U.S. Exchange Program Alumni Promote Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

Islamabad, November 21, 2014

More than 300 alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad for the kick-off of the first-ever Entrepreneurship Reunion hosted by the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN). The three day event attracted participants and speakers from all walks of life and every province of the country to share perspectives and explore possibilities for advancing entrepreneurship in Pakistan through workshops, plenary panels, and networking events.

“Greater Pakistani-American cooperation in entrepreneurship will contribute to Pakistan’s economic growth and prosperity, enhance business opportunities for Americans and Pakistanis, and build relationships across borders that will endure over time” said U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson in his keynote address to the alumni.

The Entrepreneurship Reunion is one of several events sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in support of Global Entrepreneurship Week, a world-wide event that celebrates innovators and job creators who bring new ideas to life, drive economic growth, and advance human welfare. The Ambassador added, “We are working hard to expand the pool of entrepreneurs to include more Pakistani women. In collaboration with the U.S. Pakistan Women’s Council, we are sponsoring a partnership between American University in Washington, D.C., and the Lahore University of Management Sciences to develop educational and mentoring sessions directed at the specific needs of up-and-coming women entrepreneurs.”

The U.S. government invests an estimated $40 million annually on exchange programs for Pakistani citizens and more than 1,300 Pakistanis participate in the various high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional U.S.-sponsored exchange programs each year. PUAN is one of the largest U.S. alumni networks in the world. Its mission is to encourage people-to-people relationships between Pakistanis and Americans.

Consisting of more than 14,000 students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, PUAN organizes a number of events in Pakistan, including community service projects, leadership training, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities. The organization has 12 regional chapters across the country in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Bahawalpur, Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Gwadar, Islamabad, Jamshoro, Karachi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Lahore, Multan, and Sukkur. Find out more about PUAN and the Entrepreneurship Reunion at http://www.facebook.com/pakalumni.