Oct - Nov 2010 |  Volume # 4 , Issue # 10-11

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Secretary Clinton’s surprise visit to the FLTA mid-year conference

The grantees of Fulbright Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA) in the U.S. were thrilled to welcome Secretary Clinton for a surprise visit to the FLTA mid-year conference in Washington D.C. last week. The Secretary spoke very eloquently about the Fulbright Program and included some powerful words about her personal connection to Senator Fulbright. A video and transcript of the Secretary’s speech can be found at:

Over 400 Fulbright FLTAs from almost 50 countries (including Pakistani grantees) were on hand for this exciting event, which was followed by an engaging roundtable discussion with Assistant Secretary, Ann Stock and six Fulbright FLTAS from Pakistan, Oman,Brazil, Turkey, Mongolia and Kenya. Prior to the conference, Ms. Stock encouraged the Fulbright FLTAs to submit questions to her via Twitter and the first six Tweeters , one from each region, had a chance to meet with the her just prior the Secretary’s speech. The lucky Fulbrighters were from France, Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria and Tunisia.

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Pakistan embassy in U.S. celebrates 60 years of Fulbright

"The expanding Pakistan-U.S. cooperation in the field of education will help foster understanding between the two nations as they strive to build a strategic partnership", said Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Mr. Husain Haqqani. He was speaking to a gathering of Pakistani Fulbright scholars and visiting vice chancellors of some leading Pakistani universities and distinguished guests from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, including Ms. Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Ambassador also stressed that the trend to talk about revolution as answer to problems is a simplistic way of looking at difficult things while actual transformation comes through a tough process of reforms and enlightened education.

“We are building a strategic partnership and exchange of students under programs like Fulbright contributes significantly towards improving mutual understanding about each other,” he added.

Pakistan, he said, is attempting to build democratic institutions and going through a transformation towards democratic development. Haqqani noted that Pakistan has produced men of excellence in various fields including medicine, engineering and information technology but it also needs sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists to steer the country forward as a ‘viable and effective state.” He said the United States has set some very high standards of education and a replication of research-based higher education in some leading fields of learning will help Pakistan.

The Ambassador remarked that exchange of students under programs like Fulbright offers opportunity to learn about the society and people and underlined there is a need to understand the Pakistani society in the United States.

Ms. Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs also addressed the gathering, pointing out that thousands of Pakistanis have benefited from the Fulbright scholarship and currently hundreds of Pakistani students are studying under the program in a wide variety of fields. Exchange of students helps to forge people-to-people relations and strengthen relations between countries.

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Rubenstein graduate student speaks with Mr. & Mrs. Bill Gates

Ms. Hajra Atiq, Fulbright Fellow from Pakistan and second year Master’s student, was selected by the U.S. State Department to be one of five participants to attend a ceremony honoring Bill and Melinda Gates. The Fulbright Association presented the 2010 Fulbright Prize for International Understanding to the Gates for their philanthropic work to address challenges of health, education, scientific innovation and leadership. The prize was presented on October 15th at the Library of Congress. Bill and Melinda Gates are the first Fulbright prize laureates with background in Business and Philanthropy. They are also the first couple to receive the prize.

The prize ceremony was followed by a question and answer session in which five current Foreign Fulbright Fellows posed a question to Mr. and Mrs. Gates about their work and aspirations. Hajra’s question to the prize recipients was about the devastating floods in Pakistan and how to deal with the numerous challenges of health, education and resettlement that are ahead. Melinda Gates spoke for the Gates Foundation and talked about the initial relief efforts made by their foundation and their plans to follow this humanitarian issue more closely in order to address the looming polio issue in the flood stricken communities. She underscored the importance of preparing for natural disasters ahead of time and also dealing with the upcoming challenges of livelihoods, vaccinations and education. The other Fulbright Fellows who participated in the event represented the countries of Ghana, Colombia, South Africa and Afghanistan and are pursuing their graduate studies in the United States. Their discussion with the Gates revolved around health and sanitation issues, technology and social change, and peace and international understanding. Reflecting on the experience, Hajra says, "I am moved by the belief of the Gates Foundation that 'All lives have equal value' and their optimism as they work on some of the most challenging issues that the world faces today."

Hajra is pursuing her degree in Natural Resources focusing on Environment, Society and Public Affairs. The ceremony was streamed live over the internet, and Hajra’s family was able to watch it live from Pakistan. The story was also covered by Washington Post USA .




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Grantees speak about educational experiences in the U.S.

Several Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows have shared videos reflecting on what international education means to them and its impact on their lives and the Americans they encounter each day. You may view the videos and leave comments for the fellows at IREX website: http://www.irex.org/news/pakistan-fellows-reflect-cross-cultural-exchange-honor-international-education-week



Fawad Akhtar, studying at Tennessee Technological University, received a surprise invitation recently to meet a World War II veteran, Hector Black. Fawad visited Hector on his farm, about 20 miles from the university, after Hector made contact through a mutual friend. Hector was interested to meet Fawad, as he had never met anyone from Pakistan. Fawad shared his feelings and impressions of the visit: “He welcomed us very warm heartedly and asked a lot about Pakistan, the current situations after floods in Pakistan, politics, family system, culture and traditions and the famous Khyber Pass. I am very proud and honored to meet him because I am the first Pakistani to meet him in his 85 year life and it was his wish to meet someone from Pakistan.” Fawad also noted that, “Its not less than a blessing for me because very few get a chance to meet the World War 2 veterans and hear about the war from the same person who was the part of the war. It was just amazing because the topic in my American history class last week was World War 2 so I ask a lot of questions from him about the war.”


Saba Safdar, studying at North Central College, recently visited The Field Museum in Chicago with her friendship family. She saw exhibits about Native Americans, animals and wildlife, and ancient Egypt. Saba noted that “Museums back home have a ton of information to offer but they don't focus on the American culture or global aspects of nature. The Field museum not only provided a window in the Native Americans but gave some food for thought about other regions of the world as well.” Saba’s favorite exhibit, however, was of SUE, the “largest and most complete and preserved dinosaur in the world.” Saba said that “being a bioscience major, it was fascinating to see all the remains of bones and how they compared with the bones of today’s mammals.”


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Physically challenged CCID grantee featured in interview by Mobility International USA

Muzaffar Hussain Laghari is a grantee of the Community College Initiative Program from Pakistan.  He was interviewed by Mobility International USA (MIUSA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works in four main areas to provide programs and services including: National Clearinghouse on Disability & Exchange (NCDE), International Development & Disability, MIUSA International Exchange Programs, Women, Disability and Development. MIUSA also provides internship opportunities. MIUSA is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision and other disabilities.

His interview is also available on their website at http://www.miusa.org/ncde/stories/laghari

Name:  Muzaffar Hussain Laghari
Age:  College graduate
Disability: Mild cerebral palsy
Program Country: United States of America
Program Length: 1 year
Program Type: Study abroad


About Me: I grew up as a person with cerebral palsy in Sindh, a province of Pakistan. In Sindh, I received ongoing encouragement from my mother to pursue education. It was her dream for me to become a respected member of society. I earned a bachelor's degree with high grades and found a job as an accountant at the National Rural Support Program, a non-governmental organization in Pakistan.

Meet Muzaffar who came from Pakistan to the United States on a U.S. Department of State exchange scholarship program.

Was your international exchange experience arranged through an exchange organization? If so, what was the application process like?

I participated in the Community College Initiative Program, which is administered by the Community Colleges for International Development. Having spotted a newspaper advertisement for a U.S. Department of State exchange scholarship, I applied and was selected as a principal candidate from fifty-one others. Until then, traveling abroad had never occurred to me, but with this scholarship secured, study in the United States became possible. I enrolled at Johnston Community College in Smithfield, North Carolina for a one year professional Business Administration Certificate program.

What was your experience living in the host country? Please share your impressions of housing, transportation, activities, cultural attitudes towards disability, and your strategies for navigating abroad.
Disability is the challenge of my life, but I have never been discouraged even for a single time. Through my participation, I learned a lot about American values and respect for disabled persons. Here in the USA I was surprised because people show a lot of respect for disabled people.

I completed the program with outstanding grades and earned a letter of appreciation from the president of the college and an invitation to join the National Technical Honor Society of America.

As part of the program, I met with the local community to share Pakistani and Sindhi culture with local school classes and community groups through cultural presentations. One of the highlights of taking part in this service was discussing Islam with an audience at a local church. Beyond Smithfield, I also traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for leadership workshops and training, and to Washington, DC, where I met with Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina.

What were the benefits of the experience, and how has your international experience informed your future plans?
After I complete my studies here I want to go back to Pakistan to find employment and be an example for our society that disabled people can play an important role in the development of society if they are given a chance to prove themselves.


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  Fulbright student at University of Texas calls for help for Pakistan flood affectees

Mr. Abdul Haq Chang a patriotic Fulbright Student from Pakistan studying in the U.S. is working to help flood affectees in Pakistan. He is calling for fellow students and the University leadership to step in to help the people of Pakistan. He has also requested for the university president, the Governor of Texas at Austin and the U.S. President to announce a new scholarship program for students from the most affected areas of Pakistan, akin to the Bush/Clinton Fulbright Tsunami Relief Initiative Master’s Degree program created for the students of Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Mr. Chang is graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, at the University of Texas, working on the issue of governance of water resources management in Pakistan. His major focus is to bring an ethnographic perspective to the issue of waste, scarcity and abundance of water resources management according to different strata of society.

  Global UGRAD grantees mingle with U.S. counterparts to promote mutual understanding between the two countries

UGRAD grantees are enthralled by every aspect of their educational stay in the U.S. Some highlights of their experiences are given below:

Nayab Fayaz, Rubab Zahra, Azad Naqvi, Zara Sikander, and Maha Waheed, studying at St. Cloud State University, were invited to the university president’s house for a welcome dinner for members of the international community on campus. Along with the university president, the students got the opportunity to meet the university provost, deans of their departments, and the president of the Student Government Association. Some of the students attended in their national dress including Nayab Fayaz, who shared her feelings about the experience. “It was a new thing for me, because back home it’s impossible that a university president calls students to his place for lunch. He asked many questions about the program and Pakistan. It was a real nice experience.”


Nayyab with University President and his family

Students pose for a group photo at St. Cloud State University

Javid Khan, studying at Lees-McRae College, has already given several presentations about Pakistan and has been asked to do more. In fact, some members of the community specifically asked Javid to give a presentation about his region of Pakistan, Bajaur Agency, which is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). More than 70 community members attended two presentations, in which Javid discussed the culture of FATA and the culture of Pakistan and answered questions about ongoing acts of violence in FATA and in Pakistan, drone attacks in the area, as well as hijab and women’s rights. Javid noted that “people are very interested to know more and more and to understand the reality… I received a great response and feedback.”

Zahra Ejaz, studying at Minnesota State University – Mankato, had the opportunity to visit the Shakopee women prison in October, as part of her honors program Social Problems class. Zahra was impressed to see that the prisoners had access to libraries, computer labs, recreational centers, and a gym so that they can stay healthy. The students also had the opportunity to speak directly with three offenders during their visit. Zahra heard about their past life and experiences in prison, and through the experience learned to see prisoners in a very different light. She said of the experience, “I found that those who are in prison do have emotions and feelings for their loved ones. Don’t hate them– just hate the crime.”

Sikandar Hayat Sajid, also studying at Tennessee Technological University (TTU), has been elected to the student government, as a representative from the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology. Upon his election, Sikandar was introduced to the senate and had the opportunity to speak to the senate about himself and about Pakistan. He explained that by being here in the US now, he hopes to help Pakistan become part of the developed world in the future. Every senator needs to submit at least one bill each semester; Sikandar’s bill to form a Scientific Committee on the senate passed, and he was selected to head the new committee. Through his senator position, Sikandar will be travelling as part of a ten member student delegation from TTU to observe the state senate proceedings in Nashville, Tennessee on November 18-19. In recognition of being the first applicant, he will serve as head of the delegation. Sikandar’s senate photo is also available at the university website http://www.tntech.edu/sga/senators/

Salma Bano at Tennessee Technological University gave a presentation on Pakistan at the university’s Multicultural Evening. Salma was the youngest speaker at the event and was overwhelmed by the response she received, “I got so many questions and compliments! Now everybody knows my name because of the presentation.” See below a photo of Salma in her national dress.

Salma Bano in traditional dress at Tennessee Tech

Mudassir Nazir and Asif Salam participated in a project on Health Day, performing a play about HIV/AIDS awareness at their host institution, Lincoln University. For two weeks, a group of dedicated international students on campus met to rehearse their performance in their free time. The performance was given on campus for community members and university students. Asif and Mudassir had acting roles in the play, which was so well received that the students have been asked to perform the play again this month.

Naqqashia Arshad, Ferya Ilyas and Ayisha Bashir, studying at the University of Arkansas, had a unique musical experience recently. They had the opportunity to hear Cuban singer and Latin Grammy award winner Omara Portuondo perform on her 80th birthday, at the Walton Art Center in Fayetteville. “Although we could not understand her language, we learned a lot about her songs just from her expressions and tone of singing. It was fun to be there” said Naqqashia Arshad.

Read more about and comment on the Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows at the University of Arkansas efforts to raise funds for Pakistan flood relief here: http://www.irex.org/news/fellows-collaborate-raise-funds-flood-relief-pakistan



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Fellows collaborate to raise funds for flood relief in Pakistan

The Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows at the University of Arkansas, in collaboration with the International Student Scholars’ Office, the Red Cross Student Organization, the Pakistani Student Group and the Friends of India, organized a fundraiser for Pakistan flood relief on Monday, September 25, 2010. The event raised over $800 for the Red Cross flood relief efforts in Pakistan and helped create awareness about Pakistan, its people and culture.

Upon arrival at Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows noted that the majority of students they spoke to were not aware of the extent of the devastation of the floods. "While some people occasionally asked me about it, many of the people I spoke to did not realize the extent of the disaster," observed Global UGRAD Pakistan fellow Naqqashia Arshad.

Compelled to do something, Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellow Ferya Ilyas discussed her options with the International Student and Scholars Office on campus and got in touch with other student organizations. The Red Cross Student Organization representatives suggested working together to host a fundraiser on campus. Although there was no organized Pakistani student group , many other Pakistani students joined in the effort. Within two weeks, the Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows had widely publicized the event throughout campus through fliers, class presentations, e-mail and social networking sites.

"In order to attract students, we decided to incorporate a cultural component into the program" explained Ferya. The fundraiser featured a live music performance by two Pakistani students, two dances by the "Friends of India," as well as a presentation on Pakistan by the Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows.

Fundraising activities included the sale of several Pakistani dishes prepared by the fellows, henna painting, and the sale of Pakistani souvenirs that the fellows had brought with them from Pakistan. "Henna painting was especially popular," noted Ayisha Bashir. "Even the boys were getting their hands painted!"

"The response that we received was great!" said Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellow Aumbreen Akram. Although the fellows were selling the Pakistani food at a low cost, guests were paying a lot more in order to help out. The Global UGRAD in Pakistan fellows plan to continue to assist the Red Cross Student Organization on campus to collect donations for Pakistan flood relief efforts throughout their semester.

Still curious? find more at: http://www.irex.org/news/fellows-collaborate-raise-funds-flood-relief-pakistan

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The Annual Conference on South Asia

The 39th Annual Conference on South Asia was held on October 14 - 17, 2010 at the Madison Concourse Hotel, 1 West Dayton St., Madison, WI 53703. The Conference was hosted by the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This year the Conference was proud to recognize and celebrate 50 Years of South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Annual Conference on South Asia attracts over 650 scholars and other interested parties annually, who travel from a dozen countries around the world and much of the United States including Hawaii and Alaska. The conference features nearly 100 academic panels and roundtables, as well as association meetings and special events ranging from performances to film screenings.

Fulbright Panel at South Asia Conference, Wisconsin Madison

The U.S. Department of State set up a U.S. Pakistan panel to disseminate information about the Fulbright Pakistan. Fulbright Pakistan is the world's largest Fulbright program offering a wide variety of programs for Pakistanis. Former Fulbright scholar to Pakistan, Dr. Robert Nicholas and USEFP Program Officer, Z.A. Bhutto also participated in the panel in addition to Catherine Matto, Council for International Exchange of Scholars and Isabelle Clark-Decès, Princeton University seen in the picture above.


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Fulbright grantee receives 2010 Richard Snavely Memorial Award

One of Fulbright grantee, Mr. Anisullah Baig, a PhD Student in Department of Engineering - Applied Science, University of California, Davis has been chosen for the recipient of "2010 Richard Snavely Memorial Award". The certificate was presented at the Grad Program Fall Welcome Dinner on 2nd Oct 2010 by Dept of Engineering. Along with the certificate, the winner received a monetary award of $760.00.

Here is what he has shared with Fulbright team in an email. "I would like to thank my Fulbright Scholarship Program, sponsored by the department of state that actually brought me to U.S. The theme of this flagship international educational exchange program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. I became a big fan and supporter of the Fulbright Program that strives to bridge the gap between different cultures and people through understanding and mutual cooperation”.


United we Stand: Hassan, CCID grantee, speaks at the International Rotary Conference about Pakistan floods


M. Hussan Rasool, 2010 Community College grantee, departed Pakistan on September 20, 2010 to start his program at Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, Washington. His field of study is “Business Management & Administration”.

Mrs. Hassan delivered a presentation on “Flooding in Pakistan, "CRISES AS AN OPPORTUNITY", at the Rotary International Conference, where the audience was mostly top corporate/business executives (more than 60 people)  including the President of Whatcom College.

For more details visit http://bellinghamrotary.org/pdfs/Tattler10_25_10.pdf



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CCID grantees join Phi Theta Kappa Society


It is exciting to see grantees participating a wide range of culturally and recreational activities and mingling with international students. Several of participants at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) in New York state, have been inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year colleges. The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.

Phi Theta Kappa's mission is two-fold: 1) recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and (2) provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.


Phi Theta Kappa traces its beginnings to a Society that originated with six charter members under the name of Kappa Phi Omicron at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, in 1910.



USEFP invites applications for Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program -Deadline: Jan 13, 2011

USEFP is pleased to announce the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) for Pakistan. This program will provide Pakistani teachers from public schools with unique opportunities to develop expertise in their subject areas, enhance their teaching skills, and increase their knowledge of the U.S. An intensive eight-week professional development program in the U.S. is focused on building expertise in best practice teaching methodologies and techniques. Participants will also engage in host university-organized two-week internships at a local secondary school. Trips to U.S. cultural sites, civic activities, and academic support will also be provided for participants throughout the program. The program is offered for teachers of English only.

For further details, advertisement and application  of this program please visit our website at www.usefpakistan.org



USEFP invites applications for Undergraduate Exchange  Program -Deadline: Jan 12, 2011

USEFP is pleased to announce the 2011-12 Undergraduate Exchange Program for Pakistan. The Undergraduate Exchange Program scholarship is intended to promote mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of Pakistan. The Undergraduate Exchange Program will provide full-time undergraduate students from Pakistan with the opportunity to enrich their education and experience through one semester/one year of full-time, non-degree academic study in the United States. The program will also expose fellows to the principles of social responsibility in the United States through a community service component.

For further details, advertisement and application of this program please visit our website at www.usefpakistan.org



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