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US diplomat greets Pakistani Fulbright scholars

Maverick Report

ISLAMABAD: US Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Richard Hoagland has congratulated 180 Pakistani graduate students who will soon depart for master or doctoral studies at American universities on US-funded Fulbright scholarships.

ISLAMABAD: US Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Hoagland with Pakistani students who will soon depart for graduate studies at American universities on US-funded Fulbright scholarships.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship academic exchange program of the US government. Funded by the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the awards cover travel, living stipends, health insurance, and tuition for the entire period of study.

This year, 151 master and 29 PhD students will take up these prestigious awards. Fulbright grantees represent every province of Pakistan and study a variety of academic disciplines, including engineering, energy management, business, and social sciences. After completing their studies in the United States, the students will return to Pakistan and play a vital role in Pakistan’s future.

Ambassador Hoagland highlighted the important role of academic exchange programs in strengthening people-to-people ties between the United States and Pakistan, according to a press release.

“In my nearly 30 years of diplomatic service I have met hundreds of Fulbright participants. They have always been outstanding representatives of their countries, making a difference to people and institutions in their own country and in the United States,” he said. “You represent all of Pakistan’s provinces; you come from big cities and small villages, from the public school system and private colleges. I am confident that you will follow in that great tradition.”

The Fulbright program in Pakistan is the largest and one of the oldest in the world. The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), now celebrating its 63rd year of operation in the country, administers the program. Since 2005, 1,255 Pakistanis have received Fulbright Awards for graduate degrees, of which 40 percent have been women.

“Opportunities for Pakistani students to study in the United States have never been greater,” said Rita Akhtar, Executive Director of USEFP.

She congratulated the departing students saying, “This was a very strenuous and transparent competition. We know you will represent Pakistan very well in the United States and return to make a real difference here.”

USEFP, a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the governments of Pakistan and the United States, is one of 51 Fulbright Commissions throughout the world. Its mission is to promote mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the United States through educational and cultural exchange programs.

Since its inception more than 60 years ago, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and more than 800 Americans have participated in USEFP-administered exchange programs. In addition to the Fulbright program, USEFP administers a number of scholarship programs for undergraduates, teachers, journalists, and other professionals.

The Fulbright Program is one element of a comprehensive US education assistance program for Pakistan that includes building or rehabilitating nearly 800 schools, which benefits more than 86,000 school children; creating accredited degree programs in education at 90 teacher colleges and universities; providing college scholarships for more than 10,000 low-income students; establishing Centers for Advanced Studies at three Pakistani universities; and launching eight university partnerships that connect American and Pakistani universities.

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