Islamabad: This year’s Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) annual conference brought together approximately 200 Pakistani alumni of educational exchanges and English-language programs sponsored by the United States Government.
Under the theme, “Azm-e-Aalishan: The Power of Resolve” the conference, which took place from July 12 to 14 highlighted the inspirational stories of PUAN members who have played positive roles in their communities.
The conference consisted of three days of panel discussions, lectures, TED-style talks, interactive exchanges networking sessions, and community service projects. The alumni were joined by 10 Afghan alumni of U.S. exchange programs.
Speaking at the opening session, Ambassador Paul Jones, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Mission in Pakistan, acknowledged the unique role that PUAN members play in contributing to their communities. “As alumni of American exchange programs, you bring different perspectives and a broader understanding of responsibilities towards your communities,” Ambassador Jones said. “You each took a risk and opened yourself up to new opportunities by participating in our various programs. Now, as leaders in Pakistan, you serve as role models to all those around you.”
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Senator Sherry Rehman also spoke at this year’s conference.
The community service PUAN members carried out throughout Islamabad included a discussion on tolerance involving disadvantaged youth, tree plantings, and engaging with children at a local children’s hospital.
PUAN is the largest U.S. government alumni network in the world, with more than 29,000 alumni of U.S. government-funded exchanges and English language programs.