Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent
The 13th Annual Abdus Salam Science Fair 2021 was successfully held virtually on 26 June 2021.
The event’s planning started more than six months ago, reported National Secretary Talim Canada, Dr Hameed Mirza Sahib. Due to Covid-19, it was decided to hold this year’s science fair virtually. Several meetings were held between the organising teams across Canada. Each talim secretary was given the task to communicate the information of the science fair to the Ahmadis of their local Jamaat. In most cases, information reached almost all households.
An information package for students was also developed. It included a short video outlying steps on how a scientific project can be developed and a video, produced.
Abdus Salam Science Fair had its own website, complete with a registration link. Students were invited to register and create their profiles. Once their project was ready, they were to submit the link to their project video on the website. This was a huge task that was exceptionally handled by the technical development team led by Shahid Mirza Sahib.
The promotion of the event to the general public was carried out by the team led by Nabeel Rana Sahib and Zafar Nadeem Sahib. Within the Jamaat, promotion was led by Amjad Ahmad Sahib.
Projects could be submitted in one of the following four groups:
Al-Khwarizmi: Boys, grades 5-8
Ibn Al-Haytham: Boys, grades 9-12
Abu Ali Sina: Girls, grades 5-8
Jabir Ibn Hayyan: Girls, grades 9-12
Cash prizes of $150 to $350 were announced for the winning projects of each category.
A total of 147 projects were submitted in all four groups. 22 judges assessed each project against the criteria for its respective group. 130 projects made it through the first round and were reviewed by 14 judges. A total of 24 students were declared winners in their respective groups.
16 dignitaries participated in the event, while 18 dignitaries sent a video message. 11 dignitaries sent a written message, including Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Premier of Province of Ontario Doug Ford, and Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota.
The virtual event started with a recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by its translation. The Science Fair was then introduced by this year’s coordinator of the Abdus Salam Science Fair, Dr Amir Minhas Khan Sahib. Finally, Dr Hameed Mirza Sahib announced the winners of each category followed by a display of their project, while Nabeel Rana Sahib and Zafar Nadeem Sahib introduced the dignitaries.
The dignitaries expressed their sentiments and appreciated Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya for organising the science fair. They also recognised the outstanding contributions of Nobel Laureate Dr Abdus Salam Sahib, the first Muslim scientist to win the Nobel Prize in the field of science.
The keynote address was delivered by Ahmad Salam Sahib, son of Professor Dr Abdus Salam Sahib. He thanked Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada for organising the 13th Annual Abdus Salam Science Fair. He highlighted the importance of parents’ involvement in the education of their children. Narrating his personal experience, he said that even though Dr Salam was extremely busy and would often travel, once he returned, he would make an appointment with the headmaster of the school where his children were studying and take a full briefing about the progress of his children. He also highlighted that Dr Salam never liked to take shortcuts in his work. At the end of his speech, a lively question and answer session with students was held.
This was followed by the concluding remarks by Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada, Lal Khan Malik Sahib. He appreciated the organisers of the Abdus Salam Science Fair, and highlighted the importance of secular education. He reminded all attendees that the first revelation of the Holy Prophetsa was “iqra”, meaning “read”. Thus, it was the duty of every Muslim, especially every Ahmadi Muslim, to acquire as much knowledge as possible and pursue higher education. He also highlighted various contributions of Jamaat Canada in the field of education such as talim awards and scholarships etc. which Canada Jamaat grants every year.
At the end, National Secretary Talim Canada, Dr Hameed Mirza Sahib thanked all guests, attendees and students for their outstanding work. He also thanked the dedicated team of volunteers that worked very hard to make this science fair successful, as well as Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Canada and Sadr Lajna Imaillah for their continued support. He stressed that all participating students strive hard in their educational endeavours and take full advantage of the opportunities that are offered in science education in Canada.
The session concluded with a silent prayer led by Amir Sahib Canada.