Islamabad, February 28, 2024: Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan has entered into a significant partnership with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) through an MoU signed on Wednesday at the HEC Secretariat. This collaboration falls under HEC’s scholarship programme “Empower Future Female Afghan Leaders – EFFAL Pakistan track initiative.”

The MoU, signed by Ms. Aayesha Ikram, Director General (Scholarships) HEC and Mr. Muhammad Khaskeia, Head of DAAD Government Scholarship Programmes, MENA Region, has two components. It includes 150 scholarships for Afghan refugees for two-year Master’s studies in HEC-recognised universities in Pakistan, and 50 need-based scholarships for socio-economic marginalized areas of Pakistan.

The signing ceremony was graced Ambassador of Germany in Pakistan, Alfred Grannas, Chairman HEC, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, a delegation from DAAD, representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and senior HEC officials.

In his welcome note, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed lauded the transformative initiative aimed at providing crucial assistance to Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He underscored the longstanding history of collaboration between Germany and Pakistan, emphasising the need for further partnerships in various domains as well. He emphasised the necessity for increased collaborations, especially in the fields of climate change, technology, research, and scholarships, recognising these partnerships as essential for peaceful coexistence. 

He deemed the two-year programme under the scholarship a great opportunity to foster positive developments in the marginalised regions. He also noted that HEC is already actively involved in providing academic and professional opportunities for Afghan students, along with offering technical training to students and bureaucrats from Afghanistan.

German Ambassador Mr. Alfred Grannas, while highlighting the substantial impact on academic pursuits in the region, emphasised that, “beyond the celebratory aspect, the true importance lies in the effective implementation of the programme”. He underscored the mutual trust that forms the foundation of this collaboration, emphasising the shared commitment to academic excellence and opportunities for marginalised individuals in Pakistan. “The substantial number of scholarship programmes and initiatives as part of this collaboration stands as a testament to this commitment dedicated towards uplifting the marginalized people.”

Mr. Muhammad Khaskeia said that collaboration between DAAD and HEC has been a continuous journey since 2004, resulting in the awarding of 900 scholarships over the years. This longstanding partnership is now evolving into a friendship, symbolising the depth of the relationship between the two nations.

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