ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The US government has announced 500 new Scholarships to Pakistani University students from flood-affected districts to assist them in completing their degrees.
The US Ambassador to Pakistani Donald Blome announced the Scholarships at an event celebrating the achievements of female scholars in honor of International Women’s Day at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Islamabad.
Present at the event were the Federal Minister of Planning Ahsan Iqbal, the Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, the Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik, the Executive Director HEC Dr. Shaista Sohail, THE USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman, University Vice Chancellors, Students, And Alumni.
The United States, through USAID, has supported scholarships for meritorious yet financially disadvantaged students to pursue higher education at top Pakistani universities.
In partnership with the HEC, the US government has awarded over 6,000 scholarships through the Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program. Sixty percent of those scholarships have been awarded to women as part of the US government’s support for women’s higher education.
“International Women’s Day not only serves as a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements made by our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters. It is also a call to action to accelerate gender parity and to dismantle gender stereotypes,” Ambassador Donald Blome said.
The Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed remarked, “The US government support to strategic sectors in Pakistan, especially the higher education sector, is commendable. Not only have these scholarships helped secure university education for many underprivileged students, lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, they have helped supply Pakistan with crucial skills and knowledge sets to drive the economy.”
The Federal Minister of Planning Ahsan Iqbal said, “Pakistan has suffered from catastrophic floods where millions of people lost their homes and livelihoods. The humanitarian response by the United States and other donors is commendable. We welcome US support for flood-affected students.”
A Scholarship Alumna Jennifer Andleeb shared the challenges she faced in attaining higher education and how this scholarship transformed the trajectory of her life.
Jennifer Andleeb emphasized that positive changes in society could only happen by investing in education, and that empowered, educated women are critical to ensuring a brighter future for Pakistan.