400 US alumni offer community service

Islamabad: More than 400 alumni of U.S.-government sponsored exchange programs came together today to offer community service at locations all over Islamabad as part of the International Young Alumni Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.

Following a four-day gathering of more than 400 alumni of U.S. professional and educational exchange students from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and the United States, the students capped off their Conference by performing community service at locations across Islamabad.

During their studies in the U.S., international exchange students are exposed to community service projects and encouraged to continue to perform community service upon return to their home countries.

In Islamabad, students planted more than 100 trees at Green Queen Tree Plantation, practiced storytelling, face painting, and drawing with nearly 1200 students at Pehli Kiran Schools, and shared laughter and their favorite children’s books with kids undergoing treatment in the paediatric ward at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.

“It is hard to express the level of satisfaction and joy I get from helping people in my community who are underprivileged,” said U.S. exchange program alumnus Mubashir Ghani Khawaja, who organized the event.

“When I was studying in the U.S., I learned about community service, and am happy to bring that concept, and so much happiness, to people here at home.”

The International Young Alumni Conference which took place April 11-14, is the largest U.S. government-sponsored young alumni gatherings ever held in Pakistan.

The theme, “The Faces of Change, the Changes We Face,” is meant to inspire student alumni of U.S. funded exchange programs to make positive changes in their communities and equip them with tools to make those changes.

During the Conference, the young participants attended workshops on social entrepreneurship and social media, heard from high-profile speakers such as Nobel Prize winner Dr. Adil Najam, and enjoyed musical performances from Pakistani bands, such as Usman Riaz and Danish Ali, who are themselves alumni of U.S. government-sponsored music exchange programs.

Exchange programs are just one part of the comprehensive U.S. education assistance program for Pakistan, which includes building or rehabilitating more than 850 schools; launching new degree programs in education at 90 teacher colleges and universities; and expanding English skills for more than 5,000 low-income students.