National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) has become a part of the USA-Pakistan Higher Education Initiative on Civic Engagement. It brings together five universities each from the United States and Pakistan to discuss ways, learn, evaluate and share the methodologies and strategies required to encourage community service.
With NUST being the pioneer of this project from Pakistan and George Washington University (GWU) from the US, this elaborate project has started to take shape.
In March 2013, a 16-member delegation of Pakistani Universities namely NUST, DUHS, FJWU, QAU and UVAS went to participate in the orientation seminar followed by respective partner campuses visits in the USA. Pakistani teams spent about one week to learn more about civic engagement in the USA.
As a follow-up to this visit, NUST organized the first USA-Pakistan Higher Education Initiative on Civic Engagement conference on April 26 in Pakistan. NUST invited the representatives of all partner Universities in Pakistan and took the initial step towards the expansion and implementation of the project. The conference was chaired by Rector NUST Engr. Mohammad Asghar and was attended by Dr. Susan Stroud from the United States, a global leader in the field of youth civic engagement, Dr. Shamash Kassim-Lakha, who is an executive member of the Steering Committee of the Talloires Network and is also associated with the US-Pak Civic Engagement Project as an advisor, Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed from HEC, Mr. Rob from the US Embassy, representatives from partner Pakistani Universities and the NUST team.
The conference opened with the welcome note by Rector NUST, who thanked the esteemed guests for their participation and support and appreciated the efforts of team NUST and the NUST community service club. Expressing his gratitude to the partner Universities, the Rector stressed on the role ICP was playing in this project and its sustainability for further expansion. After the welcome note, representatives from all 5 partner universities shared their perspective on community service initiatives and discussed their learning outcomes. Dr. Irtiza Ali Shah from NUST, Dr. Umer Farooq from DUHS, Dr. Humaira Ahmed from FJWU, Dr. Etzaz Ahmed from QAU and Dr. Aneela Durrani from UVAS were among the five presenters. Tehreem Saifey, Project Director shared the history, mission and vision of the Talloires Network that is spread across 288 countries and 6 continents.
Towards the end of the session, Dr. Susan Stroud, the US Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Representative Robert Raines, Dr. Shamsh Lakha and Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed from HEC, all addressed the participants and expressed their appreciation for the partner universities and ensured their full support. They emphasized on the importance of faculty motivation, student involvement and community partners to ensure the success of this great initiative.