US Ambassador Cameron Munter said on Thursday that his government is keen on funding programmes for preserving cultural heritage sites in Pakistan.
Addressing an inaugural session of a four-day conference, Munter stressed the importance of developing collaborative regional networks to discuss innovative methods for cultural preservation and education. The conference marks the first time in years that scholars, archaeologists and museum specialists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and the US have come together to discuss the issue.
“An event like this one redefines Pak-US relations,” Munter said of the conference, adding that 20 American scholars will work with the Pakistani authorities to preserve the Gandhara civilisation and restore a number of Sufi shrines. “This is the kind of event that takes into account the respect we have for Pakistan’s culture. American technical expertise and Pakistani talent will work together to preserve the monuments around the country,” he said. In addition to supporting this conference, the US govt has provided over $1.8 million towards 17 cultural preservation projects in Pakistan over the last decade, he said.
Earlier, during his visit to the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Munter highlighted the benefits of the Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation programme, said a press release issued by the US embassy.
The ambassador and his wife met with faculty and students of the Rawalpindi Medical College at the hospital’s telemedicine facility which in collaboration with US hospitals, has trained over 100 doctors nationwide and treating over 2,000 patients remotely.
The cooperation focuses on many elements, including innovation in Pakistan’s public health sector. During a tour of the hospital along with E-Health Training Centre Project Director Dr Asif Zafar, Munter said that the partnership highlights “the true spirit of our people who work together across oceans to improve healthcare and treat the sick”. He added that he hoped to see other initiatives like these between the two countries in the future.
Since 2003, the US has provided over $16 million to the Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation programme that supports innovations to broaden relations between the scientific and technological communities of both countries, said the press release.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2012.
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