Community College Initiative Alumni Reunion Strengthens U.S.-Pakistan Ties

Islamabad | February 28, 2014

The U.S. Embassy and the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) welcomed more than 150 alumni of the Community College Initiative (CCI) exchange program to its inaugural reunion in Islamabad. Principal Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Ambassador Beth Jones from the U.S. Department of State, and Rita Akhtar, Executive Director of the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan, greeted the students, who represented all regions of Pakistan.

During the three-day reunion, participants will share their experiences in the United States, participate in workshops and speaker sessions on entrepreneurship, strategic leadership, and civil society development, enjoy cultural and music performances, and brainstorm ideas for community service projects that benefit Pakistan’s social and economic development. The reunion will culminate in a team-building exercise, where the participants will learn new techniques and skills to improve their own organizations.

“When I look into this audience, I see talented representatives of this nation’s bright future,” Principal Deputy SRAP Ambassador Beth Jones said at the reunion. “You have an extraordinary collective capacity to make a lasting and positive impact in your communities and your nation.”

Participants in the CCI exchange program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, spend one academic year studying at a community college in the United States in one of the following fields: agriculture, applied engineering, business management, early childhood education, information technology, media, and tourism and hospitality management. CCI participants are recruited from Pakistan’s rural and historically underserved populations and most are mid-career professionals.

The U.S. government invests nearly $40 million annually on exchange programs for Pakistani citizens. More than 1,200 Pakistanis participate in the various high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional U.S.-sponsored exchange programs each year. The Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) is one of the largest U.S. alumni networks in the world.

It consists of more than 13,000 students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs and organizes a number of events in Pakistan, including community service projects, leadership trainings, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities. Learn more about PUAN