Fulbright scholarships: 2013 batch gets send off

Published: July 4, 2013

Fulbright scholars listen intently at the orientation session on Wednesday. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

Seated patiently on roundtables with name and college name tags dangling from their necks were 180 proud students that have been awarded 2013 Fulbright scholarships. After much anticipation, the students said the process is a test of patience, but all worth it in the end. They were speaking at the conclusion of a two-day orientation session here at a local hotel.

A total of 151 master’s scholarship and 29 PHD scholarships have been granted to Pakistani students to study at various American universities. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Mustafa Ahmed from Karachi was extremely excited and said that the process was long, but worth the wait. Meenah Tariq, a student and entrepreneur awarded an MBA scholarship at Babson College, said the long process is a test in itself. “We work for a full year, but this scholarship is granted to those with determination,” she said.

In its 63rd year of operation in Pakistan, the Fulbright programme is one of the largest in Pakistan and oldest in the world.

Since 2005, 1,255 Pakistani’s have received Fulbright awards for graduate degrees of which 40 per cent have been women.  US Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Richard Hoagland in his address to the students thanked HEC’s support throughout the process. Hoagland, who was a member of the selection committee for the programme 15 years ago, said he was very happy to see the turnout. “15 years ago, only six students were selected for this programme. I am overwhelmed to see the growth and the number of students participating,” he said.

Students will study a variety of academic disciplines, including engineering, energy management, business and social sciences. After completing their studies in the Unites States, the students will return to Pakistan. Speaking to The Express Tribune, USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar said that initially, the programme heavily focused on engineering and science students, but as of now, students are going to learn about different sectors and subjects so that they can return and work for the development of those areas in Pakistan. “We have students going for fine arts, theatre and design and other interesting disciplines which will not only bring diversity, but their contribution, once they return, will bring about the change we are trying to achieve through this programme.”

Akhar said that the HEC has guaranteed jobs for students who return with their PHD degrees. Moreover, a job portal is being made on the website.

The Fullbright Programme is the flagship academic exchange programme of the U.S government. Funded by the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The awards cover travel, living stipends, health insurance, and tuition for the entire period of study.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2013.

Reader Comments (14)

  • Sana Kamran
    Jul 4, 2013 - 12:25PM

    Hope they all come back and serve their country!

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  • John
    Jul 4, 2013 - 4:41PM

    Never gonna happen @ sana

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  • Sana Shaikh
    Jul 4, 2013 - 5:01PM

    This is a great initiative for Pakistani youth…hope they return and serve our nation

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  • Ahsan Baloch
    Jul 4, 2013 - 5:03PM

    Great going

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  • Bilal
    Jul 4, 2013 - 5:04PM

    Thank you USA

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  • Lahori
    Jul 4, 2013 - 5:18PM

    @Sana Kamran: They have no other option. Coming back to Pakistan is a part of the Fulbright contract.

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  • ahsaan
    Jul 4, 2013 - 11:19PM

    Yes, they are bound to come to Pakistan immediately after the degree as per the contract.

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  • Canadian Paki
    Jul 4, 2013 - 11:32PM

    @Lahori:
    Yeah you are right, but that’s not gonna happen…

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  • Anon
    Jul 4, 2013 - 11:52PM

    @John: Do you know that the Pakistan Fulbright Program has a 98% return rate, which is why it is the biggest Fulbright Program in the world??? Check facts before speaking ill of others.

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  • Khan
    Jul 5, 2013 - 11:29AM

    It might sound weird but some of the “fulbright scholars” come back brainwashed. They sing American song while despising their religion and country. Instead of original thinking, they think about applying American theories in Pakistani setting. I hope for the best for these young people though.

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  • SM
    Jul 15, 2013 - 1:52PM

    @Sana Kamran, @John:
    They all are supposed to return and serve, that is a part of the contract and a visa requirement for Fulbright. Otherwise you are made to pay the entire cost of education, living, etc and other actions.

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  • Ahmed
    Jul 23, 2013 - 2:07AM

    They should live happily in USA instead of coming back.

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  • Hadi
    Aug 2, 2013 - 2:56PM

    @John: u dont know the contract then. they have to come back whether they like it or not :D

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  • Tauqeer Ahmad
    Aug 9, 2013 - 5:00PM

    Thats nice motive, We do need such corporations from allied partners. I hope this would bring a bit change at least,

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