I would like to commend Dr. Ravi Kumar, Dr. Sarita Pari and Mr. Hassan Shifau who have been instrumental to the success and wellbeing of the London School of Management Education as a result of their combined efforts. Indeed, I would also like to commend everyone involved in the management, on the excellent work they have done, and continue to undertake as an effective team. I am pleased to be a friend of the College. It is my pleasure to follow Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi, who is now the Chief of Protocol, in the Government of Nepal. I regard Dr. Subedi as a friend, as he was previously Ambassador for Nepal to the United Kingdom, and I have met him many times, and he also asked me to form the UK-Nepal Trade and Investment Forum. In fact, I held a trade conference in London when Dr. Subedi was the Ambassador, and we are arranging another trade conference shortly. I hope Dr. Subedi will be taking part in the proceedings. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge all of the academics, Presenters, participants, ladies and gentlemen, in attendance. Good Morning to you.
Education is something which is very dear to my heart. I have been an academic. I used to be a University Lecturer at one time, and I am now an adviser to a large University in England. Alongside this, I was the President of my Professional Body and was actively involved in encouraging our members to study for professional examinations. Education is the key to future success. As a Muslim, I would like to say that Our Holy Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him lent a great deal of importance to education, and he has said: “Seek knowledge, even unto China”, and also: “The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr”. I feel that the importance of education has a relevance to everyone, irrespective of their religion or race. However, these quotes embody how the pursuit of academic excellence is both powerful and essential.
Turning now to the 8th London School of Management Education Conference. I would like to point out, that the School has a very successful track record of staging effective events, and the Research Conference series is world class. Before the lockdown the School did indeed hold several marvellous conferences, which were well-attended, and these did take place in London, including at a hotel in the City. At the conclusion of the 7th LSME Conference last year, where I was a key note speaker, I was hoping that this year the conference would be held physically in order that we can meet our old friends and make some new friends from the international research community. Sadly, that is not possible this year in view of the COVID-19 restrictions. However, I hope that next year the situation will be significantly improved, and we can meet physically.
Indeed, the Conference arranged today and tomorrow by Dr. Ravi, Dr. Sarita Parhi and Mr. Hassan Shifau is now internationally prominent. It has indeed gained a well-deserved reputation for its warm welcome and inclusive approach to researchers, scholars and delegates. This Conference offers a platform for the exploration and evaluation of ideas, drawn from a wide range of cultural, economic and scientific authorities. It is one of the best Conferences of its kind. We look to many more Conferences in the future, which will hopefully be in-person, and will of course enable networking. Over the last eighteen months the world has suffered from the pandemic, and for a period of time people were confined to their homes. I am very pleased that the London School of Management Education have continued their tuition virtually, which is to be appreciated.
During the Pandemic, unfortunately some people were idle and did not have much to do, which has led to a surge in mental health issues, domestic problems and boredom. However, by continuing with their studies and research, their minds were occupied. Those issued I have mentioned were perhaps affecting them less. Research is very important, so that we can keep up with the problems we face as a society. Indeed, we now live in a world which is changing rapidly. Only through vital research could we take steps to find a cure for COVID-19 through vaccination. As a result, the United Kingdom, Germany, America and other countries have produced vaccines which are very effective. It must be borne in mind, it is by research that we have an inoculation for people who are suffering from this awful illness, which is very debilitating especially for those who are vulnerable.
We still have some people who do not want to receive the vaccine, as there were some false stories circulating, which were simply not true. Through research, we can dispel such misconceptions, and inform people of the truth. Indeed, through research we must seek ways to improve our knowledge, and build back better from the Pandemic. This Conference is focused on one valuable idea which has not only survived the Pandemic, but emerged stronger – the importance of Sustainable Development. In my international work, I am involved in the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. I am also pleased to see that there will be discussions on the environment. In fact, I have spoken on this subject several times lately in the House of Lords.
The world has been suffering for a long time, and yet it is only now that we are beginning to witness how deep the damage runs. Events which used to be abnormal now seem to occur regularly. This includes unusual droughts, floods, wildfires, melting glaciers and polar ice caps, loss of wild-life, erosion, tsunamis, changes in ocean temperatures, and of course diseases. Much more work needs to be done to heal humanity’s relationship with the planet. Working to sustainably develop our own society, and communities around the world, will preoccupy us for years to come. However, this also creates employment for people. As researchers, we must make sense out of what has happened, conduct investigations, analyse, find answers, record our findings, and make recommendations to build a better future for as many people as possible.
I feel research is important, and in fact I have myself written papers after extensive research. Furthermore, I have written two books, which I was able to write after appropriate research. I can see a number of keynotes, special sessions and research papers dedicated to the subject in the Conference Programme. Sustainable development and education are inseparable if we want to contribute meaningfully in this area. I hope that an international and concerted effort, supported by the finest academic and project research, will now begin in earnest. I also hope that researchers in attendance here today will play a leading role in some of those crucial projects. If the government, the private sector and the education system work together, higher education could be made accessible to everyone irrespective of their socio-economic background. LSME is leading the way in this, and I am grateful to them for that.
It brings me great joy to see so many capable researchers amongst you. Your ability, ambition and association with London School of Management Education will surely lead you all to successfully tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Finally, I would like to thank Dr Ravi, Dr Sarita, Mr. Hassan Shifau, the Conference Chair, the Conference Committee and and all presenters and participants for coming together to create this Conference. I hope that everybody taking part finds the Conference interesting and productive, notwithstanding its virtual nature. Thank you.
Following Lord Sheikh’s speech, he received a letter of thanks from the Executive Director of the London School of Management Education, Dr. Ravi Kumar. The letter can be seen below.