Date: September 26, 2016
Location: Serena Hotel
Remarks as Prepared
I wanted to drop by tonight because I want to thank you for your efforts to increase educational ties between the United States and Pakistan.
Last October, President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif met at the White House. Among other things, they committed to expanding our cooperation in the field of education.
The United States makes the largest investment in the world in the Fulbright Program here in Pakistan – almost $20 million a year. And as part of the agreement between our leaders, the Government of Pakistan agreed to contribute $25 million more over the next five years to send 125 more PhD candidates.
I understand that the USEFP Board met today to finalize this year’s Fulbright candidates, including the first full complement of new PhDs under the Pakistani contribution.
So I would like to thank the members of the USEFP Board, especially our Pakistani colleagues who volunteer their time. We share a belief that Fulbright invests in Pakistan’s future, a future that will be even brighter when these students return with greater knowledge and new research techniques.
I met recently with Pakistani Minister of Planning, Reforms, and Development Ahsan Iqbal, who is deeply committed to increasing the numbers of Pakistani students seeking higher education in the United States, particularly PhD students, and I told him that we supported his objectives because we agree that higher education is vital to Pakistan’s long-term security and economic growth.
However, governments can’t do this alone. So I especially want to thank the 21 American university representatives who are here tonight. I know you have made many trips to Pakistan to recruit and I’m glad that your institutions recognize the potential here. We hope your example and your success in bringing smart Pakistani students to the United States will encourage other American colleges and universities to also take a look at Pakistan as a place to recruit students.
Thank you again and enjoy the evening.