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'Social sciences should be taken seriously'

Karachi, Sep 5: Universities in Pakistan should give more importance to social sciences, said the Vice Chancellor of the University of Karachi (KU), Prof. Pirzada Qasim, while delivering his presidential address at the inaugural session of a two-day conference. Titled the 'Interdisciplinary Social Sciences International Conference 2007', the conference began at the Arts auditorium of KU on Tuesday. Prof. Qasim said that while science and technology was important for the development of the country, social sciences inculcated a sense of aesthetics in people, which is essential for the existence of a "beautiful world".

The highlight of the inaugural session was the keynote address by Dr Ahmed Ali Khan, Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge, UK, on "Good journalism and ethics". The address, which was in the form of a presentation, was a lacklustre affair, as his advice to journalists lacked depth and was hardly factual. He said that while truth and accuracy were the important ethical principles in journalism, they are frequently violated. According to him, it is the collective responsibility of the society to build a mechanism for good journalism.

In the plenary session of the conference, Lord Shaukat Nawaz Khan, a member of the British House of Lords and vice president of the International Health Foundation, UK, presented his paper on "Adolescence, peer groups and identity." The second paper in the first plenary session was presented by Prof. A.R. Skinner of the University of Durham, titled "Cultural shifts in mental illness".

In the afternoon session Dr Ali Shirazi of Mashhad University, Iran, presented his paper on the significance of social sciences which, he feels, is an ignored field of research. He was of the view that most of the pressing problems in our society are the result of people's apathy towards social sciences and the failure to conduct research. He called for indigenous research in all societies. In his paper, Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi of the University of Balochistan called for integrated research on political science to bring about a change in the social set-up. The news
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