Prof. Dr. Abida Taherani, a great educationist

By: Shumaila Solangi

Prof. Dr. Abida Taherani, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sindh, Jamshoro who  passed away yesterday at the age of 61 years at a London hospital. Essentially a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, she served the Varsity also as Director, Sindh Development Studies and later as Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences. In January 15, 2015, she was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the university. Hence, she earned the laurel of being the first woman Vice-Chancellor of the varsity. Dr. Taherani did her doctorate from Colorado State University, USA and later produced a number of Ph. D scholars as a research guide. She was unprecedently popular both as an academic as well as an administrator. She was awarded President’s Pride of Performance on March 23, 2016 in recognition to her meritorious services in the field of education. Dr. Abida Taherani was Meritorious Professor and Vice-Chancellor, University of Sindh, dedicated teacher of 39 years standing and devoted researcher par-excellence with her expertise and profound knowledge covering vast canvas of fields ranging from Economics, Agricultural Economics, Developmental Economics and Sustainable Development and Environment, Gender and Poverty Studies, Water Resources, Drainage and Coastal and Indus Delta Mangroves. Besides completing many research projects funded by Government and other agencies, including World Bank and Asian Development Bank. She supervised 10 doctoral studies spanning over all these diverse fields of her expertise, with another 9 scholars who were currently pursuing Ph.D research under her supervision and another 6 studying for MS/M.Phil degrees. Dr. Taherani’s educational background is studded with top positions and gold medals, starting from Master in Economics degrees from both the University of Sindh and London culminating to the Ph.D degree in Agricultural Economics in 1995 from Colorado State University, USA. She also rejoined Colorado State for her postdoctoral studies in 2005. She was awarded USAID fellowship for her Ph.D studies and Sindh University fellowship for post doc studies, besides many others for short term training programs. Starting her teaching career at the University of Sindh as a lecturer in 1977. Dr. Taherani rose to full Professorship in 1997 and finally earning Meritorious Professorship (BPS-22) in 2014. Dr. Taherani had to her credit numerous research publications mostly in HEC approved journals and a great number of popular papers. This was in addition to research presentations in a number of conferences both at home and abroad, e.g. in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Dr. Taherani received the Best University Teacher Award of the HEC in 2008. Earlier in 1998, she was awarded Gold Medal by Sindh University for her outstanding performance. Dr. Taherani rose to become the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences of the University in 2012 and Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2014 and ascended to become the first Woman Vice-Chancellor of the University in January 2015 after a short stint as Acting Vice-Chancellor from June 2014. The recognition of Dr. Taherani’s expertise is reflected by her membership on a number of professional bodies, including International Association of Agricultural Economists, Pakistan Economic Council and Council of Social Scientists, National Statistical Council (GoP), Access to Financial Assistance Program of the State Bank, Task Force on Revival of Sindh Economy of Sindh Government, in addition to all Statutory Authorities of the University of Sindh. Dr. Taherani contributed a lot towards the society in her capacity as Vice-Chairperson, SOS Village, Jamshoro, as a member of International Soroptimist Club promoting Business interest of Women and as a member Hyderabad Women’s Club promoting the cause and alleviating the problems of common and poor women folk. Dr. Taherani extended benefit of her expertise as consultant to a number of national research projects and managed and administrated Evaluation of LBOD and SCARP Project. She organized a number of workshops and training programs to promote awareness in the community on sustainable development including “International Women Day” and programs on Water Scarcity in the Thar region. Summing up, Dr. Abida Taherani was an outstanding educationist imbibed with leadership qualities, a driving force in research relevant to well-being of the common man, and a devoted social scientist whose merit and contributions to the advancement of knowledge.Arrangements are being made to bring her dead body to Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan for her funeral and burial in the vicinity of mausoleum of Allama I.I. Kazi on the University Campus as already unanimously resolved by the Syndicate of the University. University of Sindh and its all campuses will remained closed on June 02, 2016 and will remain in mourning for one week; during which the administrative offices and teaching departments/ institutes will function as usual, whereas, no formal and official ceremonies will be held. Dr. Taherani is survived by her husband and two daughters. Her death has caused a wide wave of sorrow, grief and an unbridgeable sense of loss among faculty, officers, employees and students of the university and Jamshoro community. In her, the university has lost a genuine person, an accomplished professor, a first-rate researcher and an able administrator. May her soul rest in peace! Condolences will be received at Vice-Chancellor’s House, University of Sindh.