This year kicked off with the 17th Annual Fulbright Alumni Conference, from January 12 to 14, focused on the theme of climate change. Around 250 alumni of the Fulbright Program, most of whom have completed Master’s or PhD degrees in the United States, gathered in Islamabad to discuss the challenges of climate change and report on actions they and their organizations are taking to reduce its impact on communities across Pakistan.
“The United States invests in exchanges like the Fulbright Program because we know that no country can tackle seemingly intractable challenges – like climate change – alone. Exchange programs, and the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network, deepen people-to-people ties and provide opportunities for all of us to connect, to problem solve, and to make a positive difference together,” said U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome.
The keynote address was given by Senior Humphrey Fellow Dr. Amjad Saqib, founder of the Akhuwat Foundation and winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2021.
USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar welcomed the participants by noting that “nowhere in the world is the Fulbright Program having a greater impact than in Pakistan”.
“The Fulbright Pakistan alumni community represents a diverse and dynamic pool of professionals contributing to the country’s socio-economic development, including low-income educational opportunities, disability inclusion, access to information, public libraries, district/provincial/federal administration, energy, transportation, banking and finance, and health. Everywhere you go in Pakistan, whether in terms of geography or economic sector, you will find Fulbright alumni leading and contributing to progressive change,” Akhtar added.
Fulbright alumni highlighted their efforts to develop smart solutions to the climate crisis and learned from one another in a highly collaborative setting. From the role of education in addressing climate change to the importance of green business and urban planning in making cities more resilient, the alumni shared ideas that can help the government and private sector manage the crisis more effectively. The seven panel discussions focused on ecology, agriculture, climate action, and technology.
The conference concluded with a memorable tour of Rawal Dam. A huge thank you to Fulbright alumnus and Department of Irrigation Deputy Director Dr. Rana Bilal Iftikhar for facilitating this site visit. All participants thoroughly enjoyed scenic views of the lake and a hearty lunch. Conversations flowed well into the afternoon.