The Rt. Honorable Lord Mayor of the City of London visited IBA Karachi
January 26: The Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Dr. Andrew Parmley visited the IBA City Campus to give a lecture on finance and culture, in the context of recent changes taking place. The Lord Mayor is also closely involved in culture and the creative industries. Currently the 689th Lord Mayor of the City of London, Mr. Parmley was educated from Blackpool Grammar School, the Royal Academy of Music, Manchester and London Universities and Jesus College, Cambridge. He is the City Champion for the Prime Minister's Apprenticeship Delivery Board, Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and Trinity College, London and an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
The Distinguished Lecture at the JS Auditorium commenced with recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Dr. Sayeed Ghani, Acting Dean and Director IBA, and Mr. Shahid Shafiq, Member Board of Governors, then invited the esteemed guests Dr. Parmley, Lord Mayor, Ms. Belinda Lewis, British Deputy High Commissioner to Karachi, and Mr. Alderman & Sheriff Peter Estlin.
Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Dr. Andrew Parmley expressed his delight on being here in Karachi and getting the opportunity to address the students and faculty members of one of the leading educational institutes in Pakistan. He stated that IBA has an excellent educational heritage, both for Pakistan and other countries. Since he himself is an educator and is involved in finance, he also said how the basis of good education is good business. Speaking about how London is a hub of world trade and has remained so for centuries, he mentioned how a lot more than a good product is required to be prosperous; determination, staying ahead of the curve and above all, remaining nimble are equally significant. These lessons are especially relevant to the UK, since the recent Brexit vote has led to many questions. 'My personal view is that London has been the number one place for international finance transactions and will remain so,' said Dr. Parmley.
In addition, the finance sector employs more than 2 million people in the UK. Dr. Parmley said that nowhere else in Europe can investors find such a concentration of services, underpinned by a globally renowned justice system. Furthermore, the UK has a reputation of being an economy driven by knowledge. Since the Brexit vote, companies like Facebook, Google have announced further investments here; this is a sign that London will not lose its economic important post-Brexit. From the industrial revolution to the smallest of startups, the UK has always been nurturing and enhancing growth. He also mentioned how London has been evolving over time; it is one of the most forward looking cities in the world. 'Even if Britain leaves the European Union, we will not turn our back on the EU,' said Dr. Parmley. 'We are a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a major contributor of NATO, and a member of the G7 and G20.'
He also spoke about how Pakistan and the UK collaborate on a variety of sectors. UK's largest bilateral educational program is administered here in Pakistan. This is a £800 million investment which has reduced the number of children out of school, and introduced public-private partnerships. The British Council center in Karachi is also one of the largest British academic centers in the world. Additionally, 90 British universities participated in the higher education fair held last year in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad catering to over 3000 students. This helps in supporting inquisitive, young minds across Pakistan. Yet, there is still a lot more which can be done. Dr. Parmley further elaborated, 'Working together we can improve the speed of vocational training programs, we can train future captains to make the most of CPEC and we can increase the appreciation and appetite for high quality education such as that offered by the IBA and UK institutes.' The city of London and the UK itself are willing to work with Pakistan to turn this huge potential into a huge opportunity.
After this, the floor was opened for questions from the students. Questions were asked about the potential of microfinance and the election of Donald Trump and its impact on UK-USA relations. To the latter, Dr. Parmley replied stating it is too early to say anything right now. Nevertheless, politics is the backdrop to financial activity. Former President Barack Obama had said that the UK is in the back of the queue, whilst President Trump said UK is in the front of the queue, which suggests that relations might get more strengthened. Talking about CPEC, he also mentioned its strategic importance to China and Pakistan. Whilst the UK does not have as much capital as China, the UK is willing to invest in other countries.
Another question was also raised regarding the financial position of London Post-Brexit. To this Dr. Parmley replied that it is unlikely that the UK will lose a large number of jobs - it is estimated that by 2030, 575,000 people will be commuting to London. The prevention of cyber-crime has the potential to become a huge industry in the future, there are also 20 banks in London dealing with Shariah compliant services, whilst 17 universities are teaching courses in Islamic finance. The final question was about the work visa policy towards Pakistani students. Dr. Parmley said that this policy encourages a waste of talent and that he will bring up this issue with the British Prime Minister Theresa May. Being a Cultural Ambassador for the London Symphony Orchestra, he concluded his lecture by stating that music is very important to the quality of life, and quality of life is something very important for the citizens of London.
Mr. Shahid Shafiq then presented a Memento to the Lord Mayor, along with a Sindhi cap and an ajrak shawl, which is symbolic of Pakistani culture. Dr. Sayeed Ghani awarded plaques and ajrak shawls to Ms. Belinda Lewis and Sheriff Peter Estlin.