Two-Day conference on America starts in QAU
By Yasir Ilyas
ISLAMABAD, October 15, 2010: A Two-Day 13th international American Studies Conference under the topic of “The Footprints and Fault-Lines of America in the world”, organized by the Area Study Centre of Africa, North and South America, was started here at Quaid-i-Azam University on Friday.
The grave issue of love-hate relationship of the world with America was discussed under in the conference. The major theme of the conference reflected upon the imprints that American politics has left on the world and the structural changes it has inspired in cultures, economies, political systems etc. in countries around the world. Eminent scholars, both from abroad and within Pakistan presented their research papers highlighting these cross-disciplinary themes. The conference encouraged scholars, from all academic disciplines including the fields of history, politics , foreign policy , economics , literature , media studies and other faculties to participate and provide feedback on the conference’s academic content.
The inaugural session of the conference was held on Friday October 15, 2010 at Earth Sciences Auditorium, Quaid-i-Azam University. Federal Minister of Education, Mr. Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali graced the session as the chief guest and inaugurated the conference. Speaking on the occasion he briefly explained the history of America and differentiated it from Latin America. Further he added that US war on terror fought in Iraq is illegal where as the one in Afghanistan have international legal standings. The attack of 9/11 was not an attack against the US, in reality it was an attack against the whole world. So, in the wake of 9/11 US should not take revenge against Muslims only.
Dr. Rukhsana Qamber, Director of the Centre, opened the first session with a welcome note and thanked the audience for their presence. The concept note of the conference was presented by Dr. Hans Frey, a senior professor at the Centre. He elaborated the theme of the conference and said that the term America is generally and mistakenly used to refer to the Unites States only whereas it actually encompasses Canada, Latin America along with United States.
Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University was also present during the session and expressed his views on the occasion. He appreciated the Center’s efforts for organizing such events which leads to the internationalization of the academia.
Representatives of different embassies also spoke on the occasion. Rodolfo J. Martin-Saravia, Ambassador of Argentina in Pakistan and representatives of U.S. Embassy Jason D. Seymour, Assistant Cultural Affairs also attended the session. He valued the close and friendly relationship between Pakistan and Argentina and in response to the questions from the floor, assured support in providing resources to students of Area Study Center helping them in their research projects. Mr. Jason reflected his thoughts about American Studies and said, “It’s difficult and complex to define the term America.” He admired the efforts made by the Centre in bridging up the gaps between American and Pakistani nations and remarked the event as a link between Americas and Pakistan.
After the tea break the formal session started in which prominent scholars from across the world presented their papers, in the two sessions entitled “philosophical and ideological Footprints of America in the World” and “Engaging American Footprints”, chaired by Hans Frey, Senior Professor, Area Study Centre for Africa, North And South America and the second secession chaired by Dr. Rubina Kamran, Dean English Department National University of Modern Languages, respectively. Participants included Dr. Zulfiqar Ali, Dr. Iftikhar Shafi, Dr. Shirin Zubair, Mr. Abdullah Chatta, Dr. Farida Yusuf and Ateeb Gul who presented their papers on given topic.
Other fascinating activities were also part of the conference to highlight the theme “Art as an Antidote for Anti-Americanism”, which included a Spanish song and the Americana exhibition, presented by the M.Phil students of the Centre. The unique type of exhibition in which a collection of political, economic, social and cultural artifacts, including models of bill of rights, the statue of liberty, Norman Rockwell’s freedom paintings, depiction of jazz, baseball, Coca Cola, McDonalds , American idol, and Cowboy culture were put on display captivated the audience’s attention. The exhibition will remain open on both days of conference. Furthermore the conference will resume its next sessions on the second day in the premises of Area Study Centre on Saturday, 16 October, 2010.