Becomes 1st Pakistan to receive the highest international award of the Hospitality Industry
Mr. Ahmad Shafiq, CEO of College of Tourism & Hotel Management (COTHM) Pakistan, received the ‘Stars of the Industry Awards’ USA on April 01, 2014 at a mega event at JW Marriott in Washington DC. “The Lamp of Knowledge Award”, the most prestigious award in the hospitality industry, has been conferred upon him as outstanding international educator for excellence in the area of hospitality. The ‘AH&LA Stars of the Industry Awards’ program, backed by the Cornell University USA, was created more than 40 years ago to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the hospitality industry.
On receiving the award, Mr. Ahmad Shafiq became the first Pakistani and the only international educator of the year 2014 who received this award. It was a moment of great jubilation and joy for him but he dedicated that precious moment to Pakistan. Before he was called upon to receive “The Lamp of Knowledge Award”, the President & COO of AH&LEI, Robert L. Steele, generously applauded the selection of Ahmad Shafiq and was all-praise for the talent of Pakistan. The way Pakistan was elevated in the award ceremony in front of the august house, made Ahmad Shafiq hold his head high in esteem and honor for his country.
The management of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the representatives of the US President Barrack Obama, the senators, the Congressmen, the Congresswomen, and the CEOs of all major American and International hotel chains like Hilton Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts to name a few, were present at the award ceremony. They all congratulated Mr. Ahmad Shafiq on earning this award.
The hospitality and tourism industry places ‘Stars of the Industry Awards’ on a high pedestal because it encompasses the entire hospitality and tourism industry as its representative. All major stakeholders of the hospitality and tourism industry from all states of the USA become part of the ‘Stars of the Industry Award’ through their overwhelming participation in the whole process of the awards.
The high-powered team of AH&LA has a very significant role to play in the entire hospitality industry of the USA. Its upper tier of management is strongly connected with the government of the USA to provide its continuous support in policy-making. On the one hand it is the leading academic resource provider for the hotel schools and universities internationally, whereas on the other hand, its professional advisory role to the entire hospitality and tourism industry is highly acclaimed.
The award is also symbolic of a paradigm shift in the American hospitality industry as to the orthodox view of Pakistan which only looked at one side of the picture: Pakistan as a country which is infested with terrorism and restlessness. It shows that certain barriers of so-called perception of Pakistan as country that harbors terrorists have been broken. It is undoubtedly a matter of national pride for all of us as Pakistanis.
Ahmad Shafiq promoted the cause of tourism and hospitality industry even in the most challenging circumstances in Pakistan. He believes that whatever he is today is because of Pakistan. Mr. Ahmad Shafiq has dedicated this award to the beautiful and hospitable people of Pakistan.