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THE QUARTER THAT WAS

 SAARC Charter Day celebrated at South Asian University
South Asian University celebrated the 32nd SAARC Charter Day in the campus with activities spread
across the day comprising of a panel discussion, film screenings and a sufi music concert. Mr. MJ Akbar,
Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, delivered the inaugural address as the chief
guest.
While observing that SAARC is going through multiple problems, the minister observed that the South
Asian University was functioning far more smoothly than the regional body itself. He said that universities
have their share of difficulties particularly when they are in their infancy but the scholarship and work
done by South Asian University are at a level that other universities usually take a long while to achieve.
SAU has been focussing on educating the young minds of the region, and this is a great place to learn
diplomacy and the importance of understanding the subtext which controls our understanding of the
region, Mr. Akbar added.
Addressing the gathering which consisted of ambassadors from the SAARC member nations, dignitaries
from ministries and think tanks, students, faculty and professional staff of SAU, the minister spoke at
length about the challenge of modernity in the context of South Asia. Modernity, the minister said, is an
easy word to use but slightly difficult to define and it has nothing to do with presence or absence of
modern clothes and technology. The definition of modernity, he said, is freedom – freedom of thought,
freedom of faith, freedom of gender and freedom from hunger.

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