Islamabad—The Pakistan-US Alumni Network (PUAN) on Sunday concluded three-day interactive youth activism conference with community service activities across Islamabad. The outreach activities followed two days of interactive workshops, panel sessions, and keynote speeches designed to give young adults the skills they need to better serve their communities. Over 200 alumni of US government-sponsored exchange programs from across Pakistan and South Asia gathered in Islamabad for the event, which was jointly sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and PUAN.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan kicked off the conference on April 08.
“As youth leaders from Pakistan and from the region, you all play a crucial role in inspiring people across the region to give back to their communities,” Assistant Secretary Ryan told participants. “Through your service and dedication to your countries, you will keep each of your countries on the road to becoming economic leaders and the keys to a prosperous, secure, South Asia.”
During the three-day conference, U.S. government exchange alumni participated in workshops on topics such as combating climate change, countering violent extremism, and advancing human rights, inspiring them to make a difference in their communities. They learned valuable digital skills relating to fundraising, communication, and campaign design to turn ideas into action. Fulbright alumnus and award-winning nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodhboy, mountain climber Samina Baig, and filmmaker Haya Fatima Iqbal also addressed the group.
“The conference provided a great opportunity to interact with a diverse group of youth as well as leaders of the community,” said Saamia Rahman, an alumna of the 2014 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD). “The connections I have made here will be the start of something powerful and meaningful for our communities.”
The United States invests approximately $40 million annually in exchange programs for Pakistani citizens and sends more than 1,300 Pakistanis to the United States each year to participate in academic and professional exchange programs. PUAN is an alumni network of students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored programs. With more than 15,000 alumni across Pakistan, PUAN is one of the largest alumni networks in the world.
PUAN regularly organizes events across Pakistan, including service projects, leadership training, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities.