Over 125 students gathered today at the Serena Hotel to kick off their pre-departure orientation for the Fulbright Scholarship Program. The Fulbright Scholarship covers travel, living stipends, health insurance, and tuition for the entire period of study for master's or doctoral degrees at American universities. This orientation program, which is organized by the U.S. Education Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), plays a key role in preparing students with the required skills, attitude, and knowledge to study successfully in the United States.
Speaking to the students, U.S. Embassy Consular for Public Affairs Mark Davidson said, "We are very fortunate to have the world's largest Fulbright Program in Pakistan. This is one example of the U.S. government's long-term commitment to the education of Pakistanis and to increasing mutual understanding between both countries." Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman, Dr. Javed Laghari, also advised the students.
Of the 94 students studying in master's programs and 32 in doctoral programs, 37 percent are women. The Fulbright scholars come from all regions of Pakistan, including Azad Kashmir, Balochistan, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh, and are studying a wide variety of academic disciplines, such as public policy, health, social sciences, and fine arts. The students are required to return to Pakistan after completion of their studies to play a positive role in the country's economic and social development.
In 2011, Fulbright scholarships allowed 386 Pakistanis to study in the United States. Since USEFP's inception more than 60 years ago, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and 800 Americans have participated in USEFP administered exchange programs.