SOMERSET, NJ – The New York/New Jersey chapter of the Human Development Foundation (HDF) raised $70,000 on December 3rd at the Marigold, in Somerset, NJ where Dr. Adil Najam spoke about his research in Pakistan.
Dr. Najam is a professor of international relations and earth and environment at Boston University, who recently went to Pakistan to conduct a research study on the youth satisfaction in the country and shared those results with an audience of 100.
Dr. Najam started his presentation with discussing the three propositions which tie HDF and Pakistan together, these are: (1) Pakistanis shine in amazing individual glory but are often surrounded by collective mediocrity, (2) Education is the single most important passport to success for Pakistanis everywhere and (3) Education does not trigger success alone unless it is combined with Human Development.
“Human Development is a very Pakistani idea and a very Pakistani practice. Human Development as an intellectual scientific concept was created by Pakistanis,” he said.
“So this idea came out of the UN about 25 years ago called human development, and it came out with the idea of measuring the development of societies by GDP was not enough. Just asking how rich you are was not enough,” he added, saying that the formula for human development is equal to health, wealth and knowledge.
According to this formula, out of 170 countries, Pakistan is ranked at the 144th position “with a score of 0.550 in 2015, 1.0 being perfect,” but, in fact, it is lower than the countries surrounding it, including India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Najam further explained that “the future of Pakistan will be determined by Pakistanis who are today, between 15 and 29 years of age” and so he conducted research in the country with one question in mind: “what does it mean to be young in Pakistan today?”
He concluded with more details of how he conducted his research, using focus groups and setting up video booths in markets where any youngster could go into and take out their anger towards the country.
“The Human Development Foundation was launched by a group of visionary Pakistani Americans in 1997 as a gift to Pakistan on the 50th anniversary of its Independence,” said Dr. Mahmood Alam, the president of the New York/New Jersey chapter of HDF, during his presentation.
Over the past 20 years, HDF’s goal has been to eradicate poverty in Pakistan and relieve human suffering by providing programming in all four provinces of Pakistan and have helped over 1.5 million people.
According to HDF’s website, their mission in “to facilitate a non-political movement for positive social change and community empowerment through mass literacy, enhanced quality of education, universal primary healthcare and grassroots economic development” with a vision of becoming “a center of excellence known for progressive and transformational human development programs.”