The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Neighbourly ties
Trip to remember: FMS students visit one of the sights in Lahore.

For a student delegation from the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi, a recent educational visit to Pakistan turned out to be quite an eye-opener. Contrary to popular perception, not conservatism but modernity, not hostility but hospitality greeted them across the border. The students were equally bowled over by the contemporary face of Pakistan and by the warmth of the people. Though it was a short visit, the nine students came back with lasting memories.

Most importantly, their stay at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) gave them a better understanding of management education in Pakistan. In fact, most of them can’t stop talking about the strong international flavour of LUMS. “Their curriculum, course schedule and teaching methodology are all based on international business schools,” says Pravesh Saha, who was part of the delegation. For instance, the teaching methodology at LUMS follows the case study method. “While we do both theory and case studies in the class, at LUMS students are supposed to read up the theories beforehand and only case studies are discussed and analysed in their classrooms. It is a completely practical work-oriented approach,” adds Sanjeev Gupta, another student. At LUMS students got a chance to attend classes on supply chain management, business law and management information systems.

Besides the global pedagogy, FMS students came back impressed with the excellent faculty and class profile. LUMS has world class faculty from some of the best universities in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Cambridge, University of California, Berkeley and Georgia Institute of Technology. “Their student profile is equally outstanding. A majority of the students had prior work experience. Some of them are even sponsored by their companies for the management course,” notes FMS student Ajay Chahar.

The FMS delegation to LUMS was conceptualised as an opportunity to foster greater academic interaction as well as better understanding of each other as a nation. And living on the LUMS campus gave students from both the countries an excellent opportunity to interact and sharing their views. “From politics to cricket, we had friendly discussions on several aspects of Indo-Pak relations,” continues Saha.

And it did not remain a purely academic visit either as students soaked in the culture of Lahore by visiting the Badshahi mosque, the Lahore fort and Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s shrine. The contemporary face of Pakistan was revealed through its restaurants, shopping arcades and bowling alleys. “Lahore itself seemed like a less crowded version of Delhi with the people speaking Punjabi-laced Urdu,” says Kiran Satish. Attending a concert of the popular Pakistani band Jal and a stand-up comedy act by Black Fish further enlivened their stay.

For students from both the countries it was also a time to discover their many similarities. From cuisines to architecture styles, they found many common threads. “We felt that we were no different from them. In fact, no outsider looking at all of us could have made out the Indians from the Pakistanis,” says Kiran. The students were really touched with the hospitality extended to them by not just the LUMS students but also by the general public. “Wherever we went we got special treatment when they found out that we were Indians. Every single person made our stay memorable,” chips in Mitesh Karia.

After political diplomacy and cricket, clearly, it’s now the turn of higher education to be the new face of diplomacy.

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