To promote educational and cultural exchange between the United States and Pakistan, 189 students have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to pursue advanced studies and research at leading US universities.
The awardees will begin their higher education careers at 82 universities in a variety of fields such as environmental studies, energy management, and social sciences.
Fulbright is the United States government’s flagship scholarship program, with operations in 160 countries. In terms of US government contributions, Pakistan has the largest Fulbright program in the world, with $18.44 million this year to support 189 students. “More than 2,000 Fulbright alumni have already returned and are currently working in Pakistan, proving that Fulbright is a great investment in the future and a key component in building mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States,” according to a statement from the US embassy.
The United States Educational Foundation (USEFP) organized a two-day pre-departure orientation in Islamabad for this year’s 189 students to prepare them for the journey, their exchange programs, life on university campuses, and American culture. The grantees were congratulated on their achievement by US Ambassador Donald Blome. “Pakistani Fulbrighters have solved social problems, drafted new laws, advanced policies to ensure equal access and voices for all, and done a lot more.” They do it all for one reason: to make Pakistan a better, safer, and more prosperous place. “The United States and Pakistan are united in this goal,” Ambassador Blome said.
He went on to say that the US invests in education because it strengthens the US-Pakistan relationship, promotes regional stability, and leads to shared economic prosperity.
The 2022 Fulbright cohort is one of the largest in Pakistani history, with students from 47 public and private universities from across the country. This year, 125 Master’s and 64 PhD students (31 Fulbright PhD and 33 Fulbright-HEC PhD) as well as 7 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) fellows were chosen. Women make up half of the grantees.
The scholarship covers transportation, living stipends, health insurance, and tuition for the duration of the program. Since the program’s inception in Pakistan in 1951, 4,100 Pakistanis have received Fulbright awards to study, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to the resolution of common international concerns.
Investing in education strengthens the bilateral relationship. This includes thousands of merit and need-based scholarships for students to attend Pakistani universities; partnerships with 99 Pakistani universities to develop faculty and collaborate on research, such as in green energy and climate resiliency; and efforts with the Higher Education Commission to develop a new set of university English language courses.
“The Fulbright Exchange Program provides a top-tier academic experience as well as exceptional cultural and social enrichment for its recipients,” said USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar.
The United States and Pakistan established the USEFP as a bi-national commission in 1950. Over 9,300 Pakistanis and 935 Americans have participated in USEFP-managed exchange programs since its inception.