UAJK, P&D forge historic MoU for Strategic Policy Research

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MUZAFFARABAD: The University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (UAJK) and the Planning and Development (P&D) Department of the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (GoAJK) have embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at promoting evidence-based research and offering crucial insights for policymakers. This collaboration was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoU, signed at the City Campus on Wednesday, witnessed the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi and Additional Chief Secretary (Development) GoAJK, Mrs. Midhat Shehzad, alongside other distinguished officials from both the government and UAJK.

Representing their respective institutions, Mr. Amir Latif Awan, Secretary of Planning and Development, and Dr. Rauf Ahmed Janjua, Director of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization (ORIC), UAJK, formally executed the signing of the MoU.

Under the terms of the MoU, both P&D and UAJK will jointly host Policy Papers and Seminar Series focusing on mutually agreed-upon themes concerning socioeconomic challenges and opportunities in the region. The primary goal is to formulate research-based solutions to address policy challenges encountered by stakeholders and disseminate the findings through dialogue sessions (seminars), print and electronic media, and other appropriate channels.

UAJK will provide need-based research support to P&D on specific topics and issues faced by Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, P&D will establish a framework to facilitate GoAJK employees in pursuing Executive M.Phil., Ph.D., and other higher degree programs in relevant subjects at UAJK, offering evening or weekend classes with minimal enrollment requirements.

The MoU underscores mutual support between the institutions for initiatives related to capacity building for government and UAJK employees, with provision for additional related activities subject to mutual agreement.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi emphasized the significance of the collaboration, stating, “This partnership represents a commitment to advancing knowledge and addressing critical issues in our region through research and academic endeavors.” He highlighted the fundamental objectives of universities: education, research, innovation, and societal contribution, stressing that this agreement signifies a significant step towards advancing community engagement. Prof. Dr. Abbasi underscored the transformative potential of the agreement, positioning it as the initial stride towards fostering sustainable economic and social progress within the region through collaborative efforts between the two institutions.

Further endorsing this sentiment, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Ms. Midhat Shahzad stated, “The partnership between UAJK and P&D is a commendable initiative that aligns with our shared goal of fostering growth and development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.”

She stressed the importance of integrating university research findings into governmental strategies for sustainable development planning, highlighting the agreement’s role in fostering collaboration between governmental entities and academic institutions.

Ms. Midhat Shahzad expressed unwavering resolve in signing the MoU, anticipating its pivotal role as a cornerstone for future sustainable development initiatives within the state.

Secretary of Agriculture Amir Mehmood Mirza and Secretary of Planning and Development Amir Latif Awan, along with other dignitaries, also delivered remarks at the ceremony.

Dr. Rauf Ahmad Janjua, Director of the University of Kashmir, provided insights into the agreement’s aims, objectives, and the groundwork leading to its fruition.

Concluding the event, Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi conferred commemorative shields upon Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Ms. Midhat Shahzad and other dignitaries in recognition of their contributions.

Established in 1980, UAJK serves as a premier institution dedicated to disseminating higher education and research across all fields of knowledge. Its vision is to produce human resources and research that empower society for growth and development, positioning itself as a think-tank providing evidence-based research and solutions for policymakers in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

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