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Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan)

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan) program builds the capacity of a diverse group of youth leaders from underserved populations across Pakistan. Through U.S.-based training and practical experience in leadership positions, community engagement, and in their professional fields, undergraduate students gain the skills needed to implement long-term civic and economic changes in their communities, building stability through increased local capacity and cross-cultural understanding.

Through semester-long programs of study, exploration of U.S. culture, and integration into U.S. communities, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students develop a broad and nuanced understanding of U.S. values and become citizen ambassadors who support expanded diplomatic and development partnerships. Global UGRAD-Pakistan is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

Information for Host Universities

Goals

• Students increase their academic knowledge, leadership capacity, and life skills through coursework, cultural programs, community service, and follow-on community engagement projects in Pakistan. In 2010-11, students’ ratings of their life skills improved up to 50% in categories like ability to manage deadlines and ability to communicate effectively in English.

• Students strengthen their commitment to being leaders in their home communities. Nearly 70% of alumni serve their communities on a regular basis when they return home, for at least six months.

• U.S. and Pakistani students increase their understanding of each other’s culture and values, supporting people-to-people diplomacy for a more stable future. More than 80% of alumni communicate at least one a month with Americans they met while in the U.S. for at least six months after their return.

Background

Citizens of the United States and Pakistan lack opportunities to get to know one another and need substantive dialogue to build security and stability. Through academic studies and community service, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students come into close contact with Americans and develop lasting relationships through U.S. universities, schools, businesses, and community organizations, leading to increased mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Pakistan. Alumni take home nuanced experiences, impressions, and skills and share their new perspective with diverse communities in Pakistan, contributing to deeper cross-cultural understanding and future stability.

Project Activities

Undergraduate Study and Academic Skills Building: Global UGRAD-Pakistan students attend a semester-long, academic program at U.S. universities and colleges, which includes coursework in their fields of study and in an American studies topic. Students further enhance their critical study skills and gain the opportunity for academic success through academic skills-building courses or mentors.

Community Service:Students give back to their American host communities by contributing a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work during the semester. Students may volunteer in a variety of settings, such as after-school tutoring and enrichment programs, blood drives, community fundraisers, and disaster relief. In 2011-2012, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students volunteered more than 4,000 hours to communities across the U.S.

Country Presentations: Students give at least one required presentation on Pakistan during the fellowship, sharing their country's history and traditions with Americans at their host institutions or in off-campus settings such as schools, retirement homes, and Rotary clubs. Each student reaches an average of 60 people with each presentation, educating a large number of Americans on the diversity of Pakistan.

Cultural Passport to America: At the start of the program, each student receives a “Cultural Passport to America,” which is modeled to look loosely like a U.S. passport. For participation in cultural events and activities, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students receive Passport stamps from their university and college advisors, allowing staff to encourage new and diverse experiences for their students. Through the Passport, students present and reflect on how they have explored various aspects of U.S. culture, the linkages they’ve forged with Americans throughout the program and on their plans for sharing U.S. culture with their communities when returning home.

Alumni Programming: Global UGRAD-Pakistan alumni are eligible to apply for small grants to conduct cultural and community engagement activities in their home communities, and are provided with opportunities to continue to build their life and leadership skills. For example, Sikandar and Zahra both implemented projects to support disabled communities in Peshawar and Lahore through their Project Smile grants. Israr and Fawad lead clean-up activities in their communities, teaching the importance of caring for the local environment.

Project Facts

• Nearly 50% of students are the only representative of Pakistan on their U.S. host campus, exposing students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community at 83 U.S. host institutions to Pakistani culture.

• Students come from all eight regions of Pakistan, representing more than 13 different native languages; 95% are “first generation” exchange participants to the U.S.

• In 2011, more than 3,000 Pakistani children, disabled, and elderly individuals benefitted from alumni leaders of community engagement projects..