The Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC organized a roundtable discussion today on “distance learning and virtual education collaboration between Pakistan and the US”. Ambassador Sherry Rehman chaired the roundtable, which was attended by representatives of the US State Department, USAID, think tank community, NGOs and members of the Pakistani diaspora.
In her opening remarks, Ambassador Rehman said that the roundtable was the first step in the Embassy’s “Generation Next Initiative”, which was launched in January 2013 and aims at engaging youth, particularly young professionals and students in the US and Pakistan in creating a platform for sharing experiences and exchanging ideas on promoting educational, scientific and cultural collaboration between Pakistan and the United States. The initiative is also designed to provide networking opportunities and mentorship leading to career counseling, educational placement and employment opportunities for youth.
Ambassador Rehman said that despite the current robust Pak-US collaboration in the education sector, there still existed a lot of potential for cooperation in the use of the most modern and innovative techniques in educating our youth, both in arts and social sciences as well as scientific knowledge and research. She said that various distance learning tools including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) had brought us to the threshold of a revolution and their utility must be explored at high priority. In this context, she stressed that the roundtable was not intended to be a stand-alone event, rather this was the beginning of a process with many steps and milestones to follow.
In their remarks, the State Department and USAID representatives commended the Embassy for taking this initiative and assured full cooperation in utilizing distance learning tools for the benefit of the youth in both countries.
During the open discussion, the participants focused on the relevance, utility and feasibility of distance learning tools; identifying individuals, institutions and initiatives currently involved in distance learning; and utilizing these techniques for scientific education and research as well as promoting a dialogue between the youth in Pakistan and the United States on current and contemporary issues.
February 15, 2013