Punjab University (PU) won the 38th All Pakistan Allama Muhammad Iqbal Bilingual Declamation Contest, hosted by the Government College University Lahore Debating Society (GCUDS). University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS) student Maham Zahra was adjudicated the Best Urdu Speaker of the declamation contest and awarded with the Dr Majid Nizami Medal, while PU student Rameesha Khan was awarded the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medal for the Best English Speaker of the event. Government College University Lahore English Department former chairperson Professor Khalid Masood Siddiqi was the chief guest at the final round of one of Pakistan’s biggest debating galas while GCU Lahore Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Hassan Amir Shah was also present. In the final round, the serious topics that remained closely contested by the teams were Nationalism Cannot Deliver An Equitable Future, A Free Woman Is A Lonely Woman, A Depoliticised Education Has Brought The Nation To Its Knees and If We Do Not Save The Environment, We Will Have The Equality Of Extinction. In the humorous category, the participants enthralled the audience with their wit and humour particularly on the topics Humans Are Animals Of Habit, Things We Lose Have A Way Of Coming Back To Us, Optimism Is The Opium Of The Masses and A Lie Told Often Enough Becomes The Truth. A Ravian orator Zohaib Alam and Romisha Tauseef closed the House with his memorable speech. However, the GCU Debating Society as host did not contest for medals. Addressing the prize distribution ceremony, GCU English Department former chairperson Professor Khalid Masood Siddiqi congratulated the winners of the competition, saying that debates teach students how to disagree with others while paying respect to their faiths and ideas. He congratulated GCU Debating Society Adviser Siddique Awan and his orators on their excellent performances in debates championships all over the year, saying that they had undoubtedly proved themselves to be the most outstanding torch bearers of the university pride. Separately, GCU and Ankara University jointly held the International Urdu Conference on classical, modern and contemporary literature in the provincial metropolis on Wednesday. Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Chairman Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin chaired the conference’s inaugural session at GCU’s Bukhari Auditorium, which was also addressed by speakers from Iran, Germany and Turkey. The speakers laid stress on promoting a culture of translations and comparative literature studies in the universities in Pakistan, saying that it would not only help in fostering economic and culture friendships with other nations but also play a vital role in promotion of science and technology in the country. “We learn from history that Baghdad had become the center of the scientific world by translating texts from Europe, Persia, India, Arab and other parts the world,” PHEC Chairman Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin said at the inaugural session of the two-day conference spread over four technical sessions. The PHEC chairman highlighted a need for structural reforms in the country’s education system, saying that their youth had lost somewhere between Punjabi, Urdu and English languages. “It’s time to decide that we could not progress without promoting our national language and establishing a culture of translations,” he added. He also laid stress on establishment of translation centers in all universities of Pakistan. In her key-note address, eminent Turkish Urdu critic Professor Dr Asuman Belen Özcan highlighted the importance of national language for cultural and economic progress of a country. She also said that translation was a marriage of two different cultures, and considering it an inferior art was misleading. GCU VC Professor Dr Hassan Amir Shah asked the conference scientific committee to publish the recommendations as well as the proceedings of the conference for the benefit of government and policy-making institutions. Earlier, in his inaugural, conference chairman Dr Khalid Mahmood Sanjrani, told the participants about the glorious history and traditions of GCU Lahore and its role in the promotion of Urdu Literature in the sub-continent. He dedicated the conference to the Pakistan and Turkey friendship. Professor Christina Oesterheld of University Heidelberg and Dr Yousaf Khosk from Shah Abdul Latif University also addressed the inaugural session of the conference. Published in Daily Times, November 15th 2018.