Alumna’s Career Counselling Workshops Serve as Beacon of Light for Special Persons

By Hira Nafees Shah

Participants and chief guests of the Career Counselling for Persons with Disabilities Workshop with Alumna Anna Iqbal Bhatti

Participants and chief guests of the Career Counselling for Persons with Disabilities Workshop with Alumna Anna Iqbal Bhatti

Intermediate student Zain-ul-Abidin was only five when he had a devastating fever which left him disabled. Although he could join his friends in running around the park, he really felt left out when he couldn’t hold the bat to play cricket.

Day to day chores were also difficult to manage without him being able to use his hands properly. But with sheer resilience and willpower, Abidin was able to build a normal life for himself, and even placed first among the 500 students in his sixth grade class.

When he reached college, he was looking for his next step – and found that a Career Counselling Workshop was organized by Anna Iqbal Bhatti in Benazir Abad for people just like him.

MIUSA Exchange Women with Disability Training Alumna Anna Iqbal Bhatti

MIUSA Exchange Women with Disability Training Alumna Anna Iqbal Bhatti

“I decided to arrange Career Counselling Workshops for people with disabilities so that they can choose the subjects that they like,” Bhatti said. “In this way, they will be able to serve their country better.”

The Women with Disabilities alumna sought the help of an Alumni Small Grant so that she could fulfill her goal. All alumni of various U.S sponsored exchange programs in Pakistan can apply for the grant to enable them to give back to their communities.

Special Persons Discuss Individual Challenges

Bhatti and her team of volunteers conducted three workshops on career counselling in different hotels of Benazir Abad, which included between twenty and thirty people in each session who had been chosen in collaboration with the National Disability Forum.

During the session in the Gymkhana Hotel, the participants had a candid conversation about the difficulties that special people face in Pakistan, especially due to the lack of ramps in public places throughout the country.

Male participants during the Career Counselling Workshop

Male participants during the Career Counselling Workshop

They also spoke out against the harsh treatment they sometimes received and the difficulties they face in getting an employment adding to their financial hardships.

“The society thinks disability is our weakness but we think it is our strength,” said one participant during the discussion.

“We want social inclusion, we are not children,” said another attendee. “We should be given confidence and we require empathy not sympathy.”

The trainers also agreed that the environment added to the hurdles faced by special people.

“Our disability is not from inside but from outside factors,” said Bhatti while heading a session about UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “The disability comes from the environment, the society and by not giving facilities to special people.”

The participants appreciated the workshop for opening up new avenues of thought and job opportunities for them.

“I learned important things during the workshop, like the benefit of learning English and computer skills,” said Asma Muneer, a handicapped intermediate student. “I also found out that I can even go abroad, if I become competent in these two subjects.”

Workshops Improve Job Prospects

The organizers taught the participants how to create their resumes and how to prepare themselves for interviews. They also learnt that it was necessary for them to acquire a certificate for persons with disabilities, so that they can show it to prospective employers.

After one training, the audience members also applied for vacancies in the Social Welfare Department which had assigned a separate quota for special persons, with the help of the management.

“The workshop was very productive because everyone spoke confidently and special people received guidelines about how to get jobs,” said Ghulam Nabi Malik, a participant who managed to get a private job despite having special needs.

Female Participants during the Career Counselling Workshop for Persons with Disabilities

Female Participants during the Career Counselling Workshop for Persons with Disabilities

For Razia Bibi, she felt that the session enabled her to find out what her rights were as a special person. She also said she would try to apply what she had learned at the event in the future.

“I would try to find out what kind of abilities I have and polish them further,” she said. “Through this process, I will try to become independent and self-reliant and get a government job.”

A closing ceremony was also held at the occasion which included important personalities from the region, like Higher Secondary School Teacher in Jamshoro Mohammad Saleh Memon and the PUAN Sukkur President Bruner Newton.

“The Persons with Disabilities should not feel disappointed because their handicap is not only a test for them, but also for us and the society is at fault if it does not provide them with amenities,” said Memon.

As for alumna Anna Iqbal Bhatti, she says that the Alumni Small Grant is responsible for all the success that she has achieved in her project.

“The Alumni Small Grant helped us to sit down together and gain a solution to our problems,” she said.

As for the next step, Bhatti says that she will keep giving career advice to her participants to help them to overcome any gaps that they might have in their training. And from there onwards the sky is the limit for these very talented, resilient people!

 

Fulbright Alumnus Spearheads Technology to Make Schools Safe in Pakistan

Fulbright Alumnus Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani with Former U.K Prime Minister Gordon Brown at United Nations Headquarters on March 18th, 2015.

Fulbright Alumnus Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani with Former U.K Prime Minister Gordon Brown at United Nations Headquarters on March 18th, 2015.

Pakistani Fulbright Alumnus and winner of the Pakistan’s first ever StartUp Cup, Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani has made the country proud by becoming part of a new innovative partnership, which will deliver state-of-the-art technology to promote Safe Schools in Pakistan.

The partnership was announced at UN headquarters in New York and came just three months after the school massacre in Peshawar and follows an agreement with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to support a national Safe Schools campaign.

With more than 10,000 attacks on schools over the past five years, the Pakistan project is part of a larger Safe Schools effort championed by UN Special Education Envoy Gordon Brown covering programs in northern Nigeria as well as in Lebanon for Syrian refugees.

Spearheaded by a technology contribution from Predictify.Me, a US-based data sciences and predictive analytics firm, the Pakistan Safe Schools initiative will introduce the use of simulation software to assess the level of risk preparedness of schools and generate recommendations for school and community safety plans.

Dr. Usmani has been a frequent participant in U.S. exchange program activities, from the Fulbright program to Pakistan’s first-ever StartUp Cup competition, which he won using a version of this system.  He went on to win the first ever World StartUp Cup, competing against teams from around the globe for the honor.

How the Technology Works:

Each participating school will receive a report providing a designation on the degree of risk, specific recommendations for improving the school’s set-up to become safer and recommendations for community preparedness measures and ongoing risk forecasts. UNICEF will join in the initiative and integrate the work with disaster risk reduction programming for child friendly and safe schools in Pakistan.

In the past five years, more than 1,000 schools have been destroyed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. But now if this program is successful, it will potentially be scaled up to cover all 200,000 schools in Pakistan through the national Safe Schools Initiative, thus making them more secure for students.

Sharif and Brown Laud Efforts:

Speaking from Islamabad on Wednesday March 18th, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said:

“The Government of Pakistan is committed to rooting out terrorism and extremism from the country. Security of the educational institutions is at the core of the national agenda of the Government. We appreciate technological assistance from friends as terrorism has no boundaries and terrorists have no religion. Pakistan has been at the forefront of international efforts to counter terrorism and has rendered great sacrifices in this regard. We value the support and cooperation extended by Rt Hon Gordon Brown and all other partner organizations to make the Pakistani schools safe and secure and to improve the standard of education in the country.”

Fulbright Alumnus Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani showing the software to Former U.K Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Fulbright Alumnus Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani showing the software to Former U.K Prime Minister Gordon Brown

The technologies – SecureSim and Soothsayer – are based on seven years of research and development and are designed to simulate the impact of an explosion and develop safety recommendations in a school. The software technology establishes ideal security protocols to minimize the impact and is further used to appropriate local emergency response planning and provide ongoing security forecasts.

Former UK Prime Minister Mr Brown said:

“I am thankful to the Global Business Coalition for Education and the team at Predictify.Me for agreeing to support our efforts to ensure safe schools for every child in Pakistan.  In my discussion with the Prime Minister we have agreed to do everything we can to ensure every girl and boy in Pakistan is able to go to school and learn. This initiative is a vital part of these efforts.”

The technology that will be used in the new program was developed by Dr Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist at Predictify.Me. Dr Usmani is also an Eisenhower Fellow and a scientist with expertise in simulation and modeling of blast waves in open and confined spaces.

As the youngest of 14 brother and sisters, from humble beginnings in Sukkur, Dr. Usmani said: “I know firsthand the benefit of education and I am very pleased to work with the United Nations, the Prime Minister and our other partners to ensure every child in Pakistan has the right to go to school safely.”

Fulbright Alumnus Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani at U.N Headquarters

Fulbright Alumnus Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani at U.N Headquarters

The CEO of the company Rob Burns said: “We are thrilled to use our core assets of data sciences and predictive analytics to support the Safe Schools Initiative in Pakistan.  We have joined the Global Business Coalition for Education and agreed to donate this technology worth several million dollars because we believe we should do all we can to ensure the safety of children who want to learn.”

As part of ongoing advocacy efforts, an appeal will be made to the international community to support the Safe Schools Initiative in Pakistan.

First Person: Pakistan through the Eyes of a Kashmiri

By Ashwaq Masoodi, Kashmiri Fulbright Alumna

Fulbright Alumna Ashwaq Masoodi at PUAN’s International Women Empowerment Conference

Fulbright Alumna Ashwaq Masoodi at PUAN’s International Women Empowerment Conference

When I told a friend I was going to Pakistan, he laughed & said “Why Pakistan?” I told him I was going to attend a conference on women empowerment & that happens to be my field of interest. He laughed again and said, “So now Pakistan wants women empowerment? That sounds a little odd.” He also asked me to be careful and not get killed or kidnapped somewhere.

All these statements reminded me of how most of my friends in Delhi talk about Kashmir. Is it safe to go there? Does every Kashmiri hate Indians? Do Kashmiris identify themselves as Indians? Somehow because of the media, we create an image of a place in a way which is not necessarily what it is or even close to what it is.

Growing up in the Indian side of Kashmir, for me the idea of Pakistan was not just as a stake holder in the longstanding K-issue. It is a country which is referred as Jaa-e-Pak (Jaa=place in Persian, Pak= pure, sacred) by my people.

So, here I was listening to scary stories about agents following everyone holding an Indian passport and the pain of visiting police stations every day. I was very excited to go to Pakistan – because of the conference, because I wanted to buy pretty lawn suits and because it was Pakistan after all. Even though I kept waiting for the day I’d land there, inside my head I had a pile of worries stacking more and more as the day of departure got closer. Everyone I spoke with had a piece of advice (mostly things that scared me).

Ashwaq Masoodi at the Pakistan Monument

Ashwaq Masoodi at the Pakistan Monument

Finally, on March 6, I landed in Islamabad around 10:00 am. At the immigration, a fellow journalist and I went through the normal drill – signing one form after the other and answering a few questions. A woman at the immigration counter (in a lighter tone) said, “You know Indians are a little suspicious…so it takes time.” But we realized it was just a friendly banter. By 11:30 we stepped into the real Islamabad. It looked no different from India, (was definitely cleaner) – the people didn’t look any different (women were definitely prettier), hardly any stray dogs roamed around and there were no traffic snarls. It looked very peaceful and reminded me of Washington DC somehow – broad, straight roads, clean streets, tall trees on either side of the roads.

When we reached the hotel, it was time for the Friday prayers. So naturally the shops, restaurants were shut. A fast food place One Potato Two Potatoes was perhaps the only place open. The 3000 Pakistani rupees that I had converted in India, I was told, were no longer valid in Pakistan (BTW it was really difficult to get Indian rupees converted to the Pakistani currency). The guy at the restaurant declined to take it.

When my fellow journalist told him I was from Kashmir on the Indian side, he smiled. Very politely, he took the note back and said, “Get the others converted in a state bank. These don’t work anymore.” He also gave away free cheese dips. After that, free chappal (or chappli) kebabs, concessions at shopping, out of the world hospitability and extra smiles every time I mentioned where I am from, happened.

Ashwaq Masoodi asking a question during the Women Empowerment Conference

Ashwaq Masoodi asking a question during the Women Empowerment Conference

It was my first visit to Pakistan. I was a part of a group of 300 people from six countries who had come together for the International Women’s Empowerment Conference ‘Make It Happen’, organized by Pakistan US Alumni Network and the US Embassy in Islamabad.  The hall was full of people from different fields of life, from different countries and with extremely different lived experiences. But there was one thing I couldn’t not notice, everyone had a story waiting to be heard and written.

Be it the photojournalist from Quetta who at 25 has already received threat calls from Taliban, or the first Pakistani woman and the youngest Muslim woman in the world to climb Mount Everest, or the man leading the Pakistan Disability Movement. Or the female drama writers who make it a point to at least empower women on screen and try and break stereotypical roles women are expected to play in the male dominated societies. Everyone I spoke with, not just the six main speakers had a story.

Just the fact that we were all patiently listening to each other (without pulling each other’s hair as we in media news hour make it seem like) made me realize the importance of these informal conversations between common people.

The conflict resolution workshop that I attended as part of the conference stressed on the need to understand and empathize with “the other” and more importantly the need to have a dialogue. Not just India and Pakistan, I think it is extremely important for us to make our perceptions based on our lived experiences, and not heresy.

The conference was a means to bring people to share their stories of struggle towards empowerment, but what it really achieved was not just making us think of every story we heard as OUR own story, but breaking the myths, built-in stereotypes and predispositions about places and people that we all had.

(Ashwaq Masoodi is a journalist in a newspaper in New Delhi and a Fulbright alumnus)

First Person: An Indian’s Trip to Pakistan

By Aarefa Johari, Indian Journalist

Indian Journalist Aarefa Johari at PUAN’s International Women Empowerment Conference

Indian Journalist Aarefa Johari at PUAN’s International Women Empowerment Conference

When I got selected for the PUAN Women’s Empowerment Conference in Pakistan, I was excited about meeting so many like-minded professionals from across Asia who all believe in women’s rights and work towards it, I was looking forward to stimulating discussions and, of course, travelling to Pakistan itself, which holds so much meaning for an Indian.

In Islamabad, I got to experience all of that and so much more. The conference, for one, was a tremendous success. It was smoothly organized, well-balanced between intense discussions and lighter, cultural interactions.

Aarefa Johari at the Pakistan Monument on the last day of the Women Empowerment Conference

Aarefa Johari at the Pakistan Monument on the last day of the Women Empowerment Conference

And more than anything, it was the people who made it work – the panelists who shared their stories and their views were inspiring to say the least, and we were able to approach questions of women’s rights and challenges from so many different perspectives: the portrayal of women in the media, the glass ceiling at the workplace, women in conflict zones, women breaking stereotypes to make it in male-dominated fields, women in social work…the list is definitely long!

But besides the panelists, I found it so enriching just to be amidst so many alumni from across Pakistan – literally every corner – from regions I wasn’t aware of, speaking languages I hadn’t even heard of before. The diversity was so wonderful, and went a long way in giving me a wider glimpse of the whole nation even though I was just in one city.

A session that really stayed with me was the one on people with disabilities, held outside the Pakistan Monument. As so many women and men shared their stories of the obstacles that our societies throw at them, it reaffirmed my belief that the fight for women’s rights can never be for women alone – if equality is the goal of feminism, then by definition it must be a larger fight for the equality of ALL, including people discriminated against on the bases of abilities, class, caste, sexual orientation or anything else.

Aarefa Johari enjoying the sights and sounds of Islamabad at the Monal Restaurant

Aarefa Johari enjoying the sights and sounds of Islamabad at the Monal Restaurant

And finally, I cannot conclude without emphasizing how completely overwhelmed I was by Pakistani dildaari – everyone I met, both at the conference and outside, went out of their way to express their love for India and their warmth hospitality for me as an Indian. That was the icing on the cake which made the Islamabad visit truly special.

Questions of Power: Women Empowerment Across Asia

By Hira Nafees Shah

Group Photograph of the participants with U.S Ambassador Richard Olson at the Women Empowerment Conference

Group Photograph of the participants with U.S Ambassador Richard Olson at the Women Empowerment Conference

A young Indian journalist raising her voice against an injustice that was committed against her. A Pakistani politician fighting the odds to change the system. A Bangladeshi working woman who dared to venture into an industry that few would risk. An Afghani woman making an impact on the ground. An American social activist bringing her music to prisoners, the disabled and infirm.

These are just some of the success stories that formed part of the keynote session when women from seven countries kicked off the International Women Empowerment Conference 2015 in Islamabad, organized by the Pakistan-U.S Alumni Network and U.S Embassy.

(From Left to Right) U.S Assistant Cultural Attaché Jameson Debose, Mary McBride, Sharada Jnawali, Tania Aria, Syeda Abida Hussain, Aarefa Johari and Selyna Peiris-speakers at Women Empowerment-Global Challenges, Opportunities and Success Stories panel with moderator Ayesha Fazlur Rahman

(From Left to Right) U.S Assistant Cultural Attaché Jameson Debose, Mary McBride, Sharada Jnawali, Tania Aria, Syeda Abida Hussain, Aarefa Johari and Selyna Peiris-speakers at Women Empowerment-Global Challenges, Opportunities and Success Stories panel with moderator Ayesha Fazlur Rahman

Syeda Abida Hussain, Mary McBride, Sharada Jnawali, Sarah Ali, Tania Aria, Aarefa Johari and Selyna Peiris’ personal accounts inspired more than 300 U.S sponsored exchange alumni who gathered in the capital city to make women’s empowerment a reality.

The theme for the conference was “Make it Happen,” which took place in conjunction with International Women’s Day. During the three day event, the participants received an opportunity to interact with speakers (the majority of whom were females) who had reached the top in fields such as media, politics, arts, science, and sport.

“There are various models in Pakistan to draw inspiration from,” said Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) while delivering her speech at the event. “I feel that with commitment and strength of character Pakistani women can achieve anything.”

Her sentiments were echoed by the Chief Guest U.S Ambassador Richard Olson, who noted that about fifty percent of participants in all U.S sponsored exchange programs in Pakistan consisted of women.

The CEO of the 60 Second Film Festival, Ibrar-ul-Hassan, also paid a homage to the power of Pakistani women by presenting minute-long videos which shed light on the different issues facing females in the country including gender discrimination, economic marginalization and lack of education.

Conference participants also showed how women can counter these challenges.  Fulbright alumna Aisha Azhar described her Alumni Small Grant project that taught poverty-stricken women in Ghazi how to sew. She felt that the conference enabled her to network with other alumni doing similar projects and said she enjoyed the sessions. Panelists discussed success from a very personal side, covering issues related to gender discrimination, divorce, and even female genital mutilation.

“The personal stories narrated at the panel discussion were really moving,” she said. “I am surprised that people are taking the initiative to discuss them so openly.”

Stimulating Sessions Draw Audience’s Applause

“I found Zeba Bakhtiar’s session to be the best because she said women have a personality and can also live without men,” said Saira Shams, an alumna of the Women with Disabilities exchange program.

Panelists Momina Duraid, Haseena Moeen, Zeba Bakhtair, Sarah Khan with moderator Anam Abbas at session on “Bringing Social Change through Film and TV”

Panelists Momina Duraid, Haseena Moeen, Zeba Bakhtair, Sarah Khan with moderator Anam Abbas at session on “Bringing Social Change through Film and TV”

Bakhtiar’s session, which was following with rapt attention by the audience, included legendary playwrights like Haseena Moeen, HUMTV Producer Momina Duraid and 16-year-old filmmaking prodigy Sarah Khan. There was a healthy debate among the panelists about how media should project women so as to bring about a positive change in society.

“I always made bold, self-determined girls and portrayed them as individuals,” said Haseena Moeen. “Media’s impact is slow but it’s durable and long-lasting.”

And from strong female characters on screen, the participants got a chance to interact with real-life role models like Parliamentarian Aasiya Nasir, National Forum of Women with Disabilities Chairperson Abia Akram, Young Rising Star Football Women Club Vice-Captain Faiza Mahmoud and Ex-PAF pilot Ifrah Aziz among others.

“I faced a lot of problems from men for standing up for the rights of minorities in Pakistan in the aftermath of Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder case,” said Nasir.

The other speakers also highlighted the struggles that they had to go through for working for the cause of disabled people, or showcasing the problems faced by Afghan refugees in getting citizenship in Pakistan or trying to promote sports among girls in the country.

(From Left to Right) Moderator Muniba Mazari with Samina Baig and Mirza Ali Baig-brother, sister duo who climbed Seven Summits in 2014

(From Left to Right) Moderator Muniba Mazari with Samina Baig and Mirza Ali Baig-brother, sister duo who climbed Seven Summits in 2014

Samina Baig and Mirza Ali Baig, the Pakistani brother-sister dynamic duo who scaled seven summits in eight months, received a standing ovation from the participants.

“I felt most inspired by Samina Baig’s session because it showed how men and women can cooperate with each other to build better relations,” said UGrad alumnus Syed Zia Hussain.

“We climb for purpose, for gender equality and for women’s empowerment,” said Mirza Baig while presenting an impassioned speech about treating women fairly and loving one’s country.

During the conference, the participants also had a choice between attending six breakout sessions under the umbrella theme of Knowing Your Rights such as Representation of Women in Mass Media, Women in Conflict Resolution Process, Political-Civic Rights and Status of Women’s Empowerment, Exploring Entrepreneurship Opportunities, Women and Health and Socio-Cultural Trends, Changes and Question of Women Empowerment.

The gatherings drew considerable interaction with audience, who jumped to provide their thoughts and explanations for the speakers’ questions.

“Why honor is only restricted to women?” asked Dr. Munazza Yaqoob from International Islamic University during her session on Socio-Cultural Trends.

Executive Director of Mehergarh-Center of Learning Maliha Hussain also hit out at cultural norms that placed undue restrictions on females.

“No law states that women cannot leave the house,” she said. “We also don’t allow ladies in our families to laugh out loud as we live in a patriarchal society.”

Meanwhile, during the meeting on Representation of Women in Mass Media, Rakhshinda Parveen and the participants mulled over the rising instances of rape in the country, the psychology of rapists, and the importance of standing up to workplace harassment.

The Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network also recognized the contributions of 12 distinguished female alumni across the country for rendering meritorious services in their communities. SUSI Alumnus Ahmed Qazi’s mother late Tahira Qazi brought the audience to their feet by her heroic act of standing up to terrorists and laying down her life during the Army Public School (APS) attack in Peshawar.

Aside from thought-provoking panels, the event also featured an array of entertainment, including concerts by the Mary McBride Band and Pakistani pop sensation Zoe Viccaji.

A Bharatnatyam dance performance during the Women Empowerment Conference

A Bharatnatyam dance performance during the Women Empowerment Conference

The attendees danced to the rocking tunes by both the artists especially when Viccaji delivered classics by timeless pop goddess Nazia Hassan.  A dance performance of Bharatnatyam by the dance legend Indu Mitha and her students wrapped up the second day.

Alumni Focus on Social Uplift in Community Service Projects

With the scenic Pakistan Monument in the background, alumni huddled together as they listened to local heroes from the disabilities-rights program STEP. The special needs persons listed the problems that they faced accessing basic facilities like washrooms in Pakistan while the participants, which included many international guests, expressed concern and solidarity.

Other conference attendees made their way to Edhi Homes and spend time with Senior Citizens and children, played with them and told stories to them.

“I really like this activity because I received an opportunity to interact with a lady staying at Edhi Foundation,” said Sarah Khan, SUSI Alumna. “I also live in a hostel in Peshawar so I can relate to her feeling of being lonely and being away from home and I feel at home with them.”

Meanwhile, the orphans from Pakistan Sweet Home put on a performance for about 50 alumni who toured their facility. The participants also made a colorful poster on the conference’s theme Make it Happen.

“These community service projects encourage spirit of volunteerism among alumni,” said Maheen Salman, SUSI Alumna while speaking about the importance of the activities.

A football match was also held between alumni, Young Rising Star Women Football Club team-members and Mashal Model School students in which everyone had a ball.

As the conference came to an end, the participants pondered over the takeaways that they had received from the event.

“We can now build a network of strong women from the seven countries in order to work on future projects together,” said Fatima Jafferi, an Afghan participant.

“The male participation at this conference has been healthy . . . whatever guys learn here, they will implement it in their homes,” said Syed Samiullah Shah, a Legislative Fellowship Program Alumnus from Balochistan.

Perhaps the most important consequence of the program was the international linkages that were developed as a result of it.

“It is good to see international guests because it links the region and they also share a similar culture,” said Irsa Younas, IVLP Alumna. “The geo-political situation is almost identical in these countries, so we can get suggestions from them and replicate their success stories in Pakistan.”

“I had heard a lot of negative stories about Pakistan in the media,” said Indeewari Amuwatte, a Sri Lankan participant. “Instead I have seen a very modern group.”

“It has been an amazing experience in Pakistan,” said Aarefa Johari, the Indian speaker. “Everyone has been so warm and they went out of their way to make us feel welcome.”

To take a look at the photographs from the event, check out this link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pakusalumni/sets/72157651291160331/

 

It’s Time to Apply for the 2016 Fulbright Program!

Interested in earning your Master’s or Ph.D. at a U.S. university? There’s still time to apply for the 2016 Fulbright Degree Program!  The deadline is coming up on May 13, 2015, so get started on your application now!

Many amazing members of our Alumni network have enhanced their careers through the Fulbright program.  This program can open doors for graduate study in everything from finance to fine arts, from agriculture to astrophysics. Click the Brochure below to find out more!

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If you’d like to know more about where U.S. Exchange programs can take you, watch the video below.  Fulbright alum and professional writer Bilal Tanweer discusses his experiences in the United States and development as a writer.  Pakistan has the largest Fulbright program in the world, so there are plenty of opportunities to pursue your dreams too!

Bilal

The Fulbright Masters and PhD Program funds graduate study in the United States for a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), these grants cover tuition, required textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance. The US Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) also assists with the visa process. The application deadline is May 13, 2015.