

Program of Webinar

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Keywords: Webinar