U.S. Secretary of State meets Fatima Jinnah University students

During a traditional iftar at Fatima Jinnah Women University, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry discussed education and the importance of exchange programs with students and faculty. Secretary Kerry heard from students and alumni about their experiences with U.S.-sponsored exchange and development programs to advance their professional goals. He underscored the value of the bilateral exchange programs and the importance of investing in education in Pakistan to prepare young people to contribute to efforts to build and grow Pakistan’s economy.

Kerry-FJUSecretary Kerry highlighted the important, longstanding collaboration between the United States and Pakistan to promote education, particularly the education of women and girls. “One of the things the United States tries to do, and President Obama is passionate about, is increasing educational opportunity.

He has a special initiative to try to do that in Latin America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It’s so important, because ultimately, you’ll make the difference in terms of making smart decisions about governing, leaders, about choices, all these things. And you are the next generation.”

The U.S. exchange program in Pakistan is the largest in the world, with over 1,000 Pakistani students and professionals traveling to the United States each year through the flagship Fulbright program, undergraduate semester programs, and other exchange opportunities. In 2012, the U.S. Mission to Pakistan launched eight university partnerships that link American and Pakistani universities and plans to launch an additional eleven by the end of 2013.

These three-year partnership programs include faculty exchange and curriculum development programs in various disciplines, including gender studies, distance learning, and communications. Through this program, Fatima Jinnah Women University works with the University of Texas, Austin to establish linkages in Gender Studies, Communication and Media Studies, and Anthropology.

Exchange programs and partnerships are one element of a comprehensive U.S. education assistance program for Pakistan that includes building or rehabilitating nearly 850 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 Centres for Advanced Studies at three Pakistani universities; and launching partnerships that connect American and Pakistani universities.

USAID’s Teacher Education Project at Fatima Jinnah Women University has awarded 36 Bachelor of Education student scholarships, provided professional development training for faculty and funded the refurbishing of Fatima Jinnah’s Education building classrooms.

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