The students of Pakistan enrolling in the American universities will strengthen ties between Pakistan and United States in different spheres. Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, made these remarks while addressing 65 Pakistani students, participating in various educational programs in the US, who visited Pakistan Embassy.

Fifty outstanding students from Pakistan are here on full scholarships under US-sponsored Global Undergraduate Program to study for one semester in 39 different educational institutions in 24 states. Another group of fifteen Pakistani students completed a 6-week long tour under the Study of US Institutions (SUSI) program for student leaders.

Ambassador Masood Khan thanked the US Government for hosting Pakistani students to train them in skills building, leadership development, American studies and community service. “This would help these young leaders understand American society, governance and educational systems”, he said.

The Ambassador appreciated that the students had been selected from all parts of Pakistan – KP, Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, AJK and G-B – 60% of whom were girls. “Some of them have come from the most underrepresented areas and towns. This was a great learning opportunity for these students”, he added.

Masood Khan appreciated that the students from Pakistan were studying advanced disciplines such as agriculture, engineering, environment, biotechnology, microbiology, computer science, law, political science and international relations.

“Since this is an exchange program, I hope that in due course we would be able to host and place American students in Pakistani universities. Hundreds of American faculty members and academics go to Pakistan but very few students to do so. American students’ participation in Pakistani educational programs will help build trust and understanding between our two countries”, he said.

Pakistani students participating in SUSI program, during their stay in the US, learnt about American culture and values, education and workforce development, economics and business, foreign policy, religious freedom and pluralism.
Pakistan is the largest recipient of the Fulbright scholarship with an alumni network of more than 25,000. To promote educational ties between the two countries, Pakistan early this year allotted an acre of land in Islamabad for the US Education Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP).

The Pakistan Ambassador said that Pakistan would revive its Knowledge Corridor program under which we would aim to send 10,000 students and professionals for higher education to the US in the next 10 years.

Julia Findlay, Branch Chief South and Central Asia Fulbright Programs, Molly Stephenson, Director South and Central Asia Press and Public Diplomacy, Teresa Mastrangelo, Senior Program Officer and Nathaniel Lynn, Political Team Lead from the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, US State Department attended the event. The representatives from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) also joined.

Julia Findlay, Branch Chief South and Central Asia Fulbright Programs during her address to the students underscored the importance of Pak-US bilateral relations and highlighted the multifaceted cooperation that exists between the two countries.

“This year marks an important milestone of 75 years of Pak-US diplomatic relations. United States and Pakistan enjoy a very strong partnership and this is one of the many events to highlight the depth and breadth of that partnership. This bilateral relationship is very important to both countries and the people”, she said.

Molly Stephenson, Director South and Central Asia Press and Public Diplomacy said that the purpose of the educational exchanges was to create powerful networks between the two countries. Addressing the students, she said “you are all Ambassador’s with the cause to strengthen this relationship”.

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Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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