Refugee and Host Students’ Enrichment Workshop Series On Critical Thinking and Academic Success

On April 25th, 2024, the International Center for Refugee and Migration Studies (ICRMS) hosted a significant event at the Pink Hall of BUITEMS, comprising two academic enrichment workshop series focused on fostering academic success and critical thinking among refugee and host students. The session commenced with a recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by an illuminating video presentation by ICRMS.

The primary objectives of these workshops were to empower both refugee and host students in navigating the intricate landscape of career choices within Pakistan’s higher education sector. By equipping them with the necessary tools to select suitable career pathways and academic degrees aligned with their aspirations and future employability, the aim was to facilitate their excellence in higher education through a blend of virtual and physical platforms.

The event featured esteemed guest speakers, including Dr. Masood Ur Rehman, who earned his Ph.D. from Queen Mary University of London and has been serving as an Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow since 2019, and Dr. Kamran Ali, a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University since 2020. Alongside them were the Dr. Khalid Hafeez, Vice Chancellor of BUITEMS, distinguished faculty deans and directors, as well as a diverse array of students from various faculties, encompassing both hosts and refugees. Notably, the gathering also included a graduating Afghan student from the 12th grade. This diverse assembly underscored the collective commitment required to guide students towards optimal career pathways and instill the practice of critical thinking, not only within their academic pursuits but also in their personal and professional lives.

Implications for Critical Thinking and Career Development

Dr. Masood Ur Rehman, who earned his Ph.D. from Queen Mary University of London in 2010, has established himself as a distinguished figure in academia. With prior affiliations at various esteemed institutions, he joined the University of Glasgow as an Associate Professor in 2019. His scholarly pursuits center around antenna design, wearable sensors, bio-electromagnetics, and wireless sensor networks, reflected in his extensive publication record comprising technical articles, books, and book chapters.

Beyond his scholarly contributions, Dr. Masood Ur Rehman is actively engaged in professional organizations and conferences, holding editorial roles in several prestigious journals and leadership positions within IEEE chapters.

Dr. Masood Ur Rehman’s insights highlighted the profound implications of critical thinking on career development. He emphasized that critical thinking not only enhances problem-solving skills but also cultivates adaptability and resilience, crucial attributes for navigating today’s dynamic job market. Furthermore, critical thinking fosters creativity and innovation, enabling individuals to explore unconventional career paths and capitalize on emerging opportunities. By instilling a habit of questioning assumptions and analyzing information from multiple perspectives, critical thinking empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their career trajectories, ensuring alignment with their passions, values, and long-term goals.

Moreover, Dr. Rehman underscored the importance of integrating critical thinking skills into educational curricula and professional development programs. He argued that institutions must prioritize fostering a culture of critical inquiry to equip students and professionals with the tools necessary for success in a rapidly evolving global landscape. By nurturing a mindset of curiosity and open-mindedness, individuals can proactively adapt to changing industry trends and leverage their critical thinking abilities to thrive in diverse professional contexts. Ultimately, Dr. Rehman’s presentation emphasized that embracing critical thinking is not only integral to individual career advancement but also essential for driving innovation and progress in society.

Sustainable Learning and Academic Success Strategies

Dr. Kamran Ali, a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University since 2020, brings a wealth of expertise to both teaching and research domains. With a Ph.D. in Communication Architecture Design, his scholarly interests span IoT, wireless networks, big data analytics, and cybersecurity. Recognized as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK), Dr. Ali demonstrates a dedication to excellence in teaching. His involvement in IEEE conferences as a technical reviewer and committee member underscores his contributions to scholarly discourse and collaboration within academia.

Dr. Kamran Ali’s presentation centered on sustainable learning practices and strategies for academic success. He stressed the critical role of effective time management in daily routines and underscored the value of student engagement and participation in classroom activities. Emphasizing the significance of critical thinking, Dr. Ali highlighted its pivotal role in fostering academic excellence and preparing individuals for future endeavors in academia and related technical fields. Moreover, he emphasized the relevance of these strategies in today’s virtual and competitive landscape, urging students to integrate them into their learning approaches for a brighter and more successful future.

Demonstration and Networking

The event showcased a keynote address by BUITEMS’ Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Khalid Hafeez, emphasizing the significance of digital transformation and knowledge management, underlining the integration of critical thinking and sustainable learning approaches. The Director of ICRMS, Dr. Rahila Umer, and Prof. Dr. Mumraiz Khan presented shields to the VC and distinguished guests. After the formal program, attendees engaged in networking and informal discussions and refreshment.

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