‘Civic Engagement’ Keyword at Pakistani-American Community & Youth Convention 2018

Pakistanis in the U.S. are one of the most educated group in the immigrants community with average educational level higher than average American, and a higher average household income than the average household income in America.

Irshad Salim — The Pakistan embassy in U.S. held a convention at its premise on Saturday in Washington to engage Pakistani Americans and US officials as part of its ongoing public diplomacy and people-to-people, community-based initiatives.

The theme of the latest weekend event dubbed Pakistani-American Community & Youth Convention 2018 was ‘Connecting the Dots’ and comprised of several segments: Youth Engagement, Role of Women, Academia & Think Tanks, Civic Engagement, Harmony through Arts & Literature, Entrepreneurs, and a Presentation by the USAID.

During his opening remarks, Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry said the Pakistani American Community & Youth Convention-2018 is being organized for connecting the Pakistani American diaspora from across the US to engage and discuss opportunities for growth as a community at various levels.

A large number of students and young professionals attending the Convention participated in a discussion titled “What does it mean to be a Pakistani-American Youth? According to an estimate, more than 600,000 Pakistanis are dual nationals with the total number of Pakistanis in the U.S. exceeding 900,000.

During the first panel discussion at the convention which aims to bring the Pakistani Diaspora closer to home and supplement the embassy’s ongoing public diplomacy efforts, the panelists identified the challenges and opportunities that are associated to their identity as Pakistani-Americans. They also analyzed how the young generation of Pakistani-Americans can act as a bridge between Pakistan and the US.

Panel discussion on topic ‘Voice in Academia & Think Tanks’ took place during the Convention. Panelists advocated efforts to enhance the existing University to University connections between Pakistan & US in order to bring them closer to each other.

It was discussed that Academia and Think Tanks offer avenues for further strengthening Pakistan-US partnership as sharing of knowledge is a win-win proposition. The discussion concluded that Pakistani-American scholars are making noteworthy contributions in the academic fields.

Segment 4 on the theme ‘Civic Engagement’ concluded that Civic Engagement is both individually life enriching and is of social benefit to society at large. Panelists discussed that Civic Engagement involves a desire and an effort to make a positive difference in the life of the community and the society as a whole.

Panelists in segment  5 titled “Harmony through Art & Literature” discussed that art is a tool which can communicate and transform the way people think and act. Art has the ability to create a space in which people can heal and reconcile, they said.

In a subtheme”Future of Urdu Literature” in segment 5, it was discussed that Urdu Language can serve as a cohesive force in keeping Pak-American diaspora together. There is a greater need to educate the 2nd generation Pakistanis in the U.S. about their culture and traditions through Urdu language, the panelists said.

Mr. Chaudhry interacted with the Panelists and Discussants at the end of the discussion on Civic Engagement.

The Ambassador appreciated participation of US Government officials. He highlighted that Pak-U.S partnership stretches far beyond the security context and must be further strengthened on multiple tracks.

Officials said the USAID has been a major development partner in Pakistan. The development work carried out under the auspices of USAID in FATA is a recent success story, they said. Pakistan continues to be the single largest beneficiary country of Fulbright Program, they added.

Ms. Martha Patterson of USAID said that Pakistan and the United States have been partners for over 70 years. “Building on and improving this historical long-standing partnership is critical 2 both our nations.” She also said that two-way trade reached $6.4 bn in 2017, an all-time high.

A panel of prominent women leaders from various fields shared their views during the second segment titled: “When Women Lead: Insights & Experiences from Successful Pakistani-American Women”.

During the second segment, the Panelists highlighted the important role being played by the Pakistani-American women in the US and discussed the future roadmap to mobilize more women to take lead in their respective roles.

Segment-6 covered ‘Building Economic Bridges between Pakistan and the United States’. Panelists discussed the role of Pakistani American businessmen in promoting trade ties between Pakistan and the US.

During the discussion the panelists opined that entrepreneurship is the pivot for establishing a strong bilateral relations between Pakistan and the US. Entrepreneurs not only connect the dots but also create new dots and this process keeps the relationship alive and thriving.

Pakistanis in the U.S. are one of the most educated groups in the immigrants community with average educational level higher than average Americans, and a higher average household income than the average household income in America.

Last fiscal year, the U.S.-based community remitted over US$2.3 billion. They have the highest average individual disposal income (credit worthiness and net worth notwithstanding) as compared to other members of the Pakistani Diaspora worldwide which has a 9 million estimated population.

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