The AMU Alumni of Australia (AMUAA) celebrated its 25th Sir Syed Day on Saturday 4 November 2017 at North Ryde, Sydney marking at the same time the 200th birth anniversary of the founder of the iconic Aligarh Muslim University recently ranked as the top university in India.
The chief guest at the event was the Indian High Commissioner to Australia Dr A M Gondane while the keynote speaker was Mr Jihad Dib MP, Shadow Education Minister in NSW. The guest of honour was Dr Nausha Asrar, an Aligarian poet based in Texas, USA.
The event marked a quarter century of dedicated services to education by the Alumni since its formation in 1992 and was attended by a large number of Aligarians, supporters, and their families mainly from the South Asian community.
The President of the AMU Alumni of Australia, Mr Zamir Khan while welcoming members, guests and families paid tribute to Sir Syed for his contribution towards education and highlighted the activities of the Alumni seeking support for its scholarship program that has a highly successful track record of a quarter of a century.
“Today, we are gathered here, not only to reflect on our accomplishments over the past 25 years, but also to plan effectively for the next 25 years,” Mr Khan said.
He further added,” for AMUAA to deliver its objective of promoting higher education among the backward communities and recognizing the achievement of our youngsters, effective involvement of all Aligarians is vital. We remain focussed on reaching as many needy students as possible not only in AMU but in other educational institutions as well and the education of children living in poor and backward areas of India.
Mr Khan expressed his thanks to Alumni supporters and in particular to sponsors, Human Appeal International, Low Cost Housing, Australasian Muslim Times AMUST and Berala Dental.
The chief guest, the Indian High Commissioner to Australia Dr A M Gondane opted to address the audience in Urdu in his unique humble way and expressed appreciation of Alumni’s work for the last 25 years in the field of education.
He elaborated on the life and achievements Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his Aligarh movement in the promotion of modern education amongst Indians recognising him as a great visionary ahead of his time.
Mr Jihad Dib MP, a former school teacher and principle and now Shadow Minister of Education in NSW, during his keynote speech talked of his passion for education and gave an account of his experiences of turning lives for young people for the better through educational encouragement and positive achievements.
The guest of honour Dr Nausha Asrar, a materials scientist and a highly accomplished poet from USA during his address in English recognised the hard work done by Alumni office bearers during its long track record and praised its achievements in the field of education as well as its social programs.
After the formal program, Dr Asrar gave his highly skilled and entertaining multi-faceted solo performance in Urdu as an orator, poet, singer and stage actor that had the audience captured with frequent “wah-wah”, applause and standing ovation.
Further entertainment at the event was provided with songs and dances by Alumni kids with exchange of gifts as well as poems sung by very popular Mr Khurshid Anwar and Mr Riaz Shah.
The formal program ended with the usual tradition of Tarana recited from the stage by a team of the Alumni members joined in by the audience.
Dinner was served by the popular Himalayan restaurant based in Granville.
A well-documented Scholarship Report 2016-2017 was freely distributed at the event listing the names of donors and recipients of scholarships that the Alumni has established as well as a detailed audited financial report.
The bilingual SS Day souvenir was also released by Dr Samiuddin Syed containg articles on Aligarh in English and Urdu.
AMUAA has been working for more than 25 years and in addition to celebrating annual Sir Syed Days and holding educational and social events, one of its great achievements has been the initiation of a sustained scholarship program to economically disadvantaged students in India from a scholarship fund established in Australia.
Initially the Alumni granted scholarships to students at the Aligarh Muslim University, but later on the programme had included Jamia Millia Islamiah in New Delhi as well as to school students in Faizabad, UP.
The Alumni also helps in infrastructure projects to establish school buildings, classrooms and scientific laboratories for technical education in high schools.
There has been a steady progress in donations for Alumni’s Scholarship and infrastructure support for Indian educational institutions, indeed a great success story covering a quarter of a century.