Fifty-two newly elected leaders of the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) met in Islamabad to kick off their terms leading its efforts to strengthen ties between the United States and Pakistan. Representing the network of over 29,000 Pakistani alumni of U.S. government-funded overseas and in-country exchange programs, these new PUAN leaders from across the country spent two days sharing best practices and developing innovative plans to improve their communities and connect the American and Pakistani peoples.
From February 7-9, 2019, the alumni were invited to Islamabad to attend the ninth annual NEC meeting to build their abilities through interactive skills-based sessions; collectively brainstorm ideas to design chapter activities, and discuss the best practices and case studies.
As an informal tradition, at the start of each year, PUAN hosts the National Executive Committee to provide them an opportunity to:
- Highlight the achievements of the past year
- Elaborate on their chapters’ plan for 2019
- Elect the Country President
- Discuss the best practices, challenges and solutions
- Finalize the theme for the Country Project
- Discover new avenues to engage the alumni for community service
Following the session, the representatives of PUAN Secretariat delivered detailed presentations on applying for small grants, preparing chapter plans, financial reporting, monitoring projects, branding guidelines, and communication tools and resources for chapter leadership.
Moreover, the U.S. Embassy Islamabad’s Regional Public Engagement Specialist, Linda Parker, spoke with the alumni about Lincoln Corners and how the Corners are an excellent source of information, resources and services beneficial for chapter activities and outreach projects.
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ambassador Paul Jones in conversation with alumni
The U.S. Embassy Islamabad’s Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Christopher Fitzgerald, hosted a networking reception for the PUAN Leadership. The reception provided ample opportunities for PUAN leaders to interact and share their ideas for building the community; volunteer work and exchange experiences with the representatives of the U.S. Mission in Pakistan.
Speaking at the gathering, Ambassador Paul Jones, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the U.S. Mission in Pakistan, congratulated the new volunteer leaders of the network’s 13 chapters covering all of Pakistan, including Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and he noted PUAN’s contributions to U.S.-Pakistan relations. “For over ten years, PUAN has contributed enormously to mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the United States, while also supporting education and prosperity in Pakistan,” he said.
Exchange Ambassadors’ Training:
The Exchange Ambassadors receiving training from the U.S. embassy exchanges team
In 2018 elections, one member from each of the thirteen PUAN chapters was elected as Exchange Ambassadors for the period of two years. Their main task is to spread information and create awareness regarding various exchange programs administered by the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. These exchange ambassadors received a one-day exclusive training session from the
U.S. embassy’s exchange team. They were trained for conducting awareness session in schools and colleges of their respective regions.
Country President Election:
IVLP alumnus, Syed Shahid Kazmi shares his vision for PUAN after being elected as Country President
Fifty-two members national executive committee voted to elect Country President for the period of two years. The chapter Presidents Islamabad (Syed Shahid Kazmi), Quetta (Jahangir Khan) and Jamshoro (Qazi Fahad) put forth their names as candidates for Country President position. The members NEC cast their vote through secret ballot. After the counting, Public Diplomacy officer, Yoon Nam, announced Syed Shahid Kazmi as elected Country President of PUAN.
The 2019 Country Project:
Following a half an hour discussion on the theme for the 2019 Country Project, the alumni collectively voted for each nominated idea. The idea ‘Addressing Climate Change’ received most votes through an open poll and was announced as the country project by the Country President of Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network, Syed Shahid Kazmi.
As the alumni return to their respective chapter with renewed enthusiasm, they are set to lead, engage and inspire the alumni of their chapters to strengthen people-to-people ties through a variety of chapter activities.