The Ambassador highlighted that the educational and cultural exchange afforded by the Fulbright Program was critical towards promoting mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the people of United States. The fact that Pakistan was the largest beneficiary of Fulbright Foreign Student Program in the world signified the importance both countries attached to higher education in Pakistan. It demonstrated the long-term commitment of both countries to nurture and reinforce their ongoing partnership.
The Ambassador also briefed the gathering on specific steps taken by the Pakistani Government to increase literacy rate and provide more employment opportunities to the youth. He elaborated that Pakistan’s Vision 2025 aimed at substantial expansion in levels of education as well as improvement in the quality of education. The Vision was geared to increasing public expenditure on education to reach 4% of GDP from current 2 % by 2018.
Talking about bilateral cooperation in the field of education, the Ambassador informed that the recent meeting of the Education, Science, and Technology Working Group, under the aegis of Pak-U.S. Strategic Dialogue had agreed to intensify efforts for Pakistani PhD scholars to seek Doctoral degrees from US universities.
The Ambassador also shared with the audience that the Let Girls Learn (LGL) initiative formed a new partnership launched by both countries. It was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Maryam Safdar in October 2015 during the visit of the Prime Minister to Washington.
The United States had committed an initial funding of $ 70 million to LGL Pakistan program. The event was attended by senior State Department officials, academics and around 130 Pakistani students returning to Pakistan after completing the Fulbright program.
April 28, 2016