About the Author: Rick Snelsire serves as Spokesperson for U.S. Embassy Islamabad.
In a ceremony held today in Islamabad, U.S. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Javaid R. Laghari, announced that the U.S. government has provided $45 million to support public university education in areas of the country affected by militant conflict.
The grant funds, provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will assist 28 public universities, and cover the costs of one year's university fee waivers for over 7,000 students from families that have been internally displaced.
"We consider this contribution to be a valuable investment in Pakistan's future," Ambassador Patterson said during the ceremony. "A nation's development depends on strong leadership and entrepreneurship, and the ability of public sector institutions of higher education to use new technology and innovative ways of doing business."
The grant complements a $85 million cash grant to the Benazir Income Support Program made in February 2010, and a $44 million contribution to assist in resettling displaced populations in November 2009. The total $174 million donation makes good on a U.S. pledge of budget support to Pakistan at the Tokyo conference in 2009.