Islamabad: US Agency for International Development Mission Director Reed Aeschliman presided over a graduation ceremony for 17 female Pakistani university students who successfully completed the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council (USPWC) Future of Women in Energy Scholar’s pilot program. The graduation ceremony took place at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
This inaugural four-week program encourages women to consider careers in the energy sector and advances the role women play in Pakistan’s. All of the participants are female Pakistani undergraduate students pursuing degrees in the sciences. The program is a product of a U.S. commitment to advance women’s educational and economic participation in Pakistan’s energy sector at the U.S.-Pakistan Energy Dialogue held in September 2021.
Mission Director Reed said during the graduation ceremony: “As we celebrate 75 years of relations with Pakistan this year, today’s milestone shows the scope of this amazing partnership. This program supports women’s empowerment, education, and job opportunities. It shows the depth and breadth of our mutual commitment and the opportunities for further cooperation.”
The program, a cooperative effort between USPWC, U.S. Mission Pakistan, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Texas A&M University, and Texas A&M University at Qatar, kicked off with a two-week study program at Texas A&M University’s campus in Qatar on June 3. Scholars learned about energy topics such as energy infrastructure, energy security, and the role of women in the energy sector, and developed independent projects on different facets of the energy economy. The students returned to Pakistan for a two-week career immersion program in Islamabad and Lahore, visiting public and private sector companies and agencies involved in Pakistan’s energy sector. The students developed a practical understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by Pakistan’s energy sector.
Many Pakistani and international companies and public-sector employers keen to promote women’s participation in the energy sector also contributed to the program. Expanding diversity and inclusion of women is essential to realize a clean and secure energy future for Pakistan.
The U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council is a public-private partnership that seeks to increase women’s economic participation in Pakistan by catalyzing commitments from the private sector, civil society, and government leaders in both countries to advance women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan. Its members include Pepsico, Coca Cola, Citi, General Electric, Procter and Gamble, S&P Global, the Resource Group, Engro, the Hashoo Group, the American Business Council and U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Pakistan Business Council among other leading champions of gender equity.