was a night approach to Islamabad International Airport. As the Qatar Airways 777 dropped out of the clouds and touched down on the runway that early Saturday morning, a journey which took 16 hours to complete and over a year to plan was about to begin. My first Fulbright Specialist assignment was taking me to Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), where I would spend two weeks working with colleagues and students at the Area Study Center. I’d give lectures, discuss new trends in scholarship and help PhD students craft their dissertation proposals.
And that’s where the students came in […] They’re bright, perceptive, curious and eager to learn. Any American academic would be eager to have them in his / her class.
After a welcome dinner at the home of the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan Executive Director Rita Akhtar, and a day spent getting my quarters at the Fulbright House squared away, I plunged into my work at QAU. Only it didn’t seem like work. Dr. Noman Sattar, co-director at the Area Study Center, greeted me upon my arrival. Thirty minutes and three cups of tea later we were colleagues with a joint mission; to make my time as useful to the students as possible. I can’t say enough about the help I received from him and the other faculty. My lectures on the American political and judicial systems were lively and well-received, and the Q&A sessions afterward kept me on my toes. And that’s where the students came in; they attended the sessions and I got to spend time with them, talking about their PhD plans. They’re bright, perceptive, curious and eager to learn. Any American academic would be eager to have them in his / her class. Student quality was something frequently discussed over dinner at the Fulbright House. My Specialist colleagues who came from the University of California Berkeley, Washington State University, Arizona State University and Cal State Long Beach all agreed that Pakistan’s future would be in good hands.
My time in Pakistan ended all too soon. I left behind colleagues and friends and took fond memories home with me. I also took the hope to someday return.
Dr. John Morello, PhD is a Fulbright Specialist Grantee and is currently Senior Professor of History at DeVry University, Illinois. If you have a story you would like considered for our newsletter, please contact USEFP Communications, at email@example.com.