U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director in Pakistan Gregory Gottlieb unveiled a plaque marking the inauguration of Hope Tower, the USAID-funded Women’s Hostel at Forman Christian College (FCC) here today. FCC Rector Dr. James A. Tebbe, U.S. Consul General in Lahore Zachary Harkenrider and USAID Director in Punjab Jeffrey Bakken accompanied him. The $6 million, 6-story project will provide on-campus housing to 384 female students from remote areas of the country.
“The U.S. Government is fully committed to supporting and strengthening education in Pakistan, particularly closing the gender gap in higher education,” remarked Mr. Gottlieb. He added, “By providing a secure all-female on-campus residence, the United States is encouraging women from across the country to pursue higher education.”
Speaking on the occasion, Rector Dr. James Tebbe said, “The new women’s hostel will further help Forman Christian College recruit nationally and provide a secure environment for female students that meets the cultural standards of Pakistan. It also supports our aim of increasing women’s enrolment to fifty per cent of the student body.”
“I am delighted to be here at Forman Christian College during its yearlong sesquicentennial celebrations,” stated Consul General Harkenrider. “We mark a milestone today that celebrates not only our partnership with this prestigious educational institution, but also reaffirms the United States’ long-term commitment to supporting education in Pakistan.”
Ms. Farah Shah, a student who has moved into the hostel from Chitral, spoke of the advantages of living on campus. “My parents are happy that I live in such a clean and safe environment,” she said, “and I am happy that I can study and participate in co-curricular activities without worrying about the commute.”
The new hostel at F.C. College is part of a comprehensive education program being implemented by the United States in Pakistan. This program includes: a $160 million Pakistan Reading Project; construction or rehabilitation of more than 850 schools; construction of 16 state-of-the art Faculty of Education buildings at universities, establishment of Centers for Advanced Studies in Water, Agriculture and Food Security, and Energy at four Pakistani universities; English skills education for more than 5,000 low-income students; and awards of more than 4,800 scholarships for university students through the Pakistan-USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program.